|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
25:19-26 Isaac seems not to have been much tried, but to have spent his days in quietness. Jacob and Esau were prayed for; their parents, after being long childless, obtained them by prayer. The fulfilment of God's promise is always sure, yet it is often slow. The faith of believers is tried, their patience exercised, and mercies long waited for are more welcome when they come. Isaac and Rebekah kept in view the promise of all nations being blessed in their posterity, therefore were not only desirous of children, but anxious concerning every thing which seemed to mark their future character. In all our doubts we should inquire of the Lord by prayer. In many of our conflicts with sin and temptation, we may adopt Rebekah's words, If it be so, why am I thus? If a child of God, why so careless or carnal? If not a child of God, why so afraid of, or so burdened with sin?
Verse 26. - And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel. The inf. constr, standing for the finite verb (Ewald's 'Hebrews Synt.,' 304). Not simply followed close upon the heels of Esau (Kalisch), but seized Esau's heel, as if he would trip him up (Keil, Murphy). It has been contended (De Wette, Schumann, Knobel) that such an act was impossible, a work on obstetrics by Busch maintaining that an hour commonly intervenes between the birth of twins; but practitioners of eminence who have been consulted declare the act to be distinctly possible, and indeed it is well known that "a multitude of surprising phenomena are connected with births" (Havernick), some of which are not greatly dissimilar to that which is here recorded. Delitzsch interprets the language as meaning only that the hand of Jacob reached out in the direction of his brother's heel, as if to grasp it; but Hosea 12:3 explicitly asserts that he had his brother's heel by the hand while yet in his mother's womb. And his name was called - literally, and he (i.e. one) called his name; καὶ ἐκάλεσε τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ (LXX.); id circo appellavit eum (Vulgate; cf. Genesis 16:14; Genesis 27:36) - Jacob. Not "Successor," like the Latin secundus, from sequor (Knobel, Kalisch); but "Heel-catcher" (Rosenmüller, Gesenius, Keil, Lange, Murphy), hence Supplanter (cf. Genesis 37:36). And Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them. Literally, in the bearing of them, the inf. constr, taking the case of its verb (vide Gesenius, § 133) - when she (the mother) bare them; ὄτε ἔτεκεν αὐτοὺς Ῥεβέκκα (LXX.); quum nati sunt parvuli (Vulgate); though, as Rebekah's name does not occur in the immediate context, and ילד is applied to the father (Genesis 4:18; Genesis 10:8, 13) as well as to the mother, the clause may be rendered when he (Isaac) begat them (Kalisch, Afford).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And after that came his brother out,.... Out of his mother's womb, either by his own strength, or by the help of the midwife:
and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; to pluck him back and get out first; and this was not casual, but was so ordered in Providence, and had a meaning and mystery in it:
and his name was called Jacob; by his parents and others, and that for the above reason, because he took his brother by the heel, which his name has the signification of, and Esau has respect to in Genesis 27:36,
and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them; and so it was twenty years after he had been married to her; so long was his faith tried and exercised about the promised seed that was to spring from him.
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