March 30, 2015
Contrary to the common tradition in the Ancient Near East, Abraham’s descendants did not pass on blessings and birthrights to their firstborn sons. Instead, beginning with Abraham, sons born later in the birth order received these blessings. Though this shift away from tradition seems to be the consequence of the actions of man, God seems to affirm this shift by reiterating to both Isaac and Jacob the covenant which he first established with Abraham (Gen 26:1-5; 35:10-12). In the midst of this upset of tradition, there are unique interactions between the different family members which play into the development of each family member as an individual.
This paper will examine this multigenerational transmission process utilizing Bowen’s family systems theory. Some parts will be quite technical; for example, assigning levels of differentiation to individuals or analyzing various triangles. Other parts will be more loosely observational, such as noting the generational tendency toward deception. Ultimately, I will discuss possible treatment for this family, including spiritual direction options. Continue reading “Isaac, Jacob, and Judah: Blessings to Non-Firstborn”