Rebekah (Genesis 24-27)
“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Isaac hissed at me as I watched the form of our son, Jacob, disappear over the horizon.
“This is your doing. It is your fault he’s leaving. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
It’s not the first time I’ve heard those words from my husband, or from others for that matter. And it’s unlikely it will be the last time. Everyone thinks I should be ashamed of myself. Ashamed that I’m not afraid to speak my mind; ashamed that I’m not afraid to take matters into my own hands; ashamed that a woman would dare to be strong, smart, determined, and even crafty. They say I should be ashamed of myself, but I’m not.
I’ve always been strong; unafraid to speak my mind and determine the course of my own life. I know as a woman, as a daughter and wife, I’m supposed to allow the men in my life to guide me—to take charge and direct the course of my future, and the course of my children’s futures. But why? Why because of a simple accident of birth should I have to bow and scrape before the men in my life? Why should I bend my own will, silence my own thoughts, and ignore my own instincts simply because I was born a woman?
I shouldn’t. I haven’t. I won’t. Because I believe in who I am.
When I was pregnant with my sons, Esau and Jacob, God spoke to me. God told me how important our sons were; that they would become two great nations. And then God told me it was the younger of the two, my Jacob, who would grow to be the greatest. The second son, the younger, would deny convention and expectation, and become the greater.
I told Isaac. Told him to help prepare our oldest, our Esau, for what was to come. To help him come to see his value apart from being “firstborn,” knowing, as we did, that his brother would someday overshadow him.
I told Isaac, I warned him. And he did not listen.
He doted on Esau, and ignored Jacob. He lavished praise on Esau for his skill with a bow, and ignored Jacob’s wise and often cunning ways. He pretended he didn’t know what was to come and when the time came to offer his blessing to his son, he tried to deny the inevitable. He was going to bless the eldest, all else be damned.
So I took matters into my own hands.
I helped Jacob prepare a meal that would endear him to his father. I helped him disguise himself so his father, in his blindness, would not know it was the younger who stood before him. I helped him find the opportune moment to enter the tent, when Esau was off hunting again. I helped secure the blessing for my son; for the one who should have had it from the beginning, Jacob.
“You should be ashamed of yourself.” The words echo in my head as Jacob disappears over the horizon, running away from his brother, Esau, who now wants him dead for “stealing” the blessing.
I turn to face Isaac, his blind eyes staring past me. “No, husband, I should not be ashamed of myself. It is you who should be ashamed. It is you who refused to see our sons for who they truly are. And it is you who refused to see me for who I truly am. No, husband, I am not ashamed.”
And I never will be.
Questions to ponder
What was your favorite part of the story?
Where did you see God in the story?
What is God inviting you to try on today in light of the story?
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