“Arise, go to Padan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and take yourself a wife from there of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother. (Gen 28:2 NKJ)
Isaac had an Eleazar, but Jacob had none; he was to find a wife by himself, and that was done.
The marriage of Isaac and Rebekah have often been quoted as the ideal one. Of course, the entire episode is quite dramatic, and involves strong themes of obedience, faith, excitement, and wisdom. Jacob’s story is also dramatic, and romantic as well, filled with episodes of heroism, love, deception, tragedy, patience, sly, escape, brokenness, surprise, mourning, and indefatigable faith.
We know it already that Isaac was very old when he sent Jacob away. Abraham was also very old when he had sent Eleazar away to find for Isaac a wife. But, though Abraham had an Eleazar to fetch a wife for Isaac, Isaac had none for Jacob; perhaps, he didn’t think it was necessary. However, Isaac did have some instructions for his son, and Jacob followed them.
Isaac got married at 40 and had these twin sons at 60 (Gen.25:20,26). Certainly, it wouldn’t have been difficult for Isaac to have married earlier; but, his problem was like looking for some drinkable water in the midst of a salty ocean; let’s say, he could only marry a “believer”. And, the only way that could be possible was to get out of this foreign place (where there was no believer girl around) and go to his father’s land to find one. However, perhaps, either Isaac was unwilling to do that or Abraham wasn’t willing to send his son. Whatever, Abraham had an Eleazar, and Eleazar, guided by divine providence, fetched Isaac a wife.
Jacob’s twin elder brother Esau was not a very patient guy. He was governed by present need and could neither appreciate the universal absolutes nor sustain an eternal perspective. That is evident from the way he despised his birthright and traded it for a pot of stew. It is also evident from the way he went and got himself not one but two Hittite wives from the surrounding area (Why wait for a girl from Padan Aram when there were plenty beautiful ones around!). Of course, perhaps Isaac is to blame – we shouldn’t say; Esau was already 40 and unmarried, and so did the thing which he thought was more immediately rational. But, Jacob was 40 too. However, there is one mark of Jacob that stands out through his entire story; unlike Esau, he was a patient boy, and he knew how to hold on to what he believed to be most valuable.
It’s not very right to build a doctrine on speculation. However, perhaps we can safely assume that Isaac and Rebekah could be certain of at least one fact: their boy didn’t need an Eleazar; he had the eyesight to find the pearl of great price and was determined enough to give away his all in order to get what he believed to be truly precious and invaluable.
Esau went a hunting and found no game.
He returned and settled instead for a pot of stew.
Jacob went a searching with a determined aim.
He got what he searched for, and returned not with few.
© Domenic Marbaniang, 2014