Genesis 27:41
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.
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(41) The days of mourning for my father are at hand.—Esau evidently expected that his father’s death was near, and such also was Isaac’s own expectation (Genesis 27:2); but he recovered, and lived for more than half a century. Perhaps on this account another translation has been suggested, namely, “Days of mourning for my father are at hand: for I will slay Jacob.” But there is no support for this in the Hebrew, and it represents Esau as utterly inhuman; whereas, with all his faults, he had a warm, loving heart. Genesis 28 ought to have begun here, as the break at the end of Genesis 27:46 is very injurious to the meaning.

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.

27:41-46 Esau bore malice to Jacob on account of the blessing he had obtained. Thus he went in the way of Cain, who slew his brother, because he gained that acceptance with God of which he had rendered himself unworthy. Esau aimed to prevent Jacob or his seed from having the dominion, by taking away his life. Men may fret at God's counsels, but cannot change them. To prevent mischief, Rebekah warned Jacob of his danger, and advised him to withdraw for his safety. We must not presume too far upon the wisdom and resolution, even of the most hopeful and promising children; but care must be taken to keep them out of the way of evil. When reading this chapter, we should not fail to observe, that we must not follow even the best of men further than they act according to the law of God. We must not do evil that good may come. And though God overruled the bad actions recorded in this chapter, to fulfil his purposes, yet we see his judgment of them, in the painful consequences to all the parties concerned. It was the peculiar privilege and advantage of Jacob to convey these spiritual blessings to all nations. The Christ, the Saviour of the world, was to be born of some one family; and Jacob's was preferred to Esau's, out of the good pleasure of Almighty God, who is certainly the best judge of what is fit, and has an undoubted right to dispense his favours as he sees proper, Ro 9:12-15.At length, in reply to the weeping suppliant, he bestows upon him a characteristic blessing. "Away from the fatness." The preposition (מי mı̂y) is the same as in the blessing of Jacob. But there, after a verb of giving, it had a partitive sense; here, after a noun of place, it denotes distance or separation; for example, Proverbs 20:3 The pastoral life has been distasteful to Esau, and so it shall be with his race. The land of Edom was accordingly a comparative wilderness (Malachi 1:3). "On thy sword." By preying upon others. "And thy brother shalt thou serve." Edom was long independent; but at length Saul was victorious over them 1 Samuel 14:47, and David conquered them 2 Samuel 8:14. Then followed a long struggle, until John Hyrcanus, 129 b.c., compelled them to be circumcised and incorporated into Judaism. "Break his yoke." The history of Edom was a perpetual struggle against the supremacy of Israel. Conquered by Saul, subdued by David, repressed by Solomon, restrained after a revolt by Amaziah, they recovered their independence in the time of Ahab. They were incorporated into the Jewish state, and furnished it with the dynasty of princes beginning with Antipater. Esau was now exasperated against his brother, and could only compose his mind by resolving to slay him during the days of mourning after his father's death.41. Esau hated Jacob—It is scarcely to be wondered at that Esau resented the conduct of Jacob and vowed revenge.

The days of mourning for my father are at hand—a common Oriental phrase for the death of a parent.

Esau hated Jacob; and this hatred was hereditary, extending to their posterity also. See Ezekiel 35:5 Amos 1:11 Obadiah 1:10.

Esau said in his heart, within himself; although he could not contain it there, but declared his intentions to some of his confidants, by which means it came to Rebekah’s ear.

And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him,.... It being a better blessing than his; giving him a better country, and greater plenty of good things, a larger dominion, and even dominion over him and his seed; for as for the promise of the Messiah, and spiritual blessings, he seems to have no concern about them, only temporal ones:

and Esau said in his heart; within himself, but he did not long keep it there, but told somebody of it; or otherwise, how should Rebekah be informed of it, as afterwards related? what he said follows:

the days of mourning for my father are at hand, then will I slay my brother Jacob: that is, the time of his father's death was drawing nigh, when there would be a mourning for him for some days; at which time, or at the end of it, he proposed to pick a quarrel with Jacob about his title to his father's substance, and in the quarrel kill him, and so regain the birthright and the blessing; and Jacob dying unmarried, and without issue, would defeat both the oracle of God, and the prophetic benediction of his father; but he failed in all, the time of his father's death was not so near as he imagined, for he lived forty three years after this; and this design of his being discovered, was the occasion of Jacob's going to Haran, where he married two sisters, and by them and their maids had a numerous offspring, whereby both the oracle and the blessing had their accomplishment. Esau seems to have retained some affection for his father, and therefore put off the execution of this wicked design until his death, being unwilling to grieve him, but had no regard for his mother, who he knew loved Jacob better than he, and was assisting to him in getting the blessing from him. Schmidt gives a sense of this passage different from all interpreters, and renders the words, "the days of my father's mourning will draw nigh"; not in which his father would be mourned for, being dead, but in which his father, being alive, would himself mourn for his son Jacob, being slain by Esau; and accordingly he renders the next clause, "for I will slay my brother Jacob"; and that will make him mourn, and perhaps die of his grief; and so he shows an ill will to his father because he confirmed the blessing to Jacob, as well as to Jacob because he had it.

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; {l} then will I slay my brother Jacob.

(l) Hypocrites only abstain from doing evil for fear of men.

41. The days of mourning, &c.] Cf. Genesis 50:3-4; Genesis 50:10. The meaning is obvious. Esau says in his heart, “Isaac my father is on the point of death: no sooner shall he die, than I will take revenge. Even while the customary mourning is going on, I will slay Jacob.” Before seven days have elapsed (cf. Genesis 50:3) he will have had his revenge. For “say in one’s heart,” cf. Genesis 8:21, Genesis 24:45 (J).

Very improbable is the interpretation which makes “the days of mourning, &c.” mean “the days of mourning by my father,” i.e. “for the death of Jacob.”

then will I slay] The word “then” is simply “and” in the original. The clause is consecutive. There is no adverb defining the point of time. But the idiom emphasizes the dependence of the second clause upon the first.

Verse 41. - And Esau hated Jacob - a proof that he was not penitent, however disappointed and remorseful (cf. Obadiah 1:10, 11; 1 John 3:12, 15) - because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: - notwithstanding the fact that he too had received an appropriate benediction; a display of envy as well as wrath, another proof of his ungracious character (Galatians 5:21; James 4:5) - and Esau said in his heart, - i.e. secretly resolved, though afterwards he must have communicated his intention (vide ver. 42) - The days of mourning for my father are at hand. The LXX. interpret as a wish on the part of Esau that Isaac might speedily die, in order that the fratricidal act he contemplated might not pain the old man's heart; another rendering (Kalisch) understands him to say that days of grief were in store for his father, as he meant to slay his brother; but the ordinary translation seems preferable (Rosenmüller, Keil, Murphy, et alii), that Esan only deferred the execution of his unholy purpose because of the near approach, as he imagined, of his father's death. Isaac, however, lived upwards of forty years after this. Then will I slay my brother Jacob. That which reconciled Isaac and Ishmael (Genesis 25:9), the death of a father, is here mentioned as the event which would decisively and finally part Esau and Jacob. Esau's murderous intention Calvin regards as a clear proof of the non-reality of his repentance for his sin, the insincerity of his sorrow for his father, and the intense malignity of his hate against his brother. Genesis 27:41Esau's complaining and weeping were now changed into mortal hatred of his brother. "The days of mourning," he said to himself, "for my father are at hand, and I will kill my brother Jacob." אבי אבל: genit. obj. as in Amos 8:10; Jeremiah 6:26. He would put off his intended fratricide that he might not hurt his father's mind.
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