Genesis 27:46
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?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(46) Rebekah said to Isaac.—With this begins a new act. In the previous five verses we had the general results of Rebekah’s guile: we have now the special consequence of Jacob’s departure for Haran. Upon Rebekah’s communication to Isaac follows his decision in the next chapter. In the Hebrew there is no break from the beginning of Genesis 27 to the end of Genesis 27:9 of Genesis 28.

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.”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.Rebekah hearing this, advises Jacob to flee to Laban her brother, and await the abatement of his brother's anger. "That which thou hast done to him." Rebekah seems not to have been aware that she herself was the cause of much of the evil and of the misery that flowed from it. All the parties to this transaction are pursued by a retributive chastisement. Rebekah, especially, parts with her favorite son to meet him only after an absence of twenty years, if ever in this life. She is moreover grievously vexed with the connection which Esau formed with the daughters of Heth. She dreads a similar matrimonial alliance on the part of Jacob.

- Jacob's Journey to Haran

3. קהל qâhāl, "congregation."

9. מחלת māchălat, Machalath, "sickness, or a harp."

19. לוּז lûz, Luz, "almond."

The blessing of his sons was the last passage in the active life of Isaac, after which he retires from the scene. Jacob now becomes the leading figure in the sacred history. His spiritual character has yet come out to view. But even now we can discern the general distinction in the lives of the three patriarchs. Abraham's is a life of authority and decision; Isaac's, of submission and acquiescence; and Jacob's, of trial and struggle.

46. Rebekah said to Isaac—Another pretext Rebekah's cunning had to devise to obtain her husband's consent to Jacob's journey to Mesopotamia; and she succeeded by touching the aged patriarch in a tender point, afflicting to his pious heart—the proper marriage of their younger son. The daughters of Heth, Esau’s wives, who were Hittites, Genesis 26:34. Therefore let us, after the example of Abraham, send him to fetch a wife from his own kindred. This indeed was one reason, but the other she conceals from Isaac; thus prudently alleging several reasons, one to Jacob, and another, as it is probable, to Esau, and each most suitable to the person to whom she speaks. And Rebekah said to Isaac,.... Not what she had told Jacob concerning the enmity of Esau to Jacob, and his intention to kill him, lest it should grieve him, and bring his gray hairs with sorrow to the grave; but what follows, as an excuse to get Isaac's leave for Jacob's departure, concealing the true reason of it:

I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; whom Esau had married, Genesis 26:34; who were continually vexing and teasing her by their impiety and idolatry, their irreligion and profaneness, their disobedience and contradiction, their froward temper and behaviour:

if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth; as his brother has done, and after his example, as the best are too apt to be led by bad examples:

such as these which are of the daughters of the land: like those Esau had married, of the same tribe, or of other of the tribes of the Canaanites, which were in religion and manners like unto them:

what good shall my life do me? I shall have no comfort in it; death would be more eligible than such a life: this she said with great vehemence and affection, to move and work upon Isaac to lay him commands on Jacob, and give him orders and directions to go to her family and friends, and there take him a wife; and the succeeded according to her wishes, as the following chapter shows.

And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the {o} daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, {p} what good shall my life do me?

(o) Who were Esau's wives.

(p) By this she persuaded Isaac to agree to Jacob's leaving.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
46. and ch. Genesis 28:1-9. This passage is from P, as is shewn by the characteristic language and phraseology. It supplies a different motive for Jacob’s journey. He is to go to Paddan-aram, Genesis 28:2, not to Haran as in Genesis 27:43. Jacob’s deception is ignored; his departure is on a journey for a visit, and on a mission for a wife, not in flight from fear of assassination. Esau, in Genesis 28:6, makes no reference to the events recorded in chap. 27. The passage interrupts the story of Jacob in J, which is resumed in Genesis 28:10; it gives a parallel and distinct treatment of Jacob’s journey into the Aramaean region: it refers back to a previous passage from P, which records how Esau had married two “Hittite” wives (Genesis 26:34-35). Rebekah fears Jacob may do the same; Jacob is sent away with Isaac’s blessing (Genesis 28:3-4), and without reference to the great deception.

