Strangers are often seen as the source of trouble.
Esau had married “strange” Hittite women who “made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah” (Genesis 26:34). Rebekah wanted no more of this strangeness
46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am weary of my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women such as these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”
Isaac, therefore, charged the son who had received his blessing, not to marry a Canaanite woman but rather, to go “back home” to find one of his cousins, “a daughter of Laban” to be his bride.
They were bent on preserving their tribal purity. Poor geneticists they were! Incest only restricts the gene pool eventually leading to inherited problems. Broadening one’s outlook, broadening the gene pool- what they were afraid of, what so many so-called “nationalists” (racist really) fear, is demonstrative of the innate suspicion that many harbour of strangers, those who are “different.” This tendency has been around, it seems, for quite a long time.
Esau learned his lesson. Since Jacob was obedient and went off to find a wife as his father had directed, Esau thought that he too, should stick close to home. It was permissible to have more than one bride, so he simply added a cousin to his lot.
After all, he had lost his birth-right (through his fault), lost his blessing (I say largely through his mother’s fault), so he wasn’t going to lose his father’s love. That no one could deny him, and that Esau still valued.
Thank you Lord for the love of family which helps us steer through tough times.