Genesis 27:33
Isaac began to tremble violently and said, "Who was it, then, who hunted the game and brought it to me? Before you came in, I ate it all and blessed him--and indeed, he will be blessed!"
Sermons
Jacob's Deceit, Esau SupplantedR.A. Redford Genesis 27:33
Esau and the BlessingF. Goodall, B. AGenesis 27:33-40
Esau Disappointed of His BlessingT. H. Leale.Genesis 27:33-40
Esau, the Man of NatureM. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.Genesis 27:33-40
Esau's CryJ. H. Newman, D. D.Genesis 27:33-40
Esau's Irreligious Envy of JacobA. Fuller.Genesis 27:33-40
Esau's Late RepentanceBishop Harvey Goodwin.Genesis 27:33-40
Godly and Worldly SorrowBp. Armstrong.Genesis 27:33-40
Late and False TearsBp. Hall.Genesis 27:33-40
LessonsJ. C. Gray.Genesis 27:33-40
The BlessingE. Craig.Genesis 27:33-40
The Cry of One Man Representing the Wail of ManyHomilistGenesis 27:33-40
The Deceived Father and the Defrauded Son and BrotherF. W. Robertson, M. A.Genesis 27:33-40
The Repentance of EsauBp. S. Wilberforce.Genesis 27:33-40
In this familiar narrative the following points may be distinguished: -

I. ISAAC'S ERROR - connecting a solemn blessing with mere gratification of the senses, neglect of the Divine word, favoritism towards the son less worthy.

II. JACOB'S SUBTILTY and selfishness. The birthright had been sold to him; he might have obtained the blessing by fair agreement. His fear of Esau lay at the root of his deceit. One sin leads on to another. Those who entangle themselves with the world are involved more and more in moral evil.

III. REBEKAH'S AFFECTION was perverted into unmotherly partiality and unwifely treachery to Isaac. The son's guilt rested much on the mother's shoulders, for she laid the plot and prepared the execution of it. All were sad examples of self-assertion destroying the simplicity of faith. And yet -

IV. THE COVENANT GOD over-rules the weakness and error of his people. The blessing was appointed for Jacob. Although pronounced by an instrument blind, foolish, sinful, deceived, it yet is the blessing, which, having been lodged in Isaac, must pass on to the true heir of Isaac, who, according to the promise and prediction, is Jacob.

V. The lower character and standing of Esau and his inferior blessing represents the distinction between THE CHOSEN PEOPLE AND THOSE WHO, WHILE NOT INCLUDED IN THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL, may yet by connection and intercourse with it derive some portion of the Divine benediction from it. Both in pre-Christian and Christian times there have been nations thus situated.

VI. The LATE REPENTANCE Of the supplanted Esau. He found no possibility of averting the consequences of his own error (Hebrews 12:17), no place where repentance would avail to recover that which was lost. The "great and exceeding bitter cry" only reveals the shame, the blessing taken away. Those who, like Esau, despise their place in the family of God are driven out into the fierce opposition of the world; "by their sword" they must live and "serve their brethren."

VII. THE END OF DECEIT IS HATRED, passion, fear, flight, individual and family disorder and suffering. Yet again the merciful hand interposes to over-rule the errors of man. Jacob's flight from Esau's hatred is his preservation from ungodly alliance with heathen neighbors, and the commencement of a wholesome course of discipline by which his character was purged of much of its evil, and his faith deepened and developed - R.







And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.
No one can read this chapter without feeling some pity for Esau. All his hopes were disappointed in a moment. He had built much upon this blessing; for in his youth he had sold his birthright, and he thought that in his father's blessing he would get back his birthright, or what would stand in its place. He had parted with it easily, and he expected to regain it easily, tie thought to regain God's blessing, not by fasting and prayer, but by savoury meat, by feasting and making merry.

I. Esau's cry is the cry of one who has rejected God, and who in turn has been rejected by Him. He was

(1)profane, and

(2)presumptuous.He was profane in selling his birthright, presumptuous in claiming the blessing. Such as Esau was, such are too many Christians now. They neglect religion in their best days; they give up their birthright in exchange for what is sure to perish and make them perish with it. They are profane persons, for they despise the great gift of God; they are presumptuous, for they claim a blessing as a matter of course.

