Genesis 27:11-46 – Jacob and Esau
Genesis 27:11-46 – Jacob and Esau
Genesis 27:11-17 – While Jacob thought that the plan was just he had reservations. While he knew that the blessing belonged to him, he did not want his father to think him as one who deceives and be cursed instead of blessed if he is discovered. While the voices of the brothers might be similar their bodies were different.
Esau from birth was hairy, while Jacob was smooth. Rebekah was so confident that her plan would work that she immediately said that any curse would be upon her since this whole idea was hers. She also invokes her authority by commanding Jacob to do what she tells him. While she is fixing the goats she comes upon the idea of using their skins to give the appearance that Jacob was hairy. She places the skins in such a manner on Jacobs arm, hands and neck so that he will appear to be hairy when Isaac touches and embraces him.
She then had him wear Esau’s clothing so that the “aroma” would be apparent to Isaac as well. This all must have taken a good amount of time, and they could only hope that Esau would not be real successful in his hunting efforts. Jacob then properly outfitted with Esau’s clothing and with the food in his hand went into his father’s tent to receive the blessing.
Genesis 27:18-25 – Jacob comes in and probably tries to speak with the voice of Esau; Isaac by his response seems a little suspicious. He probably could smell the food, and he was expecting Esau but the voice didn’t sound right. Jacob using the name of the Lord tells his father that he was able to return so quickly because God has blessed him in his hunting. This is a classic case of using the Lord’s name in vain. It is using His name to further his own agenda, but Jacob will pay dearly for this in the years to come; in fact he will pay for it with heartache and misery for the rest of his life. Trying to confirm his doubts Isaac requests his son to draw near to him so that he might feel his hands.
Even after feeling him he asks the question are you really Esau? And Jacob lies that he is. Why is there no rebuke from God, either then or in the narrative, or later in Scripture? The only answer can be that the sin of Esau and Isaac was so great that their actions allowed God to remain silent so that the people who caused this scenario should be so treated.
We see a similar situation in Exodus 1:15-20, and in Joshua 2:3-6, when Rahab hid the spies and lied. There are other instances when Godly men and women broke commandments and were not rebuked or judged for it and in some cases actually blessed by it. We need to emphasize that these are exceptions and not the rule. In these cases there was a clear overriding mandate that allowed these breeches to occur in God’s law without rebuke.
Moreover in this case there were consequences to be reckoned with as a result of Rebekah and Jacob’s actions as we shall see. I think the answer is that when the motives for lying were not for personal gain but rather the furtherance of the God’s kingdom there are different outcomes.
The Hebrew midwives risked their own lives, and so too did Rahab. Rebekah and Jacob risked the wrath of her family for the sake of the clearly revealed will of God, but in the case of Rebekah there were serious consequences for her lack of faith in God’s promise that the blessing would come to Jacob and not Esau.
Genesis 27:26-29 – The blessing of Isaac does not include anything of a material nature; it is the spiritual blessing that is being given here, the promises of the continuation of the line of Abraham. Genesis 27:29 we have aspects of the Abrahamic formula found in Genesis 12:3. In giving this blessing to Esau, Isaac was going against the specific will of the Lord who said that the older would serve the younger in Genesis 25:23. But the blessing was passed to the right person even though Isaac was willfully doing what was wrong. It brings to mind the attempts of Baal to curse when he was to bless in Numbers 23:11-12.
Similarly the High Priest prophesied concerning the nature of the death of the Messiah without meaning to in John 11:49-52. This should serve as a reminder to us that nothing can thwart God’s will from being done and thus seek to align our will to God’s revealed will in His Word. The result was that the blessing did go to Jacob as God said it would, even though this was not Isaac’s will.
Genesis 27:30-33 – That God was allowing all of this to unfold seems apparent in the timing of the arrival of Esau. Just after Jacob leaves, the real Esau arrives with the food all prepared and ready to receive the birthright that he had sold to Jacob years earlier. Now that his father is ready to die, he wants all that he can get from him and his God. Esau must have been surprised at Isaac’s response to him with the question who are you?
We can surmise the impact of what Isaac had almost done hits him powerfully in Genesis 27:33 when we see him shudder as he realizes what has happened. The trembling of Isaac is described in the original Hebrew as a violent trembling. It is the same word that David uses in (Psalm 55:5) Fear and trembling come upon me; and horror has overwhelmed me.
He understands that his actions to bless the wrong son have caused this hoax to be happen. He realizes that his son Jacob has deceived him with the help of his wife, but realizes what the right thing was and confesses to Esau that the blessing shall be upon Jacob by saying; Ahe shall be blessed@, thus confirming knowingly what he did unknowingly. He had almost gone against the Lord and subverted the promises of Abraham his father, all because of his love for game and blind love of his ungodly son.
Genesis 27:34-40 – Esau is initially stunned by these events, but then starts to cry in great bitterness pleading with his father to bless him as well. It seemed reasonable and fair to nullify a blessing that was obtained through deception. But God’s ways are not man’s, and Isaac now knows that the blessing rightly belongs to Jacob. Esau in his anger now confesses that Jacob had the birthright but claims that it was taken from him. He fails to acknowledge that he sold it him, and that he despised the birthright as well. Like a child, who Esau is not, he blames Jacob for taking his blessing.
He uses Jacob’s name to come up with the description of a supplanter. This is not what the word means, it is literally heal grabber. He accuses Jacob of being a supplanter of his birthright and also of his blessing. It is interesting how some people get away with false definitions and they become embraced by others as true without thoughtful examination.
Crying, he begs his father for a blessing of some kind for himself. What is the heavenly response to Esau’s tears and anger? We find it in Hebrews 12:15-17. Isaac, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, prophecies concerning the future of Esau; Esau would dwell away from fertile and well watered ground.
This was fulfilled by his living in the region of Edom which is a very rugged and rocky area not suitable for farming. The descendants of Esau were the Edomites, who were known for their violence and cruelty. The story of Esau is alive and well today in the lives of many people raised in a godly home who sell their birthright to enjoy the pleasures and distractions of the world, and when they seek a blessing it is too late.
Genesis 27:41-46 – Filled with hate for Jacob, Esau begins to plan for the destruction of his brother when his father dies. These words are brought to the attention of Rebekah who once again comes up with a quick solution. She tells Jacob to go to her brother Laban and remain there until the anger of Esau wears off. She believes that his rage would be short lived and that Jacob would be able to return soon. Jacob however remains away from home for 20 years.
She never did see her son again, but her actions probably saved both son’s. Jacob’s life was spared from the wrath of Esau, and Esau’s life was spared by not having to be punished for the death of his brother. Rebekah in a sense proved to be correct in her thinking, because once Esau accumulates wealth he no longer wants to enact vengeance on his brother (Genesis 33). Genesis 27 ends not only with Rebekah distraught over the loss of her son but driven to the point of despair over the wives that Esau has.
The concern that Jacob might marry the wrong woman is still another reason to send Jacob away to Rebekah’s family. Isaac on his part should have sent one of his servants to find a wife for Esau and Jacob, just as his father did.