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Genesis 27:1--28:9

Context
Jacob Cheats Esau out of the Blessing

27:1 When 1  Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he was almost blind, 2  he called his older 3  son Esau and said to him, “My son!” “Here I am!” Esau 4  replied. 27:2 Isaac 5  said, “Since 6  I am so old, I could die at any time. 7  27:3 Therefore, take your weapons – your quiver and your bow – and go out into the open fields and hunt down some wild game 8  for me. 27:4 Then prepare for me some tasty food, the kind I love, and bring it to me. Then 9  I will eat it so that I may bless you 10  before I die.”

27:5 Now Rebekah had been listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau. 11  When Esau went out to the open fields to hunt down some wild game and bring it back, 12  27:6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father tell your brother Esau, 27:7 ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare for me some tasty food. Then I will eat 13  it and bless you 14  in the presence of the Lord 15  before I die.’ 27:8 Now then, my son, do 16  exactly what I tell you! 17  27:9 Go to the flock and get me two of the best young goats. I’ll prepare 18  them in a tasty way for your father, just the way he loves them. 27:10 Then you will take 19  it to your father. Thus he will eat it 20  and 21  bless you before he dies.”

27:11 “But Esau my brother is a hairy man,” Jacob protested to his mother Rebekah, “and I have smooth skin! 22  27:12 My father may touch me! Then he’ll think I’m mocking him 23  and I’ll bring a curse on myself instead of a blessing.” 27:13 So his mother told him, “Any curse against you will fall on me, 24  my son! Just obey me! 25  Go and get them for me!”

27:14 So he went and got the goats 26  and brought them to his mother. She 27  prepared some tasty food, just the way his father loved it. 27:15 Then Rebekah took her older son Esau’s best clothes, which she had with her in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. 27:16 She put the skins of the young goats 28  on his hands 29  and the smooth part of his neck. 27:17 Then she handed 30  the tasty food and the bread she had made to her son Jacob.

27:18 He went to his father and said, “My father!” Isaac 31  replied, “Here I am. Which are you, my son?” 32  27:19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau, your firstborn. I’ve done as you told me. Now sit up 33  and eat some of my wild game so that you can bless me.” 34  27:20 But Isaac asked his son, “How in the world 35  did you find it so quickly, 36  my son?” “Because the Lord your God brought it to me,” 37  he replied. 38  27:21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you, 39  my son, and know for certain if you really are my son Esau.” 40  27:22 So Jacob went over to his father Isaac, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s.” 27:23 He did not recognize him because his hands were hairy, like his brother Esau’s hands. So Isaac blessed Jacob. 41  27:24 Then he asked, “Are you really my son Esau?” “I am,” Jacob 42  replied. 27:25 Isaac 43  said, “Bring some of the wild game for me to eat, my son. 44  Then I will bless you.” 45  So Jacob 46  brought it to him, and he ate it. He also brought him wine, and Isaac 47  drank. 27:26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here and kiss me, my son.” 27:27 So Jacob 48  went over and kissed him. When Isaac caught the scent 49  of his clothing, he blessed him, saying,

“Yes, 50  my son smells

like the scent of an open field

which the Lord has blessed.

27:28 May God give you

the dew of the sky 51 

and the richness 52  of the earth,

and plenty of grain and new wine.

27:29 May peoples serve you

and nations bow down to you.

You will be 53  lord 54  over your brothers,

and the sons of your mother will bow down to you. 55 

May those who curse you be cursed,

and those who bless you be blessed.”

27:30 Isaac had just finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had scarcely left 56  his father’s 57  presence, when his brother Esau returned from the hunt. 58  27:31 He also prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Esau 59  said to him, “My father, get up 60  and eat some of your son’s wild game. Then you can bless me.” 61  27:32 His father Isaac asked, 62  “Who are you?” “I am your firstborn son,” 63  he replied, “Esau!” 27:33 Isaac began to shake violently 64  and asked, “Then who else hunted game and brought it to me? I ate all of it just before you arrived, and I blessed him. 65  He will indeed be blessed!”

27:34 When Esau heard 66  his father’s words, he wailed loudly and bitterly. 67  He said to his father, “Bless me too, my father!” 27:35 But Isaac 68  replied, “Your brother came in here deceitfully and took away 69  your blessing.” 27:36 Esau exclaimed, “‘Jacob’ is the right name for him! 70  He has tripped me up 71  two times! He took away my birthright, and now, look, he has taken away my blessing!” Then he asked, “Have you not kept back a blessing for me?”