II. The prodigal son is an example of a true penitent. He came to God with deep confession — self-abasement. He said, "Father, I have sinned." Esau came for a son's privileges; the prodigal son came for a servant's drudgery. The one killed and dressed his venison with his own hand, and enjoyed it not; for the other the fatted calf was prepared, and the ring for his hand and shoes for his feet, and the best robe, and there was music and dancing.

(J. H. Newman, D. D.)

I. The character of Esau has unquestionably a fair side. Esau was by no means a man of unqualified wickedness or baseness; judged according to the standard of many men, he would pass for a very worthy, estimable person. The whole history of his treatment of Jacob puts his character in a very favourably light; it represents him as an open-hearted, generous person, who, though he might be rough in his manners, fond of a wild life, perhaps as rude and unpolished in mind as he was in body, had yet a noble soul, which was able to do what little minds sometimes cannot do — namely, forgive freely a cruel wrong done to him.

II. Nevertheless, it is not without reason that the apostle styles Esau a profane person. The defect in his character may be described as a want of religious seriousness; there was nothing spiritual in him — no reverence for holy things, no indications of a soul which could find no sufficient joy in this world, but which aspired to those joys which are at God's right hand for evermore. By the title of profane the apostle means to describe the carnal, unspiritual man — the man who takes his stand upon this world as the end of his thoughts and the scene of all his activity, who considers the land as a great hunting-field, and makes the satisfaction of his bodily wants and tastes the whole end of living.

III. Esau's repentance was consistent with his character; it was manifestly of the wrong kind. Sorrow of this world; grief for the loss of the corn and wine.

(Bishop Harvey Goodwin.)

I. HE IS OVERWHELMED BY A HEART-RENDING SORROW

II. HE REFERS HIS WRONGS TO THEIR TRUE AUTHOR.

III. HE PLEADS PATHETICALLY WITH HIS FATHER.

IV. HE IS CONTENTED WITH AN INFERIOR BLESSING. God's blessings without God. Nothing of heaven enters into it.

(T. H. Leale.)

I. ISAAC'S CONDUCT.

1. Remark, first, the double blessing — Jacob's containing temporal abundance, temporal rule, and spiritual blessing, the main points plainly being the rights of primogeniture; Esau's, in the first part identical with his brother's, but different afterwards by the want of spiritual blessing: God's gifts without God, the fruit of the earth and the plunder of the sword, but no connection with the covenant of God. Of course the destinies of Israel and Edom are prefigured in this, rather than the personal history of Jacob and Esau. For the predicted liberty of Edom, the breaking the yoke off the neck, did not take place till the reign of Jehoram, long after Esau's death (2 Kings 8:22). So that when it is written, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated," the selection of nations to outward privileges is meant, not the irrespective election of individuals to eternal life. Now in these blessings we have the principle of prophecy. We cannot suppose that the Jacob here spoken of as blessed was unmixedly good, nor the Esau unmixedly evil. Nor can we imagine that idolatrous Israel was that in which all the promises of God found their end, or that Eden was the nation on whom the curse of God fell unmixed with any blessing. Prophecy takes individuals and nations as representations for the time being of principles which they only partially represent. They are the basis or substratum of an idea. For instance, Jacob, or Israel, represents the principle of good, the Church of God, the triumphant and blessed principle. To that, the typical Israel, the promises are made; to the literal Jacob or Israel, only as the type of this, and so far as the nation actually was what it stood for. Esau is the worldly man, representing for the time the world. To that the rejection belongs; to the literal Isaac, only so far as he is that.

2. Next observe Isaac's adherence to his promise. If anything can excuse a departure from a promise, Isaac might have been excused in this case; for in truth he did not promise to Jacob, though Jacob stood before him. He honestly thought that he was speaking to his first-born; and yet, perhaps partly taught to be punctiliously scrupulous by the rebuke he had received in early life from Abimelech, partly feeling that he had been but an instrument in God's hands, he felt that a mysterious and irrevocable sacredness belonged to his word once past, and said, "Yea, and he shall be blessed." Jesuitism amongst us has begun to tamper with the sacredness of a promise. Men change their creed, and fancy themselves absolved from past promises; the member of the Church of Rome is no longer bound to do what the member of the Church of England stipulated. Just as well might the king refuse to perform the promises or pay the debts of the prince whom he once was. Therefore, let us ponder over such texts as these. Be careful and cautious of pledging yourself to anything; but the money you have once promised, the offer you have once made, is irrevocable — it is no longer yours; it is passed from you as much as if it had been given.

