A Journey Thru Genesis


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Gen 25:27c . . who stayed in camp.

Does that mean Jacob never ventured outdoors? No. After all, his family was
pastoral; they lived in tents and spent their whole lives working outdoors. Staying
in camp only means Jacob would rather come on home when the day was over,
take a hot shower, eat dinner with his family, brush his teeth, and sleep between
clean sheets rather than needing a bath out under the stars on the ground with

Esau wasn't dependable; and probably off away from home on one safari after
another. But Jacob was always nearby, ready to lend a hand with the chores, shear
the sheep, mend the fences, and help his mom get in a load of wood and water. He
was like the ranchers in the movie Shane-- hard working and dependable --very
unlike his wild and wooly brother who very likely scorned animal husbandry and
thought of it as a life for losers.

Jacob was a lot like his mom Rebecca. Although she too came from a family with
servants, it wasn't below her to bring in the evening water when it was time. Jacob
could have kicked back and lived the life of a spoiled rich kid and never lifted a
finger to help out around the ranch, leaving it all up to the servants. But he didn't
do that. No. Jacob was a working rancher: he pitched in wherever he could because
it was his nature to make himself useful and productive.

Gen 25:28a . . Isaac favored Esau because he had a taste for game;

The Hebrew word for "favored" is from 'ahab (aw-hab') or possibly 'aheb (aw-habe')
which mean: to have affection for.

Family counselors will tell you that favoritism is harmful: and who from a large
family doesn't already know that. But nevertheless it's just about near impossible to
prevent favoritism. People are only human after all.

Up to this point, Esau seems an okay kind of guy. No really serious faults are
readily apparent. And he seems affable enough. On the pages of Old Testament
Scripture, he isn't said to be a friendless loner, or an angry sociopath; nor into bad
habits like drinking, gambling, murder, robbery, lies, laziness, fighting, disrespect
for his parents, blasphemy, selfishness, foul language, or anything else like that.

The only apparent difference between Esau and Jacob-- up to this point --is Esau's
preference for roaming the great outdoors instead of putting in a day's work around
the ranch. Jewish folklore lays some pretty heavy sins upon Esau. but none of them
are listed here in chapter 25.

For now, neither Isaac nor Rebecca have voiced any gripes against either one of
their boys. Isaac does favor Esau more, but only because of the venison that he
prepared for his dad on occasion-- which of course would appeal to Isaac because it
was wild game rather than the meat of domestic animals. Guys sometimes feel
more manly when they eat meat taken in hunting rather than from a local super
market. Isaac is one of those men for whom this proverb rings true: The way to a
man's heart is through this stomach.

Gen 25:28b . . but Rebecca favored Jacob.

Well, that's understandable. Jacob was religious, temperate, conscientious, and
helpful: attributes Rebecca would certainly value; whereas Esau was secular, out
hunting, and saw no value in his dad's religion whatsoever (Heb 12:15-17). And
Jacob was very likely home a whole lot more than Esau; and made good company
too. Guys like Esau tend to be center-of-attention addicts; and eclipse everyone
else in the room to the point where you get the feeling they believe themselves the
only ones in the whole wide world that count and the only justification for your
existence is to be their audience.

Rebecca was a no-nonsense kind of girl. I think she was very impressed by
Abraham's chief steward because he was serious about his business and got right to
it with no fooling around; plus he was a man of prayer too. I think all of that had a
great deal of influence on Rebecca's decision to leave home with him.

I suspect Rebecca saw that very same kind of character in Jacob; and it had more
appeal to her than the swash buckling, great white hunter attitude that compelled
Esau to go off on safari so often. Not that an adventurer's nature is bad or anything
like that. But Rebecca preferred the company of disciplined, level headed,
temperate men who take care of their families and put them first. The kind who
take their responsibilities seriously and don't shirk.


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Gen 25:29 . . Once when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the open,

I guess Esau never heard of the Boy Scouts' motto: Be prepared. Well . . next time,
maybe he'll be a little more careful to fill his ALICE pack with some LRRP rations
before going out in the boonies.

The word for "stew" is from naziyd (naw-zeed') which means: something boiled,
e.g. soup. According to Gen 25:34, one of the ingredients in Jacob's soup was
lentils: a type of flat, round seed related to the pea and is eaten as a vegetable.

Gen 25:30a . . And Esau said to Jacob: Give me some of that red stuff to gulp
down, for I am famished

The word for "red" (stuff) is from 'adom (aw-dome') which means: rosy.

Gen 25:30b . . which is why he was named Edom.

Edom is from 'Edom (ed-ome') or possibly 'Edowm (ed-ome') which mean: red.
'Edom and 'Edowm are derived from 'adom; the word for rosy.

I actually knew a man when I was a kid whose nick-name was Rose; and what die
hard football fan hasn't heard of Rosey Grier?

Gen 25:31 . . Jacob said: First sell me your birthright.

The birthright consists of two distinct components. One is material, and the other is
spiritual. If Israel's covenanted law can be used as a guideline in this instance, then
the holder of the birthright (which is transferable) is entitled to twice the amount of
material inheritance given to his siblings. (Deut 21:15-17)

But Jacob isn't asking for Esau's material birthright; it's the spiritual one that he's
after. Jacob wanted very much to be the family's next patriarch; and no doubt
Rebecca wanted him too.

The position of patriarch carries heavy responsibilities. If Esau was to rule over the
family, then he would be responsible to provide for them both materially and
spiritually. Abraham was a very successful patriarch in both respects, but most
especially in the spiritual.

It was the patriarch's duty to build, and officiate at, the family's altar; just as
Abraham had done all those years (cf. Job 1:5). It was also the patriarch's duty to
dispense the knowledge God and make sure it was carried forward in the family so
as to prevent its loss to future generations (cf. Gen 18:19). I think what Jacob was
really after was the inspiration that came with being the spiritual patriarch. (cf. Gen

As far as Esau was concerned, the material aspect of his birthright was all that
mattered. He was totally secular and cared nothing at all for his spiritual birthright.
On the other hand, Jacob dearly longed for the spiritual aspect-- the material part
being only incidental. No doubt the two brothers had discussed these very things
over the years so that Jacob already knew exactly how Esau felt about it. So that,
half in jest, and probably half in disgust, he proposed that Esau barter his spiritual
birthright for food.


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Gen 25:32-33 . . And Esau said: I am at the point of death, so of what use is my
birthright to me? But Jacob said: Swear to me first. So he swore to him, and sold
his birthright to Jacob.

It just amazes me how much faith the people of long ago put in oaths. Nowadays
nobody trusts an oath. You've got to sign your name on the dotted line, preferably
with a witness and/or a notary, because it would be totally foolish to take anybody's
word on anything; even if they swore to it.

Even if Isaac now gave the birthright to Esau, which he fully intended to do, at least
Jacob had the assurance that his brother wouldn't retain the spiritual aspect. Isaac
would never interfere with a contract between the two brothers sealed by an oath.
He would have to honor it. The spiritual birthright would now go to Jacob, which,
according to Gen 25:23, is exactly what the supreme paterfamilias of Abraham's
clan mandated in the first place.

Gen 25:34 . . Jacob then gave Esau bread and lentil stew; he ate and drank, and
he rose and went away. Thus did Esau spurn the birthright.

Had Esau politely waived the birthright, that probably would've been okay with God,
and no hard feelings about it: after all; not everyone is cut out to be a spiritual
guru. But to merchandise something sacred to God was an insult that must have
cut Him deeply.

Ironically, the birthright wasn't Esau's to sell in the first place since God pre
destined it to Jacob before the boys were born (Rom 9:11-12). I can't help but
wonder what happened to the information that God passed on to Rebecca back
when. Did she keep it under her hat all those years? If so; why?

