Jacob Defrauds Esau
1When Isaac was very old and blind, he called for his oldest son, Esau, and asked him, “My son?”
“I am here, father,” Esau answered.
2“As you can see, I am now an old man,” Isaac said. “And I may die any day now. 3So please take your hunting gear—your bow and arrows—and go out into the field and hunt some wild game for me. 4Then prepare me a savory meal, the food I love, and bring it to me. After I eat it, I will bless you from my innermost being before I die.” # 27:4 Or “After I eat, my soul will bless you before I die.” The repeated mention of this meal (vv. 19, 25, 31, 33) implies that it was a ceremonial meal closely connected with the act of blessing.
5Now, Rebekah was eavesdropping on their conversation. So, when Esau left for the field to hunt for game to cook for Isaac, 6she found Jacob and said to him, “I just overheard your father say to your brother Esau, 7‘Bring me some wild game and prepare a savory meal for me. Afterward I will bless you in the presence of Yahweh before I die.’ 8Listen carefully, my son, and do everything I tell you. 9Go out to the flock and bring me two of the best young goats. I’ll cook them for your father and prepare a delicious meal, the way he loves it. 10Then, you take it to him to eat and your father will bless you before he dies.” # 27:10 Rebekah thought she was pursuing the best course, for she remembered Yahweh’s promise of the older son serving the younger. She could not stand to see Esau, who had broken her heart by taking foreign wives (see Gen. 26:34), receive Isaac’s blessing. This entire episode attests to the conniving nature of man and the overriding purposes of God that cannot be thwarted by our sin.
11Jacob objected, “But my brother Esau is covered with hair, and I’m smooth skinned. 12If my father feels my hairless skin, he’ll know I’m not Esau. He’ll think I’m a trickster, and I’ll end up bringing a curse upon myself rather than a blessing!”
13“My son,” his mother said, “let any curse against you fall on me alone! Just do what I say and go and get the goats for me.”
14So he went and got the goats and brought them to his mother. She prepared a delicious meal, just the way his father loved it. 15Then Rebekah picked out the best clothes # 27:15 These were probably Esau’s dress-up clothes reserved for celebrating feasts or ceremonial occasions. The Hebrew word for “clothes” is beged, which can also be translated “treachery” or “deceit.” This is a play on words, for Jacob used Esau’s clothes to deceive. The Midrash Rabbah teaches that Esau ambushed Nimrod in the field, killed him, and took his garments. Jacob wore Nimrod’s garments and deceived his father. According to the apocryphal Book of Jasher, the clothing that God robed Adam with was passed down to Noah, who gave it to his son Ham, and was eventually acquired by Nimrod. of her older son Esau and put them on her younger son Jacob. # 27:15 Jacob was about to pull the wool over his father’s eyes. Jacob would do anything just to get his father’s blessing! 16She covered Jacob’s hands and the soft part of his neck with goatskins. 17Then she handed Jacob the tasty dish and the bread that she had prepared 18and he took them to Isaac.
“Father?” Jacob said.
Isaac replied, “Which one of my sons are you?”
19Jacob answered, “It’s I—Esau—your firstborn. I have done as you asked. Please, sit up. Eat some of this delicious game you love so that you may give me your innermost blessing.” # 27:19 Or “so that your soul may bless me.”
20Isaac asked his son, “How in the world did you find game so quickly, my son?”
“Yahweh, your God, caused it to come right to me,” he replied.
21Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please, please, come closer that I may touch you, my son. I need to really know for certain that you are Esau.” 22So Jacob inched closer to his father Isaac, who felt his skin and said, “You sound like Jacob, but your hands are Esau’s.” 23Because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s, Isaac was tricked and did not recognize that it was really Jacob. As he was about to give him his blessing, 24Isaac asked him again, “Are you really my son Esau?”
Jacob answered, “I am.”
25“Then bring the food to me,” Isaac said, “and let me eat my son’s game. Then I will give you my blessing.” So, Jacob gave his father the food and he ate it. He brought him wine and he drank it. 26Then Isaac said to him, “My son, come near and kiss me.” 27So he came near and kissed him. Isaac recognized the smell of his son’s clothes and blessed him, saying,
“Ah, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a lush field that Yahweh has blessed!
28May God give you heaven’s dew, # 27:28 Dew is a frequent biblical metaphor for God’s anointing, favor, abundance, revelation-truth, renewal, and unity. In Judg. 6:36–40, Gideon’s fleece, saturated with dew, was a sign to him that God was with him. He wrung out a bowl full of dew. We are bowls, vessels of honor, full of heaven’s dew. See Num. 11:9; Deut. 33:13; Pss. 110:3; 133:3; Zech. 8:12.
the fatness of earth, # 27:28 The fatness of the earth means not only its finest produce (grain and wine) but also abundant prosperity. The earth’s finest blessings were promised to Jacob and his seed.
and an abundance of grain and new wine!
29Let peoples serve you
and nations bow down to you!
