Isaac sends Esau for venison. (Verse 1-5.)
Rebekah teaches Jacob to obtain the blessing. (Verse 6-17.)
Jacob, pretending to be Esau, obtains the blessing. (Verse 18-29.)
Isaac’s fear, Esau’s importunity. (Verse 30-40.)
Esau threatens Jacob’s life, Rebekah sends Jacob away. (Verse 41-46.)
1 And 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.
[Gen 48:10, 1st Sam 3:2, Eccl 12:3]
2 And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:
[Prov 27:1, James 4:14]
3 Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison;
4 And 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.
[Gen 27:27, Gen 48:9, Gen 49:28, Deut 33:1, Heb 11:20]
5 And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and tbring it.
“Rebekah heard…” – Rebekah was not exactly the model mother; she taught her son how to lie and deceive (vs. 9,16), she acted by sight not trusting the promise of 25:23 and winds up never seeing her son again. Rebekah is busy snooping instead of being the mother God wanted her to be!
6 And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying,
7 Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.
8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.
“obey my voice” – should children obey their parents when they are told to disobey God? This is a difficult question and one answer that covers every situation and every age group is impossible to arrive at. The best answer however is found in Ephesians 6:1 where the command to obey our parents is qualified by the phrase “in the Lord.”
9 Go 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:
10 And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.
11 And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man:
Satan tries a new trick with Jacob in aligning himself with him to deceive his brother. He knew Jacob was the seed and that he would receive the blessing somehow, so Satan thought that God may judge Jacob for his method of obtaining the birthright and blessing, and possibly he would lose both of them to Esau.
12 My 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.
13 And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.
[Gen 43:9, 1st Sam 25:24, 2nd Sam 14:9]
14 And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved.
15 And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son:
16 And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck:
17 And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
What a twisted plan Rebekah weaves to perfection, but while she may have gotten the initial results she wanted it would bring about another problem, Esau’s anger.
18 And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son?
19 And 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.
[1st Kings 13:18, 1st Kings 14:2]
20 And 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.
21 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.
“thy God” – Jacob was not yet a believer in the Lord
22 And 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.
23 And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau’s hands: so he blessed him.
Isaac “felt” the truth and was DECEIVED! All too often today Christians trust in their feelings and experiences rather than in the word of God. Generally speaking, this is one of the great errors of the charismatic movement and many of the mainline denominations; God’s written word SHOULD always take precedence over anyone’s feelings, visions, revelations, opinions, or perceptions of the truth – instead however, many accept as truth what they feel to be true regardless of what the Bible says. The Mormon missionaries who come knocking on your door will urge you to read the book of Mormon and pray that if it is true you will feel the “burning in your bosom.” The devil is all too willing to accommodate you with such a feeling when all you had to do in the first place was to compare the book of Mormon with the Bible and the errors would have been easy to see. Many today are seeking various experiences that the Bible does not promise them; instead they should be walking by FAITH, not by SIGHT or FEELINGS!
24 And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.
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.
26 And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son.
27 And 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:
[Gen 27:4, Gen 48:9, Gen 49:28, Deut 33:1, Heb 11:20]
28 Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
29 Let 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.
Isaac made all Esau (the elder) servant to Jacob – note vs. 37
Remember Jacob had already secured the birthright from Esau who despised it as scripture records and now he has received his father’s blessing. The way in which these events occurred has angered Esau’s descendants until this very day.
The way in which he went about acquiring them was not worth the trouble it caused. God had already planned to give the blessings to him in the first place.
30 And 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.
31 And 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.
32 And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau.
33 And 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.
34 And 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.
35 And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.
36 And 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?
[Jacob = heel catcher, supplanter – from the nature of Jacob’s birth in Gen 25:26]
37 And 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?
[2nd Sam 8:14]
38 And 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.
39 And 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;
40 And 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.
[2 Kings 8:20]
These words did not help calm Esau, only to further enrage him. It would not be until a long period of time went by that Esau’s anger would subside.
41 And 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.
“days of mourning….” – when Isaac finally died, Esau intended to kill his brother Jacob.
42 And 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.
43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran;
44 And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother’s fury turn away;
45 Until 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?
“that which thou hast done to him” – note how Rebekah was not quite as quick to take the blame now that the deed had been done as she was before in verse 13.
