Bible Commentaries
Genesis 27

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-5


Verses 1-5:

Isaac was likely in his 137th year. This figure is calculated from Ge 41:46; 45:6; 47:9; 30:25;29:18, 21, 27; 25:26. Linking these passages, it is seen that Joseph came before Pharaoh in his 30th year; he was 39 years old when Jacob came to Egypt; Jacob must have been 91 and in his 14th year in Mesopotamia when Joseph was born; Jacob’s flight took place in his 77th year. Jacob was born in Isaac’s 60th year; thus Isaac was at this time 137 years old. There is, however, difference of opinion among scholars as to the accuracy of these figures.

Isaac at this time was virtually blind. He feared also that he was at the point of death, due to advanced age. This fear was ill-founded, for he lived to the ripe old age of 180.

It was Isaac’s intention to pass the Covenant Blessing to Esau.

As a prelude to this, he sent Esau on a hunting expedition, to take game and prepare a feast. Isaac was unmindful of the prophetic word spoken before the birth of his twin sons, that the elder should serve the younger (Ge 25:30). However, Rebekah had not forgotten. She heard Isaac’s instructions to Esau, and set in formation a plan that would give the blessing to Jacob.

Verses 6-17

Verses 6-17:

Rebekah’s plan was daring but simple. She ordered Jacob to slaughter two kids from the flock of goats, and she prepared the "savory" (delicious) meat which Isaac loved. Jacob was apprehensive. Esau was hairy, Jacob was not. If Isaac should feel his hands, arms, and neck, he would discover the plot, and Jacob would be cursed and not blessed. Rebekah provided for this, however. She made coverings for Jacob’s neck, arms, and hands, using the skins of the goat kids Jacob had slaughtered. These were "camel-goats," with long, fine, black wool which was soft like human hair.

Rebekah’s motive was to gain the Covenant Blessing for Jacob. This was also God’s plan. However, Rebekah sought to do God’s will by her own devices. She was unwilling to wait for God to overrule Isaac’s wrong design, which was to give the Blessing to Esau rather than to Jacob. This conspiracy of mother and son hindered the full, free working of God’s power to overcome the errors of men.

Verses 18-29

Verses 18-29:

Verses 18, 19: Jacob did as Rebekah instructed. He brought the tasty meat dish to his blind father. He identified himself as Esau when Isaac asked who he was. This was an unjustified lie. But it was in keeping with the character of Jacob, which was evident in his name: "supplanter," or "heel-catcher."

Verses 20-23: Isaac was skeptical of the true identity of the son who stood before him. Only a short time had elapsed since he had sent Esau on his mission. Jacob compounded his deception by saying that Jehovah Elohim had prospered his search. Isaac still was not satisfied. He asked to feel the exposed limbs of his son, just as Rebekah had anticipated. The covering she had made from the goats’ skins caused Jacob’s limbs to feel like Esau’s. Jacob was unable to disguise his voice, but the feel of his hands partially allayed the suspicions of Isaac.

Verses 24-29: Once more Jacob deceived his aged father by affirming that he was indeed Esau. Isaac then ate the delicious meat dish which Rebekah had prepared, and drank the wine Jacob had brought to him. There was one more test Isaac must make before conferring the blessing. He asked his son to approach him that he might kiss him. In so doing he could smell the odor of his son and this would be to him the final proof of identity. Rebekah had cunningly anticipated even this eventuality, and had supplied Jacob with Esau’s clothes. These, along with the goat skins, confirmed to Isaac that this was indeed his firstborn, the one whom he had promised to bless.

Isaac then pronounced the Covenant Blessings upon Jacob. This included the promise of prosperity in the land, sovereignty over his brethren, and blessing upon those who would bless and curses upon those who would curse him.

This episode illustrates God’s sovereignty, in overcoming the sinful deeds of fallen man. All four characters in this drama were at fault: 1) Isaac was wrong in determining to confer the Covenant Blessing upon Esau; 2) Esau was wrong in agreeing to this; 3) Rebekah was wrong in scheming to deceive her husband; and 4) Jacob was wrong in being a part of this scheme, and in lying to his aged father. Both Jacob and Esau displayed lack of respect for parental authority. God did not bless because of these sinful events. He blessed in spite of them! He overruled their evil designs to carry out his own purpose, Ro 8:28.

Neither Jacob nor Esau escaped the consequences of their part in this episode. Esau lost the Blessing. Jacob reaped the bitter fruit of deception later in his life.

Verses 30-40

Verses 30-40:

Jacob had scarcely left Isaac’s presence when Esau came in with the tasty meal he had prepared for his father. Isaac was terrified when he realized what had happened. This may have been in part as he realized how near he had come to violating the Divine mandate to confer the Covenant Blessing upon Jacob.

Esau was enraged over his brother’s deception. His character surfaces in his attempt to place all the blame upon Jacob and deny his own guilt. He had voluntarily surrendered his birthright, bartering it for a mess of pottage. He esteemed it of little or no value (see Heb 12:14-17). The implication is that he placed little value upon the Covenant Blessing, as well. He was unrepentant, unwilling to accept his own guilt, and had no real appreciation for spiritual values. It was these character traits which made him unfit for the Covenant Blessing.

The entire matter was of God. He knew beforehand what Esau would do, and the kind of character he was. His foreknowledge did not make it so - He knew it because it was so. The choice was Esau’s. He esteemed of no value the spiritual blessings inherent in the Abrahamic Covenant. This made him unfit for the material blessings that go with it. The same principle holds true today.

Conferring of the Abrahamic Covenant Blessing was unconditional, and irrevocable. Isaac was unable to recall what he had conferred upon Jacob, even though he was deceived.

Esau was filled with bitter remorse, not genuine repentance. He pleaded with Isaac for a blessing. And though the Abrahamic Covenant Blessing was not to be given, there was still a blessing for Esau. He would be given a choice inheritance; he would be successful in war; and he would eventually break the yoke of his brother’s authority over his neck. All these prophetic blessings came to pass, just as Isaac promised.

Verses 41-46

Verses 41-46:

Bitter rage smoldered in Esau’s heart, against Jacob. He determined to kill Jacob as soon as Isaac died and the mourning period passed. Evidently he did not keep his plans secret, for Rebekah learned of them. She proceeded to warn Jacob of the threat, and advised him to flee to Haran, to her brother Laban, and remaining there until Esau’s fury cooled. In order to secure Isaac’s blessing, and to divert suspicion from Esau, Rebekah resorted to yet another subterfuge. She used as a pretext her concern that Jacob might marry one of the "daughters of Heth," and thereby corrupt the purity of the Abrahamic lineage. Heth was a great-grandson of Noah through Ham and Canaan (Ge 10:15). He was progenitor of the great Hittites. For centuries all records of these people were lost; but archaeologists have confirmed through recent discoveries that they are considered with the Babylonians and the Egyptians as among the greatest peoples of the time.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Genesis 27". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.