Out Foxed | Genesis 27

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World English Bible Genesis 27

1 When Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his elder son, and said to him, “My son?”

He said to him, “Here I am.”

2 He said, “See now, I am old. I don’t know the day of my death. 3 Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field, and take me venison. 4 Make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat, and that my soul may bless you before I die.”

5 Rebekah heard when Isaac spoke to Esau his son. Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it. 6 Rebekah spoke to Jacob her son, saying, “Behold, I heard your father speak to Esau your brother, saying, 7 ‘Bring me venison, and make me savory food, that I may eat, and bless you before Yahweh before my death.’ 8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command you. 9 Go now to the flock, and get me from there two good young goats. I will make them savory food for your father, such as he loves. 10 You shall bring it to your father, that he may eat, so that he may bless you before his death.”

11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. 12 What if my father touches me? I will seem to him as a deceiver, and I would bring a curse on myself, and not a blessing.”

13 His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son. Only obey my voice, and go get them for me.”

14 He went, and got them, and brought them to his mother. His mother made savory food, such as his father loved. 15 Rebekah took the good clothes of Esau, her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob, her younger son. 16 She put the skins of the young goats on his hands, and on the smooth of his neck. 17 She gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.

18 He came to his father, and said, “My father?”

He said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?”

19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done what you asked me to do. Please arise, sit and eat of my venison, that your soul may bless me.”

20 Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?”

He said, “Because Yahweh your God gave me success.”

21 Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come near, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.”

22 Jacob went near to Isaac his father. He felt him, and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 He didn’t recognize him, because his hands were hairy, like his brother, Esau’s hands. So he blessed him.24 He said, “Are you really my son Esau?”

He said, “I am.”

25 He said, “Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son’s venison, that my soul may bless you.”

He brought it near to him, and he ate. He brought him wine, and he drank. 26 His father Isaac said to him, “Come near now, and kiss me, my son.” 27 He came near, and kissed him. He smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him, and said,

“Behold, the smell of my son

is as the smell of a field which Yahweh has blessed.

28 God give you of the dew of the sky,

of the fatness of the earth,

and plenty of grain and new wine.

29 Let peoples serve you,

and nations bow down to you.

Be lord over your brothers.

Let your mother’s sons bow down to you.

Cursed be everyone who curses you.

Blessed be everyone who blesses you.”

30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had just gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31 He also made savory food, and brought it to his father. He said to his father, “Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that your soul may bless me.”

32 Isaac his father said to him, “Who are you?”

He said, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.”

33 Isaac trembled violently, and said, “Who, then, is he who has taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before you came, and have blessed him? Yes, he will be blessed.”

34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceeding great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, my father.”

35 He said, “Your brother came with deceit, and has taken away your blessing.”

36 He said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright. See, now he has taken away my blessing.” He said, “Haven’t you reserved a blessing for me?”

37 Isaac answered Esau, “Behold, I have made him your lord, and all his brothers have I given to him for servants. With grain and new wine have I sustained him. What then will I do for you, my son?”

38 Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, my father.” Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.

39 Isaac his father answered him,

“Behold, of the fatness of the earth will be your dwelling,

and of the dew of the sky from above.

40 By your sword will you live, and you will serve your brother.

It will happen, when you will break loose,

that you shall shake his yoke from off your neck.”

41 Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him. Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand. Then I will kill my brother Jacob.”

42 The words of Esau, her elder son, were told to Rebekah. She sent and called Jacob, her younger son, and said to him, “Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you. 43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban, my brother, in Haran. 44 Stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away; 45 until your brother’s anger turn away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will send, and get you from there. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?”

46 Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth. If Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these, of the daughters of the land, what good will my life do me?”

Thoughts for the day

What a complicated life!  Esau according to God’s plan revealed in a chapter or two back, is to be secondary to Jacob.  Esau sold his birth right to Jacob over some stew. From this we know is Jacob is shrewd, and Esau a little bit dull in the head. Going hunting seems to be a bad idea. Every time Esau gets back from hunting, his family has relieved him of something precious; due to ill will toward him on their part.  With that thought, Rebekah no longer respects Esau after he took that Hittite woman for a wife. In her mind this action was like treason. Here we are at the end of Isaac’s life cycle and it is time for a ritual blessing ceremony that sets up the official pecking order of the boys. Esau receives his instructions to go out, kill a deer, and bring it back for Isaac to eat, and upon eating the deer Isaac will bless Esau.

As soon as Esau was out for the hunt, Rebekah set her plan in to motion to prevent this traitor from inheriting the primary position in the family. Rebekah summoned Jacob to kill a goat and cook it up to resemble venison. Jacob also makes some clothing changes so that he would feel and smell like Esau.  Esau is mostly, if not completely blind, so smell, touch, and the food were the things Rebekah altered in order to pass off Jacob as Esau.

