Jacob’s Flight and Esau’s Lesson

Genesis 27:41-28:9

Rebecca finds out what her older son is plotting against his brother, and warns Jacob that he should flee. To Isaac, she explains that she does not want Jacob to find a wife among the unsuitable women in the area, and their son must travel to her family to find a wife. Isaac therefore summons Jacob to send him on his way and blesses him again. He warns Jacob against marrying a Canaanite woman, and passes to him the blessings which God gave Abraham. Jacob then leaves for Paddan-aram, where Rebecca’s brother, Laban, lives.


Meanwhile, Esau sees what transpires between his brother and his parents, and realizes they disapprove of his choice of spouse. He therefore goes to his father’s relatives and marries one of Ishmael’s daughters, though he does not divorce his first two unsuitable wives.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

What do you think of Esau’s decision to marry again? Do you think his motives were positive or negative?

Comments ( 8 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • May be he concluded for himself that on behalve of his Hittite women there was only a minor blessing for him. So that’s why now he married also in the family like Ja´acov was commanded to do.. It was a negative reaction because now he coul;d also claim the blessing of the land. And this Mahalath was taken in addition to his other wives.

  • It has always bothered me that Esau married a daughter of Ishmael. It was like a slap in the face. Ok, now I will marry within the family! But Ishmael's daughter. I believe this was negative.

  • The "Aleph Tav" symbol again appears in 28:9, giving evidence to either or both of an incurring of divine approval to Esau's choice or to approval concerning every name mentioned in the verse. The motive for his choice aside, it appears he made a righteous choice.

  • The first time the symbols "Aleph Tav" appear in Torah is Gen. 1: 1, both in connection to Elohim and "hashamyim" and again with "haeretz". Whether or not one considers the Aleph Tav to refer to the Messiah, there is no question the symbol is divine in nature. In 28: 4, the "Aleph Tav" appears twice, once in front of "the blessing of Avraham", and again in front of "the Land". With these specific placements, the hand of a plural God Head, and ownership of the same, is clearly seen.

  • What had been family tradition was later codified by Hashem through Moshe. Marriage outside the family was not acceptable. Yet, Esau took two wives against this family tradition. I've heard it said, "a picture (or action) speaks louder than words". In taking two wives alien to the ways of Hashem, Esau showed utter disrespect for his parents and their feelings. He further showed contempt for their Elohim and His ways. Esau's only concern was "damage control". He never really changed his ways.

  • There's no reason to think that Esau didn't have love and respect for his father. When he complains about how his brother had "stolen" his birthright and blessing, he puts all of the blame on his brother (while never alluding to the fact that he'd sold his birthright for a bowl of soup and the real deceit was in him!).
    I think it's reasonable to believe that he was trying to curry favor with his father and mother by taking a more "acceptable" wife that would make them happier with him. I also don't think that "divorcing" his former wives would have acted in his favor as Moshe had written the acceptable reasons for divorce and it would have been self-serving to divorce them for not being "believers" when he knew that up front.
    Baruch Hashem.

  • Herman

    He had already married twice. Now he wanted to do a make over that might change his parent’s attitude towards hiim. Esov’s thoughts might have been: “Jacov is to marry within the family….okay I will also marry within the family, a daughter of Ishmaël…. Now satisfied?..”Negative reaction

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