in the book of genesis, the ultimate parenting challenge was tasked upon rebecca.
her parenting challenge was of the highest level of complexity. it was both multigenerational, foundational to nations. and was a “mission from god.”
rebecca’s husband isaac had issues. he was the subject of a conflict with his older half-brother, ishmael as to who would their father’s successor. his father, abraham, was to make him a human sacrifice at god’s behest. he emotionally suffered on the passing of his mother sarah. he had considerable baggage.
isaac prayed to god for a child as his wife, rebecca , was barren. genesis 25. as the story goes, rebecca, became pregnant with twins. “and the children struggled within her, and she said, “if [it be] so, why am i [like] this?” and she went to inquire of the lord. and the lord said to her, “two nations are in your womb, and two kingdoms will separate from your innards, and one kingdom will become mightier than the other kingdom, and the elder will serve the younger.”
rebecca knew she was tasked with this matter. the weight was on her shoulders. had this been isaac’s task to place his second child in charge, god surely would have revealed the plan to him. thus, it appears that rebecca knew that he husband could not stomach another episode of generation of sibling conflict. thus, she must have realized that this was her job. a mission from god.
she then orchestrates jacob’s theft esau’s birthright. jacob would then go on to take the name israel and found the jewish nation.
was rebecca’s actions part of the impetus for god including honor your father and mother in the ten commandments? there is a strong argument to support this.
rebecca, due to extra-ordinary circumstances beyond the comprehension of her children at the time, had to engage in activities which were morally questionable. thus, her children, jacob and esau, most likely never comprehended all of the issues that she tackled when she had to act. in light of this, how could they respect and honor her?
one can argue that the ten commandments’ obligation to honor one’s father and mother one that is based upon giving parents the benefit of the doubt. as the story shows, there are times at which children at lacking in the knowledge, background, and experience of the parent to understand their actions. thus, honoring one’s parents is, in part, a sign of faith.
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