The Stolen Blessing
1When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could not see,#Gn 48:10; 1Sm 3:2 he called his older son Esau and said to him, “My son.”
And he answered, “Here I am.”
2He said, “Look, I am old and do not know the day of my death. 3So now take your hunting gear, your quiver and bow, and go out in the field to hunt some game for me.#Gn 25:27–28 4Then make me a delicious meal that I love and bring it to me to eat, so that I can bless you before I die.”#Gn 27:19,25,31; 48:9,15–16; Dt 33:1; Heb 11:20
5Now Rebekah was listening to what Isaac said to his son Esau. So while Esau went to the field to hunt some game to bring in, 6Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Listen! I heard your father talking with your brother Esau. He said, 7‘Bring me game and make a delicious meal for me to eat so that I can bless you in the Lord’s presence before I die.’ 8Now, my son, listen to me and do what I tell you. 9Go to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, and I will make them into a delicious meal for your father — the kind he loves. 10Then take it to your father to eat so that he may bless you before he dies.”
11Jacob answered Rebekah his mother, “Look, my brother Esau is a hairy man, but I am a man with smooth skin.#Gn 25:25 12Suppose my father touches me. Then I will be revealed to him as a deceiver and bring a curse rather than a blessing on myself.”
13His mother said to him, “Your curse be on me, my son. Just obey me and go get them for me.”
14So he went and got the goats and brought them to his mother, and his mother made the delicious food his father loved. 15Then Rebekah took the best clothes of her older son Esau, which were in the house, and had her younger son Jacob wear them. 16She put the skins of the young goats on his hands and the smooth part of his neck. 17Then she handed the delicious food and the bread she had made to her son Jacob.
18When he came to his father, he said, “My father.”
And he answered, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?”
19Jacob replied to his father, “I am Esau, your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game so that you may bless me.”
20But Isaac said to his son, “How did you ever find it so quickly, my son?”
He replied, “Because the Lord your God made it happen for me.”
21Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come closer so I can touch you, my son. Are you really my son Esau or not?”
22So Jacob came closer to his father Isaac. When he touched him, he said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he blessed him. 24Again he asked, “Are you really my son Esau?”
And he replied, “I am.”
25Then he said, “Bring it closer to me, and let me eat some of my son’s game so that I can bless you.” Jacob brought it closer to him, and he ate; he brought him wine, and he drank.
26Then his father Isaac said to him, “Please come closer and kiss me, my son.” 27So he came closer and kissed him. When Isaac smelled#27:27 Lit smelled the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said:
Ah, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a field
that the Lord has blessed.
28May God give to you —
from the dew of the sky#Gn 27:39; Dt 32:2; 33:13,28; 2Sm 1:21; Pr 3:20; Is 18:4; Hs 14:5; Hg 1:10; Zch 8:12
and from the richness of the land#Nm 18:12 —
an abundance of grain and new wine.#Dt 7:13; Jl 2:19
29May peoples serve you#Gn 25:23; Is 45:14; 49:7,23; 60:12–14
and nations bow in homage to you.
Be master over your relatives;
may your mother’s sons bow in homage to you.
Those who curse you will be cursed,
and those who bless you will be blessed.#Gn 12:3; Nm 24:9
30As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob and Jacob had left the presence of his father Isaac, his brother Esau arrived from his hunting. 31He had also made some delicious food and brought it to his father. He said to his father, “Let my father get up and eat some of his son’s game, so that you may bless me.”
32But his father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?”
He answered, “I am Esau your firstborn son.”
33Isaac began to tremble uncontrollably. “Who was it then,” he said, “who hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it all before you came in, and I blessed him. Indeed, he will be blessed!”
34When Esau heard his father’s words, he cried out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me too, my father!” #Heb 12:17
35But he replied, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”
36So he said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob?#27:36 = He Grasps the Heel#Gn 25:26,32–34 For he has cheated me twice now. He took my birthright, and look, now he has taken my blessing.” Then he asked, “Haven’t you saved a blessing for me?”
37But Isaac answered Esau, “Look, I have made him a master over you, have given him all of his relatives as his servants, and have sustained him with grain and new wine. What then can I do for you, my son?”
38Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!” And Esau wept loudly.#27:38 Lit Esau lifted up his voice and wept
39His father Isaac answered him,
Look, your dwelling place will be
away from the richness of the land,
away from the dew of the sky above.
40You will live by your sword,
and you will serve your brother.
But when you rebel,#27:40 Hb obscure
you will break his yoke from your neck.
41Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. And Esau determined in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”
42When the words of her older son Esau were reported to Rebekah, she summoned her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Listen, your brother Esau is consoling himself by planning to kill you. 43So now, my son, listen to me. Flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran, 44and stay with him for a few days until your brother’s anger subsides — 45until your brother’s rage turns away from you and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send for you and bring you back from there. Why should I lose you both in one day?”
46So Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m sick of my life because of these Hethite girls.#Gn 26:34–35; 28:8 If Jacob marries someone from around here,#27:46 Lit someone like these daughters of the land like these Hethite girls, what good is my life?” #Gn 24:3
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Jacob’s Deception.#The chapter, a literary masterpiece, is the third and climactic wresting away of the blessing of Esau. Rebekah manages the entire affair, using perhaps her privileged information about Jacob’s status (25:23); Jacob’s only qualm is that if his father discovers the ruse, he will receive a curse instead of a blessing (vv. 11–12). Isaac is passive as he was in chaps. 22 and 24. The deception is effected through clothing (Jacob wears Esau’s clothing), which points ahead to a similar deception of a patriarch by means of clothing in the Joseph story (37:21–33). Such recurrent acts and scenes let the reader know a divine purpose is moving the story forward even though the human characters are unaware of it. 1When Isaac was so old that his eyesight had failed him, he called his older son Esau and said to him, “My son!” “Here I am!” he replied. 2Isaac then said, “Now I have grown old. I do not know when I might die. 3So now take your hunting gear—your quiver and bow—and go out into the open country to hunt some game for me. 4Then prepare for me a dish in the way I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may bless you#I may bless you: Isaac’s blessing confers fertility (vv. 27–28) and dominion (v. 29). The “dew of heaven” is rain that produces grain and wine, two of the principal foodstuffs of the ancient Near East. The “fertility of the earth” may allude to oil, the third basic foodstuff. The full agricultural year may be implied here: the fall rains are followed by the grain harvests of the spring and the grape harvest of late summer, and then the olive harvest of the fall (cf. Dt 11:14; Ps 104:13–15). before I die.”
