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Genesis 27

27
Jacob Cheats Esau out of the Blessing
1 When#tn The clause begins with the temporal indicator (“and it happened”), making it subordinate to the main clause that follows later in the sentence. Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he was almost blind,#tn Heb “and his eyes were weak from seeing.” he called his older#tn Heb “greater” (in terms of age). son Esau and said to him, “My son!” “Here I am!” Esau#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Esau) is specified in the translation for clarity. replied. 2 Isaac#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Isaac) is specified in the translation for clarity. said, “Since#tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) here introduces a logically foundational statement, upon which the coming instruction will be based. I am so old, I could die at any time.#tn Heb “I do not know the day of my death.” 3 Therefore, take your weapons – your quiver and your bow – and go out into the open fields and hunt down some wild game#tn The Hebrew word is to be spelled either צַיִד (tsayid) following the marginal reading (Qere), or צֵידָה (tsedah) following the consonantal text (Kethib). Either way it is from the same root as the imperative צוּדָה (tsudah, “hunt down”). for me. 4 Then prepare for me some tasty food, the kind I love, and bring it to me. Then#tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with the prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result. I will eat it so that I may bless you#tn Heb “so that my soul may bless you.” The use of נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) as the subject emphasizes that the blessing will be made with all Isaac’s desire and vitality. The conjunction “so that” closely relates the meal to the blessing, suggesting that this will be a ritual meal in conjunction with the giving of a formal blessing. before I die.”
5 Now Rebekah had been listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau.#tn The disjunctive clause (introduced by a conjunction with the subject, followed by the predicate) here introduces a new scene in the story. When Esau went out to the open fields to hunt down some wild game and bring it back,#tc The LXX adds here “to his father,” which may have been accidentally omitted in the MT. 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father tell your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare for me some tasty food. Then I will eat#tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with the prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result. it and bless you#tn The cohortative, with the prefixed conjunction, also expresses logical sequence. See vv. 4, 19, 27. in the presence of the Lord#tn In her report to Jacob, Rebekah plays down Isaac’s strong desire to bless Esau by leaving out נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”), but by adding the phrase “in the presence of the Lord,” she stresses how serious this matter is. before I die.’ 8 Now then, my son, do#tn Heb “listen to my voice.” The Hebrew idiom means “to comply; to obey.” exactly what I tell you!#tn Heb “to that which I am commanding you.” 9 Go to the flock and get me two of the best young goats. I’ll prepare#tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with the prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result. them in a tasty way for your father, just the way he loves them. 10 Then you will take#tn The form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive. It carries forward the tone of instruction initiated by the command to “go…and get” in the preceding verse. it to your father. Thus he will eat it#tn The form is the perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive; it carries the future nuance of the preceding verbs of instruction, but by switching the subject to Jacob, indicates the expected result of the subterfuge. and#tn Heb “so that.” The conjunction indicates purpose or result. bless you before he dies.”
11 “But Esau my brother is a hairy man,” Jacob protested to his mother Rebekah, “and I have smooth skin!#tn Heb “And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, ‘Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, but I am a smooth [skinned] man.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons. 12 My father may touch me! Then he’ll think I’m mocking him#tn Heb “Perhaps my father will feel me and I will be in his eyes like a mocker.” The Hebrew expression “I will be in his eyes like” means “I would appear to him as.” and I’ll bring a curse on myself instead of a blessing.” 13 So his mother told him, “Any curse against you will fall on me,#tn Heb “upon me your curse.” my son! Just obey me!#tn Heb “only listen to my voice.” Go and get them for me!”
14 So he went and got the goats#tn The words “the goats” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. and brought them to his mother. She#tn Heb “his mother.” This has been replaced by the pronoun “she” in the translation for stylistic reasons. prepared some tasty food, just the way his father loved it. 15 Then Rebekah took her older son Esau’s best clothes, which she had with her in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. 16 She put the skins of the young goats#tn In the Hebrew text the object (“the skins of the young goats”) precedes the verb. The disjunctive clause draws attention to this key element in the subterfuge. on his hands#tn The word “hands” probably includes the forearms here. How the skins were attached is not specified in the Hebrew text; cf. NLT “she made him a pair of gloves.” and the smooth part of his neck. 17 Then she handed#tn Heb “gave…into the hand of.” the tasty food and the bread she had made to her son Jacob.
