Genesis Chapter 27: Isaac Gives Jacob the Blessing, Jacob Flees from Esau

Feb 26th, 2010 | By | Category: Genesis, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Genesis Chapter 27: Isaac Gives Jacob the Blessing, Jacob Flees from Esau

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.

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.

Isaac, feeling that his death was drawing nigh, wanted to give the parental blessing and the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant. He requested that Esau go out hunting to get meat to make a savory stew.

Q: Did Isaac request venison stew so that he would be refreshed and invigorated before giving the blessing?

A: Usually when one is hospitably entertained, his conversation is freer and his joy stimulated.  The venison would produce a more conducive atmosphere and would also invigorate Isaac.  His eyesight was dim, so he must have been quite weak at this point. Perhaps Isaac thought the meat would strengthen him to give the blessing to Esau.

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.

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.

When Rebekah overheard Isaac speak to Esau, she acted hastily. We are reminded of the time Sarah listened in the tent door and overheard the angel telling Abraham she would have a child.

Rebekah prompted Jacob to act speedily and obey her instructions in order to thwart the blessing from coming upon Esau.

Q: The RSV does not say “venison” but “game.” When Rebekah prepared goat meat, Isaac did not seem to notice the difference, so was the “game” something other than “venison”?

A: “Venison” included ibex, deer, and similar animals.

Rebekah told Jacob to kill two “kids of the goats” because one goat was for stew and the other would provide skins for Jacob’s hands and neck. It is remarkable how quickly Rebekah thought ahead to plan the deception.

The following factors made Rebekah realize that Jacob was the one to get the blessing:

1. The name Jacob means “supplanter.”

2. A prophecy was given prior to Jacob’s birth when Rebekah felt turmoil in her womb: “Two nations are in thy womb, … and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Gen. 25:23).

3. Esau married heathen wives.

4. Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a mess of pottage (perhaps Jacob had told his mother about this incident).

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.

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.

The deception was well planned. Rebekah would have made the goat stew as savory as possible to camouflage it as “venison.” Also, she was under a time constraint, not knowing how long it would take Esau to hunt and prepare an animal. Rebekah showed her faith by saying, “The curse be upon me.”

The skins fastened on Jacob’s neck and hands would have been well fitted to prevent lumps and wrinkles. Although a kid’s skin, being supple, is easier to wrap, Rebekah’s dexterity with a needle was thus manifested. Esau must have been quite hairy to feel like a goat. Rebekah gave the savory meat to Jacob to present to Isaac, his father.

Comment: Rebekah felt she was doing the Lord’s will because of events that had transpired.

Reply: We can see her faith and actions in that direction. Jacob himself yearned for the promise, for he had supplied a meal to Esau and bargained for the birthright. Jacob desired to inherit the spiritual blessing.

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.

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:

Isaac was more than 100 years old at this time, but he did not die until age 180 (Gen. 35:28).  Hence, just like Abraham, Isaac lived many years after he thought he would die. And a similarity occurred between Isaac and Jacob in that both were blind in their old age when the blessing was given to their offspring (Gen. 27:1; 48:10). In each case, the younger son got the birthright of the firstborn.

Comment: It is interesting that Jacob had to repeat his lie several times. Once he committed to the deception, he persisted in it.

Reply: Yes. Deceptions subsequently happened to Jacob to reverse what he had done to Isaac, but nevertheless, the Abrahamic promise was not disannuled or vitiated. Sometimes a higher law takes precedent over a lower law. The more important higher law supersedes the lower law, but the lower law still stays in operation. For example, a kid of the goats was killed and its blood put on Joseph’s coat of many colors to deceive Jacob into thinking Joseph was dead (Gen. 37:31-33). Retribution had to come, but for Jacob, it was well worth his securing the blessing. Justice was satisfied when retribution operated on Jacob—even though Esau, in his earlier life, did not consider the spiritual blessing that important and sold it for some pottage.

Q: Did Rebekah get the curse?

A: We do not know, for the account does not give us much information.

Comment: Rebekah did suffer as a result of this experience, for she lost Jacob when he had to flee from Esau’s hatred.

Reply: Yes, she suffered in that way, but we have no information about her being deceived as retribution later on.

Q: What is the difference between the blessing and the birthright?

A: Jacob gave a blessing to each of his 12 sons. Moses blessed the 12 tribes. Hence the blessing is not as limited or confined as the Abrahamic promise, which was a particular blessing that was to go through a specific seed. The Abrahamic promise could not be given to two people. Thus the birthright was the double portion, and it included the spiritual blessing. The birthright normally goes to the firstborn, and that is what Esau forfeited—the firstborn birthright, which was a double portion.

In this case, the double portion was both a spiritual and a fleshly promise. If Israel had been obedient, the nation would have inherited the two aspects of the Abrahamic Covenant: the heavenly and the earthly. In other words, the 144,000 would have been all Jews, and the nation of Israel would still be the channel of blessing on an earthly plane. But Israel forfeited the spiritual blessing—and a good deal of the natural too.

Isaac was suspicious, but he could not see. He heard Jacob’s voice, but the hairy hands and neck seemed like Esau’s. Still he was a little suspicious, so he asked Jacob to come near and kiss him.

Then Isaac smelled “the smell of a field” and decided Jacob was Esau. Probably Jacob tried to imitate Esau’s voice.

