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Genesis 27

27
Jacob’s Deception.#The chapter, a literary masterpiece, is the third and climactic wresting away of the blessing of Esau. Rebekah manages the entire affair, using perhaps her privileged information about Jacob’s status (25:23); Jacob’s only qualm is that if his father discovers the ruse, he will receive a curse instead of a blessing (vv. 11–12). Isaac is passive as he was in chaps. 22 and 24. The deception is effected through clothing (Jacob wears Esau’s clothing), which points ahead to a similar deception of a patriarch by means of clothing in the Joseph story (37:21–33). Such recurrent acts and scenes let the reader know a divine purpose is moving the story forward even though the human characters are unaware of it. 1When Isaac was so old that his eyesight had failed him, he called his older son Esau and said to him, “My son!” “Here I am!” he replied. 2Isaac then said, “Now I have grown old. I do not know when I might die. 3So now take your hunting gear—your quiver and bow—and go out into the open country to hunt some game for me. 4Then prepare for me a dish in the way I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may bless you#I may bless you: Isaac’s blessing confers fertility (vv. 27–28) and dominion (v. 29). The “dew of heaven” is rain that produces grain and wine, two of the principal foodstuffs of the ancient Near East. The “fertility of the earth” may allude to oil, the third basic foodstuff. The full agricultural year may be implied here: the fall rains are followed by the grain harvests of the spring and the grape harvest of late summer, and then the olive harvest of the fall (cf. Dt 11:14; Ps 104:13–15). before I die.”
5Rebekah had been listening while Isaac was speaking to his son Esau. So when Esau went out into the open country to hunt some game for his father,#Gn 25:28. 6Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Listen! I heard your father tell your brother Esau, 7‘Bring me some game and prepare a dish for me to eat, that I may bless you with the Lord’s approval before I die.’ 8Now, my son, obey me in what I am about to order you. 9Go to the flock and get me two choice young goats so that with these I might prepare a dish for your father in the way he likes. 10Then bring it to your father to eat, that he may bless you before he dies.” 11But Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, “But my brother Esau is a hairy man and I am smooth-skinned!#Gn 25:25. 12Suppose my father feels me? He will think I am making fun of him, and I will bring on myself a curse instead of a blessing.” 13His mother, however, replied: “Let any curse against you, my son, fall on me! Just obey me. Go and get me the young goats.”
14So Jacob went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared a dish in the way his father liked. 15Rebekah then took the best clothes of her older son Esau that she had in the house, and gave them to her younger son Jacob to wear; 16and with the goatskins she covered up his hands and the hairless part of his neck. 17Then she gave her son Jacob the dish and the bread she had prepared.
18Going to his father, Jacob said, “Father!” “Yes?” replied Isaac. “Which of my sons are you?” 19Jacob answered his father: “I am Esau, your firstborn. I did as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may bless me.” 20But Isaac said to his son, “How did you get it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “The Lord, your God, directed me.” 21Isaac then said to Jacob, “Come closer, my son, that I may feel you, to learn whether you really are my son Esau or not.” 22So Jacob moved up closer to his father. When Isaac felt him, he said, “Although the voice is Jacob’s, the hands are Esau’s.” 23(He failed to identify him because his hands were hairy, like those of his brother Esau; so he blessed him.) 24Again Isaac said, “Are you really my son Esau?” And Jacob said, “I am.” 25Then Isaac said, “Serve me, my son, and let me eat of the game so that I may bless you.” Jacob served it to him, and Isaac ate; he brought him wine, and he drank. 26Finally his father Isaac said to him, “Come closer, my son, and kiss me.” 27As Jacob went up to kiss him, Isaac smelled the fragrance of his clothes. With that, he blessed him, saying,
“Ah, the fragrance of my son
is like the fragrance of a field
that the Lord has blessed!#Gn 22:17–18; Heb 11:20.
28May God give to you
of the dew of the heavens
And of the fertility of the earth
abundance of grain and wine.
