"Abraham Casting Out Hagar" by Guercino, 1657

Genesis 25:19–28:9: What does Heaven really want from me?

“Now these are the records of the generations of Yitzkhak, Abraham’s son: Abraham became the father of Yitzkhak.” (Genesis 25:19 NASB)

The struggles of Yitzkhak and Yishma’el explored in Torah section Toldot or Toledot (“generations” or “accounts”) were very similar to the later struggles of Ya’akov and Eysau. We see why in Romans 9:6-24. We have two sets of men: Yitzkhak and Ya’akov vs. Yishma’el and Eysau.

In these two groups, there are those who are of the promise and those who are of the flesh. When God was dealing with these two groups of men, God made His choice before any of them were born. They had not had an opportunity to do right or wrong. God did not hate Eysau in the sense of having a visceral dislike or disgust upon Eysau. He simply chose to favor Ya’akov.

God ignores His own rules about the first born and chose the second born, but the inheritance God is giving Yitzkhak and Ya’akov is not about money or property but about Himself. It’s a spiritual inheritance.

“Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?” (Romans 9:21 NASB)

Yishma’el and Eysau were created to show us the different between life in the spirit vs. life in the flesh. God made Pharaoh so He could show His power. He created Pharaoh to crush, humiliate and destroy him. God planned it. He pre-set what was going to happen. He allows those who are corrupt to live to reveal more fully those who are righteous. He allows this to teach us because humans compared to God are really dumb.

Just as God had to separate Yishma’el and Yitzkhak, God also had to separate Jews from the gentile Christians. If they had stayed together, Jews would have dominated the Christians, and Christianity would have fallen. Dividing them allowed them to grow.

“When Ya’akov had cooked stew, Eysau came in from the field and he was famished; and Eysau said to Ya’akov, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom. But Ya’akov said, “First sell me your birthright.” Eysau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?” And Ya’akov said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Ya’akov. Then Ya’akov gave Eysau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Eysau despised his birthright.” (Genesis 25:29–34 NASB)

The Orthodox Study Bible says physical inheritance and spiritual birthright are separate issues:

“Eysau was the older son, so the right of the firstborn was his. This right taught the firstborn to embrace Abraham’s faith. But he despised this faith, because of his fear of death (Genesis 25:32). He despised the very faith that could save him from death.”

The physical inheritance concerned the division of the physical assets of the family. Normally, the first born inherited a double portion of the physical assets of the family and all of the land. The birthright was the moral authority to make decisions and rule over the other siblings in the family.

Eysau only cared about the physical inheritance, which he saw as totally up to Yitzkhak’s discretion and Eysau knew Yitzkhak favored him.

“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Eysau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.” (Hebrews 12:15–17 NASB)

Eysau’s rejection of his birthright wiped out his ability to repent, to come back to God. By the time of Yitzkhak’s soon and coming demise, it was too late for Eysau to repent.

Rejecting God is a big deal, but Eysau wanted food more than he wanted God. Eysau knew what he didn’t want and what he gave up.

“Now there was a famine in the land, besides the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham. So Yitzkhak went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. The LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. “Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham.” (Genesis 26:1–3 NASB)

Yitzkhak could not escape from the famine by going to Egypt as Abraham did. God told him he could only go as far as Gerar. Abraham and Ya’akov were allowed to leave the territory of the promised land but Yitzkhak was not. Yitzkhak was holy because he was set aside as a sacrifice to God, just as Yeshua the Mashiakh  was holy, separate and unique and set aside as a sacrifice. Yitzkhak could not be contaminated by being exposed to the unholiness of Egypt or Aram. Abraham knew that Yitzkhak could never leave the promised land.

“So Abimelech charged all the people, saying, “He who touches this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.”” (Genesis 26:11 NASB)

This is proof that Yitzkhak knew how loose Philistine morals were that Abimelech had to make this kind of ruling.

Abraham and Abimelech had made a covenant that their descendants would get along with each other but the Philistines broke that promise very shortly after Abraham’s death. When Yitzkhak shows up and reopens these wells and he also dug some new wells, which he had the right to do under the agreement that Abimelech and Abraham had made earlier but the Philistines violate this covenant blatantly on multiple occasions.

