|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
27:30-40 When Esau understood that Jacob had got the blessing, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry. The day is coming, when those that now make light of the blessings of the covenant, and sell their title to spiritual blessings for that which is of no value, will, in vain, ask urgently for them. Isaac, when made sensible of the deceit practised on him, trembled exceedingly. Those who follow the choice of their own affections, rather than the Divine will, get themselves into perplexity. But he soon recovers, and confirms the blessing he had given to Jacob, saying, I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed. Those who part with their wisdom and grace, their faith and a good conscience, for the honours, wealth, or pleasures of this world, however they feign a zeal for the blessing, have judged themselves unworthy of it, and their doom shall be accordingly. A common blessing was bestowed upon Esau. This he desired. Faint desires of happiness, without right choice of the end, and right use of the means, deceive many unto their own ruin. Multitudes go to hell with their mouths full of good wishes. The great difference is, that there is nothing in Esau's blessing which points at Christ; and without that, the fatness of the earth, and the plunder of the field, will stand in little stead. Thus Isaac, by faith, blessed both his sons, according as their lot should be.
Verse 39. - And Isaac his father (moved by the tearful earnestness of Esau) answered and said unto him, - still speaking under inspiration, though it is doubtful whether what he spoke was a real, or only an apparent, blessing - (vide infra) - Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above. Literally, from (מִן) the fatnesses (or fat places) of the earth, and from the dew of area; a substantial repetition of the temporal blessing bestowed on Jacob (ver. 28), with certain important variations, such as the omission of plenty of corn and wine at the close, and of the name of Elohim at the commencement, of the benediction (Vulgate, Luther, Calvin, Ainsworth, Rosenmüller, 'Speaker's Commentary'); though, by assigning to the preposition a privative rather than a partitive sense, it is readily transformed into "a modified curse" - behold, away from the fatnesses o/the earth, &c., shall thy dwelling be, meaning that, in contrast to the land of Canaan, the descendants of Esau should be located in a sterile region (Tuch, Knobel, Kurtz, Delitzseh, Keil, Kalisch, Murphy). In support of this latter rendering it is urged
(1) that it is grammatically admissible;
(2) that it corresponds with the present aspect of Idumaea, which is "on the whole a dreary and unproductive land;"
(3) that it agrees with the preceding statement that every blessing had already been bestowed upon Jacob; and
(4) that it explains the play upon the words "fatness" and "dew," which are here chosen to describe a state of matter exactly the opposite to that which was declared to be the lot of Jacob. On the other hand, it is felt to be somewhat arbitrary to assign to the preposition a partitive sense in ver. 28 and a privative in ver. 39. Though called in later times (Malachi 1:3) a waste and desolate region, it may not have been originally so, or only in comparison with Canaan; while according to modern travelers the glens and mountain terraces of Edom, covered with rich soil, only want an industrious population to convert the entire region into "one of the wealthiest, as it is one of the most picturesque, countries in the world."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Isaac his father answered and said unto him,.... Being willing to bestow what he could upon him, without lessening or breaking in upon the grant made to Jacob:
behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above: this agrees with part of the blessing of Jacob, only the clauses are inverted, and no mention made of corn and wine; the land of Edom not being so fat and fruitful as the land of Canaan. Castalio renders the words very differently, "thy habitation shall be from the fatness of the earth, or without the fatness of the earth, and without the dew of heaven from above" (c); or otherwise he thinks Esau would have the same blessing with Jacob, and so would have no occasion of complaint or grief, or to have hated his brother and sought his life; to which may be added, that the land of Edom, which Esau and his posterity inhabited, was a very desert country, see Malachi 1:3.
(c) See the Bishop of Clogher's Chronology of the Hebrew Bible, p. 142.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
39, 40. Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth—The first part is a promise of temporal prosperity, made in the same terms as Jacob's [Ge 27:28]—the second part refers to the roving life of hunting freebooters, which he and his descendants should lead. Though Esau was not personally subject to his brother, his posterity were tributary to the Israelites, till the reign of Joram when they revolted and established a kingdom of their own (2Ki 8:20; 2Ch 21:8-10).
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