In the book of Genesis, each generation shows brothers or sisters who competed. Often the competition became bitter and even violent at times. Genesis features the sibling rivalries between Cain and Abel , Esau and Jacob, Ishmael and Isaac, Leah and Rebecca, and Joseph and his brothers. These rivalries were all similar in some ways, and obviously different in others.
What does this pattern mean?
Are the rivalries accidental and/or natural?
What similarities do all these cases have?
How is each circumstance different?
What is God’s role in these rivalries?
God, at some point, was closely involved in pretty much every sibling rivalry featured in Genesis. I feel the question of God’s role could be an important one in fully understanding the rivalries in Genesis.
Are these sibling rivalries confined to just Genesis or do they happen elsewhere? There are surely sibling rivalries today, are they any different? What determines the magnitude of these rivalries?
Many of the rivalries have a great amount of gravity associated with them. For instance, take Jacob and Esau. Esau was in line to have his father’s blessing, but their mother wanted Jacob to receive that blessing. Jacob basically pulls a fast one Esau, effectively screwing Esau out of his own birth right (Genesis 25:21-34). Later Jacob went on to be a patriarch of the Israelites. God must’ve had an opinion on this, so what was it? What role did their parents play in this? These are hopefully some of the questions I’ll be able to answer through my paper.