Genesis 27:4
And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless you before I die.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Savoury meat.—On the rare occasions on which an Arab sheik tastes flesh, it is flavoured with almonds, pistachio nuts, and raisins. It would thus not be easy for Isaac to distinguish the taste of the flesh of a kid from that of an antelope. As the Arabs always spare their own flocks and herds, the capture of a wild animal gives them the greater pleasure, and a feast thus provided seemed to the patriarch a proper occasion for the solemn decision which son should inherit the promises made to Abraham.

That my soul may bless thee.—We gather from the solemn blessing given to his sons by Jacob (Genesis 49) that this was a prophetic act, by which the patriarchs, under the influence of the Spirit, and in expectation of death, decided to which son should belong the birthright. Jacob when dying bestowed it on Judah (Genesis 27:8-12). But here Isaac resisted the Spirit; for the clear warning had been given that “the elder should serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23). Isaac may have been moved to this act by indignation at the manner in which Esau had been induced to sell the birthright, and in annulling that sale he would have been within his rights; but he was not justified in disregarding the voice of prophecy, nor in his indifference to Esau’s violation of the Abrahamic law in marrying heathen women. And thus he becomes the victim of craft and treachery, while Jacob is led on to a deed which was the cause of endless grief to him and Rebekah, and has stained his character for ever. But had Jacob possessed the same high standard of honour as distinguished David afterwards, he would equally have received the blessing, but without the sin of deception practised upon his own father.

27:1-5 The promises of the Messiah, and of the land of Canaan, had come down to Isaac. Isaac being now about 135 years of age, and his sons about 75, and not duly considering the Divine word concerning his two sons, that the elder should serve the younger, resolved to put all the honour and power that were in the promise, upon Esau his eldest son. We are very apt to take measures rather from our own reason than from Divine revelation, and thereby often miss our way.Isaac was old. - Joseph was in his thirtieth year when he stood before Pharaoh, and therefore thirty-nine when Jacob came down to Egypt at the age of one hundred and thirty. When Joseph was born, therefore, Jacob was ninety-one, and he had sojourned fourteen years in Padan-aram. Hence, Jacob's flight to Laban took place when he was seventy-seven, and therefore in the one hundred and thirty-sixth year of Isaac. "His eyes were dim." Weakness and even loss of sight is more frequent in Palestine than with us. "His older son." Isaac had not yet come to the conclusion that Jacob was heir of the promise. The communication from the Lord to Rebekah concerning her yet unborn sons in the form in which it is handed down to us merely determines that the older shall serve the younger. This fact Isaac seems to have thought might not imply the transferrence of the birthright; and if he was aware of the transaction between Esau and Jacob, he may not have regarded it as valid. Hence, he makes arrangements for bestowing the paternal benediction on Esau, his older son, whom he also loves. "I am old." At the age of one hundred and thirty-six, and with failing sight, he felt that life was uncertain. In the calmness of determination he directs Esau to prepare savory meat, such as he loved, that he may have his vigor renewed and his spirits revived for the solemn business of bestowing that blessing, which he held to be fraught with more than ordinary benefits.4. make … savory meat—perhaps to revive and strengthen him for the duty; or rather, "as eating and drinking" were used on all religious occasions, he could not convey the right, till he had eaten of the meat provided for the purpose by him who was to receive the blessing [Adam Clarke] (compare Ge 18:7).

that my soul may bless thee—It is difficult to imagine him ignorant of the divine purpose (compare Ge 25:23). But natural affection, prevailing through age and infirmity, prompted him to entail the honors and powers of the birthright on his elder son; and perhaps he was not aware of what Esau had done (Ge 25:34).Quest. Why doth he require that he may eat before he bless him?

Answ.

1. That being refreshed and delighted therewith, his spirit might be more cheerful, and so the fitter for the giving of this prophetical benediction; for which reason also the prophet Elisha called for a minstrel ere he could utter his prophecy, 2 Kings 3:15.

2. By the special direction of Divine Providence, that Esau’s absence might give Jacob the advantage of getting the blessing. He speaks not here of a common and customary blessing, which parents may bestow upon any of their children as and when they please; but of the last, solemn, extraordinary, and prophetical benediction, whereby these holy patriarchs did by God’s appointment, and with his concurrence, constitute one of their sons heir, not only of their inheritance, but of Abraham’s covenant, and all the promises, both temporal and spiritual, belonging to it. As for the oracle delivered to Rebekah, which transferred this blessing upon Jacob, Genesis 25:23, either Isaac knew not of it, not being sufficiently informed thereof by Rebekah; or he did not thoroughly understand it; or he might apprehend that it was to be accomplished not in the persons of Esau and Jacob, but in their posterity; or at this time it was quite out of his mind; or he was induced to neglect it through his passionate affection to his son Esau.

