Identical twins and triplets have always intrigued me and have probably intrigued others as well. Most people are born with different features, even differing from their own siblings in some aspects. Yet identical siblings are just that: identical. The only physical difference in some instances are the fingerprints. However, in personality, they can differ dramatically.
A coworker and friend of mine plus her sister are one example of identical twins (pictured above). When it was discovered she was a twin at work, other coworkers asked questions like ‘did you two ever dress alike?’ or ‘did you two follow a similar career path?’ Admittedly, I asked a couple questions myself. After the spontaneous interrogation (they probably get those questions a lot), people began sharing stories of other twins they once knew. In some cases, the twins were forced to dress the same growing up while others were allowed to express themselves instead of constantly being reminded they were a set.
Career paths also differed, but in some cases they were the same. For example, for a few months we had a set of identical twin students observing one of our therapy departments for the same career. Mind you, they observed during different months and confused the crap out of some of our clients and staff, but it was still pretty cool. I did feel bad, though, for several people called them by the other’s name and it happened so often, apparently, throughout their lives they had grown accustomed to it. I guess what I’m trying to get at is, although twins are cool and fascinating, we shouldn’t pressure them to be the same nor imply it by being shocked that they lead different lives. Even though they are apart of a set unlike the rest of us, they are each still their own person, each have their own path designed by God — a path that may or may not follow the path of the other one in the set.
“Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant…When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau. After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when Rebekah gave birth to them.” –Genesis 25:21, 24-26
While we aren’t told whether or not Esau and Jacob were identical (probably not, since Esau was hairy and red, but Jacob wasn’t described as such), they were still twins. Their personalities differed greatly. So much so, they fought before ever exiting the womb:
“The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, “Why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. The Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger”.” –Genesis 25:22-23
Their personalities differed so much because they were to live separate lives. They each had their own journey to live out. Esau — the first to be born — and his descendants would become the nation of Edom while Jacob — who’s name was changed by God to Israel (see Genesis 32:28) — was the father of the Israelites.
Another set of twins in the Bible was Perez and Zerah, sons of Tamar and Judah:
“When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb. As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, “This one came out first.” But when he drew back his hand, his brother came out, and she said, “So this is how you have broken out!” And he was named Perez. Then his brother, who had scarlet thread on his wrist, came out. And he was named Zerah.” –Genesis 38:27-30
Perez grew up to father Hezron who’s descendants were part of David and Jesus’s genealogy. Zerah’s line (who became the Zerahites) included Heman, Calcol (Kalkol) and Darda (see 1 Chronicles 2:6) who was described as wise men surpassed in wisdom only by King Soloman (1 Kings 4:31). All three were also known for their musical capabilities and Heman would later author Psalm 88.
While I couldn’t find anything that mentioned if Perez and Zerah were at odds with each other like Esau and Jacob (if there is, I might have overlooked it; please forgive me if this is the case), their journey’s still ended up differing. So what about the possibility of twins following similar paths?
In all honesty, I couldn’t find another Biblical reference to twins (with the exception of a couple of false gods mentioned as the figurehead to one of the ships Paul road to Rome). There are speculations that Cain and Abel were twins amongst others, but the arguments go back and forth. One speculation did catch my eye and did intrigue me enough that, if you will allow me, I would like to include in this post.
“Greet Tryphena and Tryphosa, those women who work hard in the Lord.” — Romans 16:12a
Most people speculate in agreement that these two were twins. I first stumbled upon them whilst doing Beth Moore’s Entrusted series. Moore was trying to show that Paul wasn’t against women serving in the church as some today believe and used Romans 16:3-16 to prove that. When she came to these two she mentioned they might be twins. Upon further research, it seems most people believe so too.
Twin sisters following a similar path as they both served the Lord as best they could, working so hard to do so as to receive praise from Apostle Paul himself. I don’t know about you, but receiving such a compliment from Paul would have been a huge blessing for me. It would reassure me I was doing well in my ministry for the Lord, raising my morale so I could keep going. I’m sure all who received compliments in this passaged felt the same.
While twins (or even triplets) are pretty cool to get to know — to see how they differ when they sometimes share so much in common — as a society we probably wear them out with our constant questioning. Some of them may even feel as if they are being treated like another species by the amount of fascination and inquires we shove their way. The truth remains, though, they are just like us. The Bible didn’t go in more detail when it came to twin life than that of those who were born without a twin. Those who were mentioned to be twins were given the same amount of attention as the rest of those documented in between it’s covers. We should do the same; treat those we know are apart of a born set as the individuals they are rather than part of a matching set.
Just because the salt and pepper shakers look identical doesn’t mean they were designed for the same purpose. May we care more about the people we interact with rather than satisfying our curiosity. Hope you all are having a blessed day and a beautiful fall weekend. God bless.
“Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel but our lives as well.” –1 Thessalonians 2:7-8