Gen. 27:1 And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.
Gen. 27:2 And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:
Gen. 27:3 Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison;
Gen. 27:4 And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.
As I read this chapter, I wish I knew more about some of the customs of that time. Isaac is old and blind, and he knows that his death must be soon. (He was wrong. He was still alive when Jacob came back home. v25:27) So he calls Esau to him and tells him to go hunting for some wild game. Then he is to prepare the meat in the way his father likes and bring it to Isaac to eat. Then he would give Esau his blessing.
Gen. 27:5 And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.
Gen. 27:6 And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying,
Gen. 27:7 Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.
Gen. 27:8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.
Gen. 27:9 Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth:
Gen. 27:10 And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.
Rebekah heard what Isaac told Esau. After Esau left, Rebekah told Jacob what had happened. Remember, God had told Rebekah that the older would serve the younger, so she decided to do her part to make that happen. (Why is it we always think God needs our help?) She sent Jacob to get two young goats so she could prepare some food for Isaac just as he like it. Then Jacob was to take it in to his father and receive the blessing.
Gen. 27:11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man:
Gen. 27:12 My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.
Gen. 27:13 And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.
Gen. 27:14 And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved.
Jacob and Esau were quite different; Esau was very hairy and Jacob’s skin was smooth. Jacob was afraid his father would touch him and realize he was being tricked and then curse Jacob. So Rebekah told him the curse would be on her—just do as she asked. Jacob obeyed his mother, and Rebekah cooked the meat just right.
These people had respect for the spoken word. The blessing of the father was binding (cf 27:33 & 37), and they evidently believed a curse would be as well. Rebekah told Jacob that the curse would be on her, and that seemed to be what they believed would happen if such a curse were uttered.
Gen. 27:15 And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son:
Gen. 27:16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck:
Gen. 27:17 And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
Gen. 27:18 And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son?
Gen. 27:19 And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.
Gen. 27:20 And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.
Gen. 27:21 And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.
Gen. 27:22 And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
Gen. 27:23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him.
Gen. 27:24 And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.
Rebekah put some of Esau’s best clothes on Jacob and covered his hands and neck with goatskins. She gave Jacob the food and bread she had made, and he went in to serve his father. Then comes Jacob’s first lie (at least on this occasion). As he announces himself, Isaac asks who is there. Jacob claims that he is Esau. Lie #2—I have done what you asked me to do. Then Jacob asks Isaac to eat so that he may receive his blessing. Isaac is a bit suspicious I think. He wonders how his son had found game so quickly. Lie #3—“the Lord thy God brought it to me.”
It seems that Isaac has been a bit more slack in training his sons than Abraham had been in training him. They knew his God was special to their father, but I’m not sure how much they felt that He was their God too. Jacob certainly didn’t seem to fear repercussion from the Lord for his lies—he only feared his father’s curse.
Still not convinced that it is Esau, Isaac asks for him to come close so that he can touch him. As he touched him, he admits his suspicion—“The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” Then he asks point blank—Are you Esau? Lie #4—Jacob says, “I am.”
Gen. 27:25 And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank.
Gen. 27:26 And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son.
Gen. 27:27 And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed:
Gen. 27:28 Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
Gen. 27:29 Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.
So Jacob gave his father the food and wine; Isaac ate—then he gave his blessing. First, he asked his son to come and kiss him. Jacob did and with the smell of Esau’s clothes fresh in his nostrils, Isaac blessed his son. He asked God’s blessing for an abundance of grain and new wine. He asked that nations would bow down to him and serve him. He gave him authority over his brothers. He asked that those who cursed him would be cursed and those who blessed him would be blessed.
Gen. 27:30 And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
Gen. 27:31 And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me.
Gen. 27:32 And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau.
Gen. 27:33 And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.
Jacob left his father and Esau returned from hunting. He prepared the food and took it to his father and asked him to sit up and eat so he could give his blessing. Isaac immediately asked who he was, and Esau told him. Isaac “trembled very exceedingly” and realized his suspicion had been right.
Interesting thoughts from Henry: “Hebrew scholars tell us the original language is extremely graphic, something like ‘Isaac trembled most excessively with a great trembling.’ Emotions of all sorts overwhelmed him. Anger with Jacob, concern over Esau, grief over Rebekah’s act, resentment at having his own plans thwarted….he quickly came to see that God Himself had spoken to him in judgment and that he had incurred great peril to himself in so ignoring the will of God. He had betrayed the trust of his father Abraham and had practically destroyed his own home, all because of a carnal appetite and adulation of his son’s physical exploits.”
