Commentary Parashat Toldot (Offspring)

Beresheet (Genesis) 25:19–28:9

I devoted most of my blog from last week, Parashat Chayei Sarah (The Life of Sarah), to the wonderful miracle of Sarah becoming pregnant at the age of 90, and how that parallels the miracle of the virgin birth of Messiah Yeshua. Just as a reminder, Sarah’s womb was barren at that age, which made it impossible for her to conceive let alone to give birth to a child. However, the God of Abraham, Isaac, & Jacob is the God of the impossible; there is nothing too difficult for Him! Indeed, He did as He promised, to give Abraham a son through whom would come a great nation—Israel—and ultimately the Messiah.

This week’s reading opens with a description of the genealogy of Isaac:

Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham became the father of Isaac; and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. And Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples shall be separated from your body; and one people shall be stronger than the other; and the older shall serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:19–23)

There are a few things that we can learn from these verses:

The first one is this important recurring theme of barrenness, which plays a significant role in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and their wives. Isaac’s wife, Rebekah, was barren and could not bring children into the world, just like his mother, Sarah. Isaac most likely knew of the amazing miracle of his own birth, and went to plea before the Lord. God was faithful to answer. I also believe that Isaac knew of God’s promises to his father Abraham, and no doubt, also knew that he was the one God chose to fulfill those promises. He trusted that God would be faithful to His word!

We also learn here that God has a plan! This plan may not be in accordance to our own plans, and it may even defy human logic. However, His plan is the perfect plan because it is without error and nothing happens “by accident”. God chose Jacob, the “younger” child, to bring His blessing to the world. Prophecy also plays an important role in God’s revelation of His plan to us. Isaac and Rebekah were given a prophetic word, which was fulfilled after the birth of Esau and Jacob.

The last thing I want to bring up has to do with Jacob’s name, which is “Ya’akov” in Hebrew:

When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. And afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them. (Genesis 25:24–26)

What is the significance of the heel in this account? The Hebrew word for “heel” is עקב (akev), from which the name יעקב (Ya’akov/Jacob) is derived. This is yet one more amazing hint of the “seed” that will be the source of blessing, which continues with Jacob. The name here is not coincidental, as it reminds us of Genesis 3:15, and as I wrote last week, the “seed of the blessing will crush the serpent.”

It is amazing how the Word of God points to the same person (the Seed) from the beginning! His plan is whole and was complete even before time began. We can take incredible comfort in our God’s sovereignty and rest in His capable hands.

This article originally appeared on Hope for Israel, November 16, 2017, and reposted with permission.