So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.”
Isaac was very old by this time and thought he was near death. Bedridden and blind, Isaac decided that it was now time for him to pass on the blessings (originally given to his father, Abraham) to his firstborn son Esau. He told Esau to prepare a meal of fresh game that he would enjoy and then afterward perform the ceremony to transfer the blessings to Esau.
But Rebekah, who preferred Jacob, schemed to have Jacob supplant Esau in receiving the blessing. Rebekah and Jacob conspired to capitalize on Isaac’s blindness through trickery. Rebekah would prepare meat in a way that was similar to how Esau cooked his game. Jacob would wear Esau’s clothing and cover himself in goat skins to simulate Esau’s hairy body (verses 15-16).
When Jacob presented himself to Isaac as Esau, Isaac had his suspicions (verses 20-24). But the taste of the food and the smell of his garments convinced him that it was Esau. Isaac then gave Jacob the birthright blessings. Jacob’s descendants would be blessed with:
- Great agricultural blessings (verse 28).
- Geopolitical dominance (verse 29).
This blessing ensured that the promises originally given to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) would continue through the line of Jacob (later renamed Israel)—and not Esau. This is what God had told Rebekah even before the boys were born (Genesis 25:23).
Rebekah and Jacob should have waited patiently for God to work this out. Instead they lied and obtained the blessings through dishonesty and deceit (Genesis 27:24, 35-36). Jacob would experience many negative consequences for his actions throughout the remainder of his life.
To learn the importance of overcoming lying and deceit, read our article on the Ninth Commandment.
Tomorrow on the Daily Bible Verse Blog: “Esau’s Limited Blessing.”