After the incident between Isaac and Abimelech in Gerar, the narrative now focused on the interactions within the family of Isaac. The struggle between the two brothers for their father’s final blessing before his death was evident in the passage. The lesson serves as warnings about deceit, the value of God’s blessing, a strive within a family and the supremacy of God’s will over man’s will.
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Describe Isaac’s physical trait and habit in his old age.
What was Isaac’s wish before the day of his death?
What was Isaac’s reason in choosing Esau more than Jacob for his blessing?
The reason that Isaac loved Esau over Jacob was because he loved the savory food of Esau’s game. In his letters, the apostle Paul warns us that those who serve their belly are likened to those who set their minds on earthly things, satisfying only their flesh (Rm 16:17-18, Phil 3:18-19). Isaac’s love for his son was blinded by his love for savory food of the game, and in turn, affecting also his decision to give the blessing based on the savory food.From here, we learn that the fleshly desire in us can affect our decision-making and judgment. Often, we are clouded by the pleasure of earthly things and the gratification of fleshly desire that our minds are no longer set to heavenly things. Only when we stop serving our belly, the fleshly pleasures, then are we able to set our minds again to serve the Lord in our spiritual journey.
How did Rebekah react when she heard the conversation between Isaac and Esau?Hide Answer
When Rebekah listened to the conversation between Isaac and Esau, she immediately spoke to Jacob, commanding him to obey her voice, to bring two choice kids of the goats for the preparation of the savory foods and to take it to his father to receive his blessing before his death (Gen 27:5-10).
How did Jacob react to Rebekah’s commands?
How did Rebekah plan her scheme in great detail?Hide Answer
Rebekah planned her scheme to deceive Isaac by preparing the savory food exactly like Isaac loved. Then Rebekah took the choice clothes of Esau and put them on Jacob, in consideration that Isaac might smell Jacob. She also put the skins of the kids of the goats on Jacob’s hands and on the smooth part of his neck, just in case Isaac would feel Jacob’s hands (Gen 27:14-16).
Rebekah carefully planned and performed the scheme for the sake of Jacob to receive the blessing from Isaac. Apart from her love for the younger son, Jacob (Gen 25:28), her determination in God’s promise that the older would serve the younger (Gen 25:23) also influenced Rebekah’s deeds even to deceive her husband to ensure Jacob’s blessings.
What lesson can we learn from Rebekah’s deceit on her husband? See also Rm 10:2.Hide Answer
Though the LORD had said to Rebekah that the older would serve the younger, Rebekah’s deceit on Isaac did not justify her belief in the promise. The apostle Paul warns us in his letter to the Romans that “the end does not justify the means.” The apostle Paul mentions about his fellow Israelites who have a zeal for God, yet not according to knowledge and they are being ignorant of God’s righteousness (Rm 10:2-3). Thus, their blind zeal turns to be a rebellion against God’s righteousness.
Likewise, out of her blind zeal for Jacob to be blessed, Rebekah justified her own actions in deceiving her husband and commanding her son to lie to his father. Today, out of a blind zeal, we may ambitiously pursue a certain status at church by using any means necessary. Also, out of a blind zeal, we may vigorously perform many church work by abandoning our social relationship with family members. The apostle Paul warns us that having a blind zeal causes us to establish our own righteousness and yet, we would “have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Rom 10:3).
In what ways did Jacob lie to Isaac? To Isaac’s sense of hearing;
To Isaac’s sense of trust;
To Isaac’s sense of touch;Hide Answer
At this point, Isaac felt suspicious already. Since his eyes could not see, he told his son to come closer so that Isaac could feel him. Isaac knew the difference between his hairy son and his smooth-skinned son (Gen 27:21). But the skins of the kid-goat which Rebekah had put into Jacob’s hands overcame Isaac’s suspicion so that Isaac believed he was feeling the hands of Esau (Gen 27:22).
To Isaac’s sense of smell;Hide Answer
Wanting to make sure for the last time that the Jacob-like-voice son was truly Esau, his firstborn, Isaac told his son to come closer in order for him to kiss his son (Gen 27:26). This time, through Isaac’s sense of smell, he could tell the difference between the smell of the field, Esau’s smell, and the smell of the tents, Jacob’s smell (Gen 25:27). Since Jacob was wearing Esau’s clothes, Isaac believed that his son was the firstborn Esau (Gen 27:27).
