From reading Genesis 27:1-40 we see Rebekah overhearing a conversation between Isaac and Esau and, from there, plotting a theft in order for Jacob to receive the blessing meant for his brother, and Jacob managing to go through with the plan and steal the blessing.

Does she not like Esau?

Was she given a revelation to do so?

  • Try reading this link and see if this is the right reference your looking for, then I will answer this if you accept the ref. link.CHAPTER FIVE BIBLICAL FIGURE OF THIS PERFECT DEVOTION: REBECCA AND JACOB montfort.org/content/uploads/pdf/PDF_EN_26_1.pdf
    – marian agustin
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 20:15
  • it Is difficult to understand how polygamy entered Esau’s mind in the first place. His father Issac was not a polygamist, and Esau seems to have entered into polygamy voluntarily. Jacob, on the other hand, was tricked into it. That could have been the crucial difference between the two. Commented Nov 27, 2020 at 23:46
  • @Constantthin you might want to have a look in Romans 5. In particular, how sin entered the world and how from that moment onwards death started to reign. We have the natural tendency to sin in our bodies, the variations then are very personal - even in twins (I've got a twin brother). Commented Nov 28, 2020 at 0:02

3 Answers 3


The matter began before what you are describing. When the twins were in her womb, before birth, they struggled together. Rebekah enquired of the Lord, why was it so ? The answer was 'The elder shall serve the younger'.

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. Genesis 25:22 [KJV]

That was the reason for her consequent activity.

Rebekah had not consulted Isaac, or she had done so and not received a helpful answer. So she enquired of the Lord.

Later, once the boys were grown, Isaac favoured the hairy man, the hunter and not the plain man, dwelling in tents.

The whole narrative is about the promise made to Rebekah being fulfilled despite Isaac not assisting. His eyes were dim, and that is perhaps stated not just as a physical matter but as a spiritual observation.

Did he not realise what God's purpose was ?

Did a previous generation not understand where God's providence was leading ? Had the older generation lost interest in God's things and in the coming seed (of the woman) which would bruise the head of the serpent (from above) ?

Was that older generation settling down, enjoying the venison, eyes dimming, no longer a pilgrim, no longer following that which was suited to the Lord of glory who had appeared to Abraham in Mesopotamia ?

So to inherit the rightful blessing, and to fulfil the promise made to Rebekah, certain provisions were made. Jacob knew his brother. He knew he cared nothing for the birthright. He knew that he could bargain for it and that he would get it.

It is ludicrous to suppose that any sane man would trade a birthright for a bowl of soup - unless he already despised that birthright.

And, as such, he did not deserve it.

And it was foretold, that he would not have it.

  • 2
    Ah thank you Nigel J, i overlooked that part and was starting to think Rebekah didn't like Esau due to him being together with Hittite women (Genesis 26:24, 27:46, 36:2). Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 9:22
  • 2
    @TiagoMartinsPeres Yes, afterwards, Esau transgressed even further and chose the wrong tribe with which to bring forth the next generation.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 4, 2020 at 9:44

Why Rebekah wants Jacob to get Esau’s blessing?

Let us firstly look at what Scriptures say about the subject.

Esau could not have held his birthright in high esteem, for he traded it for a bowl of stew.

24 When her days to give birth were completed, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 The first came out red, all his body like a hairy cloak, so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out with his hand holding Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.

Esau Sells His Birthright

29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau Sells His Birthright 29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.[a]) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright. came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.[a]) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

And finally, Rebekah helped Jacob in obtaining the birthright of Esau.

5 Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me game and prepare for me delicious food, that I may eat it and bless you before the Lord before I die.’ 8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you. 9 Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves. 10 And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.” 11 But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.” 13 His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me.”

14 So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared delicious food, such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16 And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 And she put the delicious food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.

Now, why Rebekah wants Jacob to get Esau’s blessing?

The first reason is quite simply because she loved Jacob more than Esau.

27 When the boys grew up, Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. 28 Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. - (Genesis 25: 27-28)

The second reason is that the Lord told Rebekah that the elder (Esau) will serve younger (Jacob).