46. I am weary of my life] See note on Genesis 26:34-35. The “daughters of Heth” clearly mean Esau’s two wives. This passage resumes the P narrative of Genesis 26:35.

what good, &c.] Cf. Rebekah’s words, Genesis 25:22, “if it be so, wherefore do I live?”Verse 46. - And Rebekah said to Isaac (perhaps already discerning in the contemplated flight to Haran the prospect of a suitable matrimonial alliance for the heir of the promise, and secretly desiring to suggest such a thought to her aged husband), I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: - referring doubtless to Esau's wives (cf. Genesis 26:35) - 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? Literally, for what to me life, i.e. what happiness can I have in living? It is impossible to exonerate Rebekah altogether from a charge of duplicity even in this. Unquestionably Esau s wives may have vexed her, and her faith may have perceived that Jacob's wife must be sought for amongst their own kindred; but her secret reason for sending Jacob to Haran was not to seek a wife, as she seems to have desired Isaac to believe, but to elude the fury of his incensed brother.



Jacob had hardly left his father, after receiving the blessing (יצא אך, was only gone out), when Esau returned and came to Isaac, with the game prepared, to receive the blessing. The shock was inconceivable which Isaac received, when he found that he had blessed another, and not Esau-that, in fact, he had blessed Jacob. At the same time he neither could nor would, either curse him on account of the deception which he had practised, or withdraw the blessing imparted. For he could not help confessing to himself that he had sinned and brought the deception upon himself by his carnal preference for Esau. Moreover, the blessing was not a matter of subjective human affection, but a right entrusted by the grace of God to paternal supremacy and authority, in the exercise of which the person blessing, being impelled and guided by a higher authority, imparted to the person to be blest spiritual possessions and powers, which the will of man could not capriciously withdraw. Regarding this as the meaning of the blessing, Isaac necessarily saw in what had taken place the will of God, which had directed to Jacob the blessing that he had intended for Esau. He therefore said, "I have blessed him; yea, he will be (remain) blessed" (cf. Hebrews 12:17). Even the great and bitter lamentation into which Esau broke out could not change his father's mind. To his entreaty in Genesis 27:34, "Bless me, even me also, O my father!" he replied, "Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing." Esau answered, "Is it that (הכי) they have named him Jacob (overreacher), and he has overreached me twice?" i.e., has he received the name Jacob from the fact that he has twice outwitted me? הכי is used "when the cause is not rightly known" (cf. Genesis 29:15). To his further entreaty, "Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?" (אצל, lit., to lay aside), Isaac repeated the substance of the blessing given to Jacob, and added, "and to thee (לכה for לך as in Genesis 3:9), now, what can I do, my son?" When Esau again repeated, with tears, the entreaty that Isaac would bless him also, the father gave him a blessing (Genesis 27:39, Genesis 27:40), but one which, when compared with the blessing of Jacob, was to be regarded rather as "a modified curse," and which is not even described as a blessing, but "introduced a disturbing element into Jacob's blessing, a retribution for the impure means by which he had obtained it." "Behold," it states, "from the fat fields of the earth will thy dwelling be, and from the dew of heaven from above." By a play upon the words Isaac uses the same expression as in Genesis 27:28, "from the fat fields of the earth, and from the dew," but in the opposite sense, מן being partitive there, and privative here, "from equals away from." The context requires that the words should be taken thus, and not in the sense of "thy dwelling shall partake of the fat of the earth and the dew of heaven" (Vulg., Luth., etc.).

(Note: I cannot discover, however, in Malachi 1:3 an authentic proof of the privative meaning, as Kurtz and Delitzsch do, since the prophet's words, "I have hated Esau, and laid his mountains and his heritage waste," are not descriptive of the natural condition of Idumaea, but of the desolation to which the land was given up.)

