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Pregnancy is not an easy experience—but Rebekah’s was so unpleasant that she inquired of the Lord to find out why she was suffering so badly.
More amazingly, the Lord answered. After twenty years of marriage, Rebekah was finally pregnant. It had taken an answer to prayer in order for her and her husband, Isaac, to conceive. The two loved each other—the story of how they came to be married reads like an ancient romance novel. However, without a child, they would be subject to public shame. More important, God’s covenant with Rebekah’s father-in-law was in jeopardy. How would Abraham become the father of many nations if Isaac and Rebekah could not provide even one offspring?
When Rebekah did become pregnant, however, it was not with just one son but with two. The babies wrestled with one another in the womb, apparently causing Rebekah great discomfort. When she sought an explanation from God, she was told that the sons she bore would give rise to two separate nations. But harmonious coexistence was not what the future held for Rebekah’s sons. Puzzlingly, God informed Rebekah that the younger would triumph over the older—precisely the opposite of how it was supposed to be in the ancient Near East.
Things happened exactly as God told Rebekah they would. Of course, Rebekah played a helping hand, favoring her younger son, Jacob, over Esau. Rebekah helped Jacob trick his father into giving him the blessing that was rightfully Esau’s. She wanted the best for her younger son, but the best came at a price—estrangement between Jacob and Esau.
After Jacob fled on his mother’s advice, it is very likely that he never saw Rebekah alive again.
Rebekah stood in a long line of deceivers. Out of a desire for self-preservation, her father-in-law, Abraham, had tried to convince others that his wife, Sarah, was really just his sister—not once but twice. Rebekah’s brother Laban later tricked Jacob into marrying Leah first instead of Rachel. Rebekah prompted Jacob to deceive her own husband.
Unfortunately, sinful tendencies have a way of repeating themselves in successive generations. Jacob, for example, came to be regarded as one of the most famous deceivers in the Bible.