30 After Isaac finished blessing him, and Jacob had scarcely left his father’s presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. 31 He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, “My father, please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”
32 His father Isaac asked him, “Who are you?”
“I am your son,” he answered, “your firstborn, Esau.”
33 Isaac trembled violently and said, “Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him—and indeed he will be blessed!”
34 When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me—me too, my father!”
35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing.”
36 Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?”
37 Isaac answered Esau, “I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?”
38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!” Then Esau wept aloud.
39 His father Isaac answered him,
“Your dwelling will be
away from the earth’s richness,
away from the dew of heaven above.
40 You will live by the sword
and you will serve your brother.
But when you grow restless,
you will throw his yoke
from off your neck.”
41 Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”
42 When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is planning to avenge himself by killing you. 43 Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Harran. 44 Stay with him for a while until your brother’s fury subsides. 45 When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I’ll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”
46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living.”
(Genesis 27:30-46 NIV)
From our last time together, we saw Rebekah and Jacob plot to deceitfully take the eldest son’s blessing from Esau. In today’s text, we see the aftermath of that treachery.
Jacob had just barely finished receiving his father Isaac’s blessing when Esau shows up with his meal for his father, looking forward to receiving his father’s blessing. While Esau had not always pleased his parents (remember the two Canaanite wives he married that caused grief to both Isaac and Rebekah?), this time he had dutifully obeyed his father and looked forward to the promised reward, his father’s blessing.
When Isaac realizes what has happened, he shook with anger, knowing that he had been deceived. Isaac essentially tells Esau that he can’t take back his blessing on Jacob – what he has said, he has said.
Esau expresses his grief and asks Isaac to bless him as well. Isaac finally offers Esau some words, basically the opposite of what he had said to Jacob. While the words were likely meant to counteract the blessing given to Jacob, they ended up being more of a curse than a blessing.
Rather than forgiving his father and brother and mother, Esau holds unforgiveness in his heart and vows to get even with his brother after his father dies. Sounds something like the sibling rivalry of Cain and Abel, doesn’t it?
The drama escalates as someone tells Rebekah what they heard Esau saying about getting his revenge on Jacob. Rebekah sends for Jacob and tells him to flee to he brother’s house until Esau’s rage subsides.
Notice that Rebekah sheds any ownership of the plot and the aftermath of what happened. In verse 45, she puts the responsibility and guilt of the deceit back on Jacob:
“When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him…”
Rebekah then crafts another story to cover up the first treachery. She goes to Isaac and complains bitterly about Esau’s foreign wives, and the possibility of Jacob marrying a Canaanite woman and bringing even more grief to the family.
Little did Rebekah know what she was asking for when she sent Jacob away, and that it would be 20-plus years before she would see him again.
May we speak the truth in love in all our relationships.
May we not think that we need to intervene and play “God” to bring about what He has promised – may we learn to walk in step with Him and receive His blessings in His time and in His way.