The God of Jacob
Comments for Study 19
Memory Verse 28:14-15
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>1. When Isaac thought he was going to die, what did he want to do? When Rebekah heard of Isaac's plan what did she do? (5-10) Why do you think Rebekah wanted Jacob to receive the blessing of the first born? (25:22-23; 32-34)
Genesis 27:1 "When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, "My son." "Here I am," he answered."
* "When Isaac was old" -Isaac's life of faith was simple comparing it to his father. It is not noteworthy for the Bible only mentions a few incidences in his life; being offered to the LORD by Abraham, the marriage to Rebekah, not going to Egypt, the account with Abimelech, praying for his sons' births, and the events in this study. Most of these events have someone else as the main executor of faith and in this study Isaac was intent on blessing the wrong son. He was human, like the rest of us. Can I say that I live much different than he?
* "and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see" -Matthew Henry wrote that this was God's provision that made this event possible. Perhaps, but it is also provided a way for Rebekah and Jacob to deceive the head of the household.
* "he called for Esau his older son" -Isaac was going to follow the tradition of blessing the older son. At birth, the Lord gave an oracle that the younger was the son of promise and Esau sold the blessing away for a bowl of red soup. Add to this he married Canaanite women that were so ungodly they were a source and anguish and trouble for his parents. God's election and sovereignty is displayed greatly in this event for Isaac's will did not prevail.
* Esau knew that he sold his birth right. Still he was going to try to get it. Perhaps he was thinking, "I will say after I receive the blessing, I obeyed my father."
* What would have happened if Isaac blessed the wrong son? Nothing as far as the blessing goes. God's oracle would have come true. God's blessing would have overruled the error of Isaac.
* God's blessing is final. Our blessing should follow his will. The older should accept God's way and bless accordingly.
* John Calvin writes, "For the benediction here spoken of was not a mere prayer but a legitimate sanction, divinely interposed, to make manifest the grace of election. God had promised to the holy fathers that he would be a God to their seed for ever. They, when at the point of death, in order that the succession might be secured to their posterity, put them in possession, as if they would deliver, from hand to hand, the favor which they had received from God. So Abraham, in blessing his son Isaac, constituted him the heir of spiritual life with a solemn rite. With the same design, Isaac now, being worn down with age, imagines himself to be shortly about to depart this life, and wishes to bless his firstborn son, in order that the everlasting covenant of God may remain in his own family."
John continues, "The Patriarchs did not take this upon themselves rashly, or on their own private account, but were public and divinely ordained witnesses. To this point belongs the declaration of the Apostle, “the less is blessed of the better.” (Hebrews 7:7.) For even the faithful were accustomed to bless each other by mutual offices of charity; but the Lord enjoined this peculiar service upon the patriarchs, that they should transmit, as a deposit to posterity, the covenant which he had struck with them, and which they kept during the whole course of their life. The same command was afterwards given to the priests, as appears in Numbers 6:24, and other similar places."
Genesis 27:2-4 "Isaac said, "I am now an old man and don't know the day of my death. Now then, get your weapons--your quiver and bow--and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die."
* "and don't know the day of my death... before I die" -Isaac and later Jacob began to speak about their death years before they actually died. Isaac lived around forty years after this, to the age of one hundred and eighty years total (35:28). He lived to see all his grandchildren.
* "weapons" -interesting choice of words since he never fought in any battles.
* "so that I may give you my blessing" -Isaac put a selfish condition on giving the blessing which was not normally done. His selfish desire made way for the younger to get the blessing.
* John Calvin writes, "Yet this fault, although deserving of reprehension, did not deprive the holy man of the right of pronouncing a blessing; but plenary authority remained with him, and the force and efficacy of his testimony stood entire, just as if God himself had spoken from heaven."
Genesis 27:5-7 "Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau left for the open country to hunt game and bring it back, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, "Look, I overheard your father say to your brother Esau, 'Bring me some game and prepare me some tasty food to eat, so that I may give you my blessing in the presence of the LORD before I die.'"
