Chapter 27

  1. The Stolen Blessing

    • When Isaac was old and going blind, he called Esau to him.

    • He told Esau, “I’m very old and I don’t know how much longer I have to live. Go hunting for game and make me my favorite food so that I can give you your blessing before I die.

      • Isaac was old, but perhaps not near death. Martin Luther calculated Isaac’s age to be 137 at this point; he lived to be 180. Isaac lived 43 more years.” (Guzik)

    • NLT Illustrated Study Bible notes, “Isaac knew of God’s oracle (25:22-23), yet he thwarted or ignored it by trying to bless Esau. Isaac was old and turning blind: He was losing his senses, both physically and spiritually.”

    • Rebekah heard the conversation and while Esau was gone she told Jacob what she had overheard and told him to bring her two goats. She would make Isaac a meal, then Jacob would serve it to him and receive Esau’s blessing.

      • “Instead of trusting God to fulfill what He had promised in Genesis 25:23, Rebekah went about to do what she thought was right in man-centered wisdom and strength. Her good intentions did not justify this self-centered approach.” (Guzik)

    • But Jacob said to his mother, “Esau is very hairy and I’m not. What if my father touches me, realizes who I am, and curses me for trying to deceive him?”

      • “Jacob, true to his name (“trickster” or “scoundrel”), was happy to go along with this plan. His only concern was if it would succeed.” (Guzik)

    • Rebekah told Jacob to obey her. She would take his curse upon herself if it came to that.

      • Guzik makes an excellent observation regarding this entire narrative, “Significantly, at this point, each of these actors in this drama acted in man-centered wisdom and energy, not according to divine or spiritual wisdom and energy. Even Esau, in agreeing to Isaac’s plan to give him the birthright, disregarded his previous promise to allow Jacob to have the birthright. The worst aspect of this all is they seem to regard the blessing as magical, as something detached from God’s wisdom and will. But the most Isaac could do is recognize God’s call and blessing on Jacob. Only God could truly bestow the blessing. Esau could receive the blessing from Isaac a hundred times, but it only mattered if God in heaven honored it.”

    • Jacob did as he was told.

    • After Rebekah had prepared the food, she dressed Jacob in Esau’s clothes and put the goatskins on his arms and neck to mimic Esau’s skin. She gave the food to Jacob and he went in to Isaac.

    • Jacob went to his father and when Isaac asked who he was, Jacob said, “I’m Esau. I’ve brought you the food you asked for. Eat so you can give me my blessing.”

    • Isaac was amazing at how quickly Esau had been able to prepare his meal and asked him how he had managed to find an animal in such a short time.

    • Jacob replied that the Lord had worked it out for him.

      • “Jacob could do this because his only concern is for what worked. Since he (rightly) knew God that wanted him to have the birthright, he justified any lie or sin he committed in the pursuit of the birthright and told himself that it was a stand for righteousness. Jacob probably used the promise and calling of God as an excuse for sin; he justified it to himself by saying his sinful conduct acted towards the fulfillment of the promise of God.” (Guzik)

    • Three times Isaac asked Jacob if he was really Esau and Jacob lied and said that he was. Isaac was confused because he recognized Jacob’s voice, but his hands were hairy like Esau’s and his clothing smelled like Esau.

    • Finally, Isaac ate the meal and told Jacob to come and kiss him. He then gave Jacob this blessing: My son smells like a field that the Lord has blessed. May God give you abundant grain harvests and bountiful new wine. May people serve you and nations bow to you. Be your brother’s master and may your brothers bow to you. Those who curse you will be cursed and those who bless you will be blessed.”

      • “Again, it is important to see it wasn’t the bestowal of these words upon Jacob that made him blessed. Instead, Jacob was blessed because God chose him long before (Genesis 26:23). What mattered was that God said the older shall serve the younger (back in Genesis 25:23), not that Isaac said be master over your brethren.” (Guzik)

      • Guzik also quotes Boice, “The point is that the sovereign will of God is done, in spite of our or any other person’s opposition to it.”
    • When Jacob had gone, Esau came back from his hunt and presented the meal he had prepared to his father, but Isaac said, “Who are you?”
    • When Esau told Isaac who he was, Isaac began to tremble uncontrollably and said, “Then who was it just brought me a meal that I ate and that I blessed? He will indeed receive the blessing!”
      • Guzik explains that even though Isaac tried to bless Esau instead of Jacob, once the blessing had been done, he knew that God’s will had been done and that the blessing would remain with who it had always been intended for, “Later, in Hebrews 11:20, it says By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come. Isaac’s faith was demonstrated after his own attempt to reprogram the will of God was destroyed and he said of Jacob, ‘and indeed he shall be blessed.’”

– When Esau heard this he was distraught and cried, “Bless me too father!”

      • “This was more spiritual concern than seen before in Esau, though even this was colored with material and political concern.” (Guzik)
    • But Isaac responded that Jacob had stolen his blessing.
    • Then Esau said, “The name Jacob fits him. He has cheated me twice- once out of my birthright and now out of my blessing. Have you saved anything for me?”
    • Isaac answered, “I’ve already made him a master over you, declared that his relatives will serve him, and blessed him with grain and wine. What else can I do for you?”
    • Esau wept saying, “Is there nothing left for me?”
    • Isaac said, “You will live away from the rich land and the dew from heaven. You will live by the sword and serve your brother, but when you rebel you will free yourself from his yoke around your neck.”
      • Guzik writes, “Barnhouse (and others) indicate the blessing Isaac bestowed on Esau actually said, “your dwelling shall be from the fatness of the earth.” That is, Esau and his descendants would be desert-dwellers…Esau would be under Jacob, but not forever. The promise also was that Esau would break his yoke from your neck – that he would not forever serve or be under his brother Jacob.”

2. Esau’s Anger

    • Esau was so angry that he decided after his father Isaac died, he would kill him.
      • “Revenge is a comforting thought to those who feel they have been wronged like Esau, but things would not work out as Esau had hoped or planned. He vowed to kill his brother after the death of his father, thinking it was soon (the days of mourning for my father are at hand), yet Isaac lived another 43 years.” (Guzik)
    • Rebekah heard of Esau’s plans and told Jacob to go to her brother Laban in Haran and stay with him a few days until Esau had calmed down. She said that she would send for him when it was safe for him to come home.
      • “Jacob was to stay with Laban and Rebekah’s family in Haran turned out to be more than 20 years. Yet, God will fulfill His purpose in all of it.” (Guzik)
    • So Rebekah said to Isaac, “These Hittite women make my life miserable. What good is living if Jacob marries one of these Hittite women?”
      • Rebekah manipulated Isaac into sending Jacob away, but Kidner makes this note, “Rebekah’s diplomatic victory was complete; but she would never see her son again.”
      • Guzik highlights what we should all learn from this sad account, “In this tragic story, everyone lost. Each of the man characters – Isaac, Rebekah, Esau, and Jacob – schemed and maneuvered in human wisdom and energy, rejecting God’s word and wisdom. God still accomplished His purpose, yet each of the participants suffered because of they insisted on working against God’s word and wisdom.”