The Bible’s best and brightest nepo babies
Famous children of famous people— or “nepo babies,” for nepotism — are having a moment, with New York magazine this week devoting a cover to the image of a delivery ward, with infants bearing the beaming (adult) faces of Ben Platt, Dakota Johnson, Zoë Kravitz and more.
A reasonable person might look at the cover, and its attendant “taxonomy,” and raise an eyebrow. After all, the world has always worked this way. Pliny the Younger didn’t get that name for nothing. More to the point: Do we really want a world without Liza Minnelli or Jane Fonda?
This trend is as old as the Bible, and I can prove it. Here, in order, are the Jewish people’s best and brightest nepo babies.
God promised Isaac, Abraham’s firstborn with his wife, Sarah, the entire land of Canaan and offspring as numerous as the stars — all before he was even born. (OK, Isaac was also nearly sacrificed to this same God by his dad — no one said the nepo life is always easy.) As Gwyneth Paltrow said, celebrities’ kids need to “work almost twice as hard” as their peers to get noticed.
His older brother Esau was supposed to inherit Isaac’s birthright, but Rebecca, the first-ever stage mom, knew that Jacob was way more telegenic. Esau was hairy and inarticulate. Smooth-armed Jacob would, in the end, be blessed (after, yes, working for his uncle). He had to labor for what he had, though: He would never have been able to take on the stage name of Israel if he hadn’t wrestled with that angel. As Ben Stiller tweeted, “Showbiz as we all know is pretty rough, and ultimately is a meritocracy.”
Literally the adoptive son of a princess. Talk about privilege.
Aaron (and all Kohanim)
Aaron was kinda like the Liam to Moses’ Chris Hemsworth, but you gottaadmit, he did start something with that whole high priest business. His kids and descendants, the Aaronites, were really just nepo babies who had to rely on non-Temple laborers for things like food — sorta like the Wahlbergs who aren’t Mark. But even family connections can’t get you everything. Just as Hollywood is kinder to the conventionally attractive, you’re not gonna make it far in the priesthood if you have physical defects (or, specifically, crushed testicles that could prevent the continuity of nepo babies).
David had a ton of kids. But only Solomon had the distinction of succeeding his father as king. Could he have built the Temple without his dad conquering Jerusalem? No. But it’s worth remembering he was kinda far back on the bench of heirs apparent — one of the youngest of David’s 19 sons. On the sliding Nepo scale of Charlie Sheen to Carrie Fisher, he’s closer to Princess Leia — a nepo baby, bu t a really good one. And you can’t begrudge him too much for following his dad into the kinging industry. As Zoë Kravitz once observed, it’s “completely normal for people to be in the family business.”
I mean …