II. ESAU'S CONDUCT.

1. Remark his contentment with a second-rate blessing: "Hast thou not another blessing?" &c. These words, taken by themselves, without reference to the character of him who spoke them, are neither good nor evil. Had Esau meant only this: God has many blessings, of various kinds; and looking round the circle of my resources, I perceive a principle of compensation, so that what I lose in one department I gain in some other; I will be content to take a second blessing when I cannot have the first. Esau would have said nothing which was not praiseworthy and religious; he would have only expressed what the Syro-Phoenician woman did, who observed that though in this world some have the advantages of children, whereas others are as little favoured as dogs, yet that the dogs have the compensatory crumbs. But it was not in this spirit at all that Esau spoke. His was the complaining spirit of the man who repines because others are more favoured than he; the spirit of the elder son in the parable, "thou never gavest me a kid." This character transformed outward disadvantages into a real curse. For, again I say, disadvantages are in themselves only a means to more lustrous excellence. But if to inferior talents we add sloth, and to poverty envy and discontent, and to weakened health querulousness, then we have indeed ourselves converted non-election into reprobation; and we are doubly cursed — cursed by inward as well as outward inferiority.

2. Remark Esau's malice (ver 41). "The days of mourning for my father are at hand, then will I slay my brother Jacob." Distinguish this from the resentment of righteous indignation. Resentment is an attribute of humanity in its original, primal state. He who cannot feel indignant at some kinds of wrong has not the mind of Christ. Remember the words with which he blighted pharisaism — words not spoken for effect, but syllables of downright, genuine anger; such expressions as peculiarly belong to the prophetic character, in which indignation blazes into a flame; the prophetic writings are full of it. Very different from this was Esau's resentment. Anger in him had passed into malice; private wrong had been brooded on till it had become revenge, deliberate and planned vindictiveness.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

I. This narrative SUGGESTS A WARNING AGAINST THE UNDER-VALUING OF PRIVILEGE.

II. This narrative SUGGESTS THAT GOD IS ABLE TO BLESS EVERY DESIRING SOUL. Eternal life for all. See the inexhaustible nature of the Divine riches exemplified in —

1. The vast numbers who have been made partakers of it already passed from mortal sight.

2. The multitudes on their way at this moment to the same heavenly kingdom who have " obtained like precious faith."

III. This narrative REMINDS US THAT ONE MAY SEEK THE BLESSING TOO LATE. Though Esau obtained at last a blessing, he did not realize the blessing.

(F. Goodall, B. A,)

Homilist.
I. There is here THE SENSE OF AN IMMENSE LOSS. A holy character is the highest birthright. We have all to lament the loss of this.

II. THE SENSE OF A GREAT INJURY. Victimized by his own brother. Far worse to bear than an injury from an enemy.

III. THE SENSE OF REMORSE.

IV. THE SENSE OF APPROACHING HOPELESSNESS. Conclusion:

1. What we have all lost. Our birthright — the image of God.

2. What we should all chiefly struggle for. The restoration of the Divine image. Our loss is not, like Esau's, irremediable. We can, by faith in Christ, regain it.

(Homilist.)

I. CERTAINLY WE ARE NOT TO GATHER HENCE THAT ANY TRUE PENITENT CAN TURN TO GOD AND BE REJECTED OF HIM. ESAU'S rejection was no such contradiction of God's love as the rejection of any one weeping penitent upon earth would surely be. For, first, there is about Esau's very cry itself, loud and bitter as it was, no sign of true penitence; and, next, when he uttered it, so far as that which he had then lost is concerned, his day of probation was already over, his time of trial closed, his hour of judgment come. There is doubtless, as we shall see hereafter, a true counterpart of this before every impenitent man, with horrors aggravated above any which waited upon Esau's sentence, as far as time is exceeded by eternity, and temporal disadvantage by the death of the enduring soul. But there is not one word in it to make any one who, in this his day of grace, turns to the Lord, and cries to him for cleansing and for pardon, doubt the full certainty of a most gracious acceptance by Him who suffered the woman that was a sinner to wash His blessed feet with her tears, and to wipe them with the hair of her head.