29#Gn 25:23; 49:8; Nm 24:9. May peoples serve you,
and nations bow down to you;
Be master of your brothers,
and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be those who curse you,
and blessed be those who bless you.”
30Jacob had scarcely left his father after Isaac had finished blessing him, when his brother Esau came back from his hunt. 31Then he too prepared a dish, and bringing it to his father, he said, “Let my father sit up and eat some of his son’s game, that you may then give me your blessing.” 32His father Isaac asked him, “Who are you?” He said, “I am your son, your firstborn son, Esau.” 33Isaac trembled greatly. “Who was it, then,” he asked, “that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it all just before you came, and I blessed him. Now he is blessed!” 34As he heard his father’s words, Esau burst into loud, bitter sobbing and said, “Father, bless me too!” 35When Isaac said, “Your brother came here by a ruse and carried off your blessing,” 36Esau exclaimed, “He is well named Jacob, is he not! He has supplanted me#He has supplanted me: in Hebrew, wayyaqebeni, a wordplay on the name Jacob, ya‘aqob; see Jer 9:3 and Gn 25:26. There is also a play between the Hebrew words bekorah (“right of the firstborn”) and berakah (“blessing”). twice! First he took away my right as firstborn, and now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not saved a blessing for me?”#Gn 25:26, 29–34; Hos 12:4. 37Isaac replied to Esau: “I have already appointed him your master, and I have assigned to him all his kindred as his servants; besides, I have sustained him with grain and wine. What then can I do for you, my son?” 38But Esau said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, father? Bless me too, father!” and Esau wept aloud.#Heb 12:17. 39His father Isaac said in response:
“See, far from the fertile earth
will be your dwelling;
far from the dew of the heavens above!#Heb 11:20.
40By your sword you will live,
and your brother you will serve;
But when you become restless,
you will throw off his yoke from your neck.”#2 Kgs 8:20, 22; 2 Chr 21:8.
41Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. Esau said to himself, “Let the time of mourning for my father come, so that I may kill my brother Jacob.”#Wis 10:10; Ob 10. 42When Rebekah got news of what her older son Esau had in mind, she summoned her younger son Jacob and said to him: “Listen! Your brother Esau intends to get his revenge by killing you. 43So now, my son, obey me: flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran, 44and stay with him a while until your brother’s fury subsides— 45until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send for you and bring you back. Why should I lose both of you in a single day?”
Jacob Sent to Laban. 46Rebekah said to Isaac: “I am disgusted with life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob also should marry a Hittite woman, a native of the land, like these women, why should I live?”#Gn 26:34–35.
27
1In the course of time, after Yitz’chak had grown old and his eyes dim, so that he couldn’t see, he called ‘Esav his older son and said to him, “My son?” and he answered, “Here I am.” 2“Look, I’m old now, I don’t know when I will die. 3Therefore, please take your hunting gear — your quiver of arrows and your bow; go out in the country, and get me some game. 4Make it tasty, the way I like it; and bring it to me to eat. Then I will bless you [as firstborn], before I die.”
5Rivkah was listening when Yitz’chak spoke to his son ‘Esav. So when ‘Esav went out to the country to hunt for game and bring it back, 6she said to her son Ya‘akov, “Listen! I heard your father telling ‘Esav your brother, 7‘Bring me game, and make it tasty, so I can eat it. Then I will give you my blessing in the presence of Adonai, before my death.’ 8Now pay attention to me, my son; and do what I tell you. 9Go to the flock, and bring me back two choice kids. I will make it tasty for your father, the way he likes it; 10and you will bring it to your father to eat; so that he will give his blessing to you before his death.” 11Ya‘akov answered Rivkah his mother, “Look, ‘Esav is hairy, but I have smooth skin. 12Suppose my father touches me — he’ll know I’m trying to trick him, and I’ll bring a curse on myself, not a blessing!” 13But his mother said, “Let your curse be on me. Just listen to me, and go get me the kids!” 14So he went, got them and brought them to his mother; and his mother prepared them in the tasty way his father loved. 15Next, Rivkah took ‘Esav her older son’s best clothes, which she had with her in the house, and put them on Ya‘akov her younger son; 16and she put the skins of the goats on his hands and on the smooth parts of his neck. 17Then she gave the tasty food and the bread she had prepared to her son Ya‘akov.
