Q. My question is in regards to the word “bitter” used in Genesis 26:34-35. “When Esau was forty years old, he took Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite to be his wife, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.” Why and what was the purpose for Esau and his wives to make life “bitter” for Isaac and Rebekah? And is it good practice when ever reading something in the Old, to find a correlation of it in the New?
A. The implication of Genesis 26:35 is that it grieved Isaac and Rebekah when Esau married non-believing women and took up their ways.
The saying, “What’s contained in the Old is explained in the New” means that Old Testament truths are often more fully explained in the New Testament. A good example is Paul’s explanation of circumcision, saying it’s not merely a physical mark to identify a child of the Abrahamic Covenant, but the condition of a person’s heart (Romans 2:28-29). From there I began to see other things that were external, physical and national in the Old Testament, but became internal, spiritual and personal in the New. It’s a principle, not a rule, so it has to be applied with caution.