Verse 46. "I am weary of my life" - It is very likely that Rebekah kept many of the circumstances related above from the knowledge of Isaac; but as Jacob could not go to Padan-aram without his knowledge, she appears here quite in her own character, framing an excuse for his departure, and concealing the true cause. Abraham had been solicitous to get a wife for his son Isaac from a branch of his own family; hence she was brought from Syria. She is now afraid, or pretends to be afraid, that her son Jacob will marry among the Hittites, as Esau had done; and therefore makes this to Isaac the ostensible reason why Jacob should immediately go to Padan-aram, that he might get a wife there. Isaac, not knowing the true cause of sending him away, readily falls in with Rebekah's proposal, and immediately calls Jacob, gives him suitable directions and his blessing, and sends him away. This view of the subject makes all consistent and natural; and we see at once the reason of the abrupt speech contained in this verse, which should be placed at the beginning of the following chapter.
1. IN the preceding notes I have endeavoured to represent things simply as they were. I have not copied the manner of many commentators, who have laboured to vindicate the character of Jacob and his mother in the transactions here recorded. As I fear God, and wish to follow him, I dare not bless what he hath not blessed, nor curse what he hath not cursed. I consider the whole of the conduct both of Rebekah and Jacob in some respects deeply criminal, and in all highly exceptionable. And the impartial relation of the facts contained in this and the 25th chapter, gives me the fullest evidence of the truth and authenticity of the sacred original. How impartial is the history that God writes! We may see, from several commentators, what man would have done, had he had the same facts to relate. The history given by God details as well the vices as the virtues of those who are its subjects. How widely different from that in the Bible is the biography of the present day! Virtuous acts that were never performed, voluntary privations which were never borne, piety which was never felt, and in a word lives which were never lived, are the principal subjects of our biographical relations. These may be well termed the Lives of the Saints, for to these are attributed all the virtues which can adorn the human character, with scarcely a failing or a blemish; while on the other hand, those in general mentioned in the sacred writings stand marked with deep shades. What is the inference which a reflecting mind, acquainted with human nature, draws from a comparison of the biography of the Scriptures with that of uninspired writers? The inference is this-the Scripture history is natural, is probable, bears all the characteristics of veracity, narrates circumstances which seem to make against its own honour, yet dwells on them, and often seeks occasion to REPEAT them. It is true! infallibly true! In this conclusion common sense, reason, and criticism join. On the other hand, of biography in general we must say that it is often unnatural, improbable; is destitute of many of the essential characteristics of truth; studiously avoids mentioning those circumstances which are dishonourable to its subject; ardently endeavours either to cast those which it cannot wholly hide into deep shades, or sublime them into virtues. This is notorious, and we need not go far for numerous examples.From these facts a reflecting mind will draw this general conclusion-an impartial history, in every respect true, can be expected only from God himself.
2. These should be only preliminary observations to an extended examination of the characters and conduct of Rebekah and her two sons; but this in detail would be an ungracious task, and I wish only to draw the reader's attention to what may, under the blessing of God, promote his moral good. No pious man can read the chapter before him without emotions of grief and pain. A mother teaches her favourite son to cheat and defraud his brother, deceive his father, and tell the most execrable lies! And God, the just, the impartial God relates all the circumstances in the most ample and minute detail! I have already hinted that this is a strong proof of the authenticity of the sacred book. Had the Bible been the work of an impostor, a single trait of this history had never appeared. God, it is true, had purposed that the elder should serve the younger; but never designed that the supremacy should be brought about in this way. Had Jacob's unprincipled mother left the matter in the bands of God's providence, her favourite son would have had the precedency in such a way as would not only have manifested the justice and holiness of God, but would have been both honourable and lasting to HIMSELF. He got the birthright, and he got the blessing; and how little benefit did he personally derive from either! What was his life from this time till his return from Padan-aram? A mere tissue of vexations, disappointments, and calamities. Men may endeavour to palliate the iniquity of these transactions; but this must proceed either from weakness or mistaken zeal. God has sufficiently marked the whole with his disapprobation.
3. The enmity which Esau felt against his brother Jacob seems to have been transmitted to all his posterity; and doubtless the matters of the birthright and the blessing were the grounds on which that perpetual enmity was kept up between the descendants of both families, the Edomites and the Israelites. So unfortunate is an ancient family grudge, founded on the opinion that an injury has been done by one of the branches of the family, in a period no matter how remote, provided its operation still continues, and certain secular privations to one side be the result. How possible it is to keep feuds of this kind alive to any assignable period, the state of a neighbouring island sufficiently proves; and on the subject in question, the bloody contentions of the two houses of YORK and LANCASTER in this nation are no contemptible comment. The facts, however, relative to this point, may be summed up in a few words. 1. The descendants of Jacob were peculiarly favoured by God. 2. They generally had the dominion, and were ever reputed superior in every respect to the Edomites. 3. The Edomites were generally tributary to the Israelites. 4.They often revolted, and sometimes succeeded so far in their revolts as to become an independent people. 5. The Jews were never subjected to the Edomites. 6. As in the case between Esau and Jacob, who after long enmity were reconciled, so were the Edomites and the Jews, and at length they became one people. 7. The Edomites, as a nation, are now totally extinct; and the Jews still continue as a distinct people from all the inhabitants of the earth! So exactly have all the words of God, which he has spoken by his prophets, been fulfilled! 4. On the blessings pronounced on Jacob and Esau, these questions may naturally be asked. 1. Was there any thing in these blessings of such a spiritual nature as to affect the eternal interests of either? Certainly there was not, at least as far as might absolutely involve the salvation of the one, or the perdition of the other 2. Was not the blessing pronounced on Esau as good as that pronounced on Jacob, the mere temporary lordship, and being the progenitor of the Messiah, excepted? So it evidently appears. 3.
If the blessings had referred to their eternal states, had not Esau as fair a prospect for endless glory as his unfeeling brother? Justice and mercy both say-Yes. The truth is, it was their posterity, and not themselves, that were the objects of these blessings. Jacob, personally, gained no benefit; Esau, personally, sustained no loss.