Jacob and Rebecca no doubt both appreciated their association with Isaac, and
were grateful Yhvh was their god. But did Esau did appreciate it? No, he didn't; nor
did he see any advantage to it. He was truly a secular man: an earthly dude
through and through. He wasn't a heavenly man in any sense of the word; no, far
from it.

"A natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are
foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually
appraised." (1 Cor 2:14)


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Gen 26:1a . .There was a famine in the land-- aside from the previous famine
that had occurred in the days of Abraham

That previous famine occurred in chapter 12 before Isaac was born; even before
Ishmael was born. So many good, prosperous years have gone by since the last
famine. This may in fact have been the very first famine that Isaac ever witnessed,
and probably his last too.

The Hebrew word for "famine" is from ra' ab (raw-awb') which means: hunger
(more or less extensive)

People go hungry either because they can't buy the foods they need, or can't grow
it for lack of soil or water. In Isaac's case it was probably a lack of water that made
the difference. He had lots of money. But cattle can't live on legal tender. Down in
the lowlands there would very likely be plenty of water in wells and springs that
could be used for irrigation. So it's off to the lowlands they go; herds and all.

Gen 26:1b . . and Isaac went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines, in Gerar.

This was very likely another Abimelech-- not the same man in chapter 20 whom
Abraham knew. That Abimelech was very likely dead by now. The name
"Abimelech" is more like a title than a moniker; sort of like Czar, Pharaoh, or

Gerar hasn't been fully identified, but the site might be in one of the branches of
Wady Sheri'a, at a place called Um Jerrar, near the coast southwest of Gaza and 9
miles from it. The site answers fairly well to the statements of Eusebius and
Jerome, that it was 25 (Roman) miles south of Eleutheropolis (Beit Jibrin). It's
actually 30 English miles, but distances weren't very accurately determined in early
times. Gerar was known in the first 5th century CE, when it was the seat of a
bishopric; and its bishop, Marcian, attended the Council of Chalcedon 451 CE.

According to ERETZ Magazine, issue 64, Abimelech's land is an ample valley with
fertile land and numerous springs; a perfect place for a man with cattle to weather
out the drought.

Isaac's decision to investigate the possibility of living amongst Abimelech's people
was quite possibly influenced by Abraham's pact with them back in chapter 20.
Hopefully they would be inclined to honor his dad's relationship with the previous
Abimelech and let Isaac's community live down there at least until it started raining
again up in the highlands.

Gen 26:2a . .The Lord had appeared to him

This is the very first recorded incident where God appeared especially for Isaac.
When he was offered as a burnt offering back in chapter 22, God appeared to his
dad while Isaac was with him. But God was not said to appear to Isaac. This is the
first time.

You know, probably nobody alive today will ever be honored by a divine close
encounter of a third kind. We will live out our pathetically boring little lives always
never quite sure if maybe we were hoodwinked-- hoping against hope that the
Bible is true. And wouldn't the joke be on us if it isn't? What a bunch of gullible
morons Christians would be if there is no Bible's God after all.

Gen 26:2b . . and said: Do not go down to Egypt;

Isaac may have been considering Egypt as plan B if Gerar didn't work out.

Gen 26:2c . . stay in the land which I point out to you.

That had to be encouraging. Even if things looked bad in Gerar when Isaac arrived,
he could rest upon the fact that he was going in the right direction.

Gen 26:3a . . Reside in this land, and I will be with you and bless you;

Suppose it turned out Isaac didn't like the land God selected for him and moved to
another one? Well he could just forget about the promise: "I will be with you and
bless you" That promise was conditional. He had to live where God directed him to

Gen 26:3b-4 . . I will assign all these lands to you and to your heirs, fulfilling the
oath that I swore to your father Abraham. I will make your heirs as numerous as
the stars of heaven, and assign to your heirs all these lands, so that all the nations
of the earth shall bless themselves by your heirs--

Although some translations render the word "heirs" plural, zera' is one of those
Hebrew words that can just as accurately be translated in the singular as well the
plural: like the words sheep, fish, and deer. In this case, it's probably best to
understand zera' in the singular because it most certainly refers to Jacob rather
than to both he and his brother Esau.


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Gen 26:5 . . inasmuch as Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge: My
commandments, My laws, and My teachings.

Some construe God's statement to indicate that Abraham was included in the
covenant that Moses' people agreed upon with God per Exodus, Leviticus,
Numbers, and Deuteronomy. But the statement below excludes him.

"The Lord our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. Not with our forefathers did
the Lord make this covenant, but with us, we, all of whom are here alive today."3
(Deut 5:2-3)

Were Abraham included in the Jews' covenant; God would have placed Himself in a
serious dilemma.

The problem is: Abraham was married to a half sister (Gen 20:12)

The covenant prohibits marrying, and/or sleeping with, one's half sister. (Lev 18:9,
Lev 20:17)

Under the terms and conditions of the Jews' covenant; men who sleep with their
sisters are cursed the moment they do so because "cursed be he" is grammatically
present tense; no delay and no waiting period; viz: the curse is immediate.

"Cursed be he who lies with his sister, his father's daughter or his mother's
daughter." (Deut 27:22)

Cursed be he who does not uphold the words of this Torah, to fulfill them. (Deut

Well; were God to slam Abraham with a curse for sleeping with his sister, then God
would be obligated to slam Himself with a curse in return.

"The one who curses you I will curse" (Gen 12:3)

Abraham enjoyed quite an advantage. He had a certain kind of immunity. In other
words, seeing as how Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy were
instituted long after Abraham passed away; then none of the curses listed at Ex
34:6-7, Lev 26:3-38, Deut 27:15-26, and/or Deut 28:1-69 applied to him.

Abraham complied with God's requirements; His commands, His decrees and His
laws voluntarily rather than by compulsion because he wasn't in a covenant with
God that demanded him to do so like his posterity would be in the days of Moses.
(Deut 5:2-3)

The promises God made to Abraham as per Gen 12:2-3 and Gen 17:8 were not
sustained by Abraham's piety. In other words: once God made those promises,
neither Abraham nor his posterity can ever lose them because they are

"The law, introduced 430 years later, does not set aside the covenant previously
established by God and thus do away with the promise. For if the inheritance is
based on law, it is no longer based on a promise; but God has granted it to
Abraham by means of a promise." (Gal 3:17-18)

The "promise" in question reads like this:

"And I will give you and your seed after you the land of your sojournings, the entire
land of Canaan for an everlasting possession, and I will be to them for a god." (Gen

That should be really good news to Abraham's posterity because although the law
has a marked effect upon their occupation of the land, it has no effect upon their
entitlement to it.


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Gen 26:6 . . So Isaac stayed in Gerar. When the men of the place asked him
about his wife, he said "She is my sister" for he was afraid to say "my wife"
thinking: The men of the place might kill me on account of Rebecca, for she is

NOTE: The thing about human beauty is that it's subjective, i.e. only humans can
appreciate it. A big ape like King Kong would not be attracted to a cute blonde girl
because his chemistry isn't mixed right. For example; meerkat boys no doubt think
that meerkat girls are alluring little hotties. But I seriously doubt that meerkat boys
feel the same way about human girls.

The Hebrew word for "sister" is 'achowth (aw-khoth') and has very wide application.
It can mean an actual biological sister of the same parents as the brother, or it can
just mean female kin, either near or far. I'm guessing that Isaac and Rebecca were
far enough apart in age that she could easily pass for his niece.

'achowth is very much like the New Testament Greek word suggenes (soong-ghen
ace'). For example Luke 1:36, "Even Elizabeth your cousin is going to have a child
in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month." The word
"cousin" is an arbitrary choice of words. Suggenes could just as easily been
translated "aunt", or just simply "kin" and/or "relative" and/or "sister".