* Rebekah wanted Jacob to receive the blessing because of what God had said to her in 25:22-23 and 32-34. Does this make her deception right? The LORD did not say anything against her. Would have Jacob have received the blessing anyway? No matter what happened Jacob was already chosen by God in the womb as Paul points out (see previous study). Most say from a human point of view, what Rebekah did was not right. From a Godly point of view she acted in response to the oracle of God given at the boy's births. Was she "as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves? (Matt. 10:16)
* "Rebekah was listening" -Eavesdropping. Isaac did not let her know because he knew Jacob was her favorite. Isaac was trying to sneak the blessing in.
* "his son... her son" -the author is stressing the different viewpoints of the parents.
* "in the presence of the LORD" -Isaac did not include this, but it could be inferred.
* John Calvin writes, "This is to be carefully observed, in order that we may understand that a pure and distinct knowledge does not always so illuminate the minds of the pious as to cause them to be governed, in all their actions, by the Holy Spirit, but that the little light which shows them their path is enveloped in various clouds of ignorance and error; so that while they hold a right course, and are tending towards the goal, they yet occasionally slide."
Genesis 27:8-10 "Now, my son, listen carefully and do what I tell you: Go out to the flock and bring me two choice young goats, so I can prepare some tasty food for your father, just the way he likes it. Then take it to your father to eat, so that he may give you his blessing before he dies."
* "listen carefully and do what I tell you" -both sons were obeying one of his parents. God would instruct in the ten commandments, given around five hundred years after this, that children should obey their parents. Does this include when the parents are engaging in deceitful acts against the other spouse? Parents can cause damage to their children's later lives by forcing their children to engage in their bad acts. Isaac and Rebekah's acts split the family.
* "just the way he likes it" -If she could prepare the food the way her husband liked it all along, why did Isaac have to go to his son Esau for it in years past? Perhaps the taste was made special to Isaac because his favorite son caught it, made it and brought it to him. Still, it seems to me that Rebekah should have made more of an effort in years past to cook what her husband liked. It may have smoothed out the split over the two boys. Later, Esther used food to smooth the heart of her husband, the King.
>2. What did Jacob say to his mother when she told him the plan? (11) How did she respond and what then did Jacob do? (13-14) His respect toward his mother's advice?
Genesis 27:11-12 "Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, "But my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I'm a man with smooth skin. What if my father touches me? I would appear to be tricking him and would bring down a curse on myself rather than a blessing."
* "bring down a curse on myself" -Jacob surely was told by his mother the oracle of God. Yet here he seems to place a high value on his father's blessing. In those days many saw a father's blessing as a kind of magic or spell. Jacob's words might be coming from such a belief, especially considering that later he calls the LORD his father's God and not his own. I will point this out later in this chapter.
* Jacob risked a curse to get the blessing of his father. He also risked Esau holding a grudge against him. Yet this shows his character; he valued his father's blessing and the spiritual blessing.
* Does the means justify the end? Never. Jesus said, "Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt. 5:48) Jesus displays his humility in the fact that even though he is the true King of Israel, he did not force it on Israel when they rejected and crucified him. He is waiting for them to accept him as the King of kings and Lord of lords as one people; all at once. Then he will come again and sit on his throne.
* John Calvin writes, "But by this example we are again taught, that faith is not always extinguished by a given fault; yet, if God sometimes bears with his servants thus far, that he turns, what they have done perversely, to their salvation, we must not hence take a license to sin. It happened by the wonderful mercy of God, that Jacob was not cut off from the grace of adoption."
Genesis 27:13-14 "His mother said to him, "My son, let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say; go and get them for me." So he went and got them and brought them to his mother, and she prepared some tasty food, just the way his father liked it."
* "let the curse fall on me. Just do what I say" -Similarly Jesus let the curse fall on him if we obey him.
>3. How did Rebekah solve Jacob's problem? (15-17) Why?
Genesis 27:15-17 "Then Rebekah took the best clothes of Esau her older son, which she had in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. She also covered his hands and the smooth part of his neck with the goatskins. Then she handed to her son Jacob the tasty food and the bread she had made."
* "she had in the house" -Esau was married with two women and perhaps by now was a father. Still he lived with his parents, a custom of the culture and time. Genesis 2:24 says, "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh."
