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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible
Genesis 27

 

 

Verses 1-46

JACOB DECEIVES HIS FATHER

In spite of Esau's wrong marriages, and in spite of God's word that Isaac's older son would serve the younger (ch.25:23). Isaac was ready to confer his chief blessing on Esau. We are told in verse 1 that his eyes were dim, and no doubt his spiritual eyes were dim also, evidently because he allowed his natural appetite to take precedence over the revealed will of God (ch.25:28).

But in order that he might bless Esau, he wanted Esau first to take his bow and quiver of arrows to hunt deer, and bring him cooked venison, "such as I love," he adds (v.4).

When Rebekah overheard these instructions, she recognized a threatened emergency, but instead of going in prayer to the Lord, who had told her that Jacob would have the chief place, she took the only way she saw to change things. It is true that her plan worked in the way she wanted, and no doubt God was over this, but still we cannot defend her cunning scheme to deceive her husband. God could have worked the matter out in another way without both Rebekah and Jacob being involved in deception. If they had acted in faith and had depended on God, they may have seen a miraculous answer to the problem, and in this way have reason for deepest thanksgiving, rather then being left with troubled consciences.

Rebekah had Jacob kill two kids of the goats, of which the meat would be young and tender (v.9), and she was able to prepare it in such a way that Isaac did not even suspect it was not venison. So much for our pre-conceived ideas of what we like the best!

Jacob was hesitant about the whole scheme. He objected that all his father had to do was to feel his hands and arms, for Esau was a hairy man and Jacob not so (vs.11-12). But Rebekah urged him to obey her and that she would bear the results of any miscarriage of the plan. One writer defends Jacob in this whole matter because he says that Jacob was responsible to obey his mother, therefore no blame could attach to him! But Jacob was a grown man, not a little child. In fact, even a little child is wrong to tell a lie, whether his mother tells him to or not. Rebekah gave Jacob Esau's clothes to wear, but goat skins on his hands and on the smooth of is neck, and Jacob proceeded with the deception.

He brought the meat to his father and told him that he was Esau. Isaac wondered at Esau's finding venison so quickly, but Jacob hypocritically brought God's name into his deception in order to make Isaac more comfortable (v.20). Still, Isaac was not too sure that it was Esau speaking to him, and as Jacob anticipated, he wanted to feel him to be certain. It is a lesson for us that we cannot always depend on our sight or on our feelings either. But Isaac allowed his feelings to persuade him, though his hearing told him it was Jacob's voice (v.21). Still, he pressed further in asking if Jacob was actually his very son Esau, and Jacob flatly lied to him, saying, "I am."

After finishing his meal, which he thought was venison, Isaac asked his son to kiss him, and he recognized the outdoor smell of Esau's clothes, as being the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed (v.27).

His blessing first voices the desire that God would give his son of the dew of heaven. This is typical of the living refreshment of the Spirit of God. Added to this is an abundance of grain and wine. The grain speaks of the Lord Jesus as the food of the believer, whether it may be barley (typical of His character of lowly humiliation on earth) or wheat (symbolizing the higher truth of Christ glorified at God's right hand). Both are valuable in providing needed nourishment for the Christian life. the new wine pictures the joy of a new life in Christ based upon the value of the shedding of His blood. Every Christian father or mother may well desire such blessing for all of their children.

But more than this: Isaac desires and virtually prophesies that people will serve his son. Nations would bow down to him. He would be the master of his brothers. His own mother's sons would bow down to him. Those who cursed him would be cursed, and those who blessed him would be blessed (v.29).

While Isaac intended all this for Esau, he was not in concord with God's thoughts, for God had decreed that the elder would serve the younger, and Isaac did not realize that he was blessing his second son rather than his first. Jacob was to be the father of the Israelitish nation, and other nations would eventually bow to them. Predominantly, Christ would be born of the line of Jacob, and the force of the prophecy is primarily that all must bow to Christ. But the nation Israel was to have a place above all other nations. Nations who bless her will find themselves blessed, while those who curse her will not escape a curse on themselves. The ultimate fulfilment of this prophecy has never taken place as yet, and will not until Israel is recovered from her present state of unbelief in bowing to the Lord Jesus, the true Messiah of Israel.