Rebekah’s methods were clever, namely, putting goat skins on the nape of Jacob’s neck and on his hands and also dressing him in Esau’s clothes, which had the odor of the field. Perhaps the Holy Spirit helped her think of these things, overruling because of the type.

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.

A portion of Isaac’s blessing on Jacob sounds like part of the Abrahamic promise: “Cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.” The “dew of heaven” is contrasted with the “fatness of the earth.” Also, Esau would now have to be subservient to Jacob—a condition that was quite galling to Esau.

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.

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 subtlety, and hath taken away thy blessing.

What a shock to both Isaac and Esau to learn that the blessing had gone to Jacob! Hebrews 12:16,17 comments on the situation: “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.” Esau lost the chief blessing but got a blessing. The lesson is not to parley with God’s arrangement and calling. A vow is to be kept. Incidentally, an interesting detail with regard to the type is that Rebekah represents the Sarah Covenant, and she made the savory meat for Jacob to give to Isaac, whereas Esau made his savory meat himself.

Comment: It would seem that Esau’s crying bitterly at losing the chief blessing would fit the Great Company, whereas natural Israel has not realized what they lost.

Reply: The nation of Israel does not realize the loss yet, but they will. The Great Company will become aware of their loss when the door is closed.

Both temporal and spiritual blessings were included in the Abrahamic promise: the dew of heaven and the fatness of the earth, plenty of grain and wine, and the promise of being the chief one. A double portion was included in the birthright. Therefore, the Little Flock receives not only the spiritual inheritance but also the earth, but they pass the earthly portion over— they forfeit it.

The following is an example of the firstborn double portion. If there were four children, the firstborn would get 2/5. In other words, add one to the number of children, divide by that number, and add one to the firstborn (4 + 1 = 5; 5/5 = 1; 1 + 1 = 2, or 2/5). The firstborn portion was later reckoned this way, but originally, the firstborn portion was the spiritual plus the natural. After the Law was given, the reckoning became mathematical, and the firstborn literally got a double portion.

After Isaac realized he had been deceived, he said to Esau, “Yea, and he [Jacob] shall be blessed.” In other words, the blessing would stand because Isaac began to see the situation as providential. He thought, “Maybe I have not properly judged my sons. I loved Esau more than I should have.” For instance, notice the timing. Jacob had no sooner gotten the blessing and left his father when Esau appeared with savory meat. Once Isaac saw the blessing of Jacob as God’s will, he accepted it. Isaac had integrity, even though his judgment needed correction.

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.

Comment: It is kind of touching. Esau asked, “Don’t you have one little blessing for me?” and when the blessing did come, it was along material lines.

Reply: Esau wept, but he did get a blessing. The Holy Spirit seems to have mechanically operated, for the blessing was given on the spur of the moment under emotional stress. The “dew of heaven” was mentioned again but in reverse order—after the “fatness of the earth.” In the antitype, the Great Company will get a spiritual resurrection but a secondary one. Esau recognized that Jacob was the “supplanter,” but he said, “He [Jacob] took away my birthright.” In reality, however, Esau gave away his birthright. Esau felt he had been robbed twice, whereas he had not fully appreciated the birthright.

The blessing to Esau was along natural lines: “You shall live by the sword and serve your brother. And when you have the dominion, you shall break his yoke from off your neck.” The latter part of the blessing in regard to the yoke was fulfilled at a much later date. During the history of the kings, Esau more or less seceded from the dominion (2 Kings 8:20-22). In the next age, the Abrahamic promise will be fulfilled, and Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will get their inheritance. With that inheritance will come the double dominion, which will not be broken.

The Esau class will be servants at that time, but in the interim, the yoke was broken.

Q: If we switch the picture so that Jacob represents the true Church and Esau symbolizes natural Israel, do Rebekah and Isaac still represent the Sarah Covenant and Jesus, respectively?

A: Yes.

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.

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?

Gen. 27:46 And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?

Rebekah suggested that Isaac give Jacob the same advice that Abraham had given Eliezer in regard to finding a bride for Isaac: “Go to Haran, and get a wife of your kindred.” Verse 46 tells us that Jacob was still dwelling in the tents of Isaac as well as Esau and his wives, and there was friction between Jacob and Esau. For a time, there had also been strife between Ishmael and Isaac when they dwelled with Abraham. And Hagar was a burden to Sarah. Thus similarities of friction and grief took place in the two generations. Rebekah was grieved over Esau’s Hittite wives being right there in the family.

Comment: We are given an insight into Rebekah’s character. She realized the importance of marrying into the faith.

Rebekah, hearing that Esau planned to kill Jacob when Isaac died, told Jacob to flee to Laban, her brother, in Haran and take a wife. When Esau’s anger cooled, Rebekah would send word to Jacob to return. But when Jacob left, he was gone a long time. (Much later when Esau’s blessing came to pass and he got flocks and prosperity, he felt that he had adequate temporal goods, but Jacob pressed Esau further, desiring peace.)

Esau’s saying, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand,” means he thought his father was dying. And when Rebekah said, “Why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?” she was thinking, “If the sons fight and one kills the other, the survivor will be cast out.”

Comment: Rebekah will be gratified when she comes forth in the Kingdom and realizes the chain of events she set in motion based on her faith. How well the lie turned out!

Jacob did get to see Isaac again before his father died, that is, after the 21 or so years he spent with Laban (Gen. 35:27-29).

(1987–1989 Study)

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