Daily Word

Wrong remorse | Genesis 28:6-9

6 Esau knew that his father, Isaac, had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-aram to find a wife, and that he had warned Jacob, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman.” 7 He also knew that Jacob had obeyed his parents and gone to Paddan-aram. 8 It was now very clear to Esau that his father did not like the local Canaanite women. 9 So Esau visited his uncle Ishmael’s family and married one of Ishmael’s daughters, in addition to the wives he already had. His new wife’s name was Mahalath. She was the sister of Nebaioth and the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son.

Genesis 28:6-9 (NLT)

Jacob obeyed

After all the shenanigans of the past chapter (27) we finally see some hope. Isaac instructed Jacob to not get a Canaanaite wife but to go back to their ancestral homeland and get one from Laban, Rebekah’s brother. Jacob obeys. Surely part of the reason for the obedience is selfish – to save his life (and find a wife as we saw yesterday). But we have to think that part is genuine obedience based on what he knew of the promise of God to Abraham and Isaac, and now to him.

Wrong remorse

Esau, on the other hand, understood his dad didn’t like Canaanite women and assumed any other woman would be OK – especially from his uncle. He felt some form of remorse for his actions and sought to please his father by getting another wife, one he thought dad would approve of. 

“[Esau] failed to consider that Ishmael had been separated from the house of Abraham and family of promise by the appointment of God; so that it only furnished another proof that he had no thought of the religious interests of the chosen family and was unfit to be the recipient of divine revelation.” (planobiblechapel.org quoting Keil and Delitzsch)

“The entire spiritual heritage and all spiritual traditions had not as yet begun to mean anything to Esau.” (planobiblechapel.org quoting Leupold) But all hope is not lost. We’ll return to Esau in a few chapters.


  • What is our response to sin? Is it remorse and regret (as with a thief who regrets he got caught)? Or is it true repentance, a change of mind and action? Check out this site for more on this.
  • Is obedience always 100% faith, motivated solely by doing right? I don’t think so. But we should still seek to obey – as Jacob did here.
Repentance Tree. Was growing one way then did a 180.

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