Gen 25:19 And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begat Isaac:
Gen 25:20 And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian.
Gen 25:21 And Isaac intreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was intreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived.
Gen 25:22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.
Gen 25:23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.
Gen 25:24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.
Gen 25:25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.
Gen 25:26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.
Gen 25:27 And the boys grew: and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
Gen 25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
As we have said before, Rebekah represents us as the bride of Christ in God’s picture book. She was the daughter of a Syrian, but now she is in the family of God.
The problem for her was that she was barren. Isaac, a representation of Jesus, prayed to God on her behalf, just like He is praying for us now.
Isaac prayed for Rebekah and the Lord heard him. Now Rebekah conceives, but there is another problem.
The Hebrew word for struggled here is va-yitrotsetsu, and it has more of a sense of thrusting, crushing, and smashing. Something very violent was going on in her womb and she was worried. This causes her to do the best thing she could and go before the Lord with her concern. He tells her that she has two nations are within her womb. Two separate kinds of people will be born. The older will serve the younger.
I don’t think she would have kept this Word from God from her husband so it would have been well known what was going to happen when they were born.
This has both a physical and spiritual importance for us:
In the physical sense, as far as customs were concerned, I would imagine that this didn’t make much sense, even though this would be something very much like what Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac had seen.
The difference was that Ishmael had only been a half-brother and these two babies that were about to be born would be fully Hebrew.
The Law would have been that the first-born child, even if they were twins, was called the “Bekhor,” and would have earned the full inheritance from the father. The second born child would more or less be subservient to the first born. They don’t divide the inheritance, or share it, the first born is chosen and the second born is not. This struggle would be just the beginning of what it would be like from then on.
God was telling Rebekah that the firstborn would not receive the inheritance, and that it would go to the second born child.
This decision was pre-ordained by God, with Isaac and Rebekah having no say-so whatsoever.
In the spiritual sense, we see a parallel between the struggle within Rebekah and ourselves.
Esau, the first-born physically, represents the flesh, which we are born with, and comes first spiritually.
Jacob, represents the Spirit, which is second, and comes along after we are reborn in Christ.
These two struggle within us.
Like Rebekah, we too can be barren as the bride of Christ, we can be saved and counted as a child of God, yet still unable to produce fruit.
This happens when we allow the flesh to be stronger than the Spirit.
Esau, physically, was strong, skillful with a bow, very manly, and also very hairy. His name means “red, or ruddy.”
Isaac loved Esau because of the good food he provided.
Jacob, the “heel snatcher,” was more introspective, quiet, and sensitive, things a mother would love.
Spiritually, the flesh needs us to love something about it, something we can give it. The Spirit, is the love of God for no other reason other than the fact that He is love.
Verse 27 tells us that Esau was a hunter (tsayid). There are only two places where in Scripture where a man is labeled a hunter: Here and when describing Nimrod.
The use of “tsayid,” is a negative connotation, and means pretty much “a stone-cold killer.”
Jacob, is described as “tam,” or “quiet, plain, or peaceful.” Better yet, it means “blameless before God” or “righteousness.”
The contrast between these two is again descriptive of the difference between the flesh and the Spirit; like night and day; one loves killing while the other loves life.