Genesis 27 (NRSV)
Isaac Blesses Jacob
When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called his elder son Esau and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.”
2He said, “See, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. 3Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field, and hunt game for me. 4Then prepare for me savory food, such as I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may bless you before I die.”
Actually, Isaac will live quite a while longer — some scholars say another 40 years or so.
5Now Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game and bring it, 6Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I heard your father say to your brother Esau, 7‘Bring me game, and prepare for me savory food to eat, that I may bless you before the Lord before I die.’ 8Now therefore, my son, obey my word as I command you. 9Go to the flock, and get me two choice kids, so that I may prepare from them savory food for your father, such as he likes; 10and you shall take it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.”
11But Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, “Look, my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I am a man of smooth skin. 12Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be mocking him, and bring a curse on myself and not a blessing.”
13His mother said to him, “Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my word, and go, get them for me.”
“Here we see the idolatry of Rebekah; sacrificing her husband, her elder son, her principle, her own soul, for an idolized person. Do not mistake. No one ever loved child, brother, sister, too much. It is not the intensity of affection, but its interference with truth and duty, that makes it idolatry.
“Rebekah loved her son more than truth, that is, more than God…. The only true affection is that which is subordinate to [God’s higher authority]…. Compare, for instance, Rebekah’s love for Jacob with that of Abraham for his son Isaac.
“Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son to duty. Rebekah sacrificed truth and duty to her son. Which loved a son most? Which was the nobler love?”
–Frederick W. Robertson, a 19th-century English preacher
14So he went and got them and brought them to his mother; and his mother prepared savory food, such as his father loved. 15Then Rebekah took the best garments of her elder son Esau, which were with her in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob; 16and she put the skins of the kids on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17Then she handed the savory food, and the bread that she had prepared, to her son Jacob.
18So he went in to his father, and said, “My father”; and he said, “Here I am; who are you, my son?”
19Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, so that you may bless me.”
20But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?”
He answered, “Because the Lord your God granted me success.”
21Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 22So Jacob went up to his father Isaac, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him.
24He said, “Are you really my son Esau?”
He answered, “I am.”
25Then he said, “Bring it to me, that I may eat of my son’s game and bless you.” So he brought it to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank.
26Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son.” 27So he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his garments, and blessed him, and said,
“Ah, the smell of my son
is like the smell of a field
that the Lord has blessed.
28May God give you of the dew of heaven,
and of the fatness of the earth,
and plenty of grain and wine.
29Let peoples serve you,
and nations bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”
A New Testament blessing from Ephesians 3:14-19 (NIV)
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Blessing your children:
What exactly does it mean to give a blessing? What actions and attitudes combine to make this biblical tool so uniquely effective? How can a parent or grandparent be intentional and effective in doing this?
The blessing as described in Scripture always included five elements:
1. Meaningful and appropriate touch
Meaningful touch has many beneficial effects. The act of touch is key in communicating warmth, personal acceptance, affirmation, even physical health. It can be a hug, a kiss, a hand on the head or on the shoulder — something that communicates genuine affection.
2. A spoken message
A blessing fulfills its purpose only when it is actually verbalized — spoken in person, written down or preferably both. Don ‘t assume your children know. Instead, give them a library of remembered affirmations and written notes to assure them. Tell them you love them.
3. Attaching high value to the one being blessed
Tell them how valuable they are to you. Honor them by telling them they are important to you. Here is also a time for a special gift to celebrate their specialness in your heart and life.
4. Picturing a special future for him or her
We cannot predict another person’s future with total accuracy. But we can help those we are blessing see a future that is full of light and opportunity. We can let them know we believe they can build an outstanding life and future with the strengths and abilities God has given them. With this, a child can gain a sense of security in the present and grow in confidence to serve God and others in the future.
5. An active commitment to fulfill the blessing
Words alone cannot communicate the blessing; they need to be backed with a willingness to do everything possible to help the one blessed be successful. We can tell a child, “You have the talent to be a very good pianist.” But if we neglect to provide a piano for that child to practice on, our lack of commitment has undermined our message. Don’t wait. Take the time and do whatever you can to help them develop their gifts and their skills.
–from Gary Smalley and others
Esau’s Lost Blessing
30As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of his father Isaac, his brother Esau came in from his hunting. 31He also prepared savory food, and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father sit up and eat of his son’s game, so that you may bless me.”
32His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?”
He answered, “I am your firstborn son, Esau.”
33Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? —yes, and blessed he shall be!”
34When Esau heard his father’s words, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me, me also, father!”
35But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.”
Esau his blessing disappear!
36Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright; and look, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?”
37Isaac answered Esau, “I have already made him your lord, and I have given him all his brothers as servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?”
38Esau said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, father? Bless me, me also, father!” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
Both Isaac and Esau are grieved when they figure out what Jacob did, and now Esau is concerned about the birthright! Previously (in Genesis 25:22-34), he was willing to sell his birthright for a bowl of stew, and he despised his birthright. Now he wants not the spiritual, but the material and political advantages of the birthright.
39Then his father Isaac answered him:
“See, away from the fatness of the earth
shall your home be,
and away from the dew of heaven on high.
40By your sword you shall live,
and you shall serve your brother;
but when you break loose,
you shall break his yoke from your neck.”
Esau, also known as Edom, will become the father of the Edomite nation. Edom is east of southern Canaan in what is now Jordan. Edom was under Israelite control during the reign of King David, but successfully revolted during the reign of King Solomon.
–Linda B. Hinton
Jacob Escapes Esau’s Fury
41Now Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him, and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are approaching; then I will kill my brother Jacob.”
Jesus says in Matthew 5:44 — “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” We are not to retaliate, but to overcome evil with good. We are to show love even if we do not feel love. Esau’s example is not the one to follow!
Where, or with whom, could you apply these Christ-like thoughts and behaviors in your life today, and overcome evil with good, unkindness with kindness?
42But the words of her elder son Esau were told to Rebekah; so she sent and called her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is consoling himself by planning to kill you. 43Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; flee at once to my brother Laban in Haran, 44and stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury turns away— 45until your brother’s anger against you turns away, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send, and bring you back from there. Why should I lose both of you in one day?”
46Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am weary of my life because of the Hittite women. If Jacob marries one of the Hittite women such as these, one of the women of the land, what good will my life be to me?”
Tired of this dysfunctional family?! Let’s look at “a better way.” HERE is “Love Never Fails.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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