* Esau must have been very hairy and rough in order for all this to be done.
* "goatskins" -Is this what "wolves in sheep's clothing" refers too? (Matt. 7:15) Both are deception. Is the law the wolf and grace the sheep, so that in the Book of Acts some Pharisee believers dressed up the law with the skin of grace and sent the deceiving package to the Gentiles? (Eph. 4:14)
>4. How did Jacob and Isaac's conversation go? Was Isaac deceived? When he asked Jacob, "Are you really my son Esau?" how did Jacob reply? Was this wrong of Jacob? Of his mother? Was Isaac's blessing worth all their actions?
Genesis 27:18-19 "He went to his father and said, "My father." "Yes, my son," he answered. "Who is it?" Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of my game so that you may give me your blessing."
* "I am Esau your firstborn" -a lie to his father that can not be justified.
* "some of the game" -The meat was not game, but made to taste like it. Similarly, Jesus taught that Israel of his days, the Pharisees and teachers of the law dressed up their teachings, the Talmud, to make it look like it was from God. (Matt. 15:2, Mark 7:9)
Genesis 27:20-23 "Isaac asked his son, "How did you find it so quickly, my son?" "The LORD your God gave me success," he replied. Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Come near so I can touch you, my son, to know whether you really are my son Esau or not." Jacob went close to his father Isaac, who touched him and said, "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau." He did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like those of his brother Esau; so he blessed him."
* "The LORD your God" -Jacob said the LORD was Isaac's God, not his. Many years later, on his return to the land of promise, after the struggle with the LORD, did Jacob begin calling the LORD his God.
* "The LORD your God gave me success" -another lie that can not be justified.
>5. Was Isaac's question of the identity of the person before him resolved with Jacob's words, "I am?" (24-26) What finally convinced Isaac that Jacob was Esau?
Genesis 27:24 ""Are you really my son Esau?" he asked. "I am," he replied."
* The lie was confirmed. He obeyed his mother, but lied to his father. One act of obedience can not be justified if it is a lie.
Genesis 27:25-29 "Then he said, "My son, bring me some of your game to eat, so that I may give you my blessing." Jacob brought it to him and he ate; and he brought some wine and he drank. Then his father Isaac said to him, "Come here, my son, and kiss me. So he went to him and kissed him. When Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he blessed him and said, "Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed. May God give you of heaven's dew and of earth's richness--an abundance of grain and new wine. May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed."
* "a kiss" -Jesus was betrayed with a kiss too, thus it could be called a Messianic prophecy. (Matt. 26:48-49, Lk. 22:48)
* "the smell of my son is like the smell of a field" -Isaac did not know it, but he just insulted the other son before him. Even Esau's best clothes smelt like the field.
>6. What was his blessing to Jacob? (27-29) When did he repeat this? (28:3,4) How are these blessings different?
* "Be the lord of your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you" -some of Isaac's blessing reflected God's promise to Abraham. However, this part did not. It seems that Isaac enjoyed the fact that Abraham's other children bowed down to him. Also, being that Isaac now thought that he was blessing Esau, his blessing was in direct violation of God's oracle about the boys at birth. Yet, as mentioned at the beginning of this study, I can not judge Isaac and the others in this event for I am no different, full of the curse until Jesus comes again and gives me a body like his.
* "the sons of your mother" -referring to Rebekah's favorite. This again shows the discord in the family over the boys.
* We may not intend to do the right thing and/or a person may not be of God, still we can be used by God to bring about his will.
* Later Isaac called this blessing the blessing of Abraham. (28:4)
* Later Balaam proclaimed, "A ruler will come out of Jacob and destroy the survivors of the city." (Num. 24:19) This refers to Jesus' second coming.
>7. Why do you think Isaac wasn't angry when he found out what had happened? What does this show about him?
Genesis 27:30-31 "After Isaac finished blessing him and Jacob had scarcely left his father's presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, "My father, sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing."
* "had scarcely left his father's presence" -The boys must have passed each other at the tent's entrance. What did Jacob feel like when he saw his brother?
