Genesis 27: Isaac Blesses Jacob

1 When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death.

-Isaac was 130 years old at the time so considering Ishmael died at 137, it was too unreasonable to assume his death was nearing closer. The irony is that Isaac lives on until he is 180 years old. Thinking he is dying because his eyes are dim may be a sign of how worldly Isaac saw things. As mentioned in the commentary for Genesis 25, we know Isaac, in the end, was counted as righteous but given little information, it’s possible Isaac did not live the most godly life at least in the way he viewed the world. When God told him not to go to Egypt, he obeyed. When God told him of the blessing, he built an alter. These are signs of faith for sure, but he may not have been matured along like Abraham had been.

3 Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, 4 and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.” 5 Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me game and prepare for me delicious food, that I may eat it and bless you before the Lord before I die.’ 8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice as I command you. 9 Go to the flock and bring me two good young goats, so that I may prepare from them delicious food for your father, such as he loves. 10 And you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.”

-We can see where Jacob gets his cleverness from when we learn more about him later. Rebekah has the idea to trick her husband and convinces Jacob to go along with it. This isn’t to take away from Jacob’s slyness throughout his life but this may have been a catalyst that pushed Jacob further in this direction. Although at the same time, he was not exactly a child. Jacob and Esau would have been 70 years old at this time. Even at an older age, parents will always continue to have influence on their children. Be careful what bad habits you encourage in your children growing up, you reap what you sow.

11 But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Behold, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him and bring a curse upon myself and not a blessing.” 13 His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, bring them to me. 14 So he went and took them and brought them to his mother, and his mother prepared delicious food, such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her older son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16 And the skins of the young goats she put on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 And she put the delicious food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.

-Things have come along way for Rebekah from the time she watered 10 camels single-handedly because of her good-loving servant nature to now deceiving her husband so that the child she wants gets the blessing. What happened? Either way, this was God’s plan all along. He knows the decisions we will make and uses our own natures to accomplish his will. Although Rebekah was told 70 years before when she was pregnant with the twins that the older will serve the younger so to her credit, perhaps she believe she was obeying God’s will. But it doesn’t say that and if she believed God, then she would not have to do anything because it would come to pass on its own anyway.

18 So he went in to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” 19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, that your soul may bless me.” 20 But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Because the Lord your God granted me success.” 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 22 So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands. So he blessed him. 24 He said, “Are you really my son Esau?” He answered, “I am.” 25 Then he said, “Bring it near to me, that I may eat of my son’s game and bless you.” So he brought it near to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.” 27 So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said, “See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed! 28 May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. 29 Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”

-What a horrible lie! He claims God granted him success. This is the danger of a lie, it always has a snowball effect. One lie leads to another worse lie to cover up that lie which leads to an even worse lie and so on, and so forth. Many who don’t understand the bible will use stories like this to point out the horrible hypocrisy and deception used by supposedly “good” people. I feel the need to point out again, and it won’t be the last time, that these aren’t stories about great men and women. These aren’t the stories of the glorious founding fathers of Israel who are heroes. There are no great men and women. This is why I do not like being patriotic about my home country because there is no such thing as George “father I can not tell a lie” Washington or “Honest” Abe. These were strong men who made great leaders, by the grace of God. We do not need to idolize them to feel more loyal to our country. Everyone has sins and everyone has something to hide and feel ashamed of. This is a story about God and how he will use are sinful nature to accomplish good things for his glory in this world, even when it is against our own will. These stories shows how bad mankind can get when we do not act godly.

30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31 He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.” 32 His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” 33 Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.”

-Pay attention to “trembled violently”. This realization was not a “oops, well shucks, I guess I blessed the wrong one”. This was a huge fear Isaac had about getting the wrong son and he felt so much sorrow he trembled over it. Isaac so wanted Esau to have the blessing that he feared he would accidentally give it to Jacob, and his worst fear came true. It almost seems as though Isaac disliked Jacob, maybe saw him as a wimp. But then he says, “Yes, and he shall be blessed”. He realized as he’s talking that he cannot take back the blessing and so he is going to see this through, even if this isn’t what he wanted.

34 As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” 35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” 36 Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37 Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” 38 Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.

-Esau points out that he was cheated out of the birthright but he seems far more concerned about the blessing, about the “stuff”. Esau still does not understand the spiritual significance and seems to only care about what his inheritance will be. He is even crying over it. A word jumps out at me and that is the word “brothers”. The Hebrew word used here is “ach” which can mean a literal brother or could be more broad like saying “household”. So rather than speaking of other brothers as if there were more children of Isaac and Rebekah we did not know about, Isaac is either referring to Esau as “all his brothers” or is speaking generally of the servants in the household already will now switch from serving Isaac to serving directly for Jacob.

39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. 40 By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck.”

-Isaac has now switched from trembling that Esau, the son he loved, did not get the blessing to now cursing Esau. His words even appear to be prophetic because this seems to be what happens.

41 Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” 42 But the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son and said to him, “Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you. 43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban my brother in Haran 44 and stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury turns away—45 until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereft of you both in one day?”

-It’s unclear whether Esau truly planned to kill his brother or was speaking in anger. Given that Esau must feel like his entire life has been stolen, its still possible. Cain killed Abel, the older killing the younger, because Abel, the younger, was favored by God so there certainly is precedent. By Rebekah’s explanation, it seems they never visited their cousins in Harran and we haven’t been told anything to suggest in Jacob’s 70 years of life, he has never been away from home on his own.

46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I loathe my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women like these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”

-This seems a random line thrown in at the end of the chapter but it could be a conversation she had with Isaac after she told him where she had sent Jacob. She may have justified it by telling her husband by not saying that the reason was that Esau wanted to kill him, but that she sent him there to find a wife. We now know Rebekah is not above that sort of thing.

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