Our friend Esau was a rather independent sort. He thrived on
adventure, becoming a skillful hunter, a man of the open country
(Gen. 25:28). And when it came time for him to choose a wife, he
apparently didn't bother consulting his parents. The Bible says
that "he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also
Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite." (Gen 26:34).
Being adventuresome and independent might have brought Esau joy in
life, except for one little problem: Jacob! This feisty younger
brother had already succeeded in cheating him out of his birthright
and his blessing. And to make matters worse, it came to
Esau's attention that his parents don't approve of his marriages
(Gen. 26:35: "They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebecca."
and Gen. 27:46: "Rebekah said to Isaac, 'I'm disgusted with
living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from
among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life
will not be worth living.'") Because of this, they were sending
Jacob away, commanding him to "not marry a Canaanite woman"
(Gen. 28:1), but to "Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of
your mother's father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from
among the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother." (Gen
At this point, Esau must have started to wonder if he could do
anything right! His father blesses Jacob instead of him, and
now, he learns that his parents don't approve of his marriages! So
what does Esau do? He decides to take measures on his own to "fix"
the problem! He goes and takes a third wife from the
daughters of Ishmael, his father's half-brother!
Did Esau's third marriage bring joy to his parents? We aren't
told. But somehow, it must have made Esau feel like he was in his
parents' better graces to be married to someone of the family.
Perhaps now he could regain his father's approval! However, no
matter what Isaac and Rebekah thought about Esau's third wife, this
would NOT stop the problems created by the first two, and more than
likely, the addition of a third wife might have made things a little
tense in Esau's home!
What can we learn from this story? That it is better to seek advice
before going out on our own, making decisions that will not
only affect us, but will also affect those around us! But we all
make bad decisions from time to time, and this story can teach us
that when we realize our serious error, this is NOT the time to
continue to take things back into our own hands! If we do stubbornly
try to correct our errors on our own, we chance only making things
What should we do instead? We should do what Esau should have
done! We should seek advice--from others, from parents,
and mostly from God--before we mess up. But when we do
find ourselves to be victims of our own demise, we must not
go on trying to correct our mistakes on our own! It will only make
things first. Instead, we must learn to give the problem to God.
Let Him figure it out! And when we do, we won't just be covering up
our mistakes with new ones, instead we'll be truly allowing God to
"fix" the problem!
Father God, help me learn to seek YOUR advice BEFORE making
decisions. But Lord, when I do mess up, help me to
remember to give the problems I create to YOU instead of trying to
fix them up on my own!