18 He went to his father and said, “My father!” Isaac#tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity. replied, “Here I am. Which are you, my son?”#sn Which are you, my son? Isaac’s first question shows that the deception is going to require more subterfuge than Rebekah had anticipated. Jacob will have to pull off the deceit. 19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau, your firstborn. I’ve done as you told me. Now sit up#tn Heb “get up and sit.” This may mean simply “sit up,” or it may indicate that he was to get up from his couch and sit at a table. and eat some of my wild game so that you can bless me.”#tn Heb “so that your soul may bless me.” These words, though not reported by Rebekah to Jacob (see v. 7) accurately reflect what Isaac actually said to Esau (see v. 4). Perhaps Jacob knew more than Rebekah realized, but it is more likely that this was an idiom for sincere blessing with which Jacob was familiar. At any rate, his use of the precise wording was a nice, convincing touch. 20 But Isaac asked his son, “How in the world#tn Heb “What is this?” The enclitic pronoun “this” adds emphasis to the question, which is comparable to the English rhetorical question, “How in the world?” did you find it so quickly,#tn Heb “you hastened to find.” In translation the infinitive becomes the main verb and the first verb becomes adverbial. my son?” “Because the Lord your God brought it to me,”#tn Heb “caused to meet before me.” he replied.#tn Heb “and he said, ‘Because the Lord your God….’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons. 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you,#tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result. my son, and know for certain if you really are my son Esau.”#tn Heb “Are you this one, Esau, my son, or not?” On the use of the interrogative particle here, see BDB 210 s.v. הֲ. 22 So Jacob went over to his father Isaac, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s.” 23 He did not recognize him because his hands were hairy, like his brother Esau’s hands. So Isaac blessed Jacob.#tn Heb “and he blessed him.” The referents of the pronouns “he” (Isaac) and “him” (Jacob) have been specified in the translation for clarity. 24 Then he asked, “Are you really my son Esau?” “I am,” Jacob#tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity. replied. 25 Isaac#tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity. said, “Bring some of the wild game for me to eat, my son.#tn Heb “Bring near to me and I will eat of the wild game, my son.” Following the imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result. Then I will bless you.”#tn Heb “so that my soul may bless you.” The presence of נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) as subject emphasizes Isaac’s heartfelt desire to do this. The conjunction indicates that the ritual meal must be first eaten before the formal blessing may be given. So Jacob#tn Heb “and he brought”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity. brought it to him, and he ate it. He also brought him wine, and Isaac#tn Heb “and he drank”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity. drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here and kiss me, my son.” 27 So Jacob#tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity. went over and kissed him. When Isaac caught the scent#tn Heb “and he smelled the smell”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity. of his clothing, he blessed him, saying,
“Yes,#tn Heb “see.” my son smells
like the scent of an open field
which the Lord has blessed.
28 May God give you
the dew of the sky#tn Heb “and from the dew of the sky.”
and the richness#tn Heb “and from the fatness.” of the earth,
and plenty of grain and new wine.
29 May peoples serve you
and nations bow down to you.
You will be#tn Heb “and be.” The verb is an imperative, which is used rhetorically in this oracle of blessing. It is an invitation to exercise authority his brothers and indicates that he is granted such authority by the patriarch of the family. Furthermore, the blessing enables the recipient to accomplish this. lord#tn The Hebrew word is גְבִיר (gevir, “lord, mighty one”). The one being blessed will be stronger and therefore more powerful than his brother. See Gen 25:23. The feminine form of this rare noun means “mistress” or “queen-mother.” over your brothers,
and the sons of your mother will bow down to you.#tn Following the imperative, the prefixed verbal form (which is either an imperfect or a jussive) with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.
May those who curse you be cursed,
and those who bless you be blessed.”
