Home > Bible Journal > January 23rd, Genesis 27:1-28:9, Jacob steals Esau’s blessing

January 23rd, Genesis 27:1-28:9, Jacob steals Esau’s blessing

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Sibling rivalry can get rather nasty. As we saw with Cain and Abel, a little jealousy can go a long towards creating enmity between brothers. Jacob already tricked Esau out of his birthright, but now he also deceives Isaac to steal Esau’s blessing. As you might imagine, Esau is none too pleased about this.

Genesis 27 tells us that when Isaac was old and his eyes were weak, he called for Esau his older son to hunt some wild game for him. Then he would give Esau his blessing before he died.

Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac told Esau this. So she said to her son Jacob to listen to her. Bring two young choice goats from the flock, so she could prepare it the way Isaac liked it. Then Jacob would receive Esau’s blessing from Isaac.

Of course, Jacob noted that his skin was smooth while his brother Esau had hairy skin. What if is father touched him, wouldn’t he discover the deceit and curse him instead?

Rebekah was steadfast and remained adamant that Jacob should just go do what she said, and let any curse fall upon her instead. So Jacob did so, and his mother prepared the goats just the way his father like it. Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her son and put them on her younger son Jacob. She then covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with goatskins. Then she handed Jacob the tasty food and bread she had made.

Jacob went up to Isaac to offer the food. When Isaac asked who was there, Jacob replied that it was Esau his firstborn.

Genesis 27:20 says
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.”

Isaac touched Jacob, and even declared that the voice was that of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau. Was it really Esau?

I am, his son replied. So Isaac told his son to bring him some game to eat so that he may give him his blessing. His son complied, bringing him some wine to drink.

Then his father commanded him to come and kiss him. When Jacob went to kiss him, Isaac caught the smell of his clothes and blessed him. And so the nations and all his relatives would serve him.

After Isaac finished blessing him and Jacob had scarcely left, his brother Esau came in from hunting. Not realizing his father had been tricked, Esau asked for a blessing. Isaac was confused.

Esau cried out that he should have a blessing, too. So Isaac answered him.

Genesis 27:39-40 says:
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.”

Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing stolen from him. He said he would kill Jacob after the days of mourning for their father.

When Rebekah was heard of this, she implored her son Jacob to flee to her brother Laban in Haran. Stay there until Esau’s anger subsides. When his brother is no longer angry, then she would send for him to return. Why should she lose both of her sons in one day. [Ed note: I think we can surmise that Rebekah knew the story of Cain and Abel.]

Then Rebekah said to Isaac that she was disgusted by Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the Canaanite women, her life would not be worth living.

So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. He commanded him not to marry a Canaanite woman. Instead, go to Paddan Aram to the house of Rebekah’s father Bethuel. Take yourself a wife there from the daughters of Laban, his uncle. May Abraham’s covenant extend to Jacob. And so Isaac sent Jacob on his way.

Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife there, with the command not to marry a Canaanite woman, and that Jacob had obeyed his parents. Esau then realized how displeasing Canaanite women were to his mother and father, so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael the son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.

[Ed note: At this time, the Chronological Bible Study skips ahead to Genesis 36 to recount Esau’s line, which would eventually lead to the kingdom of Edom. It tells us the author of Genesis often summarizes the life and descendants of a person with whom God does not renew his covenant after recording the account of the one who does inherit Abraham’s covenant. In the canonical order of Genesis, Esau’s account comes after Jacob’s story and right before Joseph’s. However, in terms of chronology, many of the events in Esau’s life takes place during Jacob’s life.]

In the Genesis account, there are bunch of names. Esau married so and so, daughter of so and so and granddaughter of so and so. What’s important to note is that Esau took all his wives and sons and daughters and livestock and goods he acquired in Canaan and moved to a land some distance from his brother Jacob. Their possessions had grown so great that they could not remain together, for the land could not support both of their livestock. So Esau, that is Edom, settled in the hill country of Seir.

Then Genesis 36 continues the account of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir.

One of Esau’s sons was named Eliphaz, which makes you wonder if that is the same Eliphaz the Temanite who was Job’s friend. The first named son of Eliphaz is Teman, so it’s quite possible.

Other than that, Esau’s line leads to the chiefs and kings of Edom.

Questions: Have you ever deceived your parents? Has one of your parents help you deceive the other parent?

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