II. This, then, certainly is not the lesson which is taught us here; but just as certainly IT IS THAT WE, TOO, MAY CAST AWAY GOD'S MERCY TO US; that we, the true children of promise, bred in the family of One greater than Isaac — that we, the inheritors of a birthright greater far than Jacob sought for or Esau despised — that we, the children of God's grace, may reject His grace, and cast profanely from us our more blessed birthright. Such awful cases the experience of every parish priest has, I suppose, brought before him. I have seen them and have trembled. I have seen the fearful paroxysms of a loud and violent despair. I have seen what is more awful still, the obstinate sinner, calmly, deliberately, determinately put from himself the hope of salvation, and declare that in a few hours he shall be in hell. And so indeed it must be. For if this were not so, what could the warning mean, "Look diligently, test any man fail of the grace of Christ." Surely it must mean that the time of hopeless lamentation will come to every obstinate despiser of God's grace; that His Spirit does not always strive with any man — that there is a limit to the trial of every man. Can we not, as we gaze with awe upon the fearful picture, see in some measure why this doom is irreversible? For must it not of necessity happen that the very perfection of this miserable wickedness sets the seal of hopeless continuance upon such spiritual wretchedness? For such a spiritual being with such a nature must hate the good; must, above all, hate supremely God, the All-Good; must see in Him the highest and most absolute conceivable contradiction of itself, and so must recoil infinitely from Him, and in recoiling from Him must choose the evil with an ever-renewed iteration and ever-increasing intensity of choice. Nor does the perfection of the misery which such a soul endures at all incline it to any breath of penitence; it only deepens the blackness and the malignity of its despair. There is nothing in itself purifying in suffering.

III. But if we would learn one true lesson from this portion of God's Word, we must not only note the general warning of looking diligently lest we fall from God's grace, but we must see further AGAINST WHAT SPECIAL FORMS OF EVIL THIS WARNING IS PECULIARLY DIRECTED. And indeed, for many here, as everywhere, this is a lesson needing very signally to be learned. For remember what were Esau's circumstances and Esau's trial. Born to the inheritance of a certain birthright, exercising, as to his first title to it, no volition regarding it; having centred in his own person the mysterious privileges which ordinarily belonged to the first-born son of the heir of promise — he cast these away; not from special or marked depravity of character, but from yielding to the temptations of appetite. This one special attribute of sensuality is clearly shadowed forth in this example; we see its direct tendency to lead to delaying repentance until true repentance is impossible. For its gratifications fill for a season, and occupy the degraded soul. Thus the first drawings of the blessed Spirit are resisted, His first tender motions on the soul are quenched; and it is in yielding to these, instead of resisting them, that there is the only possibility of any true repentance. So it was with Esau, when, under the overmastering impulse of a sensual temptation, he was led to cast all good away — for "thus Esau despised his birthright." Surely the application is too explicit to be missed. Is not the warning plain against exactly that whole class of sins of the real guilt of which the world takes least account? Is it not as much as saying that indulged sensuality does build up barriers against true repentance, which are all but impassable? Does it not meet the man possessed, by natural endowment, of high spirits, of frankness, of cheerfulness, of all that makes him a popular companion — with strong passions, with great powers of enjoyment — who flings himself freely into life, is the leader of a set, and, from there being a certain look of generosity about his vices, is lauded perhaps for his unselfishness; who has naturally a far more attractive character than the less courageous, less spirited, less frank, more self-conscious, more self-watchful man beside him? doest it not meet this man in his hours of sensual temptations, and say, Thou hast a birthright, beware of despising it, beware of bartering it? Does it not say to him, "Thou, too, art a son of Abraham"? yea, and more, "Thou art a son of Christ"; without thy choice, before thy knowledge, of God's mere love and mercy, that blessed privilege was made thine. His love yearned over thine infancy, His Spirit has striven with thy youth, His care is watching over thee now, and thou, too, art tempted to barter these inestimable blessings for the mess of pottage. In thee, too, appetite craves for indulgence; before thine eyes a sensuous fancy paints her glowing pictures of the mad delight of gratified desire, of the feast, of the revel, of the impure orgy, of the satisfied sense. All these she sets before thee, and thy spirit, faint often and weary in this struggle, whispers to thee, Lo! I die in this abstinence; and what good shall this birthright do me? Oh, then beware — for then is the tempter nearest, closest, most dangerous. Then, under the form of what he whispers to thee is a common practice, a slight evil, the yielding to an irresistible temptation; then is he tempting thee, too, after this example of the old profaneness of Esau, to despise thy birthright. Nor can you tell that in any one of these allowed instances of sensual indulgence you may not actually sell your birthright. It is the very secret of the power of the temptation, that in each separate instance it looks so inconsiderable in its future consequence, compared with the pressing urgency of the present desire. It is the gusty impulsiveness of your nature which exposes you so certainly to the danger. You become profane without knowing it; you meant but to gratify appetite, and lo! for appetite you have bartered your soul. Here, then, is God's warning to you. He sets, from the beginning, the end before you. He shows you what such conduct really is, and whither it must lead you. He lets you hear the loud and bitter cry.

