Of the events of Rebekah's married life there is not much recorded save for one major incident. She had given birth to twin sons, Esau and Jacob, Esau being the eldest by a few minutes and therefore in the ordinary way, the heir of Isaac and custodian of the Divine birthright. Through Esau it could have been that the promised "seed of blessing" should come. But at the birth it was Divinely revealed to Rebekah that the younger, Jacob, would inherit the birthright and she never forgot that. As the years passed, Esau developed into an "earthy" character and had no concern for, or faith in, the validity of his birthright. Quite light heartedly he traded it with Jacob in exchange for a savoury meal of the latter's preparation which took his fancy.
Jacob would appear to have been the more reverently minded of the two and in all probability had already been told of the Divine intimation by his mother. Nevertheless it seems he took advantage of this opportunity in order to establish his claim to the birthright. The significant, and perhaps rather strange, element in the situation is that whereas Rebekah loved Jacob best, Isaac's preference was for Esau. One would think that Isaac, the child of promise and indoctrinated from birth in the intentions of God regarding the succession of the 'seed', would have faced up to the fact that Esau was not the type of man suited to that succession and Jacob would much more likely be the Lord's choice, but he did not do so. Isaac doted on Esau, and because of that fact Rebekah, remembering the Lord's word that Jacob was to be the heir, began to plot and scheme a means whereby he might be formally invested with the birthright. The story is well known, how that at her instigation Jacob impersonated Esau before the near-blind Isaac and so obtained the patriarchal blessing which, once bestowed and because it was uttered in the hearing of God, could not be revoked.
Rebekah has been blamed too severely for her part in the transaction. From her point of view she was acting to prevent Isaac going against the will of God. He too must have known the revelation made to her at the children's birth. The end justified the means in her view; even this blatant deception of Isaac could be excused on the grounds that only thus could the will of the Lord be accomplished. And in all this Rebekah quite failed to realise that the Lord is perfectly capable of carrying out his own designs and needs not the use of questionable artifices by well-meaning assistants in the same. It does seem as if the unquestioning faith which did characterise the youthful Rebekah when first she received the call to leave her own land for a strange new life had lost something of its intensity, and now as a mature woman of about ninety she was not so certain that the Lord could effect his intentions without a little human scheming to help them along.
Rebekah was, after all, like so many of us, prone to plan and scheme to ensure the welfare or the continuance of the Lord's work when all the time all He wants us to do is diligently to prosecute the interests of that which He has placed in our hands to do, leaving the further development of his work to him. He has powers at his disposal that we wot not of, and the problems which may seem insoluble to us unless we instil into their solution a certain amount of human scheming or effort can be handled by him in the twinkling of an eye and far more effectively than we with our limited insight and even more limited powers could ever hope to do.
The unfortunate Rebekah paid the penalty, for she never saw her much-loved son again. In the face of Esau's justifiable resentment at the deception and his threats against Jacob's life, she counselled her son to take himself off to her brother's home in Haran for a while until the trouble blew over. "Flee thou" she said "to Laban my brother in Haran, and tarry with him a few days until thy brother's fury turn away….then will send and fetch thee from thence. (Gen.27.43‑45). The "few days" probably meant a short space, a year or two maybe; in any case Esau's resentment was short-lived and he soon forgot all about it; he was not really concerned about the birthright and not the sort to bear a grudge. Whether Rebekah ever did send to tell Jacob it was safe to return we do not know, but in any case her message would have been of no avail, for Jacob himself had been manoeuvred into a contract with Laban which bound him to Haran for many years, and by the time he did get back to Canaan his mother was dead.
It was a rather sad ending to a life that opened so full of promise but at any rate Rebekah did play a very important part in the outworking of the Divine plan. If for seventy years or so she did show the same degree of faith to which aspire all who would be not only called and chosen, but also faithful, we can well imagine that the All-Merciful would be likely to forgive that last lapse, undertaken as it was in the best of intentions.