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Jacob and Esau, from Conflict to Repairing a Wounded Relationship
The relationship between the brothers Jacob and Esau is shot through with dramatic tension: manipulation and deceit, violence and forced separation, conflict and unexpected rapprochement. So it seems fair to ask: Where is God in all this? How do we recognize him in these often controversial and unsubtle human stories? Yet it is precisely on the stage of life that the Bible stages the drama of family relationships and the unexpected possibility of finding the face of God in the face of one’s brother (cf. Gen 33:10).

The patriarch Isaac and his wife Rebecca cannot have children. After a long wait and much prayer, the Lord grants them offspring, the first recorded set of twins in biblical narrative. Rebecca’s pregnancy is difficult; in fact, the twins clash and wrestle in the womb (cf. Gen 25:22).

Because of the troubled pregnancy, Rebecca consults the Lord, whose oracle presents an ambiguous and difficult to interpret response about the future of the twins, which can be translated either as “the older will serve the younger” or “the younger will serve the older” (Gen 25:23). This ambiguity will remain important for the events that follow, because the fraternal relationship will be marked not by solidarity but by competition and the desire for revenge, emotions fomented by their parents’ bias.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2023
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