Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Fresh Eyes - Those blasted in-laws!

I've been revisiting one of the most fascinating sections of the Bible for me--the stories of Issac and his wife Rebekah, and their twin sons Esau and Jacob.  They are introduced early on in the Bible, in Genesis.  We aren't given a whole lot of details about their parenting styles, but it is obvious they made some big mistakes and bad judgment calls along the way.  For one thing, each parent had a different 'favorite' son (which was in turn passed down to Jacob and his sons a little later).  Rebekah mainipulated everyone and convinced Jacob to lie big time to his daddy, causing his brother Esau to hate him and plan to kill him.  Really fascinating, tragic stuff. 

In the middle of their story though, two little verses stood out that I guess I had missed until today.  It made me think of a statement Beth Moore used in one of her Bible studies once:  It is obvious men wrote the Scriptures, because women writers would have included so many more details--stuff that women would just love to know.  You know, like the reason men hate to get the call that gives details about a friend or family members baby delivery.  "Well,  Dave and Jill had their baby.  Its a boy".  The man thinks this is enough info, and if he is thinking ahead will at least find out a name.  Not the woman.  She wants details.  Did Jill have a C-section?  How long was labor?  How long was the baby?  Does he look like Dave, Jr. did when he was born 7 years ago?  Was the labor nurse nice?  That kind of stuff.  These two verses simply said:

"At the age of forty, Esau married two Hittite wives:  Judith and Basemath.
But Esau's wives made life miserable for Isaac and Rebekah."

And that's it.  I just laughed, and then wondered why.  There HAS to be so much more to this story.  What did these two daughters in law do that was so bad?  Did they gripe and complain?  Were they bad mammas to those precious grandbabies (not as precious as Jacob's grandbabies, of course, at least not for Rebekah :)  Were they bad tent keepers?  Did they not cherish Esau?  I mean, he was 40 and had to divide his time between two new wives.  Were they vegetarians?  Esau was a skilled hunter, don't you know, and may have preferred lamb shwarma over falafel or tabouli.  Those Hittites are just trash anyway, right?

I don't know the answers, but I love that it was seen as something important to include in Scripture.  It may be just the thing that someone, somewhere needs to know today:  they are not the first ones with in-law issues, and they won't be the last.  Just ask Isaac and Rebekah.
                                                                                                                (from Genesis 26:34-35)

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