30 Isaac had just finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had scarcely left#tn The use of the infinitive absolute before the finite form of the verb makes the construction emphatic. his father’s#tn Heb “the presence of Isaac his father.” The repetition of the proper name (“Isaac”) was presence, when his brother Esau returned from the hunt.#tn Heb “and Esau his brother came from his hunt.” 31 He also prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Esau#tn Heb “and he said to his father”; the referent of “he” (Esau) has been specified in the translation for clarity, while the words “his father” have been replaced by the pronoun “him” for stylistic reasons. said to him, “My father, get up#tn Or “arise” (i.e., sit up). and eat some of your son’s wild game. Then you can bless me.”#tn Heb “so that your soul may bless me.” 32 His father Isaac asked,#tn Heb “said.” “Who are you?” “I am your firstborn son,”#tn Heb “and he said, ‘I [am] your son, your firstborn.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged for stylistic reasons. he replied, “Esau!” 33 Isaac began to shake violently#tn Heb “and Isaac trembled with a great trembling to excess.” The verb “trembled” is joined with a cognate accusative, which is modified by an adjective “great,” and a prepositional phrase “to excess.” All of this is emphatic, showing the violence of Isaac’s reaction to the news. and asked, “Then who else hunted game and brought it to me? I ate all of it just before you arrived, and I blessed him.#tn Heb “Who then is he who hunted game and brought [it] to me so that I ate from all before you arrived and blessed him?” He will indeed be blessed!”
34 When Esau heard#tn The temporal clause is introduced with the temporal indicator and has the infinitive as its verb. his father’s words, he wailed loudly and bitterly.#tn Heb “and he yelled [with] a great and bitter yell to excess.” He said to his father, “Bless me too, my father!” 35 But Isaac#tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity. replied, “Your brother came in here deceitfully and took away#tn Or “took”; “received.” your blessing.” 36 Esau exclaimed, “‘Jacob’ is the right name for him!#tn Heb “Is he not rightly named Jacob?” The rhetorical question, since it expects a positive reply, has been translated as a declarative statement. He has tripped me up#sn He has tripped me up. When originally given, the name Jacob was a play on the word “heel” (see Gen 25:26). The name (since it is a verb) probably means something like “may he protect,” that is, as a rearguard, dogging the heels. This name was probably chosen because of the immediate association with the incident of grabbing the heel. Esau gives the name “Jacob” a negative connotation here, the meaning “to trip up; to supplant.” two times! He took away my birthright, and now, look, he has taken away my blessing!” Then he asked, “Have you not kept back a blessing for me?”
37 Isaac replied to Esau, “Look! I have made him lord over you. I have made all his relatives his servants and provided him with grain and new wine. What is left that I can do for you, my son?” 38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only that one blessing, my father? Bless me too!”#tn Heb “Bless me, me also, my father.” The words “my father” have not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons. Then Esau wept loudly.#tn Heb “and Esau lifted his voice and wept.”
39 So his father Isaac said to him,
“Indeed,#tn Heb “look.” your home will be
away from the richness#tn Heb “from the fatness.” of the earth,
and away from the dew of the sky above.
40 You will live by your sword
but you will serve your brother.
When you grow restless,
you will tear off his yoke
from your neck.”#sn You will tear off his yoke from your neck. It may be that this prophetic blessing found its fulfillment when Jerusalem fell and Edom got its revenge. The oracle makes Edom subservient to Israel and suggests the Edomites would live away from the best land and be forced to sustain themselves by violent measures.
41 So Esau hated#tn Or “bore a grudge against” (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV). The Hebrew verb שָׂטַם (satam) describes persistent hatred. Jacob because of the blessing his father had given to his brother.#tn Heb “because of the blessing which his father blessed him.” Esau said privately,#tn Heb “said in his heart.” The expression may mean “said to himself.” Even if this is the case, v. 42 makes it clear that he must have shared his intentions with someone, because the news reached Rebekah. “The time#tn Heb “days.” of mourning for my father is near; then I will kill#tn The cohortative here expresses Esau’s determined resolve to kill Jacob. my brother Jacob!”
42 When Rebekah heard what her older son Esau had said,#tn Heb “and the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah.” she quickly summoned#tn Heb “she sent and called for.” her younger son Jacob and told him, “Look, your brother Esau is planning to get revenge by killing you.#tn Heb “is consoling himself with respect to you to kill you.” The only way Esau had of dealing with his anger at the moment was to plan to kill his brother after the death of Isaac. 43 Now then, my son, do what I say.#tn Heb “listen to my voice.” Run away immediately#tn Heb “arise, flee.” to my brother Laban in Haran. 44 Live with him for a little while#tn Heb “a few days.” Rebekah probably downplays the length of time Jacob will be gone, perhaps to encourage him and assure him that things will settle down soon. She probably expects Esau’s anger to die down quickly. However, Jacob ends up being gone twenty years and he never sees Rebekah again. until your brother’s rage subsides. 45 Stay there#tn The words “stay there” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I’ll send someone to bring you back from there.#tn Heb “and I will send and I will take you from there.” The verb “send” has no object in the Hebrew text; one must be supplied in the translation. Either “someone” or “a message” could be supplied, but since in those times a message would require a messenger, “someone” has been used. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”#tn If Jacob stayed, he would be killed and Esau would be forced to run away.
