Verse

Genesis 26:35

ESV and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.
NIV They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.
NASB and they brought grief to Isaac and Rebekah.
CSB They made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.
NLT But Esau’s wives made life miserable for Isaac and Rebekah.
KJV Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.

What does Genesis 26:35 mean?

Genesis is a book packed with universal human characters and emotions. These are moments that echo across cultures and centuries. This is another example. We all know parents who have grieved the painful marriages of their children. Esau's marriages to these two Hittite women are said to have made life bitter for both Isaac and Rebekah. They wanted more and better for Esau, apparently.

We're not told if the source of their pain was the fact that Esau married Canaanites, unlike his father, or if it was simply that these marriages were in themselves full of pain and grief. Certainly, there are already good reasons for God's people not to intermarry with the Canaanites; those reasons are spiritual, not racial. Isaac's father, Abraham, went to great lengths to ensure his son did not marry among the people of this region (Genesis 24). Later, God will forbid these relationships outright, specifically because of the evil habits of this culture (Deuteronomy 7:1–4; 18:9–14).

We should note that marriage to multiple women was not forbidden by God at this point in Israel's history. In fact, the 12 sons of Jacob, Isaac's second son, will come from only four women.
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