In this chapter we find the taking of another wife by Abraham, his death, the genealogies of Isaac and Ishmael, the birth of Isaac’s two sons, and the selling of Esau’s birthright.
Coming from the previous two chapters this one is packed with information. But we can still glean some basic principles from each segment.
Abraham’s taking of another wife (which was probably a concubine) is an interesting account. I will save any discussions on polygamy for another day, but one thing about it is it can cause a great deal of derision. We have already seen how Sarah treated Hagar, and while she wasn’t treated as harshly, Keturah and her children were sent away. I can’t imagine doing this, but it was fairly normal for ME culture. Either way, our take away is that multiple marriages can create some rather difficult situations.
The two genealogies are recorded, and while we may make our way through the names with difficulty, there are important because they tell us that people (those whom the names represent) are important.
The third aspect comprises Rebekah’s barrenness, prayer, and eventual pregnancy. Isaac prayed for her barrenness and God blessed her with twins. During the pregnancy she had difficulty, and because she was concerned she prayed to God to make sure that everything was okay. God answered her prayer and spoke to her! It is amazing that this was noted in the Hebrew Bible which is predominantly a male focused society. God interacts with women just as much as He does with men!
The final account is the selling of the birthright. While we do not have birthrights today, the connection we can make is valuing what is important. Esau did not understand (or at the most did not care) about the value of the birthright. He would later come to regret this decision, but for now he was satisfied with releasing it. Often in our lives we sell what is precious to us, perhaps time with our spouses, our children, or more importantly with our Heavenly Father for cheap things. Instead of playing with our kids we watch the game. Instead of holding our little baby we clean the house. Or instead of reading the Bible we go out with friends. The examples are endless. Unfortunately we commit the same folly that Esau did. May we learn from these lessons as we continue to walk through Genesis.