27:37 Isaac replied to Esau, “Look! I have made him lord over you. I have made all his relatives his servants and provided him with grain and new wine. What is left that I can do for you, my son?” 27:38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only that one blessing, my father? Bless me too!” 72  Then Esau wept loudly. 73 

27:39 So his father Isaac said to him,

“Indeed, 74  your home will be

away from the richness 75  of the earth,

and away from the dew of the sky above.

27:40 You will live by your sword

but you will serve your brother.

When you grow restless,

you will tear off his yoke

from your neck.” 76 

27:41 So Esau hated 77  Jacob because of the blessing his father had given to his brother. 78  Esau said privately, 79  “The time 80  of mourning for my father is near; then I will kill 81  my brother Jacob!”

27:42 When Rebekah heard what her older son Esau had said, 82  she quickly summoned 83  her younger son Jacob and told him, “Look, your brother Esau is planning to get revenge by killing you. 84  27:43 Now then, my son, do what I say. 85  Run away immediately 86  to my brother Laban in Haran. 27:44 Live with him for a little while 87  until your brother’s rage subsides. 27:45 Stay there 88  until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I’ll send someone to bring you back from there. 89  Why should I lose both of you in one day?” 90 

27:46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am deeply depressed 91  because of these daughters of Heth. 92  If Jacob were to marry one of these daughters of Heth who live in this land, I would want to die!” 93 

28:1 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman! 94  28:2 Leave immediately 95  for Paddan Aram! Go to the house of Bethuel, your mother’s father, and find yourself a wife there, among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 28:3 May the sovereign God 96  bless you! May he make you fruitful and give you a multitude of descendants! 97  Then you will become 98  a large nation. 99  28:4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing he gave to Abraham 100  so that you may possess the land 101  God gave to Abraham, the land where you have been living as a temporary resident.” 102  28:5 So Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean and brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.

28:6 Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him off to Paddan Aram to find a wife there. 103  As he blessed him, 104  Isaac commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman.” 105  28:7 Jacob obeyed his father and mother and left for Paddan Aram. 28:8 Then Esau realized 106  that the Canaanite women 107  were displeasing to 108  his father Isaac. 28:9 So Esau went to Ishmael and married 109  Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Abraham’s son Ishmael, along with the wives he already had.

1 tn The clause begins with the temporal indicator (“and it happened”), making it subordinate to the main clause that follows later in the sentence.

2 tn Heb “and his eyes were weak from seeing.”

3 tn Heb “greater” (in terms of age).

4 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Esau) is specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Isaac) is specified in the translation for clarity.

6 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) here introduces a logically foundational statement, upon which the coming instruction will be based.

7 tn Heb “I do not know the day of my death.”

8 tn The Hebrew word is to be spelled either צַיִד (tsayid) following the marginal reading (Qere), or צֵידָה (tsedah) following the consonantal text (Kethib). Either way it is from the same root as the imperative צוּדָה (tsudah, “hunt down”).

9 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with the prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result.

10 tn Heb “so that my soul may bless you.” The use of נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) as the subject emphasizes that the blessing will be made with all Isaac’s desire and vitality. The conjunction “so that” closely relates the meal to the blessing, suggesting that this will be a ritual meal in conjunction with the giving of a formal blessing.

11 tn The disjunctive clause (introduced by a conjunction with the subject, followed by the predicate) here introduces a new scene in the story.

12 tc The LXX adds here “to his father,” which may have been accidentally omitted in the MT.

13 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with the prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result.

14 tn The cohortative, with the prefixed conjunction, also expresses logical sequence. See vv. 4, 19, 27.

15 tn In her report to Jacob, Rebekah plays down Isaac’s strong desire to bless Esau by leaving out נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”), but by adding the phrase “in the presence of the Lord,” she stresses how serious this matter is.

16 tn Heb “listen to my voice.” The Hebrew idiom means “to comply; to obey.”

17 tn Heb “to that which I am commanding you.”

18 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with the prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result.

19 tn The form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive. It carries forward the tone of instruction initiated by the command to “go…and get” in the preceding verse.

20 tn The form is the perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive; it carries the future nuance of the preceding verbs of instruction, but by switching the subject to Jacob, indicates the expected result of the subterfuge.