NOTE: Translating suggenes as "cousin" in Mary and Elizabeth's case is appropriate
seeing as how both women were biologically related to Leah via Judah and Levi.

Suggenes and 'achowth are ambiguous words, and unless there is some additional
clarification in the surrounding text, it is just about impossible to know precisely in
what manner the female kin is related; for example in Gen 24:59-60, Rebeca's
family called her a sister.

Isaac's response was semantic double-speak. In other words: he didn't tell an
outright bald face lie; what he said was true; from a certain point of view— he and
Rebecca were related. But nevertheless, his response was a half truth meant to

I just have to wonder sometimes about the IQ of some of the patriarchs. God had
just reaffirmed Abraham's covenant with Isaac; guaranteeing He would bless hi
on account of his father Abraham's righteousness (not Isaac's righteousness). Yet
now he's worried about being murdered in Gerar? I'd hate to think that Isaac didn't
believe God. I'd much rather reckon he wasn't paying attention.

Gen 26:8 . . When some time had passed, Abimelech king of the Philistines,
looking out of the window, saw Isaac sporting with his wife Rebecca.

Sporting with one's wife is far and away different than sporting with one's sister.
The way those two were horsing around was unmistakably the behavior of lovers.

Gen 26:9-10 . . Abimelech sent for Isaac and said: So she is your wife! Why then
did you say "She is my sister". Isaac said to him: Because I thought I might lose
my life on account of her. Abimelech said: What have you done to us! One of the
people might have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt upon us.

I'm not surprised that Abimelech was frightened. It hadn't been all that long ago
when his predecessor had a run-in with Isaac's god, That incident involving
Abraham undoubtedly went down in the castle records.

And to top it off, out there grazing on Gerar pastures was a special breed of sheep
that bore a witness for Abraham too (Gen 21:27-32) and their story was very likely
woven into Gerar folklore. Oh yes. They knew about Yhvh alright; and they all knew
what could happen to them if any of the local men messed around with Rebecca,
the wife of Abraham's son.

Gen 26:11 . . Abimelech then charged all the people, saying: Anyone who
molests this man or his wife shall be put to death.

It is most encouraging to note that God is disposed to protect his own from the
perils they bring upon themselves by the stupid blunders of their own self reliance.
That's a tremendous advantage to have in life.

The Hebrew word for "molest" is from naga' (naw-gah') which means: to touch, i.e.
lay the hand upon (for any purpose; euphemistically, to lie with a woman); by
implication, to reach (figuratively, to arrive, acquire); violently, to strike (punish,
defeat, destroy, etc.)

NOTE: A popular euphemism in our day relative to men and women is so and so are
"sleeping together" which means of course that they do naughtier stuff than merely

So Abimelech was not just talking about sexual molesting; but mandated that his
people not even so much as lay a finger upon Isaac and Rebecca in any way at all.
Isaac, of course, is getting by on his dad's influence. But what the hey, it doesn't
hurt to be connected.


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Gen 26:12-14a . . Isaac sowed in that land and reaped a hundredfold the same
year. The Lord blessed him, and the man grew richer and richer until he was very
wealthy: he acquired flocks and herds, and a large household,

Quite a bit of the land down around Gerar was public, sort of like our own American
frontier in the days of Lewis and Clark; and was up for grabs by whoever had the
wherewithal and the moxie to take it. In fact, the Philistines really weren't even a
country of their own at this time, but more like a colony clinging to the sea coast of
Palestine, with the majority of them still living on the isle of Crete. They would
migrate and settle en masse centuries later.

Farming may seem like a switch from animal husbandry, but the combination was
common among pastoral peoples those days for two good reasons. For one; Isaac's
herds needed pasture. And two; man can't live on meat alone; he needs fruits and
vegetables too.

And Isaac needed bushels and bushels of those items to feed his immense
community. He inherited at least a thousand people from his dad. By now, those
have multiplied well beyond that. I think if you'd have encountered Isaac's outfit in
those days it would have resembled an Iowa town rather than a simple camp of

Rates of increase varied from thirty to a hundred (cf. Matt 13:8, Matt 19:29).
Sixtyfold is very good, and wasn't unusual in Palestine back in those days. A
hundredfold was rare, and occurred only in spots of extraordinary fertility.

The region of Babylonia, however, yielded two-hundred and even three
hundredfold, according to Herodotus (I.193) and all without genetically modified
seeds. Just exactly what those fold numbers indicate is uncertain. Perhaps they
were similar to a modern term relative to bushels per acre.


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Gen 26:14b . . so that the Philistines envied him.

Some feel that the Philistines' envy was rooted in anti-Semitism. Well . . . there are
always those seeking to enhance their own image as a victim; and this chapter
would certainly seem a good source of propaganda for that purpose.

Envy is a normal human emotion that is typically blind to racial and ethnic
identities. Envy isn't restricted to anti-Semitism, nor does it serve to identify it.
Envy is a powerful passion; destroying friendships, fueling fierce rivalries,
generating strong desires for revenge, and fracturing solidarity.

NOTE: Madison Avenue typically combines envy with gloating; which Webster's
defines as to show in an improper or selfish way that you are happy with your own
success or another person's failure. Whenever someone's goods and/or services in
an ad are superior to others, there's usually no sympathy shown by the one with
the superior stuff; only gloating over those less fortunate with no concern at all for
their feelings. Thus advertisers encourage consumer rivalry and smug satisfaction.
It's very common in TV ads.

Just watch the ads on TV, and the ones in magazines and you'll see. They
constantly provoke us to keep up with and/or surpass our peers in clothing, cars,
physical appearance, business success, and popularity. Envy is a powerful, negative
feeling that overwhelms us whenever others are doing better than ourselves.

Gen 26:15 . . And the Philistines stopped up all the wells which his father's
servants had dug in the days of his father Abraham, filling them with earth.

You would think the Philistines would value those wells and put the water to use for
themselves. But actually, there weren't really all that many Philistines in the Gerar
area at the time. They didn't need the water; and they sure didn't want any
squatters to discover the wells and thus be encouraged to settle down in their

Abimelech forbade his citizens to harm Isaac; but that didn't preclude harassing
and annoying him. Cutting off his water supplies was very serious because Isaac
needed them to irrigate crops and water the livestock. Without adequate water
supplies, Isaac Enterprises was doomed. He had a right to file a complaint. But
Abimelech felt it best for all concerned to run Isaac out of the country.

NOTE: I've a suspicion that the rural Philistines had become territorial; which can
be roughly defined as an assumed property right due to long-time occupation;
whether legal or otherwise. In other words; Isaac's rivals probably felt that
although they didn't actually own the countryside, they had been there longer than
Isaac so they had a preemptive right to dictate its use. It's a Neanderthal's way of
thinking, but goes on all the time; commonly in work places where senior
employees are inclined to dominate new hires.

Gen 26:16 . . And Abimelech said to Isaac: Go away from us, for you have
become far too big for us.

Just exactly what Abimelech meant by "far too big for us" is hard to know for sure.
But it looks suspiciously like a cowardly act of favoritism; pure and simple. Instead
of being fair and equitable with Isaac, Abimelech, like a cheap politician, ignored
the vandalism his citizens had done against Isaac and made it look like this whole
nasty business was his fault; vz: he was just getting too greedy and beginning to
crowd everybody else out.

Was this maybe the first antitrust suit in history? Antitrust laws, in reality, put a
limit on prosperity. They say that the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness are okay as long as you don't pursue them to an extreme. People often
believe in a free enterprise system; but typically only up until somebody else's
enterprise is having much better success at it than theirs.

Gen 26:17 . . So Isaac departed from there and encamped in the wadi of Gerar,
where he settled.