Then another confusing thing—Even though he had blessed Jacob believing he was Esau, the blessing would be on the impostor. Esau was distraught! Even though Isaac is just a man—the sons looked upon this blessing as a “sure thing.” It didn’t matter what the intent of Isaac’s heart was, it mattered to whom the blessing was said.
My head tells me that God’s purpose would have been fulfilled without Rebekah’s interference. (I have lots of thoughts racing around in my head regarding intent vs. action, the power of the spoken word, whether Isaac knew from Rebekah her revelation of the older and younger, etc.) You would think that intent would be more important, but the truth of the matter is that actions produce results/reactions. I guess if Isaac had wanted to be sure he was blessing the right person—especially knowing that once said it could not be taken back—he could have gotten more proof by calling witnesses; he could have been more careful before acting. This blessing must have been recognized as a privilege granted by God. A human could not guarantee a blessing humanly bestowed without backing from the LORD. There must have been some understood guidelines for the father’s use of this privilege since Isaac couldn’t “change” it to be Esau’s after he knew he had been deceived. OR – Maybe he knew he couldn’t change it when he remembered (and I assume he was told) what Rebekah had been told about the older serving the younger. Suffice it to say, there are many unanswered questions here.
Gen. 27:34 And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.
Gen. 27:35 And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.
Gen. 27:36 And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?
Gen. 27:37 And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?
Gen. 27:38 And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
Gen. 27:39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;
Gen. 27:40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.
Esau begged for a blessing from his father, but Isaac was firm in stating that the blessing was Jacob’s even though deceitfully gotten (as his name implies). Jacob had succeeded in getting Esau’s birthright and blessing. Esau is desperate for a blessing, but his father has already made Jacob lord over Esau and declared all his relatives his servants; he has also provided richness with grain and new wine. In Isaac’s mind, there was nothing left for him to bestow. Then Esau begged again for just one blessing as he wept. Isaac answered him by declaring that Esau would live by the sword and serve his brother, but would one day throw “his yoke.” He would be his own master.
The huge lesson here is that one should be thoughtful and deliberate in all one’s actions. One should consider future consequences vs. immediate satisfaction and fulfillment. Both Esau (re the birthright) and Isaac (re the blessing) were careless regarding decisions that had such great impact for the future.
Gen. 27:41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
From this point on, Esau held a grudge and planned to kill Jacob after a time of mourning the death of Isaac (which was expected soon).
Interesting thoughts from Henry Morris: “There is never a single instance in the Bible of criticism of Jacob (except on the lips of Esau and Laban, both of whom are unworthy witnesses). Every time God spoke to Jacob, it was in a message of blessing and promise, never one of rebuke or chastisement….God’s judgment concerning Jacob is given in chapter 32.
Genesis 32:28 “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”
Gen. 27:42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.
Gen. 27:43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran;
Gen. 27:44 And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away;
Gen. 27:45 Until thy brother’s anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?
Evidently, Esau was quite vocal about his plan to kill Jacob since the word got back to Rebekah. She sent for Jacob and told him Esau’s plan. She wanted Jacob to run away to her brother, Laban’s, house. He was to stay there until Esau was no longer angry enough to kill—then she would send for him. She obviously thought it wouldn’t have to be for a very long time (vs. 44). (It would be over twenty years.) She loved both her sons. The phrase “why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?” provokes some thought. I know she was thinking that Esau would kill Jacob, but I’m not sure what she was thinking regarding Esau. Was she worried that he would be killed in judgment for killing his brother? Was she protecting the possibility of forming hate in her heart for one son because of his brutality to her favorite son? I don’t know.
As a mother, I can’t imagine having to make that decision. Even when Jason was at his worst, he was loved. There was a time I wanted him out—but only because I was worried about the influence he might have on his sisters, and selfishly it would hurt less not to have to watch him destroy himself. I never considered that he would harm any of us, but I did realize it could take a long time before our relationship could be joyful again. Rebekah was doing her best to protect her family. She also knew that she was really the one to blame, since she was the one with the plan to deceive Isaac in the first place. With Jason—I didn’t feel like I was the root of the problem, but I did wonder what I/we could have done differently that would would have caused him to make better choices, choices that would honor the LORD.