21 tn Heb “so that.” The conjunction indicates purpose or result.

22 tn Heb “And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, ‘Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, but I am a smooth [skinned] man.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

23 tn Heb “Perhaps my father will feel me and I will be in his eyes like a mocker.” The Hebrew expression “I will be in his eyes like” means “I would appear to him as.”

24 tn Heb “upon me your curse.”

25 tn Heb “only listen to my voice.”

26 tn The words “the goats” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

27 tn Heb “his mother.” This has been replaced by the pronoun “she” in the translation for stylistic reasons.

28 tn In the Hebrew text the object (“the skins of the young goats”) precedes the verb. The disjunctive clause draws attention to this key element in the subterfuge.

29 tn The word “hands” probably includes the forearms here. How the skins were attached is not specified in the Hebrew text; cf. NLT “she made him a pair of gloves.”

30 tn Heb “gave…into the hand of.”

31 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

32 sn Which are you, my son? Isaac’s first question shows that the deception is going to require more subterfuge than Rebekah had anticipated. Jacob will have to pull off the deceit.

33 tn Heb “get up and sit.” This may mean simply “sit up,” or it may indicate that he was to get up from his couch and sit at a table.

34 tn Heb “so that your soul may bless me.” These words, though not reported by Rebekah to Jacob (see v. 7) accurately reflect what Isaac actually said to Esau (see v. 4). Perhaps Jacob knew more than Rebekah realized, but it is more likely that this was an idiom for sincere blessing with which Jacob was familiar. At any rate, his use of the precise wording was a nice, convincing touch.

35 tn Heb “What is this?” The enclitic pronoun “this” adds emphasis to the question, which is comparable to the English rhetorical question, “How in the world?”

36 tn Heb “you hastened to find.” In translation the infinitive becomes the main verb and the first verb becomes adverbial.

37 tn Heb “caused to meet before me.”

38 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Because the Lord your God….’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

39 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result.

40 tn Heb “Are you this one, Esau, my son, or not?” On the use of the interrogative particle here, see BDB 210 s.v. הֲ.

41 tn Heb “and he blessed him.” The referents of the pronouns “he” (Isaac) and “him” (Jacob) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

42 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

43 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

44 tn Heb “Bring near to me and I will eat of the wild game, my son.” Following the imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.

45 tn Heb “so that my soul may bless you.” The presence of נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) as subject emphasizes Isaac’s heartfelt desire to do this. The conjunction indicates that the ritual meal must be first eaten before the formal blessing may be given.

46 tn Heb “and he brought”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

47 tn Heb “and he drank”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

48 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

49 tn Heb “and he smelled the smell”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

50 tn Heb “see.”

51 tn Heb “and from the dew of the sky.”

52 tn Heb “and from the fatness.”

53 tn Heb “and be.” The verb is an imperative, which is used rhetorically in this oracle of blessing. It is an invitation to exercise authority his brothers and indicates that he is granted such authority by the patriarch of the family. Furthermore, the blessing enables the recipient to accomplish this.

54 tn The Hebrew word is גְבִיר (gevir, “lord, mighty one”). The one being blessed will be stronger and therefore more powerful than his brother. See Gen 25:23. The feminine form of this rare noun means “mistress” or “queen-mother.”

55 tn Following the imperative, the prefixed verbal form (which is either an imperfect or a jussive) with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.

56 tn The use of the infinitive absolute before the finite form of the verb makes the construction emphatic.

57 tn Heb “the presence of Isaac his father.” The repetition of the proper name (“Isaac”) was

58 tn Heb “and Esau his brother came from his hunt.”

59 tn Heb “and he said to his father”; the referent of “he” (Esau) has been specified in the translation for clarity, while the words “his father” have been replaced by the pronoun “him” for stylistic reasons.

60 tn Or “arise” (i.e., sit up).

61 tn Heb “so that your soul may bless me.”

62 tn Heb “said.”

63 tn Heb “and he said, ‘I [am] your son, your firstborn.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged for stylistic reasons.

64 tn Heb “and Isaac trembled with a great trembling to excess.” The verb “trembled” is joined with a cognate accusative, which is modified by an adjective “great,” and a prepositional phrase “to excess.” All of this is emphatic, showing the violence of Isaac’s reaction to the news.

65 tn Heb “Who then is he who hunted game and brought [it] to me so that I ate from all before you arrived and blessed him?”

