I’ve been thinking about Genesis 27 where, according to the headnote, Rebekah ‘guides’ Jacob in receiving a blessing intended for Esau. Even the Institute manual concedes that this story “is a troubling one in many respects.”
I’ve heard several explanations for this passage, all of which confuse me:
(1) most interestingly, an LDS friend reported that her daughter’s Christian preschool simply taught this story as a What Not to Do, along the lines of Cain. I’ve never heard this in an LDS context, however, probably because we need to believe that we have a genuine line of p’hood here.
(2) we might suppose that she was inspired to do this unusual thing, like Nephi killing Laban. Perhaps, but I am bothered that the divine directive is missing from the story.
(3) many scholars see Isaac as a ‘weak link’ among the patriarchs and, if you think about it, he doesn’t really do much, stuff is done to him. (near sacrifice, servant sent to find wife, etc.). The point of the story is then . . . I don’t know–that God works around and through weak links? I don’t know.
(4) the end justifies the means. Eh.
(5) This from the seminary student book: “Apparently, Isaac [later] recognized that the Lord inspired him to bless the right person. The story of Jacob and Isaac [sic--what about Rebekah?] helps us realize that the Lord inspires his servants to accomplish his will in spite of their weaknesses or incomplete knowledge of the situation.” This seems to have something in common with the ‘weak link’ theory. I am bothered by the implication that one could draw: it is OK to deceive priesthood leaders in order to get them to do what you want if you think you know better than they do.
(6) Something is missing from this story and if we had it, all would make sense. Maybe. This position is suggested in the Institute manual (along with the ideas that (b) Rebekah has received a revelation or (c) Isaac was in the wrong here).
(7) A presenter at a CES Conference once claimed, that by reading the last verse of ch26 and the first of ch 28, one could conclude that Rebekah and Isaac were in cahoots, that Isaac knew about the whole thing, and the trick was on the kids. I still can’t figure that one out.