(Bp. S. Wilberforce.)

I. To respect and reverence old age, and commiserate its infirmities.

II. To cultivate a spirit of truth, honesty, and honour in our dealings.

III. To shun every occasion of household strife.

IV. To seek the blessing of our heavenly Father, in the full confidence that all He has given to others has not so impoverished Him that there is not a blessing left for us.

(J. C. Gray.)

An accurate view of individual history — the history of real life — is always interesting.

I. THE FACTS HERE STATED.

1. Notice the individuals concerned; these are, Isaac and Rebekah, and their twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Isaac was the child of promise, given to Abraham in his old age, through whom the blessing pronounced on Abraham was to descend to an innumerable multitude. He married Rebekah, his cousin, the grand-child of Abraham's brother; and the offspring of their union were these twin children, Esau and Jacob. All that is recorded of the parents impresses us with the conviction of their piety. In the short notices of their life, we observe that, with sufficient evidence of their partaking of human infirmity, we have abundant testimony to their devotional habits, their submission to the dispensations of Providence, their peaceable and liberal disposition, and their prosperity under the blessing of the Lord. Esau and Jacob, their children, were characters widely differing from each other.

2. The blessing that Jacob obtained. It was a blessing which was inherent in the posterity of Abraham, and which one of the sons of Isaac was consequently to inherit.

3. The means which were used for the obtaining of this blessing. Isaac was on the point of conferring the blessing of the first-born upon Esau, contrary to the Divine intimation, contrary to the warrantable expectations of Rebekah, and contrary to those predilections which she seems to have cherished for the younger son, and which his regular and domestic habits appear to have strengthened. Acting under the influence of unbelief, she immediately suggested to Jacob the plan of supplanting his brother by fraud. Jacob's objections appear to have been those of prudence rather than of principle; they yielded to a mother's earnest entreaties; and the result shows him to be no inapt scholar in the ways of deception. There is something very humiliating in the whole of Jacob's interview with his father. Every succeeding step is marked with grosser hypocrisy and deeper guilt; and though, in the mysterious providence of God, the promised blessing was permitted to rest on his head, yet the guilt of that scene must afterwards have been like a barbed arrow in his conscience, and given increased severity to many of his subsequent sufferings. The promise was given to Isaac with this recognition of Abraham's character, "Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws." Isaac did the same. He entered into the spirit of the covenant, and lived a life of obedience. On what reasonable ground, therefore, could Esau, knowing this, expect the blessing? He was a "profane person, a fornicator," a mere sensualist. It is in this light, therefore, that we should regard him, and by these things that we must measure his tears.

II. The circumstances that have come before us suggest SOME VERY IMPORTANT AND USEFUL PRACTICAL REMARKS. We notice —

1. The evil of parental partialities. The selection of one child for favouritism is altogether inconsistent with the sacredness of parental duty, and with the strict justice which is essential to parental discipline. In the present instance, the fondness of Isaac for his first-born, and of Rebekah for her younger child, led both themselves and their children into sin.

2. The fearful results of one deviation from rectitude. One vice entails another. One instance of error or untruth frequently places a man in circumstances in which he is led to commit many to bring him off without suspicion; and he who tells one lie will not scruple much, in a very short time, blasphemously to call the name of God to witness it. "And he said, Because the Lord thy God brought it to me." Let every one, then, beware how he approaches the first appearances of evil, or oversteps in the least degree the line of propriety. "We cannot hope to be preserved when we have placed ourselves in questionable circumstances; and we have not strength to keep ourselves.