46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am deeply depressed#tn Heb “loathe my life.” The Hebrew verb translated “loathe” refers to strong disgust (see Lev 20:23). because of these daughters of Heth.#tn Some translate the Hebrew term “Heth” as “Hittites” here (see also Gen 23:3), but this gives the impression that these people were the classical Hittites of Anatolia. However, there is no known connection between these sons of Heth, apparently a Canaanite group (see Gen 10:15), and the Hittites of Asia Minor. See H. A. Hoffner, Jr., “Hittites,” Peoples of the Old Testament World, 152-53. If Jacob were to marry one of these daughters of Heth who live in this land, I would want to die!”#tn Heb “If Jacob takes a wife from the daughters of Heth, like these, from the daughters of the land, why to me life?”
27
Chapter 27
Isaac blesses Jacob
1Isaac became old. He could not see anything because his eyes were weak. He called for his older son, Esau. Isaac said, ‘My son.’ Esau replied, ‘Yes, I am here.’ 2Isaac said, ‘I am an old man. I may die very soon. 3Get your bow and your arrows. #27:3 People use bows to shoot arrows. An arrow is like a stick with a sharp point at the end. Go out into the country and kill some wild animals for me. 4Then prepare the food that I like to eat. Bring it to me so that I can eat it. Then I will give you my blessing before I die.’ #27:4 In the Old Testament, a father gave his blessing to the oldest son. This son has the birthright. Isaac does not know that Esau sold his birthright. See Genesis 25:31-34. Esau does not tell Isaac that he has sold his birthright.
5Rebekah listened to what Isaac said to Esau. She waited until Esau went out to the country to kill an animal and bring back the meat. 6Then she said to Jacob, ‘I heard your father say this to Esau: 7“Bring me some meat and prepare the food that I like to eat. When I have eaten it, I will give you my blessing. I will bless you in front of the Lord before I die.”  8Now my son, listen carefully and do as I tell you. 9Go out to the animals and bring two goats to me. They must be very good young goats. Then I will prepare some food that your father likes to eat. I will cook the meat in the way that he likes. 10Then take the food to your father. When he has eaten it, he will give you his blessing before he dies.’
11Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, ‘That will be difficult. Hair covers my brother's skin. But my skin does not have any hair. 12My father may touch me. Then he will know that I am deceiving him. He will not bless me. He will curse me instead.’ 13Jacob's mother said, ‘My son, the curse will happen to me, not you. Do what I say. Go and get the things that I told you.’
14Jacob went and he got the goats. He brought them to his mother. She prepared some food in the way that Isaac liked to eat. 15Then Rebekah took some of Esau's best clothes that were in her house. She put them on Jacob, her younger son. 16She covered Jacob's hands with the skin from the goats. She also covered the part of his neck that had no hair. #27:16 Goats have hair on their skin. Rebekah did this to make Isaac think that Jacob was Esau. If Isaac touched Jacob, he would think that Jacob was Esau. He would think that because of the hair on the skin. 17Then she gave to Jacob the food that Isaac liked to eat. And she gave him some bread that she had made.
18Jacob went to his father. He said, ‘My father.’ Isaac replied ‘Yes, my son. Who are you, Esau or Jacob?’ 19Jacob said, ‘I am Esau. I am your firstborn son. I have done as you told me. Please sit up. Eat some of the meat from the wild animal that I killed. Then you can bless me.’ 20Isaac asked his son, ‘My son, how did you find it so quickly?’ Jacob replied, ‘The Lord your God helped me find it.’ #27:20 Jacob says ‘the Lord your God’. Jacob does not call God his own God.
21Isaac said to Jacob, ‘Come near to me so that I can touch you, my son. Then I will know if you really are my son Esau.’
22Jacob went near to his father. Isaac touched him and he said, ‘The voice is Jacob's voice. But the hands are Esau's hands.’ 23Isaac did not know that it was Jacob because he could feel the hair on Jacob's hands. They felt like Esau's hands. So Isaac blessed Jacob.