18He went to his father and said, “My father?” He replied, “Here I am; who are you, my son?” 19Ya‘akov said to his father, “I am ‘Esav your firstborn. I’ve done what you asked me to do. Get up now, sit down, eat the game, and then give me your blessing.” 20Yitz’chak said to his son, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” He answered, “Adonai your God made it happen that way.” 21Yitz’chak said to Ya‘akov, “Come here, close to me, so I can touch you, my son, and know whether you are in fact my son ‘Esav or not.” 22Ya‘akov approached Yitz’chak his father, who touched him and said, “The voice is Ya‘akov’s voice, but the hands are ‘Esav’s hands.” 23However, he didn’t detect him; because his hands were hairy like his brother ‘Esav’s hands; so he gave him his blessing. 24He asked, “Are you really my son ‘Esav?” And he replied, “I am.” 25He said, “Bring it here to me, and I will eat my son’s game, so that I can give you my blessing.” So he brought it up to him, and he ate; he also brought him wine, and he drank. 26Then his father Yitz’chak said to him, “Come close now, and kiss me, my son.” 27He approached and kissed him. Yitz’chak smelled his clothes and blessed Ya‘akov with these words: “See, my son smells like a field which Adonai has blessed. (vi) 28So may God give you dew from heaven, the richness of the earth, and grain and wine in abundance. 29May peoples serve you and nations bow down to you. May you be lord over your kinsmen, let your mother’s descendants bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”
30But as soon as Yitz’chak had finished giving his blessing to Ya‘akov, when Ya‘akov had barely left his father’s presence, ‘Esav his brother came in from his hunting. 31He too had prepared a tasty meal and brought it to his father, and now he said to his father, “Let my father get up and eat from his son’s game, so that you may give me your blessing.” 32Yitz’chak his father said to him, “Who are you?” and he answered, “I am your son, your firstborn, ‘Esav.” 33Yitz’chak began trembling uncontrollably and said, “Then who was it that took game and brought it to me? I ate it all just before you came, and I gave my blessing to him. That’s the truth, and the blessing must stand.” 34When ‘Esav heard his father’s words he burst into loud, bitter sobbing. “Father, bless me too,” he begged. 35He replied, “Your brother came deceitfully and took away your blessing.” 36‘Esav said, “His name, Ya‘akov [he supplants], really suits him — because he has supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright, and here, now he has taken away my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you saved a blessing for me?” 37Yitz’chak answered ‘Esav, “Look, I have made him your lord, I have given him all his kinsmen as servants, and I have given him grain and wine to sustain him. What else is there that I can do for you, my son?” 38‘Esav said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, my father? Father, bless me too!” ‘Esav wept aloud, 39and Yitz’chak his father answered him: “Here! Your home will be of the richness of the earth and of the dew of heaven from above. 40You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you break loose, you will shake his yoke off your neck.”
41‘Esav hated his brother because of the blessing his father had given him. ‘Esav said to himself, “The time for mourning my father will soon come, and then I will kill my brother Ya‘akov.” 42But the words of ‘Esav her older son were told to Rivkah. She sent for Ya‘akov her younger son and said to him, “Here, your brother ‘Esav is comforting himself over you by planning to kill you. 43Therefore, my son, listen to me: get up and escape to Lavan my brother in Haran. 44Stay with him a little while, until your brother’s anger subsides. 45Your brother’s anger will turn away from you, and he will forget what you did to him. Then I’ll send and bring you back from there. Why should I lose both of you on the same day?”
46Rivkah said to Yitz’chak, “I’m sick to death of Hitti women! If Ya‘akov marries one of the Hitti women, like those who live here, my life won’t be worth living.”