Richard Agee

Genesis 27: Ya’akov deceives Yitzkhak to receive prophesied blessing

Richard AgeeWhy has the birthright and blessing due Esau but passed to Ya’akov (Jacob) been a persistent factor in world history, even to our day and the future Day of the Lord? Is there a connection between the delusion Ya’akov gave his father, Yitzkhak (Isaac), to gain Esau’s blessing and the “strong delusion” God has planned for the Day of the Lord?

Yitzkhak was getting very old and was going blind, yet his mental facilities and his other senses such as his smell and touch are still very acute. He was concerned about his encroaching blindness, and he assumed that he was going to die very soon. Although it turns out that he was going to live another 80 years or so after this, Yitzkhak still felt a certain urgency to bestow his blessing on Esau. 

As we read this story, we have to ask a few questions:

  • What’s the difference between the birthright Esau sold to Ya’akov and the blessing Ya’akov used deception to gain?
  • Why did God bless Ya’akov though he lied to get the blessing?

Rivkah (Rebecca) overheard Yitzkhak urging Esau to go hunting and to prepare him one of his favorite meals and set out a plan to insert Ya’akov into the blessing instead of Esau. 

Rivkah recalled the prophesy God gave her when she was struggling to give birth to the twins:

“The Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.’” (Gen. 25:23)

Yet, Ya’akov does not blindly accept his mother’s plan:

“Perhaps my father will feel me, then I will be as a deceiver in his sight, and I will bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing.” (Gen. 27:12)

But Rivkah replied:

“Your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me.” (Gen. 27:13)

As a part of this deception, Rivkah found one of Esau’s best garments to clothe Ya’akov. She also covered him with a hairy undergarment to make Ya’akov appear physically more like Esau. 

Yitzkhak did eventually accept Ya’akov as Esau and gave Ya’akov a very profound blessing. This was not the birthright that Esau had already sold to Ya’akov. This was a spiritual blessing, not a physical blessing:

“See, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed; Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and an abundance of grain and new wine; May peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you; be master of your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, and blessed be those who bless you.”  (Gen. 27:28-29)

Yet once Yitzkhak realized he had been deceived, he did not “take back” the blessing from Ya’akov. He did not nullify the blessing. Yitzkhak let it stand. Why couldn’t Yitzkhak take away this blessing once he realized that Ya’akov took it in deceit? The blessing that Yitzkhak transmitted was in the name of God, not in his own name. Yitzkhak could have taken back the blessing if the blessing was Yitzkhak’s blessing but this blessing was actually a blessing in the name of the Lord and once that blessing was sent out, it was not in Yitzkhak’s power to take it back. 

Rivkah gave birth to Esau and Ya’akov because of Yitzkhak’s prayers. Yitzkhak believed in God’s promise to Abraham that through Yitzkhak the world would be blessed and that Abraham’s descendants would carry Yitzkhak’s name. Yitzkhak knew he would have children. 

Although Yitzkhak could not take away the blessing he gave to Ya’akov, despite Ya’akov’s deceit, Yitzkhak did not leave Esau empty-handed. He gave him a different blessing:

“Behold, away from the fertility of the earth shall be your dwelling, and away from the dew of heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, and your brother you shall serve; but it shall come about when you become restless, that you will break his yoke from your neck.” (Gen. 27:39-40)

The blessing of the sword Yitzkhak is mentioning here not simply an acknowledgement of Esau’s hunting prowess but that Esau will become a warlord, living far away from fertile lands. He and his descendants will not live a poverty-stricken life but it will not be a comfortable life.

Rivkah’s “curse” was two-fold, she had to continue to suffer with Esau’s two Hittite wives and she never got to see Ya’akov’s wives or his children. Ya’akov also paid for this deceit by enduring 20 years of Laban’s lies and deceits. Also, both Abraham and Yitzkhak die “in peace” in the Promised Land but Ya’akov died in the land of Egypt. 

Rivkah was a special woman. God spoke to her directly and revealed truth to her. Rivkah understood that God’s will was more important than the will of her husband or her son or even her own will. 

 God had chosen Ya’akov for this special blessing before he was born:

“And not only this, but there was Rivkah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Yitzkhak; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, ‘The older will serve the younger’ [Gen. 25:23]. Just as it is written, ‘Ya’akov I loved, but Esau I hated’ [Mal. 1:2]. What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!  For He says to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion‘ [Ex. 33:19]. So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.” (Rom. 9:10-16)

God chose Ya’akov before he was born to carry the line of the promise of the Messiah. It had nothing to do with Ya’akov’s deeds or merits. It was a blessing that God gave him. 

We don’t want to accept what Rivkah and Ya’akov did. Ya’akov came back from Laban’s home with more material wealth and blessing than Yitzkhak had. 

When a person sins, they will reap the consequence of the sin. God doesn’t have to heap a special curse upon a person for them to learn a lesson. 

In 2nd Thess. 2:1-13, we gain some insight into why God “hated” Esau. The latter had deemed the birthright through his father and father’s father — Abraham — to be of no consequence. This was a character flaw in Esau that God knew was there before Esau was born and a flaw that will be evident in the final generation before the Day of the Lord.

Reader: Jeff. Speaker: Richard Agee. Summary: Tammy.

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