24Isaac asked again, ‘Are you really my son Esau?’ Jacob replied, ‘I am.’ 25Isaac said, ‘My son, bring me some of your meat. I will eat it. Then I will bless you.’ So Jacob brought the food to him and Isaac ate it. Jacob also brought some wine and Isaac drank it.
26Then Isaac said, ‘Come here my son and kiss me.’ 27So Jacob went to Isaac and kissed him. Isaac smelled the clothes that Jacob wore. Then Isaac blessed him. He said,
‘The smell of my son is like the smell of a field.
It is like a field that the Lord has blessed.
28May God give you rain for your crops,
so that they grow well in the good ground. #27:28 Crops are plants. They can be any plants that people or animals eat.
Then you will have plenty of grain for food.
And you will have grapes to make wine.
29May the people of many nations serve you.
May they respect you as their master.
You will rule over your brothers.
Yes, your mother's sons will bend down to respect you.
May God curse anyone who curses you.
And may he bless anyone who blesses you.’ #27:29 This is what God told Rebekah. See Genesis 25:23.
30When Isaac had blessed Jacob, Jacob left him. Just then, Esau came back from the country where he had killed an animal. 31He prepared nice food that Isaac liked to eat. Then he took the food to his father, Isaac. Esau said, ‘My father, please sit up. Eat some of the meat from the wild animal that I have killed. Then you can bless me.’
32His father Isaac asked, ‘Who are you?’ Esau replied, ‘I am your firstborn son, Esau.’ 33Isaac's body shook very much. He asked, ‘Who was it who killed an animal and brought the meat to me? Just before you came, I ate all of it. And then I blessed him. And God will certainly bless him!’ #27:33 Isaac's body shook. He now knows what Jacob has done. He knows that he cannot remove his blessing from Jacob. The son that he loves cannot receive the blessing. Isaac knows that God will bless Jacob and not Esau.
34Esau heard what his father had said and he cried aloud. He was very upset. He said, ‘My father, please bless me too!’ 35But Isaac said, ‘Your brother came to me. He deceived me and he took your blessing away from you.’ 36Esau said, ‘Yes, “Jacob” is the right name for him. He has cheated me twice. First he took my birthright. Now he has taken my blessing as well!’ Then Esau asked his father, ‘You must still have some blessing left for me, don't you?’ #27:36 Jacob means ‘He deceives’. This is what ‘deceives’ means. Jacob says things that are not true. And he does things that are not right.
37Isaac replied, ‘I have made Jacob master over you. All his relatives will become his servants. I have given him crops and wine. So what can I still do to bless you, my son?’ #27:37 Isaac is saying that there is no blessing left for Esau.
38Esau said, ‘My father, you surely have one blessing left for me. Please bless me too!’ Then Esau wept loudly.
39Isaac replied,
‘You will not live in a place where the ground gives good food.
You will not have rain to make your crops grow.
40You will have to fight to get the things that you need.
You will serve your brother as your master.
But when you choose to turn against him,
you will become free from his power over you.’ #27:40 This is the only blessing that Isaac could give Esau. He could not take back the blessing that he gave to Jacob.
41Because Isaac had blessed Jacob, Esau hated his younger brother Jacob. Esau said quietly, ‘My father will die soon. When we have buried his body, I will kill my brother.’ 42Someone told Rebekah what her older son, Esau, had said. So she told her younger son, Jacob, to come to her. She said to him, ‘Your brother Esau wants to kill you, because of what you did to him. 43Now my son, do what I tell you. Quickly go away from here. Go to my brother Laban who lives in Haran. 44Live with him for a time. Stay there until your brother is not angry with you any longer. 45He may forget what you did to him. Then I will send a message to you, so that you can come back from Haran. I do not want to lose both of my sons in one day.’ #27:45 Rebekah thinks that Esau and Jacob will kill each other. Or she thinks that, if Esau kills Jacob, other people will have to kill Esau.
46Then Rebekah said to Isaac, ‘I do not like living in the same place as Esau's wives. It makes me very upset, because they are Hittites. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women who live in this land, I will be very sad. I would rather die!’ #27:46 Rebekah wants Isaac to send Jacob away to find a wife. He will send Jacob to go to his relatives. Rebekah wants that to happen so that Esau will not be able to kill Jacob. Jacob stayed in Haran for 20 years. Rebekah did not see Jacob again.