And he said, Your brother came with subtlety, and has taken away your blessing.
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.
Esau's blessing. Esau comes in, but it is too late. "Who then?" The whole illusion is dispelled from the mind of Isaac. "Yea, blessed he shall be." Jacob had no doubt perpetrated a fraud, at the instigation of his mother; and if Esau had been worthy in other respects, and above all if the blessing had been designed for him, its bestowment on another would have been either prevented or regarded as null and void. But Isaac now felt that, whatever was the misconduct of Jacob in interfering, and especially in employing unworthy means to accomplish his end, he himself was culpable in allowing carnal considerations to draw his preference to Esau, who was otherwise unworthy. He knew too that the paternal benediction flowed not from the bias of the parent, but from the Spirit of God guiding his will, and therefore when so pronounced could not be revoked. Hence, he was now convinced that it was the design of Providence that the spiritual blessing should fall on the line of Jacob. The grief of Esau is distressing to witness, especially as he had been comparatively blameless in this particular instance. But still it is to be remembered that his heart had not been open to the paramount importance of spiritual things. Isaac now perceives that Jacob has gained the blessing by deceit. Esau marks the propriety of his name, the wrestler who trips up the heel, and pleads pathetically for at least some blessing. His father enumerates what he has done for Jacob, and asks what more he can do for Esau; who then exclaims, "Hast thou but one blessing?"
30-35. Esau came in from his hunting—Scarcely had the former scene been concluded, when the fraud was discovered. The emotions of Isaac, as well as Esau, may easily be imagined—the astonishment, alarm, and sorrow of the one; the disappointment and indignation of the other. But a moment's reflection convinced the aged patriarch that the transfer of the blessing was "of the Lord," and now irrevocable. The importunities of Esau, however, overpowered him; and as the prophetic afflatus was upon the patriarch, he added what was probably as pleasing to a man of Esau's character as the other would have been.
Which was thine by the right of nature, and by custom of nations, and by my hearty desire and intention, as well as by thy own expectation and opinion.
And he said, thy brother came with subtilty,.... The Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan, and so Jarchi, interpret it, "with wisdom", taking it in a good sense, and as excusing the fact; or rather commending it, as if it was wisely and prudently managed; but the word signifies fraud and deceit, and so it must be understood; though it may be Isaac says this, not so much to blame Jacob for what he had done, as to excuse himself to Esau, that he did not intend to give the blessing from him, but that he was imposed upon through the craft and subtilty of his brother, who feigned himself to be Esau; pretending he had been hunting, and had had wonderful success, and had got venison, and had prepared it; and came with goat, skins upon his hands and neck, that he might seem to be hairy as Esau was, and by these artful tricks he had deceived him, and therefore Esau could not blame him for what he had done:
and hath taken away thy blessing; which belonged to him as the firstborn, and he expected to have, and Isaac intended to have given it to him. And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)35
. Thy brother … guile
] Isaac at once concludes that the deceiver was Jacob, and acknowledges that Jacob’s trick has succeeded.Verse 35.
- And he
. Isaac) said, Thy brother came with subtlety
, - with wisdom (Onkelos); rather with fraud, μετά δόλου
(LXX.) - and hath taken away thy blessing - i.e. the blessing which I thought was thine
, since Isaac now understood that from the first it had been designed for Jacob.
After his father, in order to get rid of his suspicion about the voice, had asked him once more, "Art thou really my son Esau?" and Jacob had replied, "I am" (אני equals yes), he told him to hand him the savoury dish that he might eat. After eating, he kissed his son as a sing of his paternal affection, and in doing so he smelt the odour of his clothes, i.e., the clothes of Esau, which were thoroughly scented with the odour of the fields, and then imparted his blessing (Genesis 27:27-29
). The blessing itself is thrown, as the sign of an elevated state of mind, into the poetic style of parallel clauses, and contains the peculiar forms of poetry, such as ראה for הנּה, הוה for היה, etc. The smell of the clothes with the scent of the field suggested to the patriarch's mind the image of his son's future prosperity, so that he saw him in possession of the promised land and the full enjoyment of its valuable blessings, having the smell of the field which Jehovah blessed, i.e., the garden of paradise, and broke out into the wish, "God (Ha-Elohim, the personal God, not Jehovah, the covenant God) give thee from the dew of heaven, and the fat fields of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine," i.e., a land blessed with the dew of heaven and a fruitful soil.
In Eastern countries, where there is so little rain, the dew is the most important prerequisite for the growth of the fruits of the earth, and is often mentioned therefore as a source of blessing (Deuteronomy 33:13, Deuteronomy 33:28; Hosea 14:6; Zechariah 8:12). In משׁמנּי, notwithstanding the absence of the Dagesh from the שׁ, the מ is the prep. מן, as the parallel מטּל proves; and שׁמנּים both here and in Genesis 27:39 are the fat (fertile) districts of a country. The rest of the blessing had reference to the future pre-eminence of his son. He was to be lord not only over his brethren (i.e., over kindred tribes), but over (foreign) peoples and nations also. The blessing rises here to the idea of universal dominion, which was to be realized in the fact that, according to the attitude assumed by the people towards him as their lord, it would secure to them either a blessing or a curse. If we compare this blessing with the promises which Abraham received, there are two elements of the latter which are very apparent; viz., the possession of the land, in the promise of the rich enjoyment of its produce, and the numerous increase of posterity, in the promised dominion over the nations. The third element, however, the blessing of the nations in and through the seed of Abraham, is so generalized in the expression, which is moulded according to Genesis 12:3, "Cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee," that the person blessed is not thereby declared to be the medium of salvation to the nations. Since the intention to give the blessing to Esau the first-born did not spring from proper feelings towards Jehovah and His promises, the blessing itself, as the use of the word Elohim instead of Jehovah or El Shaddai (cf. Genesis 28:3) clearly shows, could not rise to the full height of the divine blessings of salvation, but referred chiefly to the relation in which the two brothers and their descendants would stand to one another, the theme with which Isaac's soul was entirely filled. It was only the painful discovery that, in blessing against his will, he had been compelled to follow the saving counsel of God, which awakened in him the consciousness of his patriarchal vocation, and gave him the spiritual power to impart the "blessing of Abraham" to the son whom he had kept back, but whom Jehovah had chosen, when he was about to send him away to Haran (Genesis 28:3-4).
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