3. The character of the over-ruling providence of God. It was said of Jacob and Esau, "the elder shall serve the younger." But the ways of God are very mysterious. The same result is brought about by a series of natural events, on which we could not have calculated; events, however, which are in no respect the results of an absolute fatalism, but which are seen to arise fairly out of the elements of character and habits of the parties concerned. "we see each character developed in its peculiarities by the course which it is permitted to pursue; and to each, in the sovereignty of Divine Providence, a moral discipline is applied, calculated to forward the best interests of the soul.

4. The melancholy character of the sorrow of the world. While, therefore, the afflictions of Jacob, though they were the consequences of his sins, led him to draw near to God in his solitude, the grief of Esau was merely the regret consequent on worldly disappointment. The privation of the blessing of the first-born was only lamented by him as the ruin of his best earthly hopes. It was the downfall of his ambition. It was a limit prescribed to his indulgences. It was merely that sorrow which often seizes on ungodly men in the course of Providence, and in which they know not where to turn for consolation, because they will not turn to God.

5. Observe the immeasurable extent of the Divine compassion. It is only on the mercy of God that Jacob or Esau, or any character similar to either, can rest a sure and certain hope of deliverance at last.

(E. Craig.)

I suppose that when we read the account of Esau's grief, of his affecting appeal to his father and of its ill success, we begin to think it an instance of the fruitlessness of repentance. Those who have thrown away God's gifts of grace, who have despised them in former days, and sold them for some mess of pottage, who are now wishing to have them back and to return to God, are apt to be disheartened and dismayed by such a passage in God's Word. The fear springs up lest they also should find no answer to their prayers, lest theirs should be fruitless tears, lest the cry should be made by them in yam, "Bless me also, O my Father." But however natural such thoughts from the first impression of the scene, a closer study of the passage may serve to drive away the clouds. We may learn to see that there was something wrong and faulty in Esau's sorrow, great as it was, something in the nature of his distress of mind not altogether satisfactory or right. If we examine his conduct at the time, we fail to see any religious element in it at all. It was a worldly sorrow, a burst of natural but worldly grief; there was no confession of his former sin, no acknowledgment that the blessing had been justly lost, no word of self-condemnation, no avowal like the penitent thief upon the cross, that he, indeed, was justly suffering for past misdeeds, and was reaping as he had sown; no allusion to his faithlessness, to his contempt of the promise of God in selling his birthright for the mess of pottage, no turning to God, no mention of God at all, or of God's just anger for his past offence. And hence we may conclude that he took a mere worldly view of his loss, that he felt mere worldly sorrow — sorrow for the loss of some temporal advantages to himself and his descendants, and perhaps mingled with this keen sense of worldly disappointment — sorrow at having missed a father's benediction, especially as he believed it, in his case, to carry with it some unusual power. If this is a right view of Esau's state of mind, we see at once that he is not to be regarded as a true penitent, that he is not presented to us as such, and that therefore no feelings of true penitence are to be chilled or checked in their growth by the treatment which he received. The great truth still stands out as clearly as ever, quite unclouded by any instance in Scripture to the contrary, that God does receive back the penitent; that godly sorrow, if it lead on to the after acts and fuller development of repentance, never rends our hearts in vain; not in vain does any wandering child of God draw near, and kneeling down at the foot of the cross exclaim, "Bless me also, O my Father." Whenever the sorrow of the heart is true godly sorrow, and the conscience-stricken bow themselves in genuine compunction at the mercy-seat of God, mercy comes forth from the throne of God, and the penitent is blessed. But all sorrow — and it is this which the history of Esau impressively proclaims — is not godly sorrow, and has not its blessed fruit. Men may grieve over losses, disasters, reverses brought on them through sin, without grieving altogether for the sin, without being grieved and angry with themselves for sinning. And what harder burden to bear than this worldly sorrow, when the heart is dry and dead to the influence of grace, when the soul has no light in its dark place, when God is not confessed in time of trial, when chastisements for sin fail to create the sense of sin, or to break the will of the disobedient child, when there is no mark of the Cross of Christ, but when it is the fruitless cross of the world, which cannot heal? If we are in any suffering, under any trial through transgressions, whether lately or long since done, we can find blessings springing up amid the thorns, should we own the hand of God and sorrow after a godly sort; but if we steel our hearts, and go through trial without taking it as from our Saviour's hands, without owning "rod lamenting the sins and errors and neglects, the worldliness and the foolishness from which the trial grew, then indeed it is a heavy weight to bear, and there is a still heavier burden to be laid upon us hereafter.

