Genesis Chapter Twenty-Seven

 

Read Genesis 27:1-5 – Isaac Sends Esau for Venison

 

v. 1And 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.”

 

            Years have passed and Isaac is now old and blind.  Esau is married, as we have already been told that in the previous verses apparently but still lives in the vicinity of his father.  Jacob is not married, not having taken a wife from the Canaanite peoples in the area where they live.  Isaac calls Esau to him for a special purpose.  He apparently either thinks that he is near death or just wants to pass on his inheritance, make the arrangements for his family while he still has the capability.

 

v. 2And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:”

 

            First he tells Esau that which we all know and sometimes must admit; our time here is short and Isaac thinks that his time is even shorter.

 

Proverbs 27:1 “BOAST NOT THYSELF OF TO MORROW; FOR THOU KNOWEST NOT WHAT A DAY MAY BRING FORTH.”

 

James 4:14-15Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.

 

v.3-4 “Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; 4And 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.”

 

            We’re told in Genesis 25:27 that Esau was “A CUNNING HUNTER, A MAN OF THE FIELD.”  So he was skilled in things that many men wish they were skilled but few really are in our current age.  Isaac wants him to harvest and bring him the savory meat of whatever animal that was available that would provide what is translated venison in our King James Version text.

Isaac is following his own heart and the customs of that time by preparing to pass on his formal blessing and inheritance to his oldest son Esau, but is that God’s wish?  Is that God’s purpose?  Be thinking about that as we continue with this chapter.

 

v.5And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.”

 

            Rebekah overhears Isaac giving these instructions to Esau and therefore knows what is about to happen.  Esau leaves to carry out his father’s instructions.

 

Read Genesis 27:6-17 – Rebekah and Jacob Make Preparation

 

v.6-7And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, 7Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.”

 

            Rebekah calls Jacob to her, tells him what Isaac is planning and begins to plan to keep Isaac from giving the patriarchal blessing to Esau.  During my lifetime I have heard teachers question the character of both Jacob and Rebekah because of their deception of Isaac.  While they did indeed deceive Isaac, did Rebekah do her husband harm in this matter or did she prevent him from doing something contrary to the will of God?  God’s explanation to Rebekah about the struggles of the two boys before they were born was that they would sire two nations who would be in conflict and that the elder, that is Esau, would serve the younger, Jacob.  We have also had a picture painted for us by the scripture that tells us that the character of Esau is not what would be expected or appropriate for him to be the patriarch of God’s chosen nation. 

We know that God does not condone the sins of deception, lying or any other sin.  However we also know that God allows man to sin and sometime uses man’s actions to accomplish his purpose.  So again we have mankind, Rebekah and Jacob, helping God just as Sarai tried to help God give Abram a son.  But in this case God lets the result of the deception stand allowing Jacob to continue and become the father of the Israelite nation where he did not allow Ishmael to acquire the patriarchal blessing as Abraham’s oldest son.

 

v.8 “Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.”

 

            So Rebekah gives Jacob instructions regarding what must be done.

 

v.9-10Go 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: 10And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.”

 

            She sends Jacob to get two kid goats from the flock which she will use to make the savory meat the Isaac loves.  Then before Esau can return with his offering Jacob will take it to his father that he may receive the blessing that Isaac intends to give to Esau.

 

v.11-12And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man: 12My 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.”

 

            Jacob sees a problem with this plan.  We remember that when Esau was born he was described as:

 

And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau.”  Genesis 25:25

 

Esau is a hairy man, described in this verse as being like a hairy garment or a garment with the fur or hair on the outside.  Jacob knows that Isaac, even though he is blind will not be fooled but will feel of Jacob’s skin, the deception will then be known and Jacob will be cursed rather than blessed.  This would be in harmony with the mind and nature of God because one of the laws given to Israel read:

 

Cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen.” Deuteronomy 27:18

 

v.13-14And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.  And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved.”

