It all started in their mother’s womb. Rebekah had gone a long time without getting pregnant and already considered herself a barren woman.
Her husband Isaac interceded for her and God blessed them with the pregnancy. However, it was not a normal pregnancy according to what she heard from other more experienced women. Her babies were fi ghting before birth. When she was giving birth to her two sons, one of them emerged holding onto the other’s heel, so they called him Jacob. The fi rstborn was named Esau. He was ginger and hairy, quite different from Jacob. But it was not only in appearance that they differed from one another … it was in almost everything. The twins grew up and their differences became even more apparent. Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the fi eld, while Jacob was a quiet man, dwelling in tents. Esau was his father’s favourite son, because he had the profi le of a leader, the perfect son to replace him after his death, but Rebekah preferred Jacob.
The Bible doesn’t say why Rebekah preferred Jacob, but leaves a hint when it mentions what God said before the children were conceived: “Two nations are in your womb, two people shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.” Rebekah knew that behind that quiet child, there was a man who depended on God, while behind the other strong son, there was a man who did not depend on God. That was the biggest difference between those two brothers. One believed he was able to take care of his future, the other knew that by himself, he could not guarantee any future.