46 And 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?
[Gen 10:15, Gen 23:3, Gen 25:10, Gen 49:32, 1st Chron 1:13]
Rebekah wanted to be sure that Jacob did not marry any of the local heathen girls as Esau had done – this also made for a convenient excuse to get Jacob away from the wrath of Esau. – “weary of life…” – note the strife that can be caused in a family when the children marry spouses that are not approved of by the parents. Though there are obviously many different factors to take into account, generally speaking a child is much safer to listen to his parents’ wise advice on his choice of a mate.
Heth was the son of Canaan and he sold Abraham a cave in a field to bury Sarah his wife. This cave would later have Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah buried in it.
Rebekah loved her son, but honesty would have been a better policy with her husband and because Jacob went along with the charade he too was chastised by God.
Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.
Verse 1-5 – The promises of the Messiah, and of the land of Canaan, had come down to Isaac. Isaac being now about 135 years of age, and his sons about 75, and not duly considering the Divine word concerning his two sons, that the elder should serve the younger, resolved to put all the honour and power that were in the promise, upon Esau his eldest son. We are very apt to take measures rather from our own reason than from Divine revelation, and thereby often miss our way.
Verse 6-17 – Rebekah knew that the blessing was intended for Jacob, and expected he would have it. But she wronged Isaac by putting a cheat on him; she wronged Jacob by tempting him to wickedness. She put a stumbling-block in Esau’s way, and gave him a pretext for hatred to Jacob and to religion. All were to be blamed. It was one of those crooked measures often adopted to further the Divine promises; as if the end would justify, or excuse wrong means. Thus many have acted wrong, under the idea of being useful in promoting the cause of Christ. The answer to all such things is that which God addressed to Abraham, I am God Almighty; walk before me and be thou perfect. And it was a very rash speech of Rebekah, “Upon me be thy curse, my son.” Christ has borne the curse of the law for all who take upon them the yoke of the command, the command of the gospel. But it is too daring for any creature to say, Upon me be thy curse.
Verse 18-29 – Jacob, with some difficulty, gained his point, and got the blessing. This blessing is in very general terms. No mention is made of the distinguishing mercies in the covenant with Abraham. This might be owing to Isaac having Esau in his mind, though it was Jacob who was before him. He could not be ignorant how Esau had despised the best things. Moreover, his attachment to Esau, so as to disregard the mind of God, must have greatly weakened his own faith in these things. It might therefore be expected, that leanness would attend his blessing, agreeing with the state of his mind.
Verse 30-40 – When Esau understood that Jacob had got the blessing, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry. The day is coming, when those that now make light of the blessings of the covenant, and sell their title to spiritual blessings for that which is of no value, will, in vain, ask urgently for them. Isaac, when made sensible of the deceit practised on him, trembled exceedingly. Those who follow the choice of their own affections, rather than the Divine will, get themselves into perplexity. But he soon recovers, and confirms the blessing he had given to Jacob, saying, I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed. Those who part with their wisdom and grace, their faith and a good conscience, for the honours, wealth, or pleasures of this world, however they feign a zeal for the blessing, have judged themselves unworthy of it, and their doom shall be accordingly. A common blessing was bestowed upon Esau. This he desired. Faint desires of happiness, without right choice of the end, and right use of the means, deceive many unto their own ruin. Multitudes go to hell with their mouths full of good wishes. The great difference is, that there is nothing in Esau’s blessing which points at Christ; and without that, the fatness of the earth, and the plunder of the field, will stand in little stead. Thus Isaac, by faith, blessed both his sons, according as their lot should be.
Verse 41-46 – Esau bore malice to Jacob on account of the blessing he had obtained. Thus he went in the way of Cain, who slew his brother, because he gained that acceptance with God of which he had rendered himself unworthy. Esau aimed to prevent Jacob or his seed from having the dominion, by taking away his life. Men may fret at God’s counsels, but cannot change them. To prevent mischief, Rebekah warned Jacob of his danger, and advised him to withdraw for his safety. We must not presume too far upon the wisdom and resolution, even of the most hopeful and promising children; but care must be taken to keep them out of the way of evil. When reading this chapter, we should not fail to observe, that we must not follow even the best of men further than they act according to the law of God. We must not do evil that good may come. And though God overruled the bad actions recorded in this chapter, to fulfil his purposes, yet we see his judgment of them, in the painful consequences to all the parties concerned. It was the peculiar privilege and advantage of Jacob to convey these spiritual blessings to all nations. The Christ, the Saviour of the world, was to be born of some one family; and Jacob’s was preferred to Esau’s, out of the good pleasure of Almighty God, who is certainly the best judge of what is fit, and has an undoubted right to dispense his favours as he sees proper, Romans 9:12-15.