            Rebekah basically tells Jacob that whatever curse that may come from their deception of Isaac should be upon her, to go do what he’s been told to do.  This Jacob does and his mother prepares the dish that Isaac has requested.

 

v.15-16And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son: 16And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck:”

 

            Since Isaac is blind he cannot see but his other senses must be deceived as well.  Isaac can still feel and smell so clothes that belong to Esau must be used that will be familiar to Isaac.  Jacob is a “SMOOTH MAN” not at all hairy like Esau so this must also be overcome.  So Rebekah takes clothes that belongs to Esau puts them on Jacob and also takes the skins from the kid goats that were slaughtered and covers Jacobs hand and neck so that he will feel hairy like Esau.

 

v.17And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.”

 

            Jacob is now prepared so he takes the offering to his father, seeking his blessing.

 

Read Genesis 27:18-29 – Isaac Gives Jacob the Blessing

 

v.18And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son?”

 

            Isaac doesn’t expect Jacob and doesn’t expect Esau back this quickly so being blind he is not sure who is present.  He asks if it is his son and Jacob begins to tell his father a series of lies to persuade him that he is Esau and to receive the blessing that Isaac intends to give his brother.  What is it that God tells us about this kind of sin?

 

Proverbs 19:5 “A FALSE WITNESS SHALL NOT BE UNPUNISHED, AND he that SPEAKETH LIES SHALL NOT ESCAPE.”

 

It makes me wonder how much of what Jacob suffered in later years was as a result of his deception of his father here.

 

v.19And 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.”

 

            First he tells Isaac that he is Esau and that he has done what Isaac has asked him to do.  Therefore, Isaac should eat of the venison prepared, actually young goat as we know, and give him the blessing promised.

 

v.20And 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.”

 

            Isaac is suspicious.  So he asks how a source of venison could be found to quickly and generates another lie from the tongue of Jacob.  Isaac is told that God guided his quick success.

 

v. 21-22 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. 22And 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.”

 

            Isaac is still not convinced, the voice isn’t right; it is the voice of Jacob not the voice of Esau.  Consequently he tries another test; he feels of his son and due to the preparation by Rebekah feels the goat skins instead of the smooth skin of Jacob.

 

v.23-24And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him. 24And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.”

 

            The hairy hands, hands covered with goat skins, fool Isaac but not completely.  He blesses Jacob but continues to ask, are you really my son, Esau.  Jacob’s answer is another lie, yes I am.

 

v.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.”

 

            Isaac finally concedes to take the meat prepared for him.  His suspicions at set aside for the moment but he is not done testing this man before him as we will see in the next verses.

 

v.26-27And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. 27And 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:”

 

            Again the preparation by Rebekah serves Jacob well and serves to deceive Isaac.  While eating he has had some time to think about this situation and wants to perform another test.  He asks Jacob to kiss him and this brings Jacob close enough for Isaac to be able to exercise another sense that he has; the sense of smell.  But the garments are Esau’s and smell of the fields and Isaac is fooled and gives Jacob the blessings.

 

v.28-29Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: 29Let 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 secures Isaac’s blessing.  First he calls upon God to bless him with material wealth, the dew of heaven required to make crops grow, the fatness of the earth, the wealth that it produces in terms of corn and wine.  Then he gives him preeminence in the family, people will serve him, he is to be the patriarch of the family, and his mother’s sons will bow down to him.  Finally he pronounces the ultimate blessing found in many places in scripture, let those that curse him be cursed and those that bless him be blessed.

 

Read Genesis 27:30-40 – The Deception Revealed

 

v.30And 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.”

 

            The deception is about to be revealed.  Jacob has barely had time to leave Isaac when Esau appears with the result of his hunt and the meat that Isaac had requested.

 

v.31-32And 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. 32And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau.”

 

            Esau brings the dish requested to Isaac, tells him to “ARISE AND EAT” which Isaac has just done; so he’s confused.  He had convinced himself that the first man was Esau and now he’s learning that this was not true so he asks the obvious question.  Who are you?  Esau responds.

