Before doing this Bible study, please read the one-minute introduction Reaping, Sowing & Tangled Webs. It highlights the way Jacob deceived his father and was later deceived by Laban (Genesis 27; Genesis 29:16-27). And it shows that sometimes God's perfect justice is evident on earth (Galatians 6:7-8).
1. Below is the prophecy God gave Rebekah about her twin sons:
Genesis 25:21-23: Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The LORD answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant. 22 The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger.”
After the boys were born, Rebekah favored Jacob and Isaac favored Esau (Genesis 25:19-34). Favoritism almost always leads to problems. This was certainly true in the story of Joseph.
Genesis 27:6-13: Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the LORD before I die.’ 8 Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: 9 Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. 10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.” 11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin. 12 What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.” 13 His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.”
Favoritism usually leads to acts of jealousy and injustice, but Rebekah also suffered from a lack of faith. Perhaps she was tired of waiting for God to make Jacob greater than his brother. Or perhaps she was worried that Isaac's blessings on Esau would negate God's prophecy. Whatever her reasons, she showed a lack of faith and a lack of integrity.
Jacob had no conscience about lying to his father but feared getting caught. This is often the case with deceivers (note especially verses 11-12).
In contrast, read Genesis 39:6-10 and notice Joseph's reasons for not sinning with Potiphar's wife. Joseph speaks of violating Potiphar's trust and sinning against God. And that's why Joseph turned from sin.
Regarding verse 13: Rebekah did have "the curse" fall on her in the sense that her plan ended up causing Jacob to flee so she never saw her favorite son again. And she went down in history as a deceptive, domineering mother who showed disrespect to her blind husband (Genesis 27:41-46).
copyright, 2014, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com, edited and updated in 2023