Our current woman to study is Rivqah so far we have learned about the powerful blessing over Ya’aqov in Part 1 , then we learned about Ya’aqov blessing her by allowing her to witness his worship to YAHUAH in Part 2 and now we are going hear her final words of wisdom.
I have thought about her words to Ya’aqov many times over the past few weeks. One thing that she continued to encourage Ya’aqov to do, was to honour and respect his older brother, despite the favor that was on Ya’aqov’s life. She didn’t encourage strife. She didn’t pit them against one another. This again is displayed in her final words to Yitschaq, Ya’aqov and Esau. First she called Ya’aqov to her and encourages him to honour his father and brother all the days of his life.
In Yovheliym 35:2-5 he responds by saying:
“I will do everything as you have commanded me; for this thing will be honour and greatness to me, and righteousness before YAHUAH, that I should honour them. And you too, mother, know from the time I was born until this day, all my deeds and all that is in my heart, that I always think good concerning all. And how should I not do this things which you have commanded me, that I should honour my father and my brother! Tell me, mother, what perversity have you seen in me and I shall turn away from it, and mercy shall be upon me.”
Wow! Here again he is listening to her advice. He trusted his mothers words (more on that soon). He recognized that it was good for him to honour his father and brother. It appears to me that he saw that glass half full in life-he saw the positive in people and situations. Furthermore he opens himself up for correction by asking his mother what perversity-what wrong had she seen-all his life. To add to it that, he was willing to make any necessary changes. Many grown children today won’t receive anything from their parents. But that may have something to do with a child learning to trust the parent (more on that soon).
Then in verse 7 he laughs at her “because his mother had said unto that she should die; and she was sitting opposite to him in possession of her strength, and she was not infirm in her strength; for she went in and out and saw and her teeth were strong, and no ailment had touched her all the days of her life.”
What blessed woman she was and he saw it. He saw that his mother was still strong as ever-she had all her teeth, her eye-site and her strength. She didn’t have any health problems, her mind was straight. Being that she is over a hundred and fifty years I think that is totally awesome.
He then in verse 8 says:
“Blessed am I, mother, if my days approach the days of your life, and my strength remain with me thus as your strength: and you will not die for you are jesting idly with me regarding your death.”
He looked at her and probably burst out laughing, telling her to stop playing. Afterall look at how good she looked, she couldn’t possibly die now…right?
What a sharp contrast between the two brothers that Rivqah gives. From their days of youth, they were different. Esau didn’t listen to his parents. He was rebellious. He did things his way – certainly not YAHUAH’s way. He is one of those who say “it’s my life, now but out” but then has trouble later on. He stole from his parents, he did not help them and he held bitterness in his heart.
Ya’aqov on the other hand, was truly a blessing to them. He provided for his parents always. He seemed happy that he could provide for his parents needs -their need is no burden to him. In fact he rejoices when he helps them and he keeps the fifth commandment by honouring them.
In verses13-17, Yitschaq acknowledges what she says but saying he cannot control Esau:
“I, too, know and see the deeds of Ya’aqov who is with us, how that with all his heart he honours us, but I loved Esau formerly more than Ya’aqov, because he was the firstborn; but now I love Ya’aqov more than Esau, for he has done manifold evil deeds, and there is no righteousness in him, for all his ways are unrighteousness and violence, and there is no righteousness around him. And now my heart is troubled because of all his deeds, and neither he nor his seed is to be saved, for they are those who will be destroyed from the earth and who will be rooted out from under heaven, for he has forsaken the Elohiym of Avraham and gone after his women and after their uncleanness and after their error, Ya’aqov’s hands will he be given, and he will not escape from his hands, for he will descend into his hands. And fear you not on the account of Ya’aqov; for the guardian of Ya’aqov is great and powerful and honoured and praised more than the guardian of Esau.” Yovheliym 35:13-17
Here we see that Yitschaq finally acknowledges that he was wrong in favoring Esau simply because he was the first born. I can imagine that it was hard for Yitschaq to say that Esau was a wicked son and that he was troubled on account of Esau. Though most parents have one child (in some cases more) that are a challenge-Esau took the cake. He was selfish, a thief, idolatrous, full of lust, disrespectful, unloving, unthankful and certainly refused any instruction his parents tried to give him. Again, Yitschaq comforts Rivqah with words saying that Ya’aqov will be just fine.
Finally she calls Esau to her and says:
In spite of his wickedness, she still gave Esau instructions regarding where to bury her. She still respected that Esau was the oldest. She encouraged Esau to love Ya’aqov, that they should not desire evil against one another and that it will be good for them. She encouraged them to have a mutual love for one another.
Esau says that he will do what she asks:
“I will do all that you have told me, and I shall bury you on the day you die near Sarah, my father’s mother, as you have desired that her bones may be near your bones. And Ya’aqov, my brother, also, I shall love above all flesh; for I have not a brother in all the earth but him only: and this is no great merit for me if I love him; for he is my brother, and we were sown together in your body, and together came we forth from your womb, and if I do not love my brother, whom shall I love? And I myself, beg you to exhort Ya’aqov concerning me and concerning my sons, for I know that he will assuredly be king over me and my sons, for on the day my father blessed him he made him the higher and me the lower. And I swear unto you that I shall love him, and not desire evil against him all the days of my life but good only.” Yovheliym (Jubilees) 35:21-24
Do you see the contrast between the sons? When Rivqah talked about her death with Ya’aqov, he was quite surprised and talked about how much of a blessing she was. Esau-all he said was I will bury you where you asked me to however his main concern was what Ya’aqov could do to him and his sons when she was gone.
Finally, she calls them altogether and tells Ya’aqov to be nice to Esau and his sons. Then they ate and drank and she died that night, three jubilees (a jubilee is 49 years, 1 “week” is equivalent to 7 years and then 1 year is literally 1 year (49×3 =147, 147+7=154, 154+1=155)).
SHOULD I PUT THE BELOW AS A SIDE NOTE BECAUSE I KNOW SOMEONE WILL HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT THE AGE GIVEN AT DEATH. Bereshith doesn’t record her death, Yovheliym says 155 and Yashar says 133
A side note:
Bereshith doesn’t record Rivqah’s death, however Yovheliym and Yashar do. The age of her death is listed differently in both.
Yovheliym 35:6 & 27 – says that Rivqah was 155 years old at death, which was sometime after Binyamin was born (see Yovheliym 32:30-34). Also Yovheliym 19:10, says that she was “a woman” when she became Yitschaq’s wife.
Yashar 36:3-12 – says that Rivqah was 133 years at death, which was sometime before Binyamin was born. Also Yashar says that she was a “young woman”, when she was taken a wife for Yitschaq, see Yashar 24:29-45
I am more apt to believe Yovheliym because it was given to Mosheh by the angel of His presence see Yovheliym 1:1-5, 1:27-29 and 2:1.
Part 3 – Rivqah’s – Encouragement for Mothers coming up next!