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Genesis 27:1-28:9 #eebc2018

Isaac is getting up in years and recognizes that his death may be soon. While he is accurate, he's also being a tad pessimistic. Isaac will live many more years--long enough to see many of the consequences of these chapters. A good resource for you as you study the Bible is a good timeline--Logos Bible Software has one built-in, many good study Bibles have them. You'll see that many estimates place Isaac's death well into the time after Jacob's return to the Promised Land. He passes away shortly before the family relocates to Egypt.

Now, what happens here is related to inheritance. It was not uncommon for the patriarch of a family to divide the wealth of the household before his death. The expectation was that the oldest son, since he received the bulk of the material possessions, would use his blessing to provide for his father and mother until death. But, having the division beforehand ensured that any disputes about amounts or choices could be solved by the still-living patriarch. It prevented blood feuds--not an entirely bad idea.

That's most likely what Isaac is thinking. He's aware of the birthright trade from Genesis 25:29-34, so he probably seeking to defuse any other brother-to-brother tensions. What he did not expect was that his wife would end up part of the problem.

Now, a word is due here about overapplying the events of this chapter to the character of either Rebekah or Isaac. It may look like this is another example of a scheming woman, out to take advantage. However, while we see that Rebekah has a stronger relationship with Jacob (26:28), that does not indicate her character is flawed. We should be as careful judging Bible people over one incident as we are judging individual people now based on a single incident.

Jacob deceives his father out of the blessing. Unfortunately, this brings the exact opposite result of what Isaac had hoped for: it's now a blood feud.

Jacob flees from Esau's wrath. Esau gets the blessing that his father has left for him--perhaps he should have left it alone.

Then, as Jacob's cover story for leaving was to find a non-Canaanite wife, Esau strikes back at his parents by marrying an Ishmaelite woman alongside his Canaanite wives. Genesis 28:8 is a sad comment--either Esau has never realized that Isaac did not want him to take a Canaanite wife, or Isaac never told him. Either way, we see that Esau ends up trying to use his marriages for himself.

In all, a sad chapter showing that people will sometimes go the opposite direction of what is right, run from that which is God's truth. We should be cautious...

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