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Watch out about this

Esau married two local women whom Moses reports were “a grief of mind” to his parents, Isaac and Rebekah. (Ge 26:35)  Grief of mind, yeah, I get that.  It doesn’t say how Esau took it.  I’m betting his mind was more than a little grieved, too.  Bad spouses (spice?) don’t just make the in-laws miserable.  They spread badness far and wide and don’t rest until everybody’s got some.  A bad marriage is like salmonella — you don’t know you’ve got it until it’s too late, and it makes life sickening.  One of the agents in The Spy Next Door said, “Why get married?  Just find some woman you’re going to hate in five years and give her your house.”

The point being made in Genesis was that the people Esau married were from outside the God-fearing line.  Their behavior was so bad that Rebekah told Isaac, “I am weary of living because of these women!  If Jacob takes a wife like these, what good will my life be?” (Ge 27:46)  So when Isaac blessed Jacob and sent him away, he cautioned him not to take a wife from among the people of Canaan.  (Ge 28:1)

The Bible has other examples of what Jane Austen would regard as an improvident alliance.  Samson married a Philistine harlot, and after things fell apart with her, made a failed attempt on the gravelly heart of Delilah.  David’s wife Michal was given to him as a trap.  (1 Sam 18:21)  And think about this one: When God wanted to convince Israel of just how wicked and sinful they really were, he illustrated his message with one of the worst things in human experience, a bad marriage.  (Hos 1:2-3)

Solomon, who knew a thing or two about bad marriages, speaks of the “odious woman” when she is married (Pr 30:23 KJV) or the “brawling woman” whose companionship is worse than a life of poverty (Pr 25:24).  I don’t think the Bible is particularly cautioning men against bad women.  The lesson to be gained for both sexes is to be cautious about whom you choose as your partner in life.  If you pick wrong, you’ll soon be sounding like Rebekah asking what good her life was to her.

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