10. Birthright Blessings; Marriage in the Covenant
Abraham's care for his son included ensuring that Isaac married in the covenant; Jacob also needed to marry in the covenant. But there's more here than marriage: A father's care symbolizes God's love, and marriage is a scriptural symbol of God's covenants with all his children.
The temple in Nauvoo met the need to seal husbands and wives to each other that they might receive the promises given to Abraham of eternal posterity numerous as the sands of the sea; and a promise that all righteous men and women may become kings and priests queens and priestesses to rule eternally and become like God.
"Eternal Marriage and Family in the Old Testament," Michael A. Goodman, The Gospel of Jesus Christ in the Old Testament
Although the Old Testament may fail to teach marriage in the covenant didactically, the message is illustrated powerfully throughout the narrative. The examples of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob further reinforce the importance of marriage in the covenant.
To understand the sacred literature of the Jews, it is essential to understand that Israel's relationship to their God is seen as a marital relationship.
"Provide and Protect: The Role of Husband and Father in Ancient Times," Carol Bradley, Selections from the Religious Education Student Symposium 2007
In ancient society, marriage involved customs meant to protect the vulnerable and to secure economic stability. Husbands were to provide the necessities of life to his family; the bride-price and dowry were insurance for the wife; women and children were to be provided for through inheritance. The father's care symbolizes God's love.
'"Written, That Ye Might Believe': Literary Features of the Gospels," Julie M. Smith, Religious Educator
The narrative of Jesus and the woman at the well (John 4) involves a man, a woman, and a well. If we consider what Old Testament stories had similar settings, we find several: Isaac (technically, his servant) and Rebekah (see Genesis 24:10–28), Jacob and Rachel (see Genesis 29:1–11), and Moses and Zipporah (see Exodus 2:15–21). Notice that all of these involve couples who will later marry. Of course, Jesus does not marry the woman at the well, but this setting suggests that she will enter into covenants with Him, which the scriptures sometimes symbolize as a marriage between the Lord and His people.
"Jacob in the Presence of God," Andrew C. Skinner, Sperry Symposium Classics: The Old Testament
The significance of Jacob's first vision was at least sixfold. First, this vision was Jacob's opportunity to begin to comprehend for himself "the mysteries of Godliness." Second, Jacob's status as a prophet was confirmed. Third, Jacob learned that in his seed, or through his own lineage, all the other families of the earth would be blessed (see Genesis 28:14). Fourth, Jacob learned that if he kept the covenant, God would be with him everywhere he went, that God would fulfill everything He promised to do for Jacob, and that God would bring him back to the land of his inheritance. Fifth, Jacob learned that sanctity and place can be, and often are, linked together. Sixth—and this point ties the other five points together—Jacob received his endowment at Bethel on the occasion of his first vision.