Isaac (Genesis chapters 21 & 22)
Isaac was born when Abram was 100 years old. Keep in mind that the Lord had promised Abram that he would be the father of a great nation; now the Lord is asking him to sacrifice Isaac as a burnt offering!* Abraham had faith that God would provide (22:8) and as he was about to do the deed the Lord called out and said, “Do not lay a hand on the boy…” (22:12) “Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son.” (22:13) Note the covenant was confirmed because Abraham did not withhold his son! “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore…and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you obeyed me.”
Esau & Jacob—the tricky one (Genesis
Twins, Jacob & Esau, were born when Isaac was 60 years old, 20 years after he married Rebekah.
Esau was first born of the twins but despised his birthright by selling it for something to eat. (25:29-34) When Isaac was old, Jacob (in collusion with his mother Rebekah) tricked Isaac into blessing him. Esau was bitter, “He (Jacob) has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” (27:36) So Jacob is sent back to Haran, the land of his mother’s brother Laban. The Lord reaffirms the covenant, “Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth…All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.” (28:14) Jacob’s ladder Genesis 28:10-22.
Jacob renamed Israel; Jacob had 12 sons (the 12
tribes of Israel)
The story of Jacob’s life in Haran is quite interesting, read chapters 29-35. After Jacob returned to Bethel (the land of his father Isaac), God appeared to him and said: “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel (he struggles).” And God reaffirmed the covenant. (35:9-12) Jacob had 12 sons (35:23-29); they and their descendants are often referred to as the 12 tribes of Israel. (49:28) Jews and Christians often refer to the faith of their forefathers Abraham, Isaac & Jacob throughout the Bible.
*Note: Sacrifice of children was a common practice among Abram's neighbors.