66 tn The temporal clause is introduced with the temporal indicator and has the infinitive as its verb.

67 tn Heb “and he yelled [with] a great and bitter yell to excess.”

68 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

69 tn Or “took”; “received.”

70 tn Heb “Is he not rightly named Jacob?” The rhetorical question, since it expects a positive reply, has been translated as a declarative statement.

71 sn He has tripped me up. When originally given, the name Jacob was a play on the word “heel” (see Gen 25:26). The name (since it is a verb) probably means something like “may he protect,” that is, as a rearguard, dogging the heels. This name was probably chosen because of the immediate association with the incident of grabbing the heel. Esau gives the name “Jacob” a negative connotation here, the meaning “to trip up; to supplant.”

72 tn Heb “Bless me, me also, my father.” The words “my father” have not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.

73 tn Heb “and Esau lifted his voice and wept.”

74 tn Heb “look.”

75 tn Heb “from the fatness.”

76 sn You will tear off his yoke from your neck. It may be that this prophetic blessing found its fulfillment when Jerusalem fell and Edom got its revenge. The oracle makes Edom subservient to Israel and suggests the Edomites would live away from the best land and be forced to sustain themselves by violent measures.

77 tn Or “bore a grudge against” (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV). The Hebrew verb שָׂטַם (satam) describes persistent hatred.

78 tn Heb “because of the blessing which his father blessed him.”

79 tn Heb “said in his heart.” The expression may mean “said to himself.” Even if this is the case, v. 42 makes it clear that he must have shared his intentions with someone, because the news reached Rebekah.

80 tn Heb “days.”

81 tn The cohortative here expresses Esau’s determined resolve to kill Jacob.

82 tn Heb “and the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah.”

83 tn Heb “she sent and called for.”

84 tn Heb “is consoling himself with respect to you to kill you.” The only way Esau had of dealing with his anger at the moment was to plan to kill his brother after the death of Isaac.

85 tn Heb “listen to my voice.”

86 tn Heb “arise, flee.”

87 tn Heb “a few days.” Rebekah probably downplays the length of time Jacob will be gone, perhaps to encourage him and assure him that things will settle down soon. She probably expects Esau’s anger to die down quickly. However, Jacob ends up being gone twenty years and he never sees Rebekah again.

88 tn The words “stay there” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

89 tn Heb “and I will send and I will take you from there.” The verb “send” has no object in the Hebrew text; one must be supplied in the translation. Either “someone” or “a message” could be supplied, but since in those times a message would require a messenger, “someone” has been used.

90 tn If Jacob stayed, he would be killed and Esau would be forced to run away.

91 tn Heb “loathe my life.” The Hebrew verb translated “loathe” refers to strong disgust (see Lev 20:23).

92 tn Some translate the Hebrew term “Heth” as “Hittites” here (see also Gen 23:3), but this gives the impression that these people were the classical Hittites of Anatolia. However, there is no known connection between these sons of Heth, apparently a Canaanite group (see Gen 10:15), and the Hittites of Asia Minor. See H. A. Hoffner, Jr., “Hittites,” Peoples of the Old Testament World, 152-53.

93 tn Heb “If Jacob takes a wife from the daughters of Heth, like these, from the daughters of the land, why to me life?”

94 tn Heb “you must not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.”

95 tn Heb “Arise! Go!” The first of the two imperatives is adverbial and stresses the immediacy of the departure.

96 tn Heb “El Shaddai.” See the extended note on the phrase “sovereign God” in Gen 17:1.

97 tn Heb “and make you fruitful and multiply you.” See Gen 17:6, 20 for similar terminology.

98 tn The perfect verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive here indicates consequence. The collocation הָיָה + preposition לְ (hayah + lÿ) means “become.”

99 tn Heb “an assembly of peoples.”

100 tn Heb “and may he give to you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your offspring with you.” The name “Abraham” is an objective genitive here; this refers to the blessing that God gave to Abraham.

101 tn The words “the land” have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

102 tn Heb “the land of your sojournings,” that is, the land where Jacob had been living as a resident alien, as his future descendants would after him.

103 tn Heb “to take for himself from there a wife.”

104 tn The infinitive construct with the preposition and the suffix form a temporal clause.

105 tn Heb “you must not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.”

106 tn Heb “saw.”

107 tn Heb “the daughters of Canaan.”

108 tn Heb “evil in the eyes of.”

109 tn Heb “took for a wife.”



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