 

v.33And 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.”

 

            Isaac is trembling, whether from fear of the consequences of what has happened or from anger we’re not told.  He asks again, who or who are you, he wants confirmation.  Then he asks about the one who preceded Esau, the one who has already received the blessing of the patriarch as his successor.  Isaac’s blessing is like the blessings and commitments made by God that cannot be reversed.  Paul tells us:

 

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.” Romans 11:29

 

v.34-35And 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. 35And he said, Thy brother came with subtlety, and hath taken away thy blessing.”

 

            Esau, we’re told, cried with a bitter cry.  The Hebrew writer tells us that he could find no place of repentance, no way to undo what had been done:

 

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.” Hebrews 12:17

 

He asks Isaac to bless him also.  Esau sold his birthright but he doesn’t seem to remember it exactly the way it happened.

 

v.36And 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?”

 

            Esau is outraged and distraught.  First he claims that Jacob took away his birthright, forgetting that he despised it and sold it for a bowl of pottage:

 

Genesis 25:33-34And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 34Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”

 

Then he asks Isaac if he doesn’t have a blessing left that he could give him.

 

v.38And 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?”

 

            But Isaac answers him and says that he has given Jacob the right to rule over the family as its patriarch and lord over his brethren.  This blessing or lordship will last even down to the time of David when Edom, the descendants of Esau served David the king of Israel descended from Jacob (2 Samuel 8:14).   Isaac has blessed Jacob with all material blessings so what is left that he can give Esau?

 

v.38And 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.”

 

            Esau continues to beg for a blessing, something that Isaac has not already given his brother.  Again, as we noted earlier in Hebrews 12:17, he sought repentance with tears but it’s too late and he finds none.

 

v. 39-40And 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; 40And 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.”

 

            So Isaac provides Esau a blessing.  He shall prosper materially as well as Jacob.  But Esau and his descendants would live by the sword as a warlike people, frequently not knowing peace.  They would serve the descendants of Jacob but there would be times when their yoke would be broken and times when they would even have dominion over Israel.  In fact when we study the history of Judah, especially during the time of Jesus, Judea was ruled by the family of Herod and Herod was an Idumaean or an Edomite.  

 

Matthew 2:1 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,”

 

Thus the descendants of Esau did in fact rule the descendants of Israel during the New Testament period.

 

Read Genesis 27:41-46 – Esau Plans to Kill Jacob

 

v.41And 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.”

 

            As a result of losing both his birthright and the blessing of his father to Jacob, Esau hates Jacob.  He hates Jacob to the extent that when Isaac dies he plans to kill him and take by force the patriarchal rights and rule over the family just as he would have otherwise.  But he makes his plans known to the wrong people and doesn’t plan for the intervention of his mother and the providence of God.

 

v.42And 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.”

 

            Rebekah makes Jacob aware of the situation.  Esau has become just like the enemies of David that he describes in:

 

Psalms 64:5 “THEY ENCOURAGE THEMSELVES in AN EVIL MATTER: THEY COMMUNE OF LAYING SNARES PRIVILY; THEY SAY, WHO SHALL SEE THEM?”

 

v.43-45Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; 44And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away; 45Until 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?”

 

            When Rebekah calls Jacob to her to inform him of his brother’s plans she has a plan as well.  She wants Jacob to go to Haran to the house of her brother Laban and stay a few days.  We remember from our earlier study that Haran or Padanaram is 40 days journey away.  Consequently this sojourn will, of necessity, be much longer than just a few days.

 

v.46And 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 needs the agreement and blessing of Isaac to send Jacob to Haran so she approaches him but with a totally different reason than what is driving her decision.  As we had noted before Esau has married local Hittite women, descendants of Heth a son of Canaan, daughters of the land.  She wants Jacob to find a wife from among her kinfolk, just as Isaac did and this becomes her purpose for sending Jacob away.  She brings her proposal to Isaac.