A Daily Genesis

Genesis 25:21b-22

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 25:21b . . and the Lord responded to his plea, and his wife Rebecca conceived. [/B]

The twins Jacob and Esau were born when Isaac was 60 years old. So Isaac and Rebecca had been trying to have children for about 19 years. There is no record that Abraham ever prayed concerning Sarah's infertility. He dealt with the problem in another way.

Isaac, rather than follow the example of papa Abraham and sleep with one of the maids; did the wise thing by electing to petition God to cure his wife so they could have their own baby. There is of course no guarantee prayer will work for everyone, but it was just the ticket for them.

Youngsters can learn from their parents mistakes. If there was one thing you can bet Isaac did not want in his family, it was another Ishmael. Not that Ishmael was a bad seed, but his place in Abraham's home was a catalyst in generating much friction and rivalry, and also caused an inheritance problem for Isaac; not to mention Abraham's eventual heartbreak of finally emancipating Hagar and thus sending her and Ishmael off to fend for themselves.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 25:22a . . But the children struggled in her womb,[/B]

The word for "struggled" is from [I]ratsats [/I](raw-tsats') which means: to crack in pieces, literally or figuratively

Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw. Those little tiny babies were trying to bust each other's skulls in there! The word ratsats is used just like that in a couple of places. (e.g. Jgs 9:53, Ps 74:12-13)

But I think it is more likely that each wanted to dominate the other. A common use of the word ratsats is oppression. (e.g. Deut 28:33-34, Jgs 10:6-8)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 25:22b . . and she said: If so, why do I exist?[/B]

That rendering is a bit murky. I think it would be better to paraphrase it: "If this is the case; then what am I doing here?"

Although Genesis revealed in verse 22a that Rebecca was carrying more than one child, and that the children were struggling for domination in the womb, the author wrote from inspiration and hind sight while Rebecca herself had no way of knowing what was going on at the time. It must have appeared to her that she was having a difficult pregnancy and in grave danger of dying in child birth.

That of course would make no sense at all to Rebecca because she was chosen for Isaac's wife by Divine providence; and her pregnancy was the result of Isaac's intercession. What was the point of going to all that trouble if she was only going to die right along with their first baby? In her mind, she certainly would have been much better off to have remained up north with her family than leave home with the servant to marry Isaac and lose her life bearing his child.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 25:22c . . She went to inquire of the Lord,[/B]

Went where? Well . . Isaac had settled near Beer-lahai-roi, the very water source where Hagar met with God for her very first time. This record is the very first time Rebecca met with God too, and she very likely met with God right at the same place Hagar did.

Hagar gave that spring of water its name Beer-lahai-roi in honor of her new best friend-- 'Ataah 'Eel R'iy --the god who was aware of her problems, and who was also interested in helping her deal with them.

In the movie "Titanic" after looking at drawings a passenger made of some unusual women in Paris, and listening to him relate intimate details about them, the heroine turned and said: "You have a gift Jack. You see people."

Well, God sees people too. Beer-lahai-roi was Hagar's secret garden, and I sometimes wonder if Isaac didn't settle there because of that. I believe that is where Rebecca went to talk with God about her boys. And why not? That spring had good karma. And if God was sympathetic with Hagar there, then why wouldn't He be sympathetic with Rebecca there too? 'Ataah 'Eel R'iy is the very best kind of god to have-- one who sees people.

But suppose Rebecca had instead opted to pray from inside her tent? Would God have heard her from there? Yes, He would have heard (cf. Ps 139:7-12, Matt 6:6). It isn't necessary to resort to a special sanctuary, or a shrine, or take your case to a professional priesthood for mediation. People often pray from very unusual places; and get good results. (e.g. Jonah 2:1-3)

If Jonah could pray and be heard from inside a smelly ol' fish's tummy, and if God can be worshipped elsewhere than a church (John 4:21-24) then I guess it should be okay if Rebecca prayed from inside her tent-- and it should be okay if somebody prayed from their car, or bedroom, or in the mountains on a hike, or even in the restroom at work.

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