Jacob Married His Cousin (Genesis 28:1)

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Esau chose poorly when he chose a wife, that much is sure.

We know little about Judith, but what the Word does tell us is enough. In some way, she “brought grief to Isaac and Rebekah” (Genesis 26:35).

It’s possible that this friction is caused purely by spiritual disagreements. Judith may have been a “lovely person” in her own right, but her pagan origins — and, by extension, her family — could have caused a lot of consternation for Abraham’s descendants.

Or she could’ve just been a really tough person to live with. Who knows?

What we do know is that this relationship was hard enough that Rebekah tells Isaac that she’s nearly at the point of death in dealing with it all (Genesis 27:46). She wants Jacob to marry someone else — someone that will be an asset to the family, rather than a detriment.

Isn’t this what we all want? We all want our family to be people that we can live with, grow with, learn from, and share in life’s blessings. Not someone that will tear at that on an everyday basis.

For Isaac, the choice is simple. Like him, Jacob will need to travel to the land of his relatives to choose a wife for himself.

Curiously enough, Rebekah actually tells Jacob the same thing in Genesis 27:42-43, but then, it’s to save his life against Esau. But now, Isaac tells him the same thing, but it’s to find a wife that will help him grow towards God.

Either way, Jacob is sent faaaaar away to Paddan-aram, where his maternal grandparents live, in order to find a wife. He even prays a similar prayer for Jacob that Abraham’s servant prayed for him: that he would be blessed and multiplied and fruitful.

The arrow for Jacob is now pointed firmly up. He’s been blessed by his father, and now he’s told to go marry his cousin in order that the family line would stay blessed. Life is grand.

Esau sees this and becomes even more incensed. Knowing that it would displease his father even more, Esau travels to the land of Ishmael and marries from that family. He now has two wives, neither of whom are what Rebekah wanted for her family.

Two sons, two drastically different outcomes. And two drastically different effects on the family.

This is why who we marry matters. Not only will it affect our own life, but it will also influence the happiness and contentment of our current family. We all need wisdom to think through decisions like this, thinking about not only how they will affect us, but those we love as well.