A wadi named Nahal Gerar is on modern maps of the Gaza region. Whether or not
that was Isaac's wadi I don't know. Wadis are basins in which brooks flow, and
therefore, were the well-watered and fertile parts of the country. In times of scant
rain up in the highlands, the brooks in many wadis dry up, and then it becomes
necessary to dig wells down into the subterranean water table.

According to ERETZ magazine, issue 64, the Gerar river draws its waters from
tributaries that run along the slopes of the rain-swept Hebron mountains. Enormous
amounts of water flow through it in winter, flooding the channel an average of
seven times a year.

Gen 26:18 . . Isaac dug anew the wells which had been dug in the days of his
father Abraham and which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham's death;
and he gave them the same names that his father had given them.

Those wells were dug nearly a hundred years prior to this event; and makes one
wonder how Isaac knew where they were and how he knew the names his dad had
named them. The Gerarians probably waited until Abraham was dead to plug them
up because they feared him. He had a reputation as a military leader and he also
had a pact with the king Abimelech of Abraham's period.

Gen 26:19-20 . . But when Isaac's servants, digging in the wadi, found there a
well of spring water, the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen,
saying: The water is ours. He named that well Esek, because they contended with

Isaac was much too affable. He didn't have to let those guys buffalo him; after all,
Isaac had a pretty good sized army of his own; left to him by his dad. He could
easily have posted an armed platoon by the well to keep the local cowboys away
from it. But no, he chose rather to condescend and let them have their own way.
Isaac was truly a "turn the other cheek" kind of guy who was willing (maybe a bit
too willing) to bend over backward to accommodate people and prevent violence
and ill will.

Esek was a new well; not one of Abraham's. The herdsmen were motivated by envy
so they were reluctant to share the regions resources with the likes of Isaac
because they hated his success. They didn't contest Isaac's access to the water in
Abraham's wells. They probably felt he had a right to use those; but the men would
not tolerate Isaac taking any more water than that; and most especially water of
this quality. It was literally living water-- viz: artesian.

Urban dwellers really don't appreciate their water and typically haven't a clue where
it comes from nor how it gets into their homes. But in Isaac's day, people couldn't
live too far from a natural source of water. Many of the ancient cities and
communities were located adjacent to rivers for that very reason.


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Gen 26:21 . . And when they dug another well, they disputed over that one also;
so he named it Sitnah.

The Hebrew word for "Sitnah" is from sitnan (sit-naw') which is the very same as
sitnah (sit-naw') which means: opposition (by letter).

Apparently the herdsmen were filing formal complaints against Isaac like the
enemies of Ezra did when he was attempting to rebuild the temple in Jerusalem.
(Ezr 4:6-7)

Gerar County's Water Board must have ruled in favor of the herdsmen because
Isaac had to keep moving around until they finally left him alone.

Gen 26:22 . . He moved from there and dug yet another well, and they did not
quarrel over it; so he called it Rehoboth, saying: Now at last the Lord has granted
us ample space to increase in the land.

Rehoboth first appeared in the Bible at Gen 10:11 as the name of an ancient city. It
appears two more times in the Bible after here as the name of a city (Gen 36:37,
1Chrn 1:48) and means pretty much what Isaac said, i.e. lots of room to maneuver
and/or spread out.

The herdsmen had, by this time, probably pushed Isaac way out to land that
nobody wanted. But God was with Isaac. Even the deserts produce when His hands
are in it. (cf. Isa 35:1-4)

With those pesky herdsmen out of the way, the road, or rather, roads ahead were
wide and clear; and Isaac could put the pedal to the metal and go full speed ahead
and not worry about hitting an iceberg; viz: the sky was the limit.

Isaac was a very patient man, and affable too. But push him too far, and he might
show his teeth. In a bit, Abimelech is coming calling and Isaac is going to confront
the obtuse monarch about the way he was treated by the County Water Board.

Yes, Isaac Enterprises was a huge, going concern that spread over many acres of
land. But he didn't obtain his wealth by dishonest means. All of Isaac's business
was conducted legally and above board. And he complied with all of the Gerar
County rulings concerning disputes over the water rights even though their rulings
were undoubtedly biased in favor of Gerar citizens. Isaac didn't deserve to be
treated so unfairly.

Gen 26:23 . . From there he went up to Beer-sheba.

Exactly where the boys Jacob and Esau were during this era in Isaac's life isn't
stated. They may have remained in the highlands to protect Isaac's interests while
he was out of town, but then again, they may have been with him in Gerar: it's
impossible to tell.

Genesis doesn't say exactly how long Isaac and Rebecca lived around Gaza. Isaac's
usual haunts were Beer-lahai-roi, about 50 miles further south. Beer-sheba was
Abraham's zone on oath between him and an earlier Abimelech. The Gerarians
could be expected to leave Isaac alone there. The first night, God showed up.

Gen 26:24a . .That night the Lord appeared to him and said: I am the god of your
father Abraham.

In what manner, or by what method, God appeared to Isaac isn't stated. It could
have been in a dream, it could have been as a traveling man, or a close encounter
of a third kind: nobody knows for sure.

Gen 26:24b . . Fear not, for I am with you,

It's reasonable to assume it was unnecessary for God to reassure Isaac, but
Abimelech is on the way. He won't come alone either. He was a king; and kings
travel with an armed retinue. So when news of this comes to Isaac, he would have
good cause to become alarmed. I think God is just giving him a pep talk to prepare
him for the meeting. Like they say: one with God is a majority; and a man who
fears God, has no man to fear.

Gen 26:24c . . and I will bless you

Isn't that what He promised earlier, when Isaac moved down into Gerar? Yes. And
just in case Isaac thought that was a one time deal, and he would never be blessed
again, God reaffirms his commitment to blessing Abraham's progeny.

NOTE: The Bible's readers aren't all that privy to what went on in the minds of the
patriarchs. It could be-- and this is only a guess --that Isaac was feeling a bit guilty
about his attempt to deceive Abimelech regarding the nature of his relationship with
Rebecca. Because of that; his humanistic sense of justice may have suggested that
his mistake cost him the previous blessing: or possibly future ones.

Gen 26:24d . . and increase your progeny for the sake of My servant Abraham.

If I were a Hebrew man-- not a pseudo Jew like Gentiles who become Jews by
conversion --but a real Hebrew man by blood, I would make a point of
remembering that God will honor His commitment to Abraham. He hasn't preserved
the people of Israel because they are Jews nor because they are so faithful to God.
No, far from it. It's solely because of His personal commitment to Abraham--
period. (cf. Ex 32:9-14)

Gen 26:25 . . So he built an altar there and invoked the Lord by name. Isaac
pitched his tent there and his servants started digging a well.

Speaking to God by name is different than addressing Him officially as a deity or a
monarch. Not that there's anything wrong with addressing the Bible's God officially
as a deity or a monarch; but speaking to Him by name implies familiarity; which is
a lots cozier than official protocol.

For example: If I were to meet with current US President Joseph Biden, I would
address him as Sir or Mr. President. It would be very presumptuous and
disrespectful of me to address him by his name Joe because we have never
associated on that level; nor do I expect to.


Active member
Gen 26:26 . . And Abimelech came to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his councilor
and Phicol chief of his troops.

Well, well, well; look what the cat dragged in. There were a whole lot more than
just those three men; you can bet on that. Phicol is the Army chief of staff. There is
no way he escorted the king of Gerar without bringing along a fair-sized contingent
of Gerar's trained fighting men as body guards.

But who is Ahuzzath?

The Hebrew word for "councilor" is from merea' (may-ray'-ah) which, in the sense
of companionship, means: a friend

An earlier Abimelech, back in Abraham's days, practically kidnapped Sarah for his
harem. But this one showed no interest at all in Rebecca, who was just as much a
stunning ten as Sarah. In point of fact, when Abimelech complained that one of the
people might have slept with Rebecca (Gen 26:9-10) he didn't complain that he
himself might have.