Jacob presents himself to Isaac as Esau. Isaac notices that Esau is back too soon, but accepts the excuse of a blessed hunt. Isaac, notices that Esau sounds just like Jacob, and has him come to him so he can feel him. Jacob feels like Esau to Isaac. Then they let Isaac eat the goat meat while telling him it is deer.  Goat is rather tough, and rather mild in flavor, compared to deer. Deer is rather gamy, it would seem odd that a man who has been eating both from birth would not notice the difference.  There are a few possibilities as to why Jacob could pull this off. One such possibility is that as we get old, our ability to taste is severely dulled and perhaps; old men can’t tell crab meat from prime rib in their old age, and good meat should not be wasted on the very old.  Another thought, is that deer in the middle east have a very different flavor, and texture than the deer we eat here in the western hemisphere, and they truly taste like goat. If that is the case, why would they hunt? One last thought; Isaac is in on this ruse undenounced to Jacob, and even Rebekah. After all, he recognized Jacobs voice and likely Jacob’s mannerisms as well.

Could Isaac knowing the prophecy of God from when the boys were in womb, just let this play itself out? Sarah tried to help God when he said Abraham would father a great nation, and gave Abraham Hagar to make God’s prophesy come true, since Sarah had no children. Isaac and Rebekah were very disappointed in Esau for his choices in a wife, and saw how he traded his birth right for stew. There were other undocumented faux-pas as well, I am sure.  Esau being that dull, probably was not ready to command a nation and run the family business.  A lie for a seemly good reason, has always been in the tool box with this family.

Isaac goes forward with the confirmation of Esau’s identity though he must have been quite suspicious, since he takes the time to smell, touch and even kiss Jacob, to make sure he is not Jacob; and is in fact Esau. Isaac seems quite comfortable that he has the right boy and performs the blessing ritual. The history of Isaac does not present to us a dull man, but a shrewd business man, that could not easily be fooled. Could Isaac have gone to the trouble of fooling both Rebekah and Jacob for reasons of his own? Was Isaac that dull in his old age? It seems if he was sharp enough to do the blessing ceremony, he would have been sharp enough tell his sons apart; given the evidence before him.

When Esau gets back with the real Venison and returns to Isaac,” 33 Isaac trembled violently, and said, “Who, then, is he who has taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before you came, and have blessed him? Yes, he will be blessed.””   Isaac knew full well Jacob had stolen the blessing” 5 He said, “Your brother came with deceit, and has taken away your blessing”. Blessings from fathers in this fashion are not something we have seen before in the Bible, and certainly not hotly contested blessings such as this.  Was Isaac trembling violently because he had been fooled? Was it because he knew he was in the wrong?  Was it because he now had to deal with a really angry Esau?

Esau did not ask Isaac to retract the blessing he gave to Jacob, but asked that he too be blessed just as his brother was. Isaac flatly refuses. Isaac then tells Esau Jacob has been made Lord over Esau.  That had to have made Esau’s flesh feel like fire, and Esau would have had to be developing some real anger management issues about now. With Isaac, Esau remains calm and asks him for whatever blessing he has left.  Even if Isaac did want Esau to get the prime blessing of the house, at this point, it had to make his heart ache just a little for Esau.  Isaac, could only tell him that for a time he will serve Jacob, but one day, he will break free and live separately.

Needless to say, Esau was not happy. Rather than lying about things, people knew what Esau was thinking, and what he was thinking.  Rebekah decided to send Jacob to Laban’s house for safe keeping, as Esau had malice on his mind.  Rebekah tells Isaac she sent Jacob to Laban’s house to get a wife less he take Hittite or worse from here.

This is quite a chapter, often atheist use the Goat / Deer flavor issue as a proof that the bible itself has issues with the truth.  The problem is the bible is an old book, and we try to shoehorn our own logic into the littlest details. As people living in the western hemisphere where we are looking for only the proof we want to see. We only have our current modern culture to compare the bible passages to. It can be difficult to prove some details right or wrong on a straight read, we have to look at historical evidence in understanding some passages. Considering, that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, up to somewhere where it says he died. We have to assume that common knowledge details may have been left out of the text. That common knowledge faded with time, cultural, and geographic distance from where the event took place. Does this negate the validity of the bible? Absolutely not!

The main points, are not lost! Consider this story for instance, God said the younger child would rule over the older child, and that they would struggle for pole position; even in the womb. This story is a continuation of that story, all of Isaac’s life what God said about these boys came to pass. Today, we see the final blessing  naming  the younger boy the head of the family and the family business. Just as God said would happen. Sure we are left with some questions, about the goat verses deer flavor, how a man who knew his sons could be deceived in this manner? Was Isaac even deceived at all?  What matters here, is we see God’s plan working it self out.

Have a wonderful day… It is a great comfort that God can fulfill his promises even with our help.

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