Now Isaac pleaded with the LORD for his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD granted his plea, and Rebekah his wife conceived. But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?” So she went to inquire of the LORD.
And the LORD said to her:
“Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.”
So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.
So the boys grew. And Esau was a skillful hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a mild man, dwelling in tents. And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob. (Genesis 25:21-27)
Don’t be careful what you pray for. God’s answers are always for the best. Isaac was past forty when he married Rebekah. When she was unable to get pregnant, Isaac prayed that she would. God answered Isaac’s prayer by giving her twins. The pregnancy was a difficult one, so she asked God what was going on. He told her that the two children she was about to have would become two nations at odds with each other. God also told her that the older son would serve the younger. In that culture, the older always was the one in charge; he received the largest share of the inheritance, along with the blessings of the first born. Rebekah took God’s words to heart and sought to make them come true.
The first born was Esau, whose name meant “hairy.” He was covered with red fur. The second born was Jacob, whose name meant “heel grabber” since he was holding his brother’s heel when he was born. His name was also an idiom that meant “a cheater” or “a con-man.”
Jacob was the child of promise, the child through whom all the blessings first given to Abraham and then to Isaac would pass. God would later change Jacob’s name to Israel. From Israel, the Messiah would come. God’s answer to Isaac’s concern for his wife, that she could get pregnant, not only blessed him, but changed the course of history and blessed the entire world. God’s answer to our prayers may have repercussions far greater than we can imagine.