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 son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.Genesis 27:1. When Isaac was old — A hundred and thirty-seven years old; but he lived forty years after this. And his eyes were dim — Whereby God brought about his own purpose of bestowing the blessing on Jacob. He called Esau, his eldest son — With a view to declare him his heir. The promise of the Messiah, and the land of Canaan, was a great trust, first committed to Abraham, inclusive and typical of spiritual and eternal blessings; this, by divine direction, he transmitted to Isaac. Isaac, either not knowing, or not duly considering the divine oracle concerning his two sons, that the elder should serve the younger, resolves to entail all the honour and power that was wrapped up in the promise upon Esau his eldest son. Esau had greatly grieved his parents by his marriage, yet they had not expelled him, but it seems were pretty well reconciled to him.
And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:Genesis 27:2. I know not the day of my death — How soon I may die; a declaration which every man may make, and which every man ought well to consider, and lay to heart. It is great mercy and wisdom in God to conceal from us the time of our dissolution. Hereby foreboding fear on the one hand, and vain presumption on the other, are prevented, and a strong motive is afforded us always to live and walk in the Spirit, and be like men waiting for their lord, that when Jesus cometh to call us hence, we may be found prepared to meet him.
“Is death uncertain?
Therefore be thou fix’d:
Fix’d as a sentinel; all eye, all ear:
All expectation of the coming foe.”
Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison;Genesis 27:3. Take me some venison — In this Isaac designed, not so much the refreshment of his own spirits, as the receiving a fresh instance of his son’s filial duty and affection to him, before he bestowed the designed favour upon him. That my soul may bless thee before I die — May confer my solemn, extraordinary, and prophetic blessing, and thereby may declare and constitute thee the heir of all the blessings bestowed by God upon me and my fathers. For it was no common blessing that Isaac meant for Esau, but that important patriarchal benediction which chiefly related to the peculiar and extraordinary covenant which God entered into with Abraham, to be a God to him and his seed, and to give them the land of Canaan, and in particular to that fundamental part of it, that the Messiah should be of his seed, and bless all the families of the earth. Isaac, out of a fond affection for Esau, endeavoured to entail this blessing on him, unmindful of the oracle that the elder should serve the younger.
And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.
And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.
And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying,Genesis 27:6. Rebekah spake unto Jacob — Rebekah is here contriving to procure the blessing for Jacob, which was designed for Esau. If the end were good, the means were bad, and no way justifiable. If it were not a wrong to Esau to deprive him of the blessing, he himself having forfeited it by selling the birthright, yet it was a wrong to Isaac to take advantage of his infirmity to impose upon him: it was a wrong to Jacob, whom she taught to deceive by putting a lie in his mouth. If Rebekah, when she heard Isaac promise the blessing to Esau, had gone to him, and with humility and seriousness put him in remembrance of that which God had said concerning their sons; if she had further showed him how Esau had forfeited the blessing, both by selling his birthright, and by marrying of strange wives; it is probable Isaac would have been prevailed with to confer the blessing upon Jacob, and needed not thus to have been cheated into it. This had been honourable and laudable, and would have looked well in history; but God left her to herself to take this indirect course, that he might have the glory of bringing good out of evil.
Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death.
Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee.
Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth:
And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.
And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man:
My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing.
And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son: only obey my voice, and go fetch me them.Genesis 27:13. Upon me be thy curse — That is, I will warrant the success; or, if the issue turn out ill, I will stand between thee and all danger. This she speaks in confidence of a good issue, probably through faith in God’s promises; the accomplishment of which, however, she seeks in an indirect and crooked way.
And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savoury meat, such as his father loved.
And Rebekah took goodly raiment of her eldest son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son:
And she put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck:Genesis 27:16. The skins of the kids of goats — It is observed by Bochart, that, in the eastern countries, goats’ hair is very like the human.
And she gave the savoury meat and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son?
And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.Genesis 27:19. And Jacob said, I am Esau — Who would have thought this plain man could have played such a part? His mother having put him in the way of it, he applies himself to those methods which he had never accustomed himself to, but had always conceived an abhorrence of. But lying is soon learned. I wonder how honest Jacob could so readily turn his tongue to say, I am Esau, thy firstborn: and when his father asked him, (Genesis 27:24,) Art thou my very son Esau? to reply, I am. How could he say, I have done as thou badest me, when he had received no command from his father, but was doing as his mother bid him? How could he say, Eat of my venison, when he knew it came not from the field, but from the fold? But especially I wonder how he could have the forehead to father it upon God, and to use his name in the cheat.
And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me.Genesis 27:20. The Lord thy God brought it to me — Is this Jacob? It is certainly written not for our imitation, but our admonition. Here we see how one lie draws on another. Let him that standeth, take heed lest he fall.
Now let us see how Isaac gave Jacob his blessing.
And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not.Genesis 27:21. Come near, that I may feel thee — He had some suspicion from his voice, and too quick return, that it was not Esau.
And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him.
And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am.
And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank.
And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son.
And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed:Genesis 27:27. He smelled the smell of his raiment — Probably scented with odoriferous flowers and other perfumes, with which they could easily be supplied from Arabia, famed for aromatic herbs. The smell of my son is as the smell of a field — The grateful odour of my son’s apparel resembles that of a field which God hath adorned with a variety of fruits and flowers, and this I consider as a token and presage that he and his posterity shall be blessed with all sorts of blessings, and become blessings to others.