Why did Isaac hesitate to believe Jacob’s words?Hide Answer
For a moment, Isaac hesitated to believe that the son in front of him was Esau for several reasons: 1) The man’s voice was the voice of Jacob, not Esau (Gen 27:22), 2) The game was too quick to be found and cooked (Gen 27:20), 3) The man’s difficulty to be recognized because the sound of his voice and the feeling of his hands were contradictory (Gen 27:23).
What were the blessings of Isaac to Jacob? Abundance;
Among His blessings, the Lord promised Abraham that he would be a blessing and in him all the families of the earth would be blessed (Gen 12:2-3). After Abram was separated from Lot, the Lord comforted him that all the land which he saw would be given to him and his descendants (Gen 13:14-15, 15:18-21).
What can we learn about the blessings from Isaac in regards to the blessings of God to Abraham?Hide Answer
The blessings which Isaac gave to Jacob were similar to the blessings of God to Abraham. In his words, Isaac said that it was the Lord who gave the blessings (Gen 27:28). Thus, Isaac’s act of blessings to Jacob was simply a reflection of the Lord’s will to pass down and to reconfirm His promises and blessings to the descendants of Abraham.
Isaac blessed Jacob with the blessing of the dew of heaven, the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine (Gen 27:28). Just as Isaac blessed Jacob concerning Esau’s physical needs, the Lord Jesus comforts us that the things concerning food, drink, and clothing will be added to us—as long as we seek first His kingdom and his righteousness (Mt 6:26, 31-33).
In his blessings to Jacob, Isaac mentioned that the people would serve him, that the nations and the sons of his mother would bow down to him, and that he would be a master over his brethren (Gen 27:29). Similarly, once the apostle Paul stated that as citizens of the household of God (Eph 2:19), we and the saints have the authority not only to judge the world and its unrighteousness but also to judge the angels (1Cor 6:2, 3).
God’s presence;Hide Answer
Isaac said to Jacob that those who cursed Jacob would be cursed and those who blessed Jacob would be blessed (Gen 27:29). Likewise, this promise of curse and blessing is still applicable to us today. The Lord Jesus even narrows down the promise of curse and blessing into the curse of condemnation and the blessing of salvation. In the gospel of Mark 16:16, the Lord Jesus emphasizes that he who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned. Later, the Lord Jesus also passes down the authority of the curse and the blessing to the church. The gospel of John mentions how the Lord Jesus gives the authority to His disciples that if they forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, but if they retain the sins of any, they are retained (Jn 20:23). In other words, those who refuse the power of the gospel will be cursed of condemnation. But those who believe the promise of the gospel will receive the blessing of salvation.
In the Scriptures, the phrase “the fatness of the earth and the dew of the heaven” appears in several places. In the book of Deuteronomy, the prophet Moses once gave the final blessings to each of the tribes of Israel. In one of his blessings, Moses says, “Israel shall dwell in safety, the fountain of Jacob alone, in a land of grain and new wine; his heavens shall also drop dew” (Deut 33:28). This blessing represents the peace and providence of the Lord to His people.
In addition, the prophet of Zechariah prophesied regarding the remnant of Israel saying, “the seed shall be prosperous, the vine shall give its fruit, the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew” (Zech 8:12). The prophet continued in his prophecy that the remnant of Israel would be saved by the Lord and they would be a blessing (Zech 8:13). Thus, as the book of Zechariah explains, “In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp the sleeve of a Jewish man, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you’ “ (Zech 8:23). In other words, today the blessing of the fatness of the earth and the dew of the heaven of the remnant of Israel represents the salvation and presence of God among His people which will be sought by the people of every language.
Why did Isaac tremble exceedingly?Hide Answer
When Esau asked his father to eat of his game and then bless him, Isaac trembled exceedingly (Gen 27:33). Isaac trembled exceedingly because of several reasons.
First, Isaac trembled because he knew that he had been deceived by Jacob (Gen 27:35). When Isaac first heard the voice of his son, he knew it was the voice of Jacob. To test his confusion, Isaac requested his son to be felt and to come near to kiss him (Gen 27:21-27).
Second, Isaac trembled because he felt that he had wrongly blessed his son. His intention was for Esau, his first-born, to be blessed (Gen 27:2-4). Through the blessing, Isaac wanted Esau to be the master over his brethren. Instead, now the blessing of God to Abraham and to Isaac was passed down to Jacob.
