Brow Publications, Kingston, Ontario (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) 2004
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GENESIS 27:1-4 (In his old age Isaac asks Esau to hunt game for him)
27:1-4 Isaac did not die till after Jacob returned from his 20 year stay in Haran (31:41, 35:28-29), but he was already blind at the age of a hundred and sixty. Isaac must have heard that his son Esau had sold his birthright as the firstborn of the twins (25:21-26, 29-34). But he had enjoyed the venison that Esau would hunt and cook for him, and he wanted to taste it again and use that as an occasion to give his favorite son a special blessing.
GENESIS 27:5-27 (Rebekah tricks her husband into blessing Jacob instead of Esau)
27:5-7 Rebekah had heard her husband’s request for Esau to kill and cook venison for him , and his intention to give him the family blessing.
27:8-10 But she decided to trick her blind husband into giving the blessing to her favorite son Jacob. He was to bring lamb from their own flock, she would cook it, and he would take it to his father and receive the blessing.
27:11-14 Jacob objected that his father would feel his smooth skin (25:25-26) and know it was not Esau. But Rebekah took full responsibility for assuring the success of her plan. So Jacob brought in the lambs and his mother prepared them exactly the way her husband delighted in.
27:15-19 She then dressed her favorite son in the clothes of his twin brother Esau and put the lamb skins on Jacob’s neck and hands. She then sent him in with the savory meat and pita bread. And he had to pretend he was Esau.
27:20-27 Isaac wondered how Jacob had hunted the venison so quickly? And Jacob had to lie. “The LORD your God granted me success.” Then Isaac felt the hairy skin, wondered about his son’s voice, and asked “Are you really my son?” Again Jacob told a brazen lie as he impersonated his brother. Isaac then enjoyed the savory meat, pita bread, and wine that he was served. He was finally convinced when he embraced Jacob and he smelled the distinctive odor of the clothes that his brother usually wore when he came in from the field.
GENESIS 27:28-29 (Jacob obtains the blessing Isaac had intended for Esau)
27:28 Isaac asked God to bless the land with dew from the sky, fertile earth, and abundant harvests (another blessing is given before Jacob leaves home, 28:3-4)
27:29 The nation was to prosper. The extended family of Abraham would submit to the line of Jacob (suggested by the plural - Jacob had only one brother). The curse of those who cursed his family would return on their own head. And those who prayed a prayer of blessing on his family would themselves be blessed. In the New Testament we are told that “by faith Isaac invoked blessings for the future on Jacob and Esau” (Hebrews 11:20).
Note: We find it hard to understand how an intended patriarchal blessing could be diverted to another by such trickery and lies. Looked at historically we can see that the Jewish people have never had an easy road. Even during the nation’s greatest prosperity under the magnificent King Solomon, the common people suffered hard labor and terrible oppression (1 Kings 12:4). But there also seems evidence that, whenever a nation has tried to oppress and exterminate the Jewish people, God has eventually inflicted his wrath upon them (e.g. the Egyptians, the Babylonians, Romans, Spain, Nazi Germany, Poland). More recently since 1948 the Jews in Israel should have been wiped out seven times by overwhelming Arab armies, but against all odds they were able to defend themselves. The prophets knew that the LORD they served could not be understood by human reasoning. “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD” (Isaiah 55:8)
GENESIS 27:30-40 (Esau also pleads for a blessing)
27:30-32 Jacob had hardly left after receiving the blessing when Esau came back from hunting, cooked the food his father delighted in, and came in to receive the blessing he expected.
27:33-35 Isaac was horrified when he realized he had been tricked into eating the food Jacob had served him. Esau wept and pleaded for his father’s blessing, but there was no way for Isaac to take it back.
27:36-37 Jacob had lived up to his name (yakob means he who supplants, or takes by the heel, 25:26). On a previous occasion when Esau was desperately hungry his brother had given him food in exchange for his birthright (25:30-34). And now Jacob had tricked his father into giving him his blessing, and that blessing was irrevocable.
Note : We have assumed that the birthright that Jacob obtained from Esau for a bowl of lentils (25:33-34) related to a genealogical right of inheritance. But the blessing that was imparted to Jacob was a prayer for family prosperity. It is possible that Isaac did not know that Esau had sold his birthright, and in that case the blessing that Isaac obtained by trickery was a confirmation of what had been settled between the twin boys. We have seen how the New Testament viewed Esau as “an immoral and godless person, ”and this is why “he found no chance to repent”(Hebrews 12:16).
27:38-40 When Esau wept, and asked for a blessing for himself, his father said that he was destined to live in the Arabian desert, and like other Arabs he had to live by the sword. He would in due course break loose from his brother Jacob’s control. We have noted (27:29) how the New Testament mentions that by faith Isaac also gave a blessing to Esau (Hebrews 11:20).
We know that in the course of history the Edomites continued to be bitter enemies of the Jews (see Genesis 32:36; 33:16-17; Exodus 15:15; Numbers 20:14, 18-21; 1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:13-14; 1 Kings 11:14-16; 2 Kings 8:20-22; 14:7). They intermarried and merged with the bene Ishmael to become part of the Arab nation (see Ishmael the Arab).
GENESIS 27:41-46 (Rebekah arranges for Jacob to go north to Haran for his safety)
27:41-45 Rebekah heard that her son Esau intended to kill his twin brother. Jacob was her favorite, so she wanted to send him away 500 miles, 800 km, north to her brother Laban in Haran. And she promised to call him back when Esau’s anger had abated.
27:46 She then explained to her husband Isaac that the reason was that she did not want Jacob marrying one of the local Canaanite women (as Esau had done, 26:34).
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