Genesis 24–26: On When Isaac Meets Rebekah, Esau’s Stupid Trade, and Sam’s Fever Dreams about the Exodus (Bible Talk, Ep. 8)

In these chapters, Moses shifts his attention to the next generation of the promised line. Familiar themes show up. There’s marriage and a prophecy of promised seed. There are the burdens of barrenness and warring sons. There’s Abimelech and husbands lying about their wives.

In this episode of Bible Talk, Alex Duke chats with Jim Hamilton and Sam Emadi about Genesis 24–26.

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1:30 / We’ve shifted from Abraham to Isaac, and what Genesis 24 gives us is a love story (kind of). Why does Moses spend so much time on this matching game with Isaac?

6:06 / What does Abraham’s nameless servant do? And does it offer a wise dating strategy for those who are single?

8:12 / Moses sure seems to introduce Laban as a shady character. Is that right?

9:40 / Why does Abraham’s servant bring up “covenant love and faithfulness”?

11:37 / Why do Laban and Bethuel want to delay? Is this evidence of poor character? (Sam continues to allude to something he wants to say but is not yet saying . . .)

12:55 / What about this song Rebekah’s family sings over her before she leaves? Is that the key to understanding this story? Finally, Sam divulges what he’s wanted to say all along! (Rebekah is a “new Abraham,” the new “matriarch of Israel.”)

14:05 / Sam has his first fever dream about the exodus (read his notes here). Jim looks at him askance. For the next seven minutes (until 21:05), Jim and Sam chat about the parameters Bible readers need to have in order to make legitimate connections and inferences from the Old Testament.

18:27 / Sam summarizes Genesis 24 in three sentences. (It’s not really three sentences.)

21:10 / More genealogy reflections from Genesis 25:1–18!

26:53 / We encounter more barrenness: just like her mother-in-law Sarah, Rebekah can’t have children. What happens next?

31:25 / Esau sells his birthright for some “red-red.” How should we understand this story? Does Moses just want us to know that Jacob is a trickster and Esau is a blockhead? Does the New Testament shed any light on this story?

34:30 / What lessons can we learn about our own spiritual lives from this story of Esau?

35:45 / Did Esau know that he wasn’t the chosen son?

37:28 / We move on to Genesis 26, in which we find out Isaac really is his father’s son. This chapter is basically Isaac “re-living Abraham’s greatest hits.” What’s the point?

42:05 / Sam has another fever dream about the exodus (read his notes here).

44:18 / Jim has his doubts . . . And another enlightening conversation ensues.

47:40 / Jim offers some “take-home lessons” for why conversations like the one he and Sam just had matter, and will help every Christian’s personal Bible reading.


49:40 / Genesis 25:6 mentions Abraham’s concubines. Why does it seem like Scripture condones polygamy?

51:48 / In Romans 9:10–12, Paul mentions the birth of Esau and Jacob to support a significant theological argument. It’s a paradigm for God’s unconditional election. What is Paul’s argument, how does he employ Genesis 25, and how would you respond to those who seem uncomfortable with or unsure of his conclusions?

PDF: Genesis 26 chiasms

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Image: Hendrick ter Brugghen, Esau Selling His Birthright (1627)

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