There are quite a few verses in this chapter but let’s follow along and break it down piece by piece. First of all, Abraham was not finished having children. He was already quite old, but he had other children with his concubines. I’m just repeating what Scripture said. But notice what he does with these other children. Just like Ishmael he sends them out of the camp once they are born, even without Sarah around, just so that it would be Isaac who would benefit from Abraham’s presence and wealth. Isaac remains the son of the promise and the son of the covenant.
Notice who comes and buries Abraham when he dies. It is not only Isaac, which you would expect, but Ishmael makes an appearance as well and buries his father. The Scripture then goes on to list his children and his descendants giving him a place of honor among Abraham’s children, which he actually deserves. Remember, the Lord promised that a great kingdom would come from Ishmael.
From there we find the birth of twins to Isaac and Rebekah, Esau and Jacob. Rebekah is one of a long list of women protagonists who are barren, but then over time are blessed by the Lord to have children. It is quite interesting that in that society and culture if you were a woman and you were barren you really served no purpose. And yet it is exactly those women whom the Lord chooses in order to carry out His purposes. I have always found that empowering and very revealing about God’s love, and special love, for those whom society considers worthless.
From the start we have trouble with Esau and Jacob. We find first that mom likes Jacob and dad likes Esau. Just that it would be stated out from the beginning builds the stage for trouble. This is absolutely a dysfunctional family. But it is from this family that our Lord comes. But keep in mind that this family is the textbook example of a dysfunctional family. Jacob is cooking a stew when his brother comes in from hunting and he is pretty hungry. It really isn’t that he was so hungry that he was willing to sell his birthright, it was simply that he didn’t respect or think much of his birthright. I don’t see Jacob as the villain or the opportunist, but rather Esau as the one who really didn’t care. But then again, I’m the youngest in my family.