Just between you and me: I suspect Mr. Ahussath was Abimelech's boy toy, if you
know what I mean. It really wasn't unusual for ancient monarchs to have male
lovers; and nobody thought too much of it at the time.

Gen 26:27 . . Isaac said to them: Why have you come to me, seeing that you
have been hostile to me and have driven me away from you?

Normally, kings in that day did not call on people. If they wanted to see somebody,
they sent a summons to appear and dispatched an escort to make sure you didn't
refuse. Isaac knew something was up because 'ol Abimelech was treating him as an
equal; if not a superior. Isaac had by this time become strong enough to crush
Abimilech's community, and the old boy very well knew it too.

I can't help but like a man like Isaac. He was so direct. Not really what one might
call an in-your-face kind of guy; but transparent and unequivocal.

Gen 26:28a . . And they said: We now see plainly that Yhvh has been with you,

As long as they thought Isaac was a nomadic farmer it was okay to dump on him?
And now that they know he's connected with a supernatural being, they want to be
his friend? But our man is cool. He won't let that get to him. You know what's going
on here? Abimelech is holding his hat in his hand. And he is going to eat that hat
too before it's over.

Gen 26:28b-29a . . and we thought: Let there be a sworn treaty between our two
parties, between you and us. Let us make a pact with you that you will not do us

You know, it is just amazing how nice people can be when they realize they've
bitten off more than they can chew. The Gerarians had sorely underestimated Isaac
and thought they could push him around because he was an affable immigrant. Big

As time went by, they perceived that his prosperity could only be explained in a
supernatural way. If it came to a fight, Isaac was allied with a powerful spirit being
whom they all knew for a certainty from past experiences could not be defeated.
Yes. Isaac was well able to totally clean their clocks and nail their hides to the barn
door. (Isaac was only just recently visited by that Being back in verse 24 who
encouraged Isaac to be brave, and also promised Divine assistance.)

Isaac was holding all the aces and didn't have to make a pact with anybody. He
could have stood right up, lectured their derrieres soundly for the way he was
treated in their country, and ordered them out of the house. They really had some
chutzpah coming to him with a proposition like that. But Isaac was indeed a
peaceable man; well in control of his tongue, and of his passions. If those crumbs
were ready now to promise to leave him alone, well, then, okay, he was for it.

Gen 26:29b . . just as we have not molested you but have always dealt kindly
with you and sent you away in peace.

Was that true? Some of it. It's true the Federales didn't raid his camps, nor plunder
his goods, nor rough anybody up. He wasn't subjected to unreasonable searches
and seizures. And he wasn't forcibly deported like an undesirable, or an enemy of
the state, or a criminal.

But still; they didn't deal fairly with Isaac. He never trespassed on private property,
but dug his wells and settled on open range managed by the BLM; viz: public lands.
Yet the county water commission always ruled against him even though his men
dug those productive wells fair and square.

Gen 26:29c . . From now on, be you blessed of Yhvh!

Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw-Haw! I just love it when the bad guys wish me the best from
my god. "God bless you" they say. Oh sure; God bless me. As if they really give a
hoot how the Bible's God feels about anybody.

Gen 26:30 . .Then he made for them a feast, and they ate and drank.

The wicked often feel they won because their opponents are so civil and so
agreeable. Isaac had plenty of good reason to be indignant. But he held his peace.
That could be construed as weakness. Mistake! (on their part) You think Isaac
consented to their fragile defense? No way.

Isaac was a shrewd diplomat. He picked his battles. Some things merit contention.
But this incident didn't. Those guys were in his home with hat in hand and he took
advantage of it to secure a non-aggression pact that benefited both communities:
Isaac's and Abimelech's. If Isaac were to let his passions dictate the terms, then he
might jeopardize his family and his servants. Isaac had his weak points, but
political strategy wasn't one of them.

There are those in life whom we appropriately label thin skinned, reactive, and
defensive. You know who they are. They sit still for nothing, take nothing lying
down: they're stand up fighters; always ready to give others a piece of their mind
and set them straight.

These contentious folk drain all the enjoyment out of social contact. Everybody has
to walk on egg shells and be careful what's said around them so they don't explode.
Too easily provoked, indignant and quarrelsome, these people will be excluded from
Messiah's kingdom because his domain is characterized as a place of peace rather
than strife.

"Give up anger, abandon fury, do not be vexed; it can only do harm. For evil men
will be cut off, but those who look to the Lord-- they shall inherit the land. A little
longer and there will be no wicked man; you will look at where he was-- he will be
gone. But the lowly shall inherit the land, and delight in abundant well-being." (Ps


Active member
Gen 26:31-32 . . Early in the morning, they exchanged oaths. Isaac then bade
them farewell, and they departed from him in peace. That same day Isaac's
servants came and told him about the well they had dug, and said to him: We have
found water!

Ah, yes. It is always so pleasant to cap a victory with a good ending. Isaac had a
perfect day.

Gen 26:33 . . He named it Shibah; therefore the name of the city is Beer-sheba
to this day.

The word for Shibah is from shib' ah (shib-aw') which means: seven(th)

The new well is sister to a well Abraham dug many years previously in an
unspecified region of Gerar. He, and the then Abimelech, settled ownership of that
one with those seven ewes in chapter 21. So this is puzzling-- shib' ah is not the
same word as sheba'. Sheba' means oath. Shib' ah means seven. Seven what? I
don't know; Genesis doesn't say.

But the number 7 is often used in the Bible like we use the number 10 today. If we
want to say something is perfect, we give it a ten. Isaac gave it a seven; so I think
it's safe to assume that the water in the new well was really exceptional. (compare
Rev 13:17-18 where the number of a man is given as 666, which is imperfection
three times over. In other words: man is not only imperfect; but he's really

Gen 26:34 . .When Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith daughter of
Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite;

There seems to be some confusion concerning the names, and the number, of
Esau's wives. Here are their names according to Gen 36:2-3.

"Esau took his wives from among the Canaanite women-- Adah daughter of Elon
the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah daughter of Zibeon the Hivite --and
also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth."

There were two girls named Basemath-- Adah, the daughter of Elon the Hittite, was
also known as Basemath. Adah may have been surnamed to avoid confusing her
with the other Basemath: Ishmael's daughter. The Oholibamah of 36:2 is the Judith
of 26:34. She was the offspring of a mixed marriage between Beeri and Anah. She
too may have been surnamed to avoid confusion.

Gen 26:35 . .And they were a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebecca.

In other words, those two girls made life miserable for Isaac and Rebecca and
caused them a great deal of mental, and emotional anguish. Some feel that they
were also a source of spiritual friction because they were infidels who worshipped
the gods of the Canaanites. No doubt they did. But how would that come into play?
Well; their religions permitted the practice of some vile social customs.

Canaanite religions didn't forbid such things as wife swapping, promiscuity,
adultery, sex with women in their period, burning children to death in sacrificial
ceremonies, sleeping with close blood relatives, LGBT love, bestiality, nudity,
astrology, divination, voodoo, magic, communication with the spirit world,
witchcraft, drunkenness, and wild parties; including cult prostitution where women
devotees sold themselves to support their "church" (cf. Gen 38:13-23)

So it's easy to see just how vexing that women like that might be. How could
Esau even trust them while he was away on safari? Lacking his companionship,
they would either turn to each other for sensual comforts or seek out lovers among
the servants. They might even hit on Rebecca and Isaac; and maybe even hit on
their co-husband's third wife; Ishmael's Basemath. And the girls would have no
qualms about walking around the house scantily clad or even in the nude; so you
never knew what to expect when they invited you over.