ESAU BLESSED IN A SECOND PLACE

Jacob was able to accomplish his ends just in time to leave his father before Esau returned with his prepared venison. He had been quick in finding a deer and preparing it for Isaac, no doubt because he was anxious to receive the blessing. Actually, since he had sold his birthright to Jacob, he was not entitled to the blessing, but he did not tell his father this. He saw an opportunity of getting the blessing of the firstborn, and would get it before his brother became aware of it!

But he found that it was he who was too late. Isaac was shocked when Esau told him who he was (vs.32-33). At first he questions who had already come, but of course he knew the answer to this. He tells Esau he has blessed the first who came, and adds positively that "he shall be blessed." In this way God had overruled Jacob's inexcusable deceit in order that the blessing should be given to the younger son, as God had decreed.

Esau deeply felt the pain of being deprived of the blessing of the firstborn, and cried with an exceeding great and bitter cry, entreating that his father should bless him also. Hebrews 12:16-17 refers to this occasion, speaking of Esan being a profane person who, for one morsel of food sold his birthright, then when he expected the blessing, was rejected. We are told that "he found no place for repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." Not that he sought repentance: he sought the blessing, but without repentance. He ought to have repented for despising his birthright, but he found no place to repent.

Isaac could not bless Esau now with the same blessing as Jacob, for he had made Esau the servant of Jacob, as he tells him that his brother had come deceitfully to take away Esau's blessing (v 35). Esau reminds his father that Jacob's name means supplanter, and that he has been true to his name in taking away both Esau's birthright and his blessing. Did Esau forget that he had willingly sold his birthright to Jacob? This being the case, Jacob was entitled to the blessing too. But Esau wanted the blessing though he had despised the birthright. He entreats his father if he had not at least reserved some blessing for him (v.36). This is a common affliction among human beings. While they have no interest in that which God has to give in a spiritual way (for the birthright is significant of this), they are most importunate when it becomes a matter of their temporal prosperity and blessing. It is really a matter of their desiring all the blessings that God may give while ignoring the Giver Himself. Thus men may receive much blessing from God, yet at the same calmly refuse to receive the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, as Savior and Lord.

In all this history God was sovereignly working. Jacob was the heir according to His promise. Esau is typical of the flesh, which will not live before God. It must be put into the place of subjection. Yet Isaac does give Esau his blessing, just as God in man's present life provides many material blessings for him in spite of his rebellious character. But Isaac tells Esau he will live by his sword. The flesh is always in conflict, just as the troubled sea cannot rest, and the flesh considers it necessary to fight for its rights. Esau would serve his brother, yet would break Jacob's yoke from off his neck: in spite of his subjection, his rebellious character could not be tamed, just as the flesh continually breaks out in rebellion.

ESAU'S HATRED AWAKENED

This occasion awakened such hatred in Esau toward Jacob that he purposed to kill him after their father's death (v.41). While it is only written that Esau said this in his heart, he must also have told someone else of his intention, for his mother heard about it, and warned Jacob of it (v.42).

Rebekah therefore advised Jacob to leave and take a long journey back to Haran, where he could count on the hospitality of her brother Laban. She tells him he should stay there "a few days" until Esau's anger has abated, but the few days turned out to be over 20 years, probably because Jacob was not anxious to see Esau in all that time. But the government of God did not allow Jacob to see his mother again on earth (see Genesis 35:27), though he did see his father. She said she would send for him at the appropriate time and have Jacob brought home again. She was therefore as fully deprived of Jacob's presence as if she had been bereaved of him, as she feared (v.45).

Rebekah had made that decision for Jacob before she spoke to Isaac about it. But her words to Isaac in verse 46 were altogether different to those to Jacob. She tells Isaac she is tired of living because of the daughters of Heth, two of whom Esau had married. They evidently continued to be "a grief of mind" to her (ch.26:35). How many Christian mothers since then have had deep sorrow over their children being married to unbelievers! Rebekah tells Isaac therefore that her life would be miserable if Jacob were to marry one of the daughters of Heth.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Genesis 27:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/genesis-27.html. 1897-1910.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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