From Genesis to Now
Isaac, and Ishmael apparently learned (if not to live together) to live tolerably in spite of their mothers, probably due to their father Abraham. For Ishmael had not been sent away, as had Abraham’s other sons. And when Abraham died, together Isaac and Ishmael buried their father in the cave he had bought in which to bury Sarah, as told in Genesis 25:9-10. It appears there was still familial connection between the two clans, for as we look at Esau in Genesis 28:6-9, he realizes how displeasing his wives were to his father, so he goes to Ishmael and arranges to marry his daughter.
A couple of things standout in these verses: Jacob obeyed his parents, and Esau realized his wives displeased his father.
God is sovereign, and he has his reasons for everything, but sometimes I think Esau just didn’t get it. He didn’t get the whole thing about God and how important he is. If he had, would he have flippantly sold his birthright to his sneaky brother for a bowl of soup?
But, whether because of his own selfishness or because Isaac didn’t make much of it, it appears Esau only comes to realize that the wives he’d taken displeased his father after Jacob is sent away and obeyed.
Esau doesn’t appear to be close to his mother, but he did want to please Isaac. Maybe knowing he was Isaac’s favorite had made them both careless. Maybe he felt he didn’t need to worry about God because of his father’s love. The Bible doesn’t say, but his actions tell us he did want to please Isaac—so much so that he went to Isaac’s half brother, Ishmael, and married his daughter.
There are so many unknowns about this story of Esau, except that he really did want to please his father. But, somehow he seems to have missed the most important thing of all: Isaac worshiped the one true God. That should be our greatest desire, and the thing our children notice most about us. If my children had to say what is the most important thing to me, would they say “God”? I’m not sure they would.