Those two women were very definitely not the PowerPuff Girls-- the wholesome
little kindergartners who make the world safe before bedtime. No; they were the
PantyHose Girls who seanced, Tarot carded, and Ouija boarded their way to new

As bad as all that stuff was, it doesn't hold a candle to the danger of those women
influencing Isaac's grandchildren. And that is a very real threat in mixed marriages.
Men especially are susceptible to letting their wives guide the home's religious
training. I've seen it often enough to know what I'm saying.

And with a man like Esau, a secular man who had no interest in religion to begin
with, the kids had no hope at all of turning out right. They will grow up to scorn and
ridicule Abraham's religion; and his god too. They will pick up the most abominable
habits, and see nothing wrong in them.

There is one thing our kids can do for us that is unquestionably the most important
thing they will ever do-- pass on our religious beliefs on to our progeny. No one
else is going to do that for us. And we can't stay behind and make sure it happens.
So if we leave our kids without a solid religious heritage; then their own kids-- our
grandchildren --are doomed to return to secular concepts. And maybe worse.

Esau's side of the family went bad, that's for sure, just like Cain's did. And I believe
it started on it's downhill slide right with his union to those two impious women. At
Esau's age, and in that kind of home and upbringing; he should have known better.
But in spite of his parents' protests; in spite of his parents' fears regarding their
grandchildren; in spite of his parents' feelings about those women coming into their
home; in spite of God's feelings regarding His religion; and in spite of his birthright;
Esau forged ahead and married those two filthy women.

You know why? Because it was his life; and nobody was going to tell him how to
live it. Some people, like the pharaoh that resisted Moses; are just defiant to the
bone and they'll do things wrong just to stand up to you and assert their


Active member
Gen 27:1a . .When Isaac was old

Just precisely how old Isaac was at this time, is difficult to tell. But I think we can
come close enough for government work.

Jacob spent 20 years with Laban. (Gen 31:41a)

Joseph was born during that time. (Gen 30:22-24)

At just about the time Joseph was born, Jacob and Laban worked out an
arrangement concerning shares of the livestock to compensate Jacob's labors. (Gen

That deal with the livestock went on for six of the twenty years Jacob served Laban.
(Gen 31:41b)

Joseph was 30 when he became prime minister of Egypt. (Gen 41:46a)

When Joseph went to work for Pharaoh; a 14 year period began, consisting of two
divisions-- seven years of plenty, and seven years of famine. After the seven years
of plenty, and two of the years of famine, when he was about 39, Joseph brought
his dad down into Egypt. (Gen 45:6-9)

When Jacob arrived, he stood before Pharaoh and told him he was 130 years old.
(Gen 47:7-9a)

Now we can do some arithmetic.

Jacob arrived in Egypt at 130. Subtracting Joseph's age of 39, we get 91; which
was Jacob's age when Joseph was born. After subtracting 14-- the years Jacob
worked for Laban up to the deal they made concerning the livestock --we're left
with 77; which is Jacob's approximate age when he indentured himself to Laban.

Allowing for a generous intermission of 2 years-- encompassing Rebecca's scheme,
Jacob's flight to Haran, and his eventual indenture to Laban --Jacob's age in the
section of Genesis we're in today, can very reasonably be put at 75.

Isaac was 60 when Jacob was born. (Gen 25:26)

So adding 75 to 60, puts Isaac somewhere in the neighborhood of 135 years old at
the beginning of chapter 27.

Everyone involved in this next episode was getting up in years and thus quite
mature. Jacob and Esau, though 75 years old, were, nonetheless, vigorous men
and, gerontologically speaking, relatively young in terms of the aging process as it
existed in those days. Even Isaac wasn't as near death as he feared since he lived
another 45 years to be 180 when he died. (Gen 35:28)

Gen 27:1b . . and his eyes were too dim to see,

The word for "dim" is from kahah (kaw-haw') which means: to be weak; viz: to
despond and/or grow dull.

So Isaac wasn't actually blind, as some have proposed. It's far more likely he was
stricken with cataracts, macular degeneration and/or some other vision condition
very common among people his age even today.

Gen 27:1c-2 . . he called his older son Esau and said to him; My son. He
answered; Here I am. And he said; I am old now, and I do not know how soon I
may die.

It's common for older men to feel that not only is their time running out, but also
their luck. I've dodged several bullets in my 72 years; two of them literal; and can't
reasonably expect to live too much longer before the law of averages catches up to
me either by accident, crime, or natural causes.


Active member
Gen 27:3-4 . . Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and
go out to the field and hunt game for me; and prepare a savory dish for me such as
I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I

The part about "my soul" is a curious statement. The Hebrew word is nephesh
(neh'-fesh) which is a very common word for all creatures great and small in the
Old Testament beginning at Gen 1:20. Nepesh never refers to unconscious life; viz:
it only refers to fauna, never to flora.

But the interesting thing is: man not only is a soul (Gen 2:7) but according to Gen
27:4, Gen 34:2, and a host of other passages, man also has a soul; so it turns out
that nephesh is a bit ambiguous.

A pretty good paraphrase of that portion of the passage would be "that I may bless
you from the core of my being". (viz: the bottom of his heart)

Esau was Isaac's favorite and I don't think he ever did care too much for Jacob. If
he had purposed to bless Jacob, I think it would have been done with a very
grudging spirit. This particular blessing regards Esau's inheritance. He already sold
the patriarchy to Jacob for a bowl of lentil soup. Whether or not Isaac was aware of
the deal the brothers struck, is not said.

What takes place next in chapter 27 is difficult to believe. To think that two adults,
one at least 75 and the other very likely 115 years old, took part in this incredibly
clownish deception. I could understand young, inexperienced kids doing something
so stupid. But it is difficult to understand how supposedly mature adults like
Rebecca and Jacob could ever seriously ponder such a silly scheme.

It is simply moronic that Rebecca would even remotely consider that her crafty little
plan had even the remotest chance of success. Conducted under false pretenses,
and a fake ID; it would only be a matter of hours before the scam was uncovered,
the ill gotten blessing of course retracted, and the perpetrators soundly excoriated .
. unless . . unless there is more to this incident than meets the eye; and there most
certainly is.

Ninety-five years prior to this point in time, God personally selected a vibrant water
girl up in Haran to be Isaac's spouse. The wisdom of that selection is now going to
become apparent as we begin to realize who actually wore the spiritual pants in
Isaac's house. If spirituality were a martial art, Rebecca would be a black belt. Her
discernment regarding heavenly matters is remarkable. Was she really a silly
female? Far from it.

In spite of God's mandate in chapter 25 concerning Jacob, and in spite of the plainly
obvious superiority of Jacob's character, and his spiritual discernment, and his
convictions, and in spite of Esau's blatant indifference to his birthright, and to his
spiritual heritage, and to the mind of God; Isaac was nevertheless apparently
determined to give both the patriarchy and the inheritance to Esau— clearly the
wrong choice; not to mention a direct affront to God. The inheritance was one
thing, but the patriarchy was a whole other matter altogether.

Esau even married impious women from among the pagan Canaanites. A horrible
choice considering the repercussions of such spouses upon the future of Abraham's
covenant. And Esau no doubt made that choice against the counsel and consent of
his parents; proving all the more just how head-strong and self-willed the man
really was. Motivated by the gain of temporal advantage, and the gratification of
carnal appetites; Esau had no spiritual vision at all. Well; Rebecca is fixin' to give
Mr. Isaac, and his secular son Mr. Esau, the wake-up call of their lives!

Esau was a man's man. I think if any of us met him, we would be instantly drawn
by his charisma and virility. And I think that Isaac saw in him the kind of man he
always wished he was himself. But in the coin of heaven, Esau had no more worth
than a dilapidated old shoe.

