Genesis 25:28
And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
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(28) Because he did eat of his venison.—Literally, because the venison—that is, the produce of Esau’s hunting—was in his mouth; in our phrase, was to his taste—was what he liked. The diet of an Arab sheik is very simple (see Note on Genesis 18:6); and Isaac, a man wanting in physical vigour and adventurousness—as is usually the case with the children of people far advanced in years—both admired the energy which Esau had inherited from Rebekah, and relished the fruits of it.

Genesis 25:28. Isaac loved Esau — The conduct of both these parents was blameable: they had but these two children, and the father was peculiarly attached to the one, and the mother to the other. And this improper partiality gave occasion to that strife which once threatened their being deprived of them both. Such partiality should be carefully guarded against in parents, as being both sinful in itself, and of dangerous tendency. It is true some children may be of a much more amiable spirit and conduct than others of the same family; yet all ought to have a due share of parental regard, and none be in any manner slighted or neglected.

25:27,28 Esau hunted the beasts of the field with dexterity and success, till he became a conqueror, ruling over his neighbours. Jacob was a plain man, one that liked the true delights of retirement, better than all pretended pleasures. He was a stranger and a pilgrim in his spirit, and a shepherd all his days. Isaac and Rebekah had but these two children, one was the father's darling, and the other the mother's. And though godly parents must feel their affections most drawn over towards a godly child, yet they will not show partiality. Let their affections lead them to do what is just and equal to every child, or evils will arise.The brothers prove to be different in disposition and habit. The rough fiery Esau takes to the field, and becomes skilled in all modes of catching game. Jacob is of a homely, peaceful, orderly turn, dwelling in tents and gathering round him the means and appliances of a quiet social life. The children please their parents according as they supply what is lacking in themselves. Isaac, himself so sedate, loves the wild, wandering hunter, because he supplies him with pleasures which his own quiet habits do not reach. Rebekah becomes attached to the gentle, industrious shepherd, who satisfies those social and spiritual tendencies in which she is more dependent than Isaac. Esau is destructive of game; Jacob is constructive of cattle.28. The parents were divided in their affection; and while the grounds, at least of the father's partiality, were weak, the distinction made between the children led, as such conduct always does, to unhappy consequences. Isaac loved Esau, not simply nor chiefly because he pleased his palate, but because this was an evidence of his son’s great respect and affection to him, that he would take such pains and incur such hazards to which that course of life exposed him, that he might please and serve his father.

But Rebekah loved Jacob upon better grounds, both because of his more pious and meek temper, and because of the oracle and promise of God.

And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison,.... Better than Jacob, not only because he was his firstborn, but because he brought him of the flesh of creatures, which he took in hunting, and being dressed, were savoury food to him: it is in the original, "because venison (or what he hunted) was in his mouth" (h), into which he put it, and was very grateful to his taste:

but Rebekah loved Jacob; more than Esau, being more at home with her, and of a milder disposition; and more especially being a good man, a partaker of the grace of God, and to whom she knew by the oracle the blessing and promise belonged.

(h) "quia venatio in ore ejus", Pagninus, Montanus.

And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob.
28. because … venison] Cf. Genesis 27:3-4.

Rebekah loved Jacob] i.e. more than Esau. We have in this verse the division of the two pairs, Isaac and Esau, Rebekah and Jacob, on which turns the narrative in chap. 27.

The contrast between the hunter and the shepherd is drawn with a settled preference for the shepherd.

Verse 28. - And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: - literally, because his hunting (i.e. its produce) was in his mouth; ὁτι ἡ θήρα αὐτοῦ βρῶσις αὐτῳ (LXX.); not perhaps the sole reason for Isaac's preference of Esau, though mentioned here because of its connection with the ensuing narrative. Persons of quiet and retiring disposition, like Isaac, are often fascinated by those of more sparkling and energetic temperament, such as Esau; mothers, on the other hand, are mostly drawn towards children that are gentle in disposition and home-keeping in habit. Accordingly it is added - but Rebekah loved Jacob. Genesis 25:28Esau became "a cunning hunter, a man of the field," i.e., a man wandering about in the fields. He was his father's favourite, for "venison was in his mouth," i.e., he was fond of it. But Jacob was תּם אישׁ, "a pious man" (Luther); תּם, integer, denotes here a disposition that finds pleasure in the quiet life of home. אהלים ישׁב, not dwelling in tents, but sitting in the tents, in contrast with the wild hunter's life led by his brother; hence he was his mother's favourite.
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