Genesis 25:23 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 25:23, NIV: "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.'"

Genesis 25:23, ESV: "And the LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”"

Genesis 25:23, KJV: "And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger."

Genesis 25:23, NASB: "And the LORD said to her, 'Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people will be stronger than the other; And the older will serve the younger.'"

Genesis 25:23, NLT: "And the LORD told her, 'The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son.'"

Genesis 25:23, CSB: "And the LORD said to her: Two nations are in your womb; two peoples will come from you and be separated. One people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger."

What does Genesis 25:23 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

children inside of her are "struggling" so much that she's become concerned (Genesis 25:22). Modern readers should remember that Isaac and Rebekah didn't have the same kind of medical tools available to us today; more than likely, she has no idea that there are actually two children in her womb. All she knows is that the turbulence she feels is not right; this is not a normal part of pregnancy.

In seeking God's answer, Rebekah may have consulted a prophet of some sort. We don't know. She does, however, receive a very specific prophesy given in the form of a poem.

The prophecy may have seemed vague and unhelpful at this specific point in Rebekah's life, but it describes what is to come very clearly. Rebekah's two sons, Jacob and Esau, would indeed become two peoples or nations. Their relationship would be marked from the beginning by conflict and division. One would be stronger, but the older one would become a slave or servant to the younger one.

The Lord's answer to Rebekah's prayer began to be fulfilled very soon, as the following verses reveal.