Of Blessings and Deceit

Genesis 27:1-40

Blind Isaac reaches a ripe old age and decides it is time to bless his beloved son, Esau. He sends the young man to hunt and prepare him a feast so that he may be moved to give his blessing. Overhearing Isaac’s instructions, Rebecca calls Jacob and tells him to bring her two goats for her to prepare in place of Esau’s feast, so that Jacob may go in his brother’s place to receive Isaac’s blessing. At first reluctant and fearing he may get caught, Jacob resists, but ultimately he follows his mother’s instructions.


Jacob brings the delicacies his mother has prepared to his father, who is immediately suspicious of how little time it took him to return. Jacob cites God’s interference, further rousing Isaac’s suspicions. However, when he feels the goat hair Rebecca had wrapped around Jacob’s bare arms, he is confused, for he says, “The voice is that of Jacob, but the arms are those of Esau.”


Isaac accepts Jacob’s feast, then offers him a blessing. He asks God to grant him the bounty of the land and power over the offspring of his brother. He asks that those who curse him be cursed and those who bless him be blessed.


When Esau returns to discover his father has already given his blessing away, he is incensed, and Isaac is frightened at having been deceived. Esau begs his father for another blessing, plaintively asking if he hasn’t something in reserve. At first Isaac insists he has given everything he can offer to Jacob, but he musters up one blessing for Esau: that he, too, shall enjoy the bounty of the land, and that he shall live off his sword. Although Jacob is destined to rule over him, there will be times, Isaac says, when Esau shall prevail.


Esau is filled with hatred for his brother over the subterfuge, and vows to kill him when their father is gone.


The blessing of “dews of heaven and the fatness of the earth” is unique to the blessings which Isaac bestows. The Israel Bible cites the mystical teachings of the Zohar in saying that this blessing is the one that has sustained the Jewish people throughout the millennia. According to Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, it is Isaac’s blessing to give because he is the only one of the forefathers who never left the land of Israel.


Virtual Classroom Discussion

We will see in the next passage that Isaac blesses Jacob one more time, this time fully aware that he is speaking to Jacob. Why, then, do you think he tells Esau he has no more blessings to give?

Comments ( 16 )

The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • Yes, This time Jitschaq is fully aware of the presence of Ja’acov. He kind of ratified the blessing of his own free will.. And he blessed him wholeheartedly and gave the Abrahamitic blessings.

  • Hashem has said, "I do not think as a man thinks, for My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts" (my paraphrase). Truly, He looks at the heart rather than outward appearance or circumstance. I've heard it is a custom that the first born traditionally gets the birthright blessing. However, notice this curious pattern of action from Hashem.
    Cain was the first born but Abel's offering was accepted over his. This led to jealousy, envy, and murder. The birthright fell to third born Seth. With Abraham, Ismael was first born, but Hashem chose Yitzak to be born through Sarai. In this chapter, second born Jacob was chosen for reasons already discussed. Of Jacob's 12 sons, Reuben was first, but Joseph was chosen. Of Joseph's children, Ephraim was chosen over Menassah. Even King David wasn't the oldest of Jesse's sons. He was the youngest. Just something to think on.

    • DannyLee you gave me a lot to think on.
      Thank you for your insight and teaching.

  • Esau says to Yitzak in 27: 36, "Isn't he rightly called Jacob because he has supplanted me these two times?" Herein rests the lie teachers on both sides of the spectrum fall for, hook, line, and sinker. It is Esau that says Jacob is a deceiver. This is a lie on the same level hasatan used in the garden–a lie with just enough truth to make it believable. This begs another question. What are the two times? They are when he sold his birthright, and at the loss of his blessing. He put a spin on it to make it seem both are separate. Actually, they are together one. One cannot receive the blessing without "owning" the birthright. Esau didn't own the birthright. He sold it to Jacob for drink and a bowl of stew. That's the only value it had for him.

    • Good point! I was a bit confused when I read this Scripture:
      35 And he said: ‘Thy brother came with guile, and hath taken away thy blessing.’
      לה וַיֹּאמֶר בָּא אָחִיךָ בְּמִרְמָה וַיִּקַּח בִּרְכָתֶךָ. 36 And he said: ‘Is not he rightly named Yaakov? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing.’ And he said: ‘Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?’
      לו וַיֹּאמֶר הֲכִי קָרָא שְׁמוֹ יַעֲקֹב וַיַּעְקְבֵנִי זֶה פַעֲמַיִם אֶת בְּכֹרָתִי לָקָח וְהִנֵּה עַתָּה לָקַח בִּרְכָתִי וַיֹּאמַר הֲלֹא אָצַלְתָּ לִּי בְּרָכָה.
      I was taught that Ya'acov received the "birthright blessing" and never saw them as being two separate things. I didn't realize that Esau had "put a spin" on this as you've pointed out.
      Thanks for clarifying that confusion for me.
      Baruch Hashem.