Three things Jacob is here blessed with, 1st, Plenty, (Genesis 27:28,) heaven and earth concurring to make him rich. 2d, Power, (Genesis 27:29,) particularly dominion over his brethren, namely, Esau and his posterity. 3d, Prevalency with God, and a great interest in heaven, Cursed be every one that curseth thee — Let God be a friend to all thy friends, and an enemy to all thine enemies. Now, certainly, more is comprised in this blessing than appears at first; it must amount to an entail of the promise of the Messiah: that was, in the patriarchal dialect, the blessing; something spiritual, doubtless, is included in it. First, That from him should come the Messiah, that should have a sovereign dominion on earth, See Numbers 24:19, Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, the star and sceptre, Genesis 27:17.
Jacob’s dominion over Esau was to be only typical of this, Genesis 49:10. Secondly, That from him should come the Church, that should be particularly owned and favoured by Heaven. It was part of the blessing of Abraham when he was first called to be the father of the faithful, Genesis 12:3, I will bless them that bless thee; therefore, when Isaac afterward confirmed the blessing to Jacob, he called it, the blessing of Abraham, Genesis 28:4.
Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.Genesis 27:29. Let nations bow down to thee — When the Canaanites were subdued in the times of Joshua and the judges, and made tributary to the Israelites; and more especially when the Philistines, Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites became subject to them, in the time of David, this prophecy was fulfilled; but, like many other prophecies, it shall receive its principal accomplishment in the latter days of the Messiah’s kingdom, when he shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth; when all kings shall fall down before him, and all nations serve him, Psalm 72:8; Psalm 72:11.
And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me.
And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau.
And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.Genesis 27:33. Isaac trembled very exceedingly — Being perplexed and astonished to consider herein God’s overruling providences, and how strangely his purpose of giving the blessing to Esau had been disappointed. Those that follow the choice of their own affections, rather than the dictates of the divine will, involve themselves in such perplexities as these. But he soon recovers himself, and ratifies the blessing he had given to Jacob; I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed — He might have recalled it; but now, at last, he is sensible he was in an error when he designed it for Esau. Either recollecting the divine oracle, or having found himself more than ordinarily filled with the Holy Ghost when he gave the blessing to Jacob, he perceived that God did, as it were, say Amen to it.
Genesis 27:35-36. Thy brother hath taken away thy blessing — That which by birthright belonged to thee, and which I had fully resolved to have bestowed on thee. He took away my birthright — This was a false accusation, for he himself had sold it, and despised it, Hebrews 12:16. This shows there was yet no true repentance in him.
And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.
And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.
And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?
And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son?
And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept.
And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;Genesis 27:39. The fatness of the earth — Mount Seir, the heritage of Esau, was a fertile place, refreshed with dews and showers. By thy sword shalt thou live — That is, thou shalt be warlike, and live upon spoil. This was remarkably fulfilled both in Esau himself, and his posterity. He was a cunning hunter, a man of the field, and his descendants got possession of mount Seir by force and violence, expelling thence the Horites, the former inhabitants, Deuteronomy 2:22. They were almost continually at war with the Jews, both before and after the Babylonish captivity. Josephus says, they were so fond of broils, that they went to war as others would do to a banquet. Thou shalt serve thy brother — God never permitted the Edomites to lord it over the Israelites, although he made use of almost all the other neighbouring nations successively to oppress them. When thou shalt have dominion — Shalt gain strength, become powerful, and appoint a king of thy own. Thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck — “When the sons of Jacob,” says the Jerusalem Targum here, “attend to the law, and observe the precepts, they shall impose a yoke of servitude upon thy neck; but when they shall turn away themselves from studying the law, and neglect the precepts, behold, then thou shalt shake off the yoke of servitude.” This is no bad exposition of the passage: for it was David who brought the Edomites under the yoke, and in his time the Jews in a great degree observed the law. But in the reign of Jehoram, when they were very corrupt, “the Edomites revolted from under the dominion of Judah, making themselves a king,” 2 Chronicles 21:8; 2 Chronicles 21:10. We may observe here, although Esau obtained a blessing, it was far short of Jacob’s. There is nothing in it that points at Christ, nothing that brings either Esau or his posterity into the Church of God, and without that, “the fatness of the earth” and the plunder of the field will stand him in little stead. Thus Isaac, by faith, blessed them both according as their lot should be. And surely the exact accomplishment of these prophetic declarations, which were fulfilled many hundreds of years after the death of Moses who recorded them, must, if properly considered, give us a high idea of the Holy Scriptures, and convince us that they are truly the words of that BEING who knoweth the end from the beginning.
And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.
And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.Genesis 27:41-42. Esau said in his heart — What he afterward uttered in words, The days of mourning for my father are at hand — According to the course of nature. Isaac, however, lived forty-four years after this. Thy brother doth comfort himself — With thoughts of revenge, (which is sweet to all enraged mind,) and with hopes of recovering his birthright.
And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee.
Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran;
And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away;Genesis 27:44-45. Tarry with him a few days — Which proved to be above twenty years. Why should I be deprived of you both in one day? — Of one by murder, and the other by the hand of justice, (Genesis 9:6,) or by some remarkable stroke of divine vengeance, Acts 28:4.
Until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be deprived also of you both in one day?
And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?Genesis 27:46. If Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth — As Esau has done. More artifice still. This was not the thing she was afraid of. But if we use guile once, we shall be very ready to use it again. It should be carefully observed, that, although a blessing came on Jacob’s posterity by his vile lying and dissimulation, yet it brought heavy affliction upon himself, and that for a long term of years. So severely did God punish him personally, for “doing evil that good might come.”