The Birth of Esau and Jacob

21 And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.” - (Genesis 25: 21-23)

In the end, both Rebekah and Jacob tricked Isaac into giving Jacob his blessing and as a result Jacob fled Esau and dwelt with Laban, who was a far greater trickster!

Laban tricked Jacob’s into marring his eldest daughter first!

One could say that this whole story was Divine Providence in motion. God truly works in mysterious ways.


Why did God permit Jacob to receive Esau’s blessing when this was in contradiction to the tradition in those days. Normally the eldest should have received this blessing because it was part of his birthright.

Here I am going to use a Jewish commentary on the subject, simply because it makes perfect sense and I am sure some Christian commentaries would use the same reasoning. They are quite enlightening.

Here is one way of interpreting the narrative. Rebecca was right to propose what she did and Jacob was right to do it. Rebecca knew that it would be Jacob, not Esau, who would continue theWas Rebecca right in conceiving the plan in the first place? covenant and carry the mission of Abraham into the future. She knew this on two separate grounds. First, she had heard it from God himself, in the oracle she received before the twins were born:

Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the elder will serve the younger.’

Esau was the elder, Jacob the younger. Therefore it was Jacob who would emerge with greater strength, Jacob who was chosen by God.

Second, she had watched the twins grow up. She knew that Esau was a hunter, a man of violence. She had seen that he was impetuous, mercurial, a man of impulse, not calm reflection. She had seen him sell his birthright for a bowl of soup. She had watched while he “ate, drank, rose and left. So Esau despised his birthright.” No one who despises his birthright can be the trusted guardian of a covenant intended for eternity.

Third, just before the episode of the blessing we read: “When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebecca.” This too was evidence of Esau’s failure to understand what the covenant requires. By marrying Hittite women he proved himself indifferent both to the feelings of his parents and to the self-restraint in the choice of marriage partner that was essential to being Abraham’s heir. - Was Jacob Right to Take the Blessings?

But who deceived who here. Esau wanted something to eat and would say anything to get some stew. He may have despised his birthright, but he still wanted it as Scriptures points out.

Parashat Toldot introduces our Patriarch Jacob as well as his brother Esau, and, from the outset, tips us off to the coming conflict between them. The Torah tells of their “struggle” within their mother’s womb, and, as young adults, describes them very differently.

Esau is “a hunter, a man of the field,” while Jacob is “ish tam,” (a simple/whole man) who sits in tents. These textual descriptions, Rashi and Ibn Ezra point out, indicate that Esau is a “trickster,” a man not to be trusted, while Jacob is a “simple” or “naive” shepherd, who spends his days studying Torah. - Why Rebecca Pushed Jacob to Get Esau’s Blessing

  • 2
    Ken, do you want to remark on the significance of the elder serving the younger? That would seem to be a contradiction to the norms of the time. Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 16:29
  • @KorvinStarmast Done.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Jan 5, 2020 at 19:37

Rebekah, the mother, clothes Jacob, the younger son (of the promise), in the garments of her older son. She then presents him to the father who gives the older son's blessing to him while the older son inherits a curse.

Esau represents Jesus.[1] Our Mother, the Church, dresses us up in Jesus's garments and presents us to the Father, who looks upon us and does not see our sins, and who smells the odor of His Son on us[2] and so gives us what is His Son's. The firstborn Son, Jesus, instead receives what was rightfully ours: the curse.


[1] Recall that in Genesis 33:10, Jacob exclaims upon seeing Esau's face that "to see your face is like seeing the face of God" (RSV).

[2] Recall Ignatius to the Magnesians 10: "... by your savour [(i.e., odor)] ye shall be convicted." The context is that the odor represents corrupted/rotting flesh (death) due to commingling new leaven (Christian practices) with the old leaven (practices of Judaism). In this allegory, Jesus is immortal and Jacob (God's people) takes on this scent of immortality rather than the stench of corruptibility (sin and death).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.