27 When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.”
“Here I am,” he answered.
2 Isaac said, “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. 3 Now then, get your equipment—your quiver and bow—and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. 4 Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”
5 Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the Lord before I die.’ 8 Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: 9 Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. 10 Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies.”
11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man while I have smooth skin. 12 What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing.”
13 His mother said to him, “My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me.”
14 So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it. 15 Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. 16 She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. 17 Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made.
18 He went to his father and said, “My father.”
“Yes, my son,” he answered. “Who is it?”
19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”
20 Isaac asked his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?”
“The Lord your God gave me success,” he replied.
21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not.”
22 Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he proceeded to bless him. 24 “Are you really my son Esau?” he asked.
“I am,” he replied.
25 Then he said, “My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing.”
Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here, my son, and kiss me.”
27 So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said,
“Ah, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a field
that the Lord has blessed.
28 May God give you heaven’s dew
and earth’s richness—
an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you
and peoples bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may the sons of your mother bow down to you.
May those who curse you be cursed
and those who bless you be blessed.”
(Genesis 27:1-29 NIV)
As we remember several sessions ago to Chapter 25, we saw the struggle between Jacob and Esau begin before they were born, while still in their mother’s womb. The struggle continued after they were born, with their parents Isaac and Rebekah picking favorites.
Fast forward many years, and Isaac is now old and blind. Isaac calls for his oldest son Esau in order to give him the birthright (first-born son) blessing. When the father passed away, the first-born son had the responsibility of caring for all the people in the extended family.
While the blessing of the first-born son was certainly understandable given the added responsibilities that son would soon inherit, I wonder why Isaac did not call all his children together to bless them. We have a hint that there were other children beyond Esau and Jacob, based on Isaac’s prayer (in particular, verse 29).
Isaac sends Esau out to hunt wild game and bring him a savory meal of the resultant hunt. There was no spiritual or historical prerequisite of eating a meal before the giving of a blessing, so why did Isaac instruct Esau to go hunting and prepare a wild game dinner for him?
One thought is that Isaac was looking for a something to renew his love for Isaac. At the end of Chapter 26, Moses noted that Esau brought much grief to both Isaac and Rebekah by marrying two foreign women. The only connection that Isaac seemed to have with Esau was their shared love for the taste of wild game.
So the dysfunction of the family continues. When Isaac called Esau in and told him of his intention to bless Esau, note that Esau did not disclose the fact that he had sold his birthright to his brother Jacob.
We see the picking of favorites and divided loyalties still in effect after all these years (v. 5 – his son Esau; v. 6 – her son Jacob). Rebekah likely remembered what the Lord had told her when she inquired about the struggle going on inside her before the boys were born. Instead of inquiring of the Lord again on how he might keep His promise of the younger son being blessed over the older son, Rebekah decided to take matters into her own hands and concocted a scheme to trick her husband into blessing Jacob rather than Esau.
When Rebekah reveals her plan to Jacob, notice that there was no hesitancy to participate in the plot because it was wrong. Jacob’s only concern was the negative consequences if he got caught.
So the plot was hatched and the repeated lies and deception began. Notice that Jacob’s faith was not his own. When Isaac questioned how Esau was able to obtain the wild game so fast, Jacob responded that “the Lord your God” (v. 20) helped him.
Note that Isaac had his doubts about whether he was talking to Esau or Jacob. Isaac did not depend on the Lord, nor did he inquire of his wife Rebekah as to the authenticity of the son to whom he was speaking. Instead, Isaac leaned on his own empirical evidence (touch and smell) to determine whom he was about to bless.
Isaac then gave his blessing to Jacob who was disguised as Esau. While Issac’s blessing had a mention of the Lord in it, the blessing was primarily material in nature and substance. God’s blessing on Abraham and Isaac was primarily spiritual in nature, leaving a family legacy that would bless the world for generations to come.
This story has many negative lessons to be learned, especially the doing of evil (sin) to try to bring about good. The ends never justify the means. While God can redeem any sin for His glory, that does not give us the license to do what we want. There will be consequences, as we will find out in the second half of Chapter 27.
We’ll see the rest of the story unfold in our next time together.