It's difficult to comprehend how favoritism, on the part of such a presumably
spiritual man as Isaac, could be based upon such a carnal motive as the taste of
venison. But it wasn't just the meal, but rather the way it was obtained.

We get runs of Salmon up here in Oregon's rivers at various times of the year. Last
time I checked; you could buy fresh Coho Salmon in local supermarkets for about
$12 a pound. But no; guys prefer instead to spend all day on a river shivering in
the freezing cold just to catch one Salmon in the wild.

But the river fish means something that the supermarket fish can never mean. Yes,
both are edible and both make great eating and honestly you can't tell the
difference. But one is obtained with a shopping cart. The other by a man's own bare
hands: with fishing tackle, by personal energy combined with risk, skill, and
cunning, i.e. man vs wild. All those are important to a "real" man's feelings of
personal worth.

It was customary in Jacob's day to mark solemn occasions with a feast; like the one
Isaac prepared for Abimelech when they swore an oath together in chapter 26. And
since the blessing Isaac resolved to bestow upon Esau was such an important one,
it seemed appropriate that the solemnities should be marked by a feast of wild
meat provided by Esau's own personal hunting skills.

However, father and son didn't reckon on the God factor, and they surely didn't
reckon on black-ops Rebecca. Their little party is not going to happen because this
sharp gal from up north anticipated this very day and is all set to implement a little
fiesta of her own.


Active member
Gen 27:5a . . Rebecca had been listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau.

We might ask: Why was Rebecca so concerned anyway? Didn't God decree the
firstborn's rights to Jacob? Then Jacob will get them anyway; won't he?

Yes. Jacob would eventually end up with the firstborn's rights anyway; but the
problem was: the outgoing patriarch had to impart the blessing and obviously Mr.
Isaac wasn't inclined to do so. It appears to me that Isaac was actually going to
attempt to circumvent God's wishes and I honestly think it was because he was
afraid of alienating his favorite son.

Rebecca wasn't stupid, nor inclined to superstition. I seriously doubt she was silly
enough to believe the words of the blessing themselves held sufficient magic to
confer the firstborn's rights upon Jacob just because he happened to be in the room
and hear them as they were spoken in his direction. After all, it was all done under
false pretenses and a fake ID. No court in the land would uphold anything obtained
by a fraud like that. But her scheme was designed to do something else entirely.

I believe her intent was to wake Isaac up and make him return to his senses. The
man did fear God. That much is beyond question. But he was lax in his patriarchal
duties. Before this is over, he will regret his laxity very, very much.

Gen 27:5b-7 . .When Esau had gone out into the open to hunt game to bring
home, Rebecca said to her son Jacob: I overheard your father speaking to your
brother Esau, saying: Bring me some game and prepare a dish for me to eat, that I
may bless you, with the Lord's approval, before I die.

That's not really what Isaac said. It appears that Rebecca embellished a little and
added "with the Lord's approval." Compare Gen 3:3 where Eve embellished God's
testimony in Gen 2:17 where He didn't forbid them to "touch" the fruit; no, only to
eat it.

Gen 27:8 . . Now, my son, listen carefully as I instruct you.

Cool as a vice cop, Rebecca executes Plan A with the step by step precision of a
well arranged sting. I can just visualize her grip upon Jacob's arm, gazing up into
his face with a most intense look, as she gears him up to get started on his part of
the scheme.

Gen 27:9a . . Go to the flock and fetch me two choice kids,

Why two? Well, for one thing: deer produce a much larger quantity of meat than a
little bitty kid. It's true Isaac couldn't possibly eat a whole deer at one sitting, but
Rebecca can only use parts of the kids that best resemble the venison cuts Isaac
prefers. And Esau more than likely cooked up a whole lot more than just one
serving. I think he typically brought his dad a heaping buffet and let him pick out
what he wanted; and anything left over was kept as victuals for the rest of the
house; which of course included Esau himself.

Rebecca is going to have to duplicate that setting as best as she can. And she will
too. After all, who was it taught those two boys how to cook in the first place? None
other than Becky Crocker.

Gen 27:9b . . and I will make of them a dish for your father, such as he likes.

This is additional evidence that it wasn't merely the flavor of Esau's cooking that
made Isaac love him. Rebecca could duplicate the taste of venison with goat meat
so that you couldn't tell the one from the other.

Gen 27:10a-11a . .Then take it to your father to eat, in order that he may bless
you before he dies. Jacob answered his mother Rebecca: But....

Jacob straight away sees where his mom is going with this and likes it. However . .
there's just one problem: Rebecca can duplicate Esau's cooking; but how will Jacob
duplicate Esau? They didn't have the benefit of slick Hollywood make-up artists in
those days so how are they going to make Jacob look (or rather, feel) like his

Well, they have Isaac's poor eyesight to their advantage; so Jacob's appearance
won't have to be all that accurate. But they will need at least one prosthetic: body

Gen 27:11b-12 . . my brother Esau is a hairy man and I am smooth-skinned. If
my father touches me, I shall appear to him as a trickster and bring upon myself a
curse, not a blessing.

Isaac might get the wrong idea and think that Jacob is poking fun at his bad
eyesight by playing a dumb trick on him. That would hurt the old boy's feelings a
great deal to think that his 75 year-old son thought so little of him as to perpetrate
such a cruel prank; which of course would warrant a curse; because it is not only
cruel to play tricks on the blind, but, even worse, to be cruel to one's parents.

Gen 27:13 . . But his mother said to him: Your curse, my son, be upon me! Just
do as I say and go fetch them for me.

That's the oldest ploy in the book. It's the very same reasoning the German military
guards used to justify their duties at Auschwitz and Dachau. "You can't blame us"
they said; "We only did what we were told." That seems reasonable enough. After
all, the ones in charge are really responsible; right?

Wrong. The midwives of Ex 1:15-17 could have used the very same excuse; but
didn't. And God commended them for fearing Him. If they had obeyed Pharaoh,
they would have received condemnation instead. Everyone bears their own personal
responsibility and has a duty to raise conscientious objections.

In other words: it is a sin to violate your conscience. Yes, soldiers and minor
children are to obey their superiors-- but to the point of sin? Never! Besides, Jacob
was no minor child. He was a grown man.

But Rebecca needed some leverage to keep Jacob in the game. By playing the "filial
authority" card, she persuaded Jacob to stay on track. Luckily, he wasn't too bright
at the time and failed to appreciate his own personal accountability. After all, the
man was at least 75 years old; not just a little kid.

But then again, I think Jacob the supplanter really wanted to pull this thing off and
just needed a way to appease his own misgivings about it; so it wasn't too difficult
to win him over.


Active member
Gen 27:14-15 . . He got them and brought them to his mother, and his mother
prepared a dish such as his father liked. Rebecca then took the best clothes of her
older son Esau, which were there in the house, and had her younger son Jacob put
them on;

The word for "house" is from bayith (bah'-yith) which means: a dwelling (in the
greatest variation of applications), including family.

Does that mean Rebecca lived in a permanent structure? I don't think so. Bayith
doesn't always mean what we think. In Gen 6:14 it implicates the interior of the
ark. At Gen 7:1 it implicates Noah's family, and quite possibly even all their
belongings-- a regular Noah's Family Robinson. At Gen 15:2, bayith implicates
Abraham's entire estate: his tents, his livestock, and his servants.

Some have proposed that Esau's best clothes were special-- for religious
observances --like the garments that priests might wear. But that certainly doesn't
fit Esau's character. I think it was just a nice outfit of some sort, maybe even the
one he got married in. But anyway, they sure didn't get washed often because his
clothes usually smelled like the outdoors-- and that could mean anything from plain
old dirt to wild flowers and meadow grass.

