Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Genesis 27

Verses 1-40

Rebekah and Jacob Deceive Isaac - Genesis 27:1-40 records the story of how Rebekah and Jacob deceive Isaac in order to get his blessing. We in the western culture are shocked at how easily Rebakah deceived her own husband. As a culture with a Judeo-Christian mindset, virtue is esteemed as the greatest virtue, and to behave with deceit is considered sinful. However, we must remember that the patriarchs were not living in a Judeo-Christian culture, but rather a culture where deceit and cleverness ruled man's behaviour, and was even considered an esteemed virtue. Rebekah had grown up in such a deceitful culture, and although she loved her husband, she easily fell into the behaviour norm of deceit, and led her son Jacob into this behaviour without hesitation. It has been my experience while being a missionary in Africa that cleverness is the expected norm for such cultures, while my Christian upbringing causes my conscience to abstain from such behaviour. In fact, deceit is a problem within the African churches as a result of its systemic problem within the local culture.

Genesis 27:1 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 Song of Solomon, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.

Genesis 27:1Comments- In Genesis 27:1 we can only guess Isaac's age, since the phrase "and it came to pass" allows this story in Genesis to leap forward in time to find the next important redemptive event in this historical narrative. However, if we look within the context of the book of Genesis, we can narrow down the possibilities. Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah ( Genesis 25:20), and sixty years old at the birth of Esau and Jacob ( Genesis 25:26). Thus, Isaac was one hundred years old in the previous passage recording Esau's marriage at the age of forty ( Genesis 26:34-35). Jacob will spend the next twenty years in Haran before returning to Canaan ( Genesis 28-31). We know that Isaac finally died at the age of one hundred and eighty years old ( Genesis 35:28). But there is no indication in Genesis how long Jacob dwelt in Canaan upon his return prior to his father's death.

Genesis 25:20, "And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the Syrian."

Genesis 25:26, "And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau"s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them."

Genesis 26:34, "And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:"

Genesis 35:28, "And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years."

Genesis 27:13Comments- Note the power of the tongue to bless and curse in Genesis 27:13. Note Jacob's curse in Genesis 31:32. Rachel died in childbirth shortly thereafter.

Genesis 31:32, "With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live: before our brethren discern thou what is thine with me, and take it to thee. For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them."

Genesis 27:16Comments- Rebekah knew that Isaac would probably hold Jacob's hand and put his other hand around his neck.

Genesis 27:28-29Comments- Isaac Blesses Jacob- By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau. Note how Hebrews 11:20 refers to this event.

Hebrews 11:20, "By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come."

Genesis 27:36Word Study on "Jacob" - Gesenius says the Hebrew name "Jacob" "Ya'aqob" ( יַעֲקֹב) (H 3290) means, "taking hold of the heel, supplanter, layer of snares." Strong says it means, "heel-catcher, supplanter." Strong says it comes from the primitive root ( עָקַב) (H 6117), which means, "to seize by the heel, to circumvent." One Hebrew derivative ( עָקֵב) (6119) means, "heel, (figuratively) the last of anything."

One pastor suggests that Jacob's name means "hand upon the heel" because this is what his parents saw when he was born. He uses the Hebrew word "yod" ( י) as a symbol of a hand, with the root word ( עקב) meaning "heel."

Genesis 27:36"Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times" - Comments- The name Jacob means "deceiver, supplanter, or one who takes the heel."

Genesis 27:40"thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck" - Comments- Several places in Scripture where this prophecy was fulfilled were in 1 Kings 11:14-25 and in 2 Kings 8:22.

1 Kings 11:14, "And the LORD stirred up an adversary unto Song of Solomon, Hadad the Edomite: he was of the king"s seed in Edom."

2 Kings 8:22, "Yet Edom revolted from under the hand of Judah unto this day. Then Libnah revolted at the same time."

Genesis 27:39-40Comments- Isaac Blesses Esau- By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau. Note how Hebrews 11:20 refers to this event.

Hebrews 11:20, "By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come."

Genesis 27:41Comments- The sin of unforgiveness leads Esau to hatred, and hatred leads to murder. However, Esau knew that killing his brother while his father Isaac was alive would be a terrible grief to him; so he decided to wait until he was dead.

Genesis 27:42 — "And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah" - Comments- The Book of Jubilees (271) tells us that God revealed the words of Esau to his mother in a dream.

Genesis 27:46Comments- The author of Genesis has made a similar statement in Genesis 26:35, "Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah."

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 27". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.