Mother of Jacob and Esau

In the marriage ceremony of the Episcopal Church are these words: “That as Isaac and Rebekah lived faithfully together, so these persons may surely perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made.” Their lives stand as a shining example of domestic felicity in ancient times.

How Isaac obtained his wife is a charming oriental love story. Abraham sent his old servant back to Haran in northern Chaldea, to secure a wife for Isaac. Parents usually provided wives for their sons without consulting them. We cannot wonder that often the union was a business transaction rather than, as is this case, a love marriage.

“Rebekah at the Well,” so familiar to all, represents the toil-worn travelers who have made the long overland journey and have halted at the well at evening time. Rebekah comes with her pitcher upon her shoulder to draw water for the family. The old servant feels that he has found a bride for his master’s son. He is entertained by the damsel’s home and makes known his mission. Arrangements are consummated, and, with her slaves and dowry, Rebekah leaves her home to go into the distant west to become the wife of a man she has never met.

Isaac is walking alone in the field at evening when the caravan arrives. He sees his future wife and loves her. He had been devoted to his mother Sarah. She is now dead and Rebekah has his affection.

Twin sons, Jacob and Esau, are born to them. Unfortunately there is favoritism in the family. The mother is especially devoted to Jacob, who is of a shrewd turn of mind like herself. Esau loves hunting and general out-of-door life and his the father’s favorite.

Rebekah plots to secure the inheritance for Jacob, and, though she succeeds, the wrath of Esau is such that Jacob is obliged to flee, and spends many years in exile. Not until after his mother’s death does he return.

The story is replete with the peculiarities of ancient marriage.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published by The King-Richardson Co.