Knowing that Isaac had blessed Jacob instead of him, Esau cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry (Gen 27:34). After Esau also knew that there was no other blessing for him, Esau lifted his voice and wept (Gen 27:38). But previously, Esau had despised his birthright by selling it in exchange for a stew of lentils (Gen 25:34).
The writer of Hebrews says that after Esau sold his birthright, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected. The writer continues, “For Esau found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears” (Heb 12:17). Therefore, from human perspective, Esau were deceived by Jacob so that he did not receive the blessing but from God’s perspective, Esau was the one who despised the God-given birthright that caused him to be rejected by God.
The event of God’s rejection toward Esau serves as a warning for us. Just as Esau had been given the right of the firstborn, we too have been given the heavenly gift and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit. But if we fall away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance (Heb 6:4-6).
According to Esau, why was Jacob rightly named?
As a brother and also a family member to Esau, Jacob could have loved Esau unconditionally and have respected him. Instead of taking advantage of his brother Esau and thinking only of his personal goal and ambition, Jacob could have acted as his “brother’s keeper” by respecting his brother’s right of firstborn and honoring his father’s decision to bless the firstborn.
Likewise, today at church—as family members of the house of God—we ought to love one another unconditionally. The writer of the epistle of John reminds us that if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another (1 Jn 4:11). In addition, the writer emphasizes that he who loves God but hates his brother, he is a liar (1 Jn 4:20). Furthermore, the prophet of Ezekiel’s messages serve as a warning for us regarding selfishness. The book of Ezekiel describes the examples of the shepherds’ selfishness: First, the shepherds of Israel thought only of themselves (Ezek 34:2). Second, they took advantage of the flocks (Ezek 34:3). Third, they were negligent of their duties (Ezek 34:4). Fourth, they were warned by the Lord God (Ezek 34:7f). Just as the negligent shepherds of Israel were held responsible by God, we too will be held responsible if we abandon our brothers and sisters at church, let alone cheat or take advantage on them.
Isaac told Esau that he had already given his brother Jacob everything of the blessing and there was nothing left for Esau (Gen 27:37). The blessing that Isaac intended to reserve for Esau was now remained in Jacob. Though Isaac insisted on Esau to be blessed, God’s promise for the younger son to be blessed (Gen 25:23) was finally fulfilled. Even though Jacob obtained the blessing through human effort, it still depended on the Lord’s decision and His mercy to give it to Jacob. The comparison between the will of Isaac and the will of God shows us that God’s intended will prevails over the will of man. Similarly, the writer of the epistle of James reminds us that instead of forcing on our will to plan things and disregarding the will of God, we ought to respect and humbly accept the will of the Lord upon our lives (Jas 4:13-15).
What were the anti-blessings of Isaac to Esau?Hide Answer
When Esau lifted up his voice and wept, Isaac answered that Esau’s dwelling would be away from the fatness of the earth and away from the dew of heaven (ESV). Moreover, Esau would live by his sword and he would serve his brother. Once he became restless, he would break the yoke of his brother from his neck (Gen 27:39-40).
How was the phrase “by your sword you shall live” reflected Esau’s life in general?Hide Answer
The phrase “by your sword you shall live” in Gen 27:40 reflected Esau’s dependence on his own strengths to live his life. The book of Genesis 25:27 tells us that Esau was a skillful hunter and a man who was able to use weapons, quiver and bow (Gen 27:3). Thus, according to the phrase in Gen 27:40, Esau lived his life and achieved his success and ambition solely by depending on his own skills.
Explain the phrase “by faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come” in Hebrews 11:20.Hide Answer
The writer of Hebrews narrates that “by faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come” (Heb 11:20). In other words, Isaac did such things because of his faith in God. The faith of Isaac in giving the blessings is based on the promise of God given to Abraham, his father (Gen 12:2, 3, 13:15-17, 15:5, 17:6-8, 22:17-18), and on God’s words to Rebekah, his wife (Gen 25:23).
Furthermore, the words which Isaac spoke to Jacob and Esau were not limited to present and physical things but also to the things pertaining to the future. For example, the Scriptures tell us that submission of Edomites to the Israelites happened generations later after the time of Esau (Ex 15:15; Num 24:18;
2 Sam 8:12-14; 1 Kgs 11:14-16; Amos 9:11-12; Obad 1:18). Also, the blessing of the fatness of the earth and the dew of the heaven to Jacob did not refer only to physical blessing per se of the time of Jacob but also to the salvation and the presence of God among His people up till today (Zech 8:23).