5Rebekah had been listening while Isaac was speaking to his son Esau. So when Esau went out into the open country to hunt some game for his father,#Gn 25:28. 6Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Listen! I heard your father tell your brother Esau, 7‘Bring me some game and prepare a dish for me to eat, that I may bless you with the Lord’s approval before I die.’ 8Now, my son, obey me in what I am about to order you. 9Go to the flock and get me two choice young goats so that with these I might prepare a dish for your father in the way he likes. 10Then bring it to your father to eat, that he may bless you before he dies.” 11But Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man and I am smooth-skinned!#Gn 25:25. 12Suppose my father feels me? He will think I am making fun of him, and I will bring on myself a curse instead of a blessing.” 13His mother, however, replied: “Let any curse against you, my son, fall on me! Just obey me. Go and get me the young goats.”
14So Jacob went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared a dish in the way his father liked. 15Rebekah then took the best clothes of her older son Esau that she had in the house, and gave them to her younger son Jacob to wear; 16and with the goatskins she covered up his hands and the hairless part of his neck. 17Then she gave her son Jacob the dish and the bread she had prepared.
18Going to his father, Jacob said, “Father!” “Yes?” replied Isaac. “Which of my sons are you?” 19Jacob answered his father: “I am Esau, your firstborn. I did as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may bless me.” 20But Isaac said to his son, “How did you get it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “The Lord, your God, directed me.” 21Isaac then said to Jacob, “Come closer, my son, that I may feel you, to learn whether you really are my son Esau or not.” 22So Jacob moved up closer to his father. When Isaac felt him, he said, “Although the voice is Jacob’s, the hands are Esau’s.” 23(He failed to identify him because his hands were hairy, like those of his brother Esau; so he blessed him.) 24Again Isaac said, “Are you really my son Esau?” And Jacob said, “I am.” 25Then Isaac said, “Serve me, my son, and let me eat of the game so that I may bless you.” Jacob served it to him, and Isaac ate; he brought him wine, and he drank. 26Finally his father Isaac said to him, “Come closer, my son, and kiss me.” 27As Jacob went up to kiss him, Isaac smelled the fragrance of his clothes. With that, he blessed him, saying,
“Ah, the fragrance of my son
is like the fragrance of a field
that the Lord has blessed!#Gn 22:17–18; Heb 11:20.
28May God give to you
of the dew of the heavens
And of the fertility of the earth
abundance of grain and wine.
29#Gn 25:23; 49:8; Nm 24:9. May peoples serve you,
and nations bow down to you;
Be master of your brothers,
and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be those who curse you,
and blessed be those who bless you.”
30Jacob had scarcely left his father after Isaac had finished blessing him, when his brother Esau came back from his hunt. 31Then he too prepared a dish, and bringing it to his father, he said, “Let my father sit up and eat some of his son’s game, that you may then give me your blessing.” 32His father Isaac asked him, “Who are you?” He said, “I am your son, your firstborn son, Esau.” 33Isaac trembled greatly. “Who was it, then,” he asked, “that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it all just before you came, and I blessed him. Now he is blessed!” 34As he heard his father’s words, Esau burst into loud, bitter sobbing and said, “Father, bless me too!” 35When Isaac said, “Your brother came here by a ruse and carried off your blessing,” 36Esau exclaimed, “He is well named Jacob, is he not! He has supplanted me#He has supplanted me: in Hebrew, wayyaqebeni, a wordplay on the name Jacob, ya‘aqob; see Jer 9:3 and Gn 25:26. There is also a play between the Hebrew words bekorah (“right of the firstborn”) and berakah (“blessing”). twice! First he took away my right as firstborn, and now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not saved a blessing for me?”#Gn 25:26, 29–34; Hos 12:4. 37Isaac replied to Esau: “I have already appointed him your master, and I have assigned to him all his kindred as his servants; besides, I have sustained him with grain and wine. What then can I do for you, my son?” 38But Esau said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, father? Bless me too, father!” and Esau wept aloud.#Heb 12:17. 39His father Isaac said in response:
“See, far from the fertile earth
will be your dwelling;
far from the dew of the heavens above!#Heb 11:20.
40By your sword you will live,
and your brother you will serve;
But when you become restless,
you will throw off his yoke from your neck.”#2 Kgs 8:20, 22; 2 Chr 21:8.
41Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. Esau said to himself, “Let the time of mourning for my father come, so that I may kill my brother Jacob.”#Wis 10:10; Ob 10. 42When Rebekah got news of what her older son Esau had in mind, she summoned her younger son Jacob and said to him: “Listen! Your brother Esau intends to get his revenge by killing you. 43So now, my son, obey me: flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran, 44and stay with him a while until your brother’s fury subsides— 45until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send for you and bring you back. Why should I lose both of you in a single day?”
Jacob Sent to Laban. 46Rebekah said to Isaac: “I am disgusted with life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob also should marry a Hittite woman, a native of the land, like these women, why should I live?”#Gn 26:34–35.
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