May you be master # 27:29 The Hebrew word for “master” is gebir, used for the first time in Genesis here. The word is closely related to gibbor, which means “strong,” “mighty,” “valiant,” or “one who does acts of bravery.” over your brothers
and may your mother’s sons bow down to you!
Those who curse you will be cursed
and those who bless you will be blessed!” # 27:29 The Hall of Faith (see Heb. 11) reveals a remarkable insight into this account. God commended Isaac in Heb. 11:20, saying, “The power of faith prompted Isaac to impart a blessing to his sons, Jacob and Esau, concerning their prophetic destinies.” At first glance, it does not appear to be an act of faith but rather a blunder for Isaac to bless Jacob instead of Esau. But God called it faith. All of this was contrary to Isaac’s natural inclination. Instead of doubt or unbelief, he acted by faith. It is the nature of faith to give priority to God’s will rather than our own. This is what Abraham had to do in giving up his son Isaac. Now Isaac had to give up Esau and his opinion of how God was to accomplish his purposes.
Esau’s Lost Blessing
30No sooner had Jacob left from receiving the blessing of his father Isaac, than his brother Esau arrived home from hunting. 31He too prepared a savory meal for his father and took it to him. He said to Isaac, “Sit up my father; eat some of your son’s wild game so that you can give me your innermost blessing.” # 27:31 Or “that your soul may bless me.”
32His father Isaac asked him, “Who are you?”
“I’m Esau, your firstborn son,” he answered.
33When Isaac realized what had happened, he began to tremble and shake violently. He asked, “Who was it then that hunted wild game and brought it to me? I’ve already eaten it all before you came, and I gave him the blessing—yes, and he will be blessed indeed!”
34When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst into bitter weeping and uncontrollable sobbing. He said to his father, “Bless me! Bless me too, father!”
35Isaac answered, “Your brother was here and deceived me. He has taken away your blessing.”
36Esau exclaimed, “Jacob, that heel grabber # 27:36 Jacob’s name comes from the Hebrew word for “heel” and can be translated “trickster,” “heel grabber,” or “cheater.” —the name fits him perfectly! Now he has tricked me twice! He stole my birthright, and now he’s robbed me of my blessing!” Then he asked, “Father, haven’t you reserved a blessing for me?”
37Isaac replied, “You don’t understand. My blessing will empower him to be master over you. # 27:37 This demonstrates the power of a father’s prophetic blessing. It can shape the futures of his children. The words we speak over our children can make them or mar them. Be sure to speak life and blessing over your children! I have already given him all his brothers and relatives as servants. My blessing will richly provide him with grain and new wine. What more is left for me to do for you, my son?”
38Esau pleaded with his father, “Is that the only blessing you have to give? Bless me too, my father!” # 27:38 The Septuagint adds, “But Isaac remained silent.” Esau could not hold back his tears and he wept loudly. 39Then Isaac his father spoke these words:
“You will live far from earth’s bounty
and far from heaven’s dew on high.
40You will live by the sword and serve your brother;
but when you grow restless,
you will break free from his control.” # 27:40 Esau would be given all the provisions he would need in life. Notice that Isaac reverses the order of the blessing. The fatness of the earth was given first because Esau would be a man with his heart attached to the world. He would live by the sword-principle, always retaliating and unable to forgive. How many believers today have enough of God to get by but live with unresolved anger and unforgiveness like Esau? Hebrews describes Esau as careless about God’s blessing (see Heb. 12:16–17). The descendants of Esau were known as Edomites. They were a violent people who raided caravans and pillaged cities. During David’s reign, the united monarchy dominated the Edomites, but they later revolted under the reign of Jehoram (849–842 BC).
41Esau hated Jacob because he stole his blessing. He said to himself, “In a short time my father will be gone. After the time for mourning his death has passed, I will kill my brother Jacob!” # 27:41 Isaac sealed Jacob’s blessing with a kiss but not Esau’s. All of this caused Esau to hate his brother. Following in the way of Cain, Esau made an inner vow to murder his brother as soon as his father died. His jealousy turned to hatred and hatred to murder, all because his younger brother received a blessing that he did not.
42But when Rebekah found out about her older son Esau’s plan, she quickly sent for her younger son Jacob, # 27:42 Jacob may have been in hiding for fear of Esau. and said to him, “Listen, your brother Esau is planning to exact revenge by killing you. # 27:42 Or “is consoling himself [over what you did to him] by planning to kill you.” 43My son, you must do what I say. Run away at once to my brother Laban in Haran. 44You can live with him for a while until your brother calms down. 45After your brother’s anger has died down and he has forgotten what you’ve done to him, I will send a messenger to bring you back from there. Why should I lose both my sons in one day?” # 27:45 This would be the last time Rebekah saw her son before she died.
46Later, Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m so disgusted with our Hittite daughters-in-law. I’d rather die than see Jacob marry one of these local girls—these Hittite women!”
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