Hearing her husband’s stubborn plan to deliver the patriarchal blessing to Esau, Rebekah hatches a plot to foil his intent. Rebekah’s intent was noble, but her methods were not.
“His mother said to him, ‘Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me’
”- Genesis 27:5–13
Rebekah must be regarded as a woman of strong faith. She embodied Scripture’s call for the people of God to be hospitable to strangers (Lev. 19:33–34; Deut. 10:18–19; Heb. 13:2) when she performed the arduous task of watering the camels belonging to Abraham’s servant (Gen. 24:15–21). Her concern for the things of the Lord was also evident when she agreed to go out from her homeland to a country she did not know to marry a man she had never met (vv. 58–59), just as Abraham left Ur after the God of creation called him (12:1–9).
In this passage, this woman of faith reemerges as a pivotal actor in the drama of redemption. Hearing her husband’s stubborn plan to deliver the patriarchal blessing to Esau, she hatches a plot to foil his intent (27:5–8). Rebekah knows that Jacob has been elected to supplant his older brother (25:23) and is likely aware of Esau’s willingness to trade his birthright for a bowl of soup (vv. 29–34). Out of a love for Jacob and, as many Old Testament scholars assert, a desire to see God’s word come true, Rebekah moves to ensure that the son who loved sin will not inherit the promises.
To remove any possibility that Jacob might not go along with her scheme, Rebekah alters the words Isaac spoke to Esau when she reports their dialogue to her younger son. In order to temper any possible fear of reprisal, she omits Isaac’s reference to Esau’s weapons (27:3) and pledges to take upon herself any dreaded curse (v. 13). Rebekah also emphasizes the Lord’s presence in the offered blessing (v. 7), alerting Jacob to the gravity of the situation.
Rebekah’s intent was noble, but her methods were not. We conclude now with the remarks of John Calvin: Rebekah’s faith “was mixed with an unjust and immoderate zeal. This is to be carefully observed, in order that we may understand that a pure and distinct knowledge does not always so illuminate the minds of the pious as to cause them to be governed, in all their actions, by the Holy Spirit.” May our zeal always include a concern for holiness so that our intentions and our methods might please God.Coram Deo
Often times the most zealous for the faith are new converts who lack knowledge and thus may promote an erroneous view of the Lord. Unfortunately, those with the most knowledge of biblical truth are sometimes the least zealous for the Gospel. If you are a new convert, make sure you are studying Scripture and sitting under sound doctrinal teaching. If you lack zeal, spend time with a spirited Christian so that some of their enthusiasm may encourage you.Passages for Further Study
- Prov. 1:1–7; 19:2
- Hos. 4:6a
- Acts 18:24–28
- Rom. 10:1–4