And make me savoury meat, such as I love,.... For, though he had lost his sight, he had not lost his taste, nor his appetite for savoury food:

and bring it to me, that I may eat; this, was enjoined to make trial of his filial affection and duty to him, before he blessed him:

that my soul may bless thee before I die; not only that he might do it with cheerfulness and vivacity, having eaten a comfortable meal, and being refreshed with it, but that having had proof of his son's duty and affection to him, he might confer the blessing on him heartily: this blessing was not an ordinary and common one, but what parents used to bestow upon their children at the time of their death, or a little before it; and good men oftentimes did this under a spirit of prophecy, declaring what would be the case and circumstances of their children in time to come; and particularly the principal part of the blessing of Isaac, which Abraham had entailed upon him by divine direction, and he thought to have entailed on Esau his firstborn, was the promise of the descent of the Messiah from him and his seed, and of the possession of the land of Canaan by them: and this shows that Rebekah had not made known the oracle to Isaac, that the "elder should serve the younger", Genesis 25:23, or, if she had, he had forgot, or did not understand it, and might think it respected not the persons of his sons, but their posterity; or however, from a natural affection for Esau his firstborn, and that the blessing and inheritance might go in the common channel, he was desirous he should have it; and he might also be ignorant of Esau's having sold his birthright to Jacob, or that he made no account of it.

And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my {a} soul may bless thee before I die.

(a) The carnal affection he had for his son made him forget what God spoke to his wife. Ge 25:23.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. that my soul may bless thee] Cf. 19, 25, 31. See note on Genesis 12:13. A sacrificial meal is not intended. The strengthening food is from the chase, not the flesh of domestic animals.Verse 4. - And make me savory meat, - "delicious food," from a root whose primary idea is to taste, or try the flavor, of a thing. Schultens observes that the corresponding Arabic term is specially applied to dishes made of flesh taken in hunting, and highly esteemed by nomad tribes (vide Gesenius, p. 467) - such as I love (cf. Genesis 25:28, the ground of his partiality for Esau), and bring it to me, that I may eat; - "Though Isaac was blind and weak in his eyes, yet it seem-eth his body was of a strong constitution, seeing he was able to eat of wild flesh, which is of harder digestion" (Willet) - that - the conjunction בַּעֲבוּר followed by a future commonly expresses a purpose (cf. Exodus 9:14) - my soul may bless thee - notwithstanding the oracle (Genesis 25:23) uttered so many (fifty-seven or seventy-seven) years ago, Isaac appears to have clung to the belief that Esau was the destined heir of the covenant blessing; quoedam fuit coecitatis species, quae illi magis obstitit quam externa oeulorum caligo (Calvin) - before I die. Abimelech's Treaty with Isaac. - The conclusion of this alliance was substantially only a repetition of renewal of the alliance entered into with Abraham; but the renewal itself arose so completely out of the circumstances, that there is no ground whatever for denying that it occurred, or for the hypothesis that our account is merely another form of the earlier alliance; to say nothing of the fact, that besides the agreement in the leading event itself, the attendant circumstances are altogether peculiar, and correspond to the events which preceded. Abimelech not only brought his chief captain Phicol (supposed to be the same as in Genesis 21:22, if Phicol is not also an official name), but his מרע "friend," i.e., his privy councillor, Ahuzzath. Isaac referred to the hostility they had shown; to which Abimelech replied, that they (he and his people) did not smite him (נגע), i.e., drive him away by force, but let him depart in peace, and expressed a wish that there might be an oath between them. אלה the oath, as an act of self-imprecation, was to form the basis of the covenant to be made. From this אלה came also to be used for a covenant sanctioned by an oath (Deuteronomy 29:11, Deuteronomy 29:13). תּעשׂה אם "that thou do not:" אם a particle of negation used in an oath (Genesis 14:23, etc.). (On the verb with zere, see Ges. 75, Anm. 17; Ewald, 224.) - The same day Isaac's servants informed him of the well which they had dug; and Isaac gave it the name Shebah (שׁבעה, oath), in commemoration of the treaty made on oath. "Therefore the city was called Beersheba." This derivation of the name does not shut the other (Genesis 21:31) out, but seems to confirm it. As the treaty made on oath between Abimelech and Isaac was only a renewal of his covenant concluded before with Abraham, so the name Beersheba was also renewed by the well Shebah. The reality of the occurrence is supported by the fact that the two wells are in existence still (vid., Genesis 21:31).
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