* Esau obeyed his father and yet was saw unfit because he had not lived by the spirit of the law. Similarly, in Jesus' day the Pharisees and teachers of the law obeyed the law, and yet rejected the spirit of the law and thus missed out on the Messiah and his blessing.
* John Calvin writes, "Yet Esau is not unjustly reprobated, because they who are not governed by the Spirit of God can receive nothing with a right mind; only let it be firmly maintained, that since the condition of all is equal, if any one is preferred to another, it is not because of his own merit, but because the Lord has gratuitously elected him."
Genesis 27:32-33 "His father Isaac asked him, "Who are you?" "I am your son," he answered, "your firstborn, Esau." Isaac trembled violently and said, "Who was it, then, that hunted game and brought it to me? I ate it just before you came and I blessed him--and indeed he will be blessed!"
* "Isaac trembled violently" -Is this conviction, fear, or both?
* "indeed he will be blessed!" -Isaac knew that the blessing he gave was said with the full intent that the one receiving it would be far above the other son. Isaac's favorite son would not be the favorite of the blessing. This could be called a confession and admittance that he had been wrong in wanting to bless Esau.
>8. Why was Esau angry? What did he plan to do? (27:41) What does this show about his heart? When Esau learned about Isaac's feelings about Canaanite women what did he do? (28:6-9) What does this show about his understanding of why people of God do things? How do these actions shed light on Rebekah determination for Jacob to receive the blessing?
Genesis 27:34-35 "When Esau heard his father's words, he burst out with a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, "Bless me--me too, my father!" But he said, "Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing."
* Hebrews 12:14-17 "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. He could bring about no change of mind, though he sought the blessing with tears."
* Matthew 13:40-43 "As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear."
* I believe that this age will end in my lifetime, so therefore I must act in obedience all the more! Isaiah 55:6 says, "Seek the Lord while he may be found. Call upon him while he is near."
* "Your brother came deceitfully and took your blessing." -Isaac still had not accepted the oracle of God when the boys were born.
Genesis 27:36-37 "Esau said, "Isn't he rightly named Jacob? He has deceived me these two times: He took my birthright, and now he's taken my blessing!" Then he asked, "Haven't you reserved any blessing for me?" Isaac answered Esau, "I have made him lord over you and have made all his relatives his servants, and I have sustained him with grain and new wine. So what can I possibly do for you, my son?"
* "Jacob" -has a meaning of deception and deceiver.
* "I have sustained him with grain and new wine" -meaning his health will be good and he will live a long time.
* "birthright... blessing" -Esau wanted to seperate the two, but it was not so.
Genesis 27:38-40 "Esau said to his father, "Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me too, my father!" Then Esau wept aloud. His father Isaac answered him, "Your dwelling will be away from the earth's richness, away from the dew of heaven above. You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck."
* Isaac was not mad at Rebekah because he knew what was God's will.
* Isaac was saying he had no blessings to give that would matter because he had blessed Jacob so well.
Genesis 27:41 "Esau held a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him. He said to himself, "The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob."
* "help a grudge" -how could he have a drudge since he had earlier despised the birthright (inheritance) as he himself admitted. Aren't we all like this? Don't we all have times were we regret the poor decisions that we have made? Don't we then sometimes call that which we sought but did not obtain and want, "sorrow grapes"?
* "then I will kill my brother Jacob" -Thus his real nature is exposed and the reason why he was not fit for the blessing in the first place. Also, he did not think of his mother, only his father.
>9. Why did Jacob leave home? (27:42-46) What does this show about Rebekah's character and faith? Was she a good wife and mother? Was she a bold and faithful woman of God? Why?
Genesis 27:42-45 "When Rebekah was told what her older son Esau had said, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, "Your brother Esau is consoling himself with the thought of killing you. Now then, my son, do what I say: Flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran. Stay with him for a while until your brother's fury subsides. When your brother is no longer angry with you and forgets what you did to him, I'll send word for you to come back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?"
* "was told" -must have been one of the servants.
* "do what I say" -This time her advice was good. However, we cannot forget that he previous actions made this so.