(Bp. Armstrong.)

While in Jacob's conduct the high and noble aims which he pursued were in most discordant contrast with the ungenerous means which he employed, Esau was fluctuating and contradictory within himself; though the general tone of his mind was indifference to spiritual boons, his sentiments were spontaneous and profound whenever the voice of nature spoke; he despised the birthright (ver. 34), but regarded himself always as the first-born son (ver. 32); he slighted the prophecy of God (ver. 23), but coveted most anxiously the blessing of his father; he attributed to the latter a greater force than to the former; he hoped to to neutralize the effect of the one by the weight of the other; he could not comprehend or feel the invisible, but he was keenly susceptible of the visible; his mind was not sublime, but his heart was full of pure and strong emotions; he saw in his father only the earthly progenitor, not the representative of the Deity — he was, indeed, the man of nature. As such he is described in the affecting scene of our text; tie is designedly placed in marked contradistinction to his brother Jacob: nature, simplicity, deep and genuine affection on the one side; shrewdness, ambition, and indefinite, soaring, but unsatisfied intellectual craving on the other. This contrast not only implies the kernel and spirit of this narrative, but forms the centre of all Biblical notions. Hence Esau's vehement disappointment will receive its proper light; he deeply repented that he had sold his birthright, but only because he believed that he was for that reason justly deprived of the father's blessing due to the eldest son (ver. 36); he beard without envy or animosity, that Jacob's descendants had been declared the future lords of his own progeny; leaving that prerogative ummurmuringly to his brother, he exclaimed: "Hast thou but one blessing, my father?" and bursts forth into another flood of tears.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

It was not that he desired to be a servant of the Lord, or that his posterity should be His people, according to the tenor of Abraham's covenant: but as he that should be possessed of these distinctions would in other respects be superior to his brother, it became an object of emulation. Thus we have often seen religion set at nought, while yet the advantages which accompany it have been earnestly desired; and where grace has in a manner crossed hands by favouring a younger or inferior branch of a family, envy and its train of malignant passions have frequently blazed on the other side. It was not as the father of the holy nation, but as being "lord over his brethren," that Jacob was the object of Esau's envy. And this may further account for the blessing of Isaac on the former dwelling principally upon temporal advantages, as designed of God to cut off the vain hopes of the latter, of enjoying the power attached to the blessing, while he despised the blessing itself. When Esau perceived that Jacob must be blessed, he entreated to be blessed also: "Bless me, even me also, oh my father!" One sees in this language just that partial conviction of there being something in religion, mixed with a large portion of ignorance, which it is common to see in persons who have been brought up in a religious family, and yet are strangers to the God of their fathers. If this earnest request had extended only to what was consistent with Jacob's having the pre-eminence, there was another blessing for him, and he had it: but though he had no desire after the best part of Jacob's portion, yet he was very earnest to have had that clause of it reversed, "be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee." If this could have been granted him, he had been satisfied; for " the fatness of the earth" was all he cared for. But this was an object concerning which, as the apostle observes, "he found no place of repentance" (that is, in the mind of his father), "though he sought it carefully with tears." Such will be the case with fornicators and all profane persons, who, like Esau, for a few momentary gratifications in the present life, make light of Christ and the blessings of the gospel. They will cry with a great and exceeding bitter cry, saying, "Lord, Lord, open unto us!" But they will find no place of repentance in the mind of the Judge, who will answer them, "I know you not whence ye are: depart from Me ye workers of iniquity!" Esau's reflections on his brother for having twice supplanted him, were not altogether without ground; yet his statement is exaggerated. He lost his birthright because he himself, despising it, sold it to Jacob.

(A. Fuller.)

Why did he not rather weep to his brother for the pottage than to Isaac for a blessing? If he had not then sold, he had not needed now to buy. It is just with God to deny us those favours which we were careless in keeping, and which we undervalued in enjoying. How happy a thing is it to know the seasons of grace, and not to neglect them! How desperate to have known and neglected them I These tears are both late and false.

(Bp. Hall.)

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