Since Isaac said (Genesis 27:37) he had given Jacob the blessing of the super-abundance of corn and wine, he could not possibly promise Esau also fat fields and the dew of heaven. Nor would this agree with the words which follows, "By thy sword wilt thou live." Moreover, the privative sense of מן is thoroughly poetical (cf. 2 Samuel 1:22; Job 11:15, etc.). The idea expressed in the words, therefore, was that the dwelling-place of Esau would be the very opposite of the land of Canaan, viz., an unfruitful land. This is generally the condition of the mountainous country of Edom, which, although not without its fertile slopes and valleys, especially in the eastern portion (cf. Robinson, Pal. ii. p. 552), is thoroughly waste and barren in the western; so that Seetzen says it consists of "the most desolate and barren mountains probably in the world."

The mode of life and occupation of the inhabitants were adapted to the country. "By (lit., on) thy sword thou wilt live;" i.e., thy maintenance will depend on the sword (על as in Deuteronomy 8:3 cf. Isaiah 28:16), "live by war, rapine, and freebooting" (Knobel). "And thy brother thou wilt serve; yet it will come to pass, as (כּאשׁר, lit., in proportion as, cf. Numbers 27:14) thou shakest (tossest), thou wilt break his yoke from thy neck." רוּד, "to rove about" (Jeremiah 2:31; Hosea 12:1), Hiphil "to cause (the thoughts) to rove about" (Psalm 55:3); but Hengstenberg's rendering is the best here, viz., "to shake, sc., the yoke." In the wild, sport-loving Esau there was aptly prefigured the character of his posterity. Josephus describes the Idumaean people as "a tumultuous and disorderly nation, always on the watch on every motion, delighting in mutations" (Whiston's tr.: de bell Judges 4; Judges 1:1-21:25; 1). The mental eye of the patriarch discerned in the son his whole future family in its attitude to its brother-nation, and he promised Edom, not freedom from the dominion of Israel (for Esau was to serve his brother, as Jehovah had predicted before their birth), but only a repeated and not unsuccessful struggle for freedom. And so it was; the historical relation of Edom to Israel assumed the form of a constant reiteration of servitude, revolt, and reconquest. After a long period of independence at the first, the Edomites were defeated by Saul (1 Samuel 14:47) and subjugated by David (2 Samuel 8:14); and, in spite of an attempt at revolt under Solomon (1 Kings 11:14.), they remained subject to the kingdom of Judah until the time of Joram, when they rebelled. They were subdued again by Amaziah (2 Kings 14:7; 2 Chronicles 25:11.), and remained in subjection under Uzziah and Jotham (2 Kings 14:22; 2 Chronicles 26:2). It was not till the reign of Ahaz that they shook the yoke of Judah entirely off (2 Kings 16:6; 2 Chronicles 28:17), without Judah being ever able to reduce them again. At length, however, they were completely conquered by John Hyrcanus about b.c. 129, compelled to submit to circumcision, and incorporated in the Jewish state (Josephus, Ant. xiii. 9, 1, xv. 7, 9). At a still later period, through Antipater and Herod, they established an Idumaean dynasty over Judea, which lasted till the complete dissolution of the Jewish state.

Thus the words of Isaac to his two sons were fulfilled-words which are justly said to have been spoken "in faith concerning things to come" (Hebrews 11:20). For the blessing was a prophecy, and that not merely in the case of Esau, but in that of Jacob also; although Isaac was deceived with regard to the person of the latter. Jacob remained blessed, therefore, because, according to the predetermination of God, the elder was to serve the younger; but the deceit by which his mother prompted him to secure the blessing was never approved. On the contrary, the sin was followed by immediate punishment. Rebekah was obliged to send her pet son into a foreign land, away from his father's house, and in an utterly destitute condition. She did not see him for twenty years, even if she lived till his return, and possibly never saw again. Jacob had to atone for his sin against both brother and father by a long and painful exile, in the midst of privation, anxiety, fraud, and want. Isaac was punished for retaining his preference for Esau, in opposition to the revealed will of Jehovah, by the success of Jacob's stratagem; and Esau for his contempt of the birthright, by the loss of the blessing of the first-born. In this way a higher hand prevailed above the acts of sinful men, bringing the counsel and will of Jehovah to eventual triumph, in opposition to human thought and will.

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