Stories from our childhood Sunday school classes. It’s almost refreshing to read them again. Jacob and Esau and all their sibling rivalry. Or does it go a little beyond typical sibling rivalry? God’s prediction (or mandate?) from chapter 25 sees some fulfillment now – Jacob is becoming greater than Esau, who will in some ways serve his brother. We have seen Esau’s brashness and nearsighted impulsivity. We saw this when he sold his birthright for some soup. The birthright was the inheritance and status usually reserved for the oldest son – a double portion of the land and possessions, head of household as the elder, etc. These ideas seem foreign and archaic to us, but in early years, and even still in some societies, this was not such an unknown tradition. But Jacob’s deceit! And even more, Rebekah’s eavesdropping and meddlesome involvement! With her prompting, Jacob does steal Esau’s blessing. One might argue that it was rightfully his because it came with the birthright, but the two aren’t entirely the same. Blessings were considered pronouncement, and in the Bible they do work this way.
Jacob flees his bigger brother and heads back to the homeland. On the way, passing through Canaan, he sees the “stairway to heaven”. Once again, this area is promised to Israel by God himself. He continues to Haran and finds Rachel. Love at first sight may be real! But what are weak eyes? There are a few possibilities, and I can’t say for sure which is correct. Leah may have had bad eyesight. She may have been not very pleasing to the eye. Once again, Laban shows that deception and dishonesty are family traits.