Rebekah married Isaac, son of the great patriarch Abraham. When Abraham's servant Eliezer saw Rebekah, he believed that God had guided him to her. He spoke to Rebekah gently and gave her gifts, and Rebekah's family agreed to the marriage. Rebekah accompanied Eliezer back to Isaac's village.
Rebekah remained childless for twenty years before becoming the first woman to give birth to twins. Hers was not an easy pregnancy. It seemed to Rebekah that a fierce battle was being waged inside her body. She asked the Lord why this was happening, to which He replied, “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23). Rebekah named her twin boys Esau and Jacob. The Bible says that Esau appeared red and covered with hair, but does not describe Jacob except to say that he grabbed Esau's heel soon after birth.
As if guided by the hands of angels, the marriage between rebekah and Isaac turned out to be a heavenly match. But rebekah and Isaac did not love their sons in an equal manner. rebekah favored Jacob because of his fine temperament, as opposed to his brother's wild and forceful nature. Isaac, however, loved Esau. No good could come of such preferential feelings toward one child.
Rebekah's sons grew to manhood. Jacob was a plain and gentle man who lived in tents, while Esau became a man of the fields, a skillful hunter who brought home the venison his father loved to eat. Esau, as first-born son, occupied an important position in the family that included the line of succession of patriarchal authority and inheritance, but Esau thought so little of his birthright that he sold it to Jacob for a meal of lentils and bread. He further disappointed rebekah and Isaac by his choice of wives.
Why was it significant that Jacob's fingers grabbed the heel of Esau at birth?
It might be seen as a prophetic sign that the second-born would struggle to usurp the position of the first-born. That is exactly what took place after the boys grew into manhood, fulfilling God's words that “the elder shall serve the younger.”
one day rebekah overheard Isaac, then old and nearly blind, tell Esau that death was near and that he wanted a meal of venison before pronouncing the blessing of the first-born. rebekah knew that the blessing ensured Esau would inherit his father's property, something she wanted for Jacob. She devised a scheme to secure the blessing for her favorite son. Jacob feared that such deception would bring a curse instead, but followed his mother's wishes and put on Esau's clothes, covering his hands and neck with goatskins before taking the venison to his father.
Through rebekah's clever scheme, Jacob acquired the blessing of his father, but the curse of his brother. Esau vowed to murder Jacob as soon as the days of mourning were over. rebekah advised Jacob to flee to her brother Laban's place in Haran. rebekah then spoke to her husband Isaac and said she was weary and worried that Jacob might take a wife from among the daughters of Heth. Her concerns must have had resonance in Isaac's heart as well, for he called Jacob and charged him “not to take a wife of the daughters of Canaan” (Genesis 28:1).
Twenty years passed before Jacob returned to mend the relationship with his brother and see his father. Though she must have longed through the years to see her beloved son again, rebekah would not live to see him return.