“He moved away from there and dug another well, and they did not quarrel over it; so he named it Rehoboth, for he said, “At last the LORD has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.”” (Genesis 26:22 NASB)

This third well is symbolic of the Mashiakh. Now Yitzkhak is able to be fruitful, multiply and live in peace.

“Then Abimelech came to him from Gerar with his adviser Ahuzzath and Phicol the commander of his army.” (Genesis 26:26 NASB)

This was not a peace mission. You don’t bring a military commander with you on a peace mission.

“Yitzkhak said to them, ‘Why have you come to me, since you hate me and have sent me away from you?’ They said, ‘We see plainly that the LORD has been with you; so we said, ‘Let there now be an oath between us, even between you and us, and let us make a covenant with you, that you will do us no harm, just as we have not touched you and have done to you nothing but good and have sent you away in peace. You are now the blessed of the LORD.’” (Genesis 26:27–29 NASB)

Yitzkhak is playing out a messianic role here. Every word out of Abimelech’s mouth is a lie. He simply covets the blessing that God has given Yitzkhak. They are simply brown-nosing him.

When Mashiakh Yeshua returns to rule the earth, the nations will not be pleased, but they will have to bow to him anyway. They will have no choice but to honor Him but they will do it grudgingly.

“So he called it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.” (Genesis 26:33 NASB)

Now, Yitzkhak’s enemies, just as Mashiakh’s enemies, are now under his feet.

“When Eysau was forty years old he married Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite; and they brought grief to Yitzkhak and Rebekah.” (Genesis 26:34–35 NASB)

These women would not have honored the LORD. They would have raised their children as Hittites, in rebellion against God. They certainly would have made Rivkah and Yitzkhak’s lives miserable, especially once grandchildren came into the family.

Yitzkhak loved and preferred Eysau and Rivkah loved and preferred Ya’akov. Eysau was a hunter and a nomad while Ya’akov was a settler and a farmer.

I don’t believe that Yitzkhak hated Ya’akov or that Rivkah hated Eysau. It’s simply a matter of preference and personality.

I also believe that both Eysau and Ya’akov were similar in physical build, because we read later that Ya’akov was able to singlehandedly remove a stone from a well that should have taken at least two men to move simply to impress Rachel.

“Then Yitzkhak trembled violently, and said, “Who was he then that hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate of all of it before you came, and blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.”” (Genesis 27:33 NASB)

The one thing that Yitzkhak feared was God. I believe that Yitzkhak knew of the prophecy that God had given Rivkah. Yitzkhak also knew that he was trying to go around God and he got caught. Now he has to fix it so he gives Eysau a small blessing but Yitzkhak doesn’t try to double cross God a second time.

“Now Eysau saw that Yitzkhak had blessed Ya’akov and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take to himself a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he charged him, saying, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan,” and that Ya’akov had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Paddan-aram.” (Genesis 28:6–7 NASB)

Eysau was never concerned about his mother’s opinion but now that he realizes that Yitzkhak didn’t like his Hittite wives either, and chooses another wife, this time from Yishma’el’s family, rather than another Canaanite.

God chose Ya’akov over Eysau based on His own authority, not based on the actions of either Ya’akov or Eysau. What can we do about it? Nothing. The clay can not question the will of the potter. God calls us to look around and pay attention to what is going on around us. God gave all humans the ability to observe and make changes to our life’s trajectory. We can look back on the path we have walked and see if it’s a path that was pleasing or unpleasing to God.

When God chooses someone for a task, they rise to that occasion. He chose Seth, Noah, Abraham and on the line. They might have been amazing people, they might not have been but all of them rose to the occasion and became great men of faith.

It’s hard for those of us who are naturally rebellious to understand God’s will. But if we have our eyes and hearts open, we can find it. That’s what the account of Ya’akov and Eysau teaches us.

Summary: Tammy.

Banner image: Giovanni Francesco “El Guercino” Barbieri (1591–1666), “Abraham Casting Out Hagar and Ishmael,” Web Gallery of Art <www.wga.hu>, oil on canvas, 1657


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