    • But then I wonder what is the meaning of that sentence; "isn't he rightly called Yacob…"

  • The question is now begged, who is the responsible one? Obviously it's Jacob. Who is the best able and willing to carry on the blood line? Once again, it's obviously Jacob. Esau has proved unequivocally he is neither able nor willing to do anything other than look out for himself. Because he totally disrespected his grandfather, Avraham, it would necessarily follow he would "despise his birthright". It also gives understanding to the divine statement, "Jacob I loved, Esau I hated".

  • In the closing verses of chapter 25, we read of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob. It is learned through extra-biblical sources this occasion occurred at the funeral of Avraham. It was the custom of the first born to prepare the meal and make other arrangements. However, Esau was nowhere to be found. He was out somewhere doing his own thing. When he dragged himself later in the evening, he was obviously exhausted and famished. It was Jacob who stepped in and picked up the slack that Esau selfishly left.

    • There is a point I would like to add to the above comment. Jacob says, "first, sell me your birthright". In English, this implies "sell me your birthright and then I'll give you some stew", some kind of financial dealing. The Hebrew actually says, "TODAY, sell me your birthright". It was really Jacob trying to do the right thing–honor and respect his grandfather and the affairs of his family–that which Esau despised.

  • It is written of YHVH saying, "Jacob I loved, Esau I hated". In 27: 1 of this portion, Moshe places the "Aleph Tav" marker before Esau's name. It should be interesting to note his name is mentioned over 70 times later in the Tanakh without the marker. That marker is a representation of the Messiah. See my comments in B'reishit for more details. This is a revelation to us that Esau was totally rejected (hated) by Hashem. Just why was he hated by Adonai?

  • Let's further consider the meaning of Jacob's name, "heel catcher". There is a common explanation espoused that Jacob came out with his hand on Esau's heel because he was trying to keep him from being born first. That is complete nonsense. This chapter clearly states there was a war going on in Rebekah's womb. It is very clear to me Jacob's action with a hand on Esau's heel was an act of self defense. The softest and most deadly area of a newborn is the very crown of the skull. Esau was literally trying to kill his brother in the womb. Even though he was given a chance to repent in life, he was evil from the beginning.

    • Interesting thesis, thank you! So Yacob is 'heel catcher' and not 'deceiver'.

  • I think it's time to dispense with this false assumption that Jacob was a "deceiver". I've read the introductory comments to this chapter and find no mention whatsoever that YHVH Himself stated Jacob would rule over Esau. Jacob's name DOES NOT mean deceiver or suplanter. It means "heel catcher". If there is any deception involved, it would be at the hand of Rebekah. For, she said in 27:13, "let the sin be upon me". It was Rebekah that heard and obeyed Hashem. Why is it that both Christian and Rabbinical teachers want to come to the defense of Yitzak, who was NOT acting according to the Spirit of YHVH, and was himself a deceiver? Why can't we look at it for what it is and come to the defense of Rebekah who risked everything to obey Hashem?

    • For so many years, we've been taught that Ya'acov was a deceiver and that his name even meant that when it clearly doesn't mean deceiver at all as you say.
      * Ya'acov BOUGHT Esau's birthright for a bowl of lentil stew because it meant everything to him and nothing to Esau. Yet, when the time came to receive the birthright blessing, Esau still intended to collect it.
      Who is the deceiver?
      *Rebekah pressed Yitzak into "deceiving" his father against his will and told him that all blame for this matter should be put on her. Who is the deceiver?
      *Ya'acov is one of the Patriarchs of our faith and deserves a "fair trial" in these matters and not condemnation based on the lies of his brother, Esau.
      Baruch Hashem.

  • Yitzak gave ALL of the spiritual blessings that came from the covenant that Elohim had made with his father Avraham to his son, Ya'acov. His blessing was powerful and left him little room to exempt Esau from his brother's rule over him. He attempts to soften the matter by giving Esau a nice blessing, and then I believe he comes back to bless Ya'acov again in order to remove any ill effects from the blessing that he gave to Esau.
    Basically, he had no way to undo the power of the spiritual blessing and it's effect that it would carry over Esau's life.
    Baruch Hashem.

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