* "until your brother's fury subsides" -Time can soften anger.
* "send for you" -Jacob was with Laban for over twenty years. She never did send for him. Jacob would believe that Esau still wanted to kill him.
* "both of you on one day" -She did love Esau and did not want to see either of them killed.
Genesis 27:46 "Then Rebekah said to Isaac, "I'm disgusted with living because of these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a wife from among the women of this land, from Hittite women like these, my life will not be worth living."
* "Rebekah said to Isaac" -The discussion was important though not easy. Rebekah and Isaac needed to come to terms with what just happened. A marriage includes discontinuity that must be worked out. One of the two needs to be humble and kind at any given time in order for a marriage to continue and mature.
* "I'm disgusted with living because of these Hittite women" -They had no faith in God and no fear of God. They lived immorally.
* One of the repeated themes in Genesis is marrying a righteous person.
Genesis 28:1-5 "So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him and commanded him: "Do not marry a Canaanite woman. Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother's father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother. May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples. May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now live as an alien, the land God gave to Abraham." Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau."
* Years earlier Isaac should have acted as his father did and send a servant to get a wife for his son. Isaac should have already been married.
* Isaac accepted God's will for Jacob. Isaac completely repented his selfish will.
* "Go at once" -Isaac knew Esau's character would let Esau to recognize his request to stop from killing even if he told him too.
* "to take a wife from there" -Isaac verbally acknowledged that wives like Rebekah are good to have.
* "increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples" -The same meaning as "many nations" was to Abraham. Jacob (later called Israel) would be from many peoples of the world. Jesus' bride, the church, would bring forth people from every peoples of the world.
* "May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham" -Acknowledgement of God's will.
* "take possession of the land where you now live as an alien" -They lived in tents because they acknowledged that their place here was temporary. Just as the believer's in Jesus are only temporary in this world's kingdoms. We are aliens and strangers here. Our real kingdom of the Kingdom of God that Jesus proclaimed during his ministry.
>10. Where did Jacob go? (28:5) What was the significance of the vision he had that night? (10-15) What does this show about God?
Genesis 28:6-9 "Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, "Do not marry a Canaanite woman," and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had."
* "then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were" -He must have been away from the home so much to hunt that he did not realize what should have been obvious.
* Once we disregard the blessing any correction only makes matters worse. Why didn't he confess and apologize to his parents?
Genesis 28:10-11 "Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran. When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep."
* He left so quickly that he took nothing with him.
Genesis 28:12-15 "He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."
* Dreams are one of the way that God communicates with his people. Why not directly? See how the nation Israel reacted at the foot of Mt. Sinai.
* "stairway" -not a latter with rungs, it was more likely a stairway such as mounted the sloping side of a ziggurat.
* "above it stood the LORD" -not on it
* This dream/vision was an unconditional covenant meant to:
1) Remind him of God's promises
2) Assure Jacob that God was with him before he left the land of promise.
* Jacob learned about and from his father.
>11. How did Jacob respond to the vision? (16-19) What does this show about him?
Genesis 28:16-17 "When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I was not aware of it." He was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven."
* "I was not aware of it" -He admitted that he did not God in the forefront of his life and heart. This place is not only where he slept, but the land he had been promised. Jacob acknowledged that the LORD called him, though he had not done anything to call on the name of the LORD.
Genesis 28:18-19 "Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz."
* "as a pillar and poured oil on top of it" -Seems to me much like the LORD Jesus did to me; once a stone, now anointed with the Spirit.
>12. What was Jacob's vow before God? (20-22) Which part of God's promise evidently had no meaning to him at the time? How would you describe Jacob's faith at this time?
Genesis 28:20-22 "Then Jacob made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth."
* "then the LORD will be my God" -Jacob is afraid and selfish. He had a very worldly sense of God's importance in his life but that changed.
* Jacob had little sense of spiritual things at this time in his life. All he was concerned with was his descendants and their inheritance.
* Jacob was weak and young in faith.
* It was important for Jacob to make this vow so he wouldn't forget in the future. He had spiritual desire, even though it was a small commitment. Jacob's vow was based on God and his power.