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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Genesis 27

Verses 1-4

Introduction

In this chapter Isaac is a picture of a believer who lives in the land, that is the believer who is blessed with all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, but who seeks the things of the earth and is guided by them. In practical terms, we see the consequences of this in this chapter. We see a family that knows God, but where nothing of this knowledge and trust in Him is found. On the contrary, we see how desires, deceit and lies play a role. Every member of the family acts without asking God what to do.

It is a cautionary example for us that we will always be aware that the blessings we have received have been given us by grace. As soon as we forget that, we start looking for our own interests with all the sad consequences thereof.

Isaac Wants to Bless Esau

Isaac has become blind. In the application this means that his understanding of spiritual things has disappeared. He can no longer see the blessings of the land. That was different with Moses (Deuteronomy 34:7).

He wants to bless Esau, while knowing that the LORD has given Jacob the birthright. This is the result of his predilection for “a savory dish”. That makes blind to see things as the Lord sees them. Isaac, who has started so well, fails when he gets old.

He talks about the day of his death, but it will take still forty-three years before he dies. He will be one hundred and eighty years old. Here he is one hundred and thirty-seven years.

Verses 5-17

Conspiracy

Rebekah hears of Isaac’s intention. That makes her worried. She thinks that the Divine blessing will pass Jacob by. Instead of going to Isaac and reminding him of God’s intention to bless the youngest for the eldest, she resorted to deceit. It is one thing to know the thoughts of God, it is another thing how they are realized. It is terrible to help God by deceit.

Wouldn’t God have answered her if she had gone to Him with this problem? She used to do that (Genesis 25:22). She started with Isaac in such harmony. They have received one another from the LORD (Genesis 24:1-Numbers :; Genesis 24:12-Ezra :Genesis 24:57-Tobit :). Together they sought Him for having children (Genesis 25:21). Now she is going to cheat on her husband. She thinks she can secure Jacob and the blessing for him by this, but she loses Jacob by it.

The cheating is done by two young goats and their skins. Later Jacob will be deceived in the same way (Genesis 37:31-Nahum :). Jacob still objects first. He thinks along, but only in a negative sense. He only thinks about what the consequences would be if the fraud were discovered. There is no feeling of guilt, but only fear of the curse when discovered.

Rebekah declares that he is prepared to take on the curse. She does see a solution. The skins provide the solution. Then she prepares the savory food “such as his father loved” (Genesis 27:14). She prepares the goats so that it looks like game, making it “deceptive food” (Proverbs 23:3).

It is very bad to misuse the knowledge that a man and a wife have acquired from each other in a marriage for their own plans. Here knowledge undermines their unity, while what spouses know about each other should serve to strengthen their marriage. There is no more openness. They play hide and seek for each other.

Verses 18-29

Jacob Steals the Blessing

Jacob, disguised as Esau, comes to his father. Isaac touches him and says: “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” If we apply this to a believer, we can say: “He talks like a believer, but his deeds are those of the world. What we say should correspond to what we do.

When Isaac kisses Jacob, he smells the smell of the field. What a sad thing it is, when the ‘scent’ of the world hangs around a believer. What we eat determines how we scent. Do we eat the food of the world or the food of the Lord Jesus?

Up to three times Isaac expressed his suspicion, his uncertainty, whether he really has to do with Esau (Genesis 27:20; Genesis 27:22Genesis 27:24). Because he depends on his sense of touch and smell, he does not find out the truth and believes the lie. If he had trusted God, he would never have been deceived despite his blindness (cf. 1 Kings 14:4-Deuteronomy :).

Jacob plays the role of Esau well. That is clear from what he says when Isaac notices that he is back from the hunt so quickly. Jacob then speaks of “the LORD your God”. That is what Esau would say. Esau has no connection with the LORD and would therefore never speak of ‘the LORD my God’, while Jacob would say so.

The blessing that Isaac pronounces on Jacob is a blessing as it would be meant for Esau. Isaac blesses Jacob with the abundance of heaven and the earth, with being the master of other nations and his brothers, and with curse upon all who curse him, and blessing upon all who bless him. It is not the blessing as God in its fullness intended for Jacob. That makes Isaac somewhat right in Genesis 28 (Genesis 28:4), while God Himself describes the full blessing in Genesis 35 (Genesis 35:11-2 Kings :).

History as it is mentioned here does not show much evidence of faith. Yet Isaac is not a man who lives without God. In the blessing he passes on, faith is present (Hebrews 11:20).

Verses 30-40

Isaac Blesses Esau

When Esau comes, Isaac trembles violently. He is not indignant about Jacob, but his conscience speaks. Suddenly he comes into the light of God. He sees that God has come in between. He does not turn back the blessing, but confirms the blessing given to Jacob. With this he submits himself to the will of God. Therefore the blessing he gave Jacob can be seen as an act of faith (Hebrews 11:20).

Esau searches with tears for the blessing with which Jacob is blessed, but is rejected (Hebrews 12:16-Esther :). The blessing is not taken from Jacob and given to Esau. In Genesis 27:36, Esau gives a misrepresentation of the situation. He seeks the blame with the other. We also sometimes do. This already happens at the time of the fall into sin. What is needed is straightforward confession.

Esau also receives a blessing, but one much less than Jakob received. The first blessing Jacob receives is that of the dew of heaven. Esau receives the fatness of the earth, for that is the most important thing for him, while he is excluded from the dew of heaven.

Verses 41-46

Rebekah Wants Jacob to Flee

The fact that Esau is an ungodly man is also evident from what he says to himself. He talks about killing his “brother Jacob”. In this is revealed the spirit of Cain, who “was of the evil one and slew his brother” (1 John 3:12).

Rebekah and Jacob both won when it comes to getting what they wanted, even though they got nothing more than what God wanted to give them. However, they have also lost a lot of what they have wanted to secure. We see that here.

Rebekah wants Jacob to flee. According to her, it will only take a few days (Genesis 27:44). The reality is that she will never see him again. Rebekah also suffers the consequences of their common deceit. The stolen blessing only brings grief and separation. Jacob will become a vagabond for twenty years. He owes that to himself.

It seems Rebekah uses another trick in Genesis 27:46. She talks to Isaac about the wives of Esau and sighs that Jacob will not “take a wife … from the daughters of the land”. By noticing this she indirectly says that Jacob should leave. What is meant as running away from Esau, becomes in this way a permissible departure, with the blessing of Isaac. That in reality it is a fly, says the prophet Hosea (Hosea 12:12).

That God, with Jacob, through all deceit and tricks, still fulfills His own plans with Jacob is a matter that arouses great admiration. Thus is God, Who can use the failure of man, also of His own, to fulfil His plans. This does not in any way reduce the responsibility of man, it increases in all cases the worship that God deserves for it. The history of Jacob begins with trickery and deception; the last thing we read of Jacob is that he worships.

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Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Genesis 27". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/genesis-27.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.