The *previous posting* told of Esau’s threats to his brother Jacob. So terrifying were these threats that Rebekah, their mother, felt compelled to arrange for Jacob to flee Beersheba (in Canaan), for Haran (in Mesopotamia) where she was originally from, and where her brother, Laban, still lived.
Not only did Rebekah fear for Jacob on account of Esau, she feared for him also on account of the local young Canaanite women, whom she thought not good enough for her precious Jacob. Rebekah had a veritable bee in her bonnet about the young women of Canaan, who were of the Hittite tribe. Rebekah would say over and over to her husband, Isaac, that, were Jacob to marry a local Hittite woman, her (Rebekah’s) life wouldn’t be worth living.
You who read this blog regularly, and who cannot sleep at night in excited anticipation of the next installment, will see a parallel between Rebekah’s contempt for young Canaanite women, and a *similar contempt for them* held by Jacob’s grandfather, Abraham. Since it turned out that Rebekah was *a grand-niece of Abraham*, could Rebekah genetically have inherited Abraham’s contempt for young Canaanite women?
Esau, who was even more closely related to Abraham than was Rebekah, had married – to the dismay of his mother and father – at least one young Canaanite (Hittite) woman. So Esau would appear not to have inherited his grandfather’s (Abraham’s) contempt of Canaanite women. As for Jacob – equally a grandson of Abraham – he, too, would seem not to have inherited his grandfather’s contempt of young Canaanite women, since he must have had a sufficient interest in them for Rebekah to fear that he might marry one, and thus make Rebekah’s life not worth living.
What of Isaac, who, being a son of Abraham, was an even closer blood relative of Abraham than any of Esau Jacob or Rebekah. Had Isaac genetically inherited his father’s contempt of young Canaanite womanhood? If not, what is one to make of his telling Jacob not to marry a Canaanite woman, but to go to Padanaram (the area in Mesopotamia where Haran was) and find a wife from one of the daughters of Laban, Jacob’s uncle?
At first sight it seems nonsense that Rebekah’s and Isaac’s contempt of Canaanite women could have come out of their genetic inheritance. However there is now scientific evidence to suggest that the way our ancestors a few generations back felt and acted, can affect the way we, their descendents, *feel and act*. Why, then, should this obviously genetic dynamic not also have applied to Isaac and Rebekah?
Back now to our story……..
Jacob, by fleeing to Haran, would not only escape his vengeful brother, Esau, he would also be better able to meet a non-Canaanite girl to marry, for the girls in Haran were mostly Hebrew girls. Jacob was, as mentioned earlier, instructed by Isaac before he left, to find a wife to marry from one of the daughters of his Uncle Laban.
“But Father”, said Jacob, “the daughters of Uncle Laban are my first cousins. If I marry one, our children will be inordinately inbred, and so might have receding chins and be unhealthy. As it is, you and Mother are already blood-related, so it’s a miracle that neither I nor Esau have receding chins or are unhealthy.”
“Do as I say” said Isaac, “If you don’t, I’ll send Esau after you. I don’t need to tell you what will happen to you if Esau gets hold of you.”
“Right, Father” said Jacob. Whereupon he set off for Haran……..
Source: Genesis 28, 1-9