But why were those clothes (viz: his cleanest dirty shirts) in Rebecca's home? I
believe it was because Rebecca anticipated this very day and kept them right there
handy so she could put them on Jacob when the time came. And that is why she
never washed the smell out of them. Jacob of course was very likely a tidy sort of
guy and kept his clothes clean. But Esau was a rugged outdoor type who's clothes
you would expect to have an odor.

Gen 27:16 . . and she covered his hands and the hairless part of his neck with the
skins of the kids.

Those hides would still be raw and untreated. So Rebecca had to scrub and scrape
to get all the fat and blood off so they wouldn't have a visceral smell to them. Yuck!
That's reminiscent of scenes from Silence Of The Lambs.

Gen 27:17 . .Then she put in the hands of her son Jacob the dish and the bread
that she had prepared.

Yummy. From the kitchen of Becky Crocker; with biscuits and gravy too. Well, this
is as far as Rebecca can go. Now it's all up to Mr. Jacob to pull this off. Good luck
dude. Don't chicken out now. HWUAH! (Navy SEAL cheer)

Gen 27:18-19a . . He went to his father and said: Father. And he said: Yes, which
of my sons are you? Jacob said to his father: I am Esau, your first-born; I have
done as you told me.

That man makes me proud. No mumbling, no stuttering, no hesitation-- right to it.
Yes; he is a big fat liar. But I love it. You watch. Any day now he'll get a letter in
the mail from CIA recruiters praising his moral flexibility.

NOTE: When Jacob called out to his dad; he used what is known as a "vocative"
which Webster's defines as: of, relating to, or being a grammatical case marking
out the one addressed. In other words: a vocative is intended to get the attention
of a specific person in a room rather than everybody in the room.

This may seem superfluous, and I guess it isn't germane to the study of Genesis;
but the principle has an important application in Christianity. Compare Rom 8:15
and Gal 4:6 where the Aramaic vocative Abba indicates that the Father's children
don't call out to Him as merely a clan's paterfamilias, but rather, like Jacob did with
Isaac: as one's very own dad.

Gen 27:19b-20 . . Pray sit up and eat of my game, that you may give me your
innermost blessing. Isaac said to his son: How did you succeed so quickly, my son?
And he said: Because the Lord your God granted me good fortune.

What did he say!? My golly that man had chutzpah! He actually dragged the name
of God into the lie. Now Jacob will be condemned to the lower regions for sure; or
will he?

"I say unto you: that many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down
with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 8:11)

Gen 27:21-23 . . Isaac said to Jacob: Come closer that I may feel you, my son--
whether you are really my son Esau or not. So Jacob drew close to his father Isaac,
who felt him and wondered: The voice is the voice of Jacob, yet the hands are the
hands of Esau. He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like those of
his brother Esau; and so he blessed him.

So then, in spite of their twin-ness, there was enough of a difference in the
brothers' voices to be discernable. However, Rebecca somehow attached size-cut
pieces of young goat skin on the backs of Jacob's hands and fingers with some sort
of toupee adhesive so it would feel to Isaac as if it were a man's natural hairs. That
was a pretty good trick; and would probably land her a job as a Hollywood make-up

Gen 27:24 . . He asked: Are you truly my son Esau? And when he said: I am,

Some people are of the opinion that Jacob was a mama's boy. Well, maybe he was.
But one thing he had that most mama's boys don't; and it's a level head under
stress. Jacob was as calm and calculating as a test pilot all during this incident.

I tell you, that man amazes me. I bet Rebecca was just outside the door sweating
bullets while all this was going on; hoping and praying that Jacob not lose his cool
and bolt out of the room in a panic. This is just the kind of cool under fire that the
Secret Service looks for; but then, you need a pretty high IQ to work with those

Gen 27:25 . . he said: Serve me and let me eat of my son's game that I may give
you my innermost blessing. So he served him and he ate, and he brought him wine
and he drank.

The wine was probably out in the kitchen. When Jacob went back to get it, don't
you think Rebecca hugged him and gave him a great big thumbs up? I do. Those
two were a team! The original Mission Impossible task force.

While Isaac was eating, he and Jacob probably chatted. About what; I don't have a
clue. But Jacob managed to pull it off like a pro. Isaac really thought he was talking
with Esau.


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Gen 27:26-27 . .Then his father Isaac said to him: Come close and kiss me, my
son. And he went up and kissed him. And he smelled his clothes and he blessed
him, saying, Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of the fields that the Lord has

Esau probably always smelled like that and Rebecca took full advantage of it. He
should have washed his clothes once in a while. Good grief the man had two wives.
What the heck did they do all day? Neglect their chores to watch Oprah, Dr. Phil,
Judge Judy, and the Soaps?

I bet if you visited Esau's home the kids were running around in dirty underwear
and snotty noses all the time. You probably had to kick a path to walk and wouldn't
dare sit down because something might stick. Poor Rebecca. What a pair of
daughters-in-law. I bet when they all got together on holidays, Judith and
Basemath sat around on their tushes and gossiped while Rebecca and Jacob did all
the dishes.

Gen 27:28 . . May God give you of the dew of heaven and the fat of the earth,
abundance of new grain and wine.

The Hebrew word for the "fat" pertaining to Abel's offering is cheleb (kheh' leb); or
cheleb (khay'-leb) which don't always indicate fleshly fat, but mostly mean the
richest or the choicest parts.

The Hebrew word for the "fat" pertaining to Isaac's blessing is mashman (mash
mawn') which, again, doesn't always indicate fleshly fat; but also richness; e.g. a
rich dish, a fertile field, and or a robust man. In other words; Isaac's blessing is

The benediction, first of all, regards things in nature necessary for prosperity in an
agrarian economy-- rain, fertile soil, and abundant yields. Rain is an especially
precious resource in the country of Israel where today it's confined to just one
season a year lasting only three months. In the old days, they had two rainy
seasons; the early rains and the latter rains.

City slickers hate rain. It's so inconvenient. It gets their hair wet; they have to run
the wipers; it floods their streets and storm drains, their gutters overflow from
clogged downspouts, they can't wear flip-flops-- caring little that the foods
available in the supermarkets and convenience stores are utterly dependent upon
adequate rain. I think that some people actually think their foods are manufactured
in sweat shops rather than grown in the dirt. They just can't make the connection.

Gen 27:29a . . Let peoples serve you, And nations bow to you;

Jacob's progeny has exercised dominance over many nations in the past, most
especially during Solomon's period. Today they're in a slump. But that benediction
isn't dead yet; no, not by a long sea mile. In the future, Israel will be the seat of
world power and the center for religious studies. You'd never know it to look at
Jacob's condition today; but it's going to happen.

Gen 27:29b . . Be master over your brothers, and let your mother's sons bow to

The magic words! --and the very ones I'm sure Rebecca was anxiously waiting to
hear. His "mother's sons" right then only amounted to (in Isaac's mind) just one:
Mr. Jacob. But Rebecca became a grandma and today her sons can't even be
numbered. Every one of them are supposed to honor Jacob and bow in respect
because he, along with Isaac and Abraham, is a member of the elite league of
senior patriarchs.

The bestowal of the patriarchy upon Jacob was done with God as a witness, who
has, so far, neither interfered nor intervened; nor has He seen fit to alert Isaac to
Jacob's deception, nor said a single word about the whole fraudulent business.

In short, the Almighty God, of all people, is apparently condoning Jacob's funny
business. It seems to me, that the only way to understand this situation is to
conclude that, whatever may be wrong with the stratagem and deception of Jacob
and Rebecca, the sin of Esau and Isaac was infinitely more grievous.

Yes, it's true that God doesn't usually condone lies; and I'm sure Jacob and his
mom well knew it. They were spiritual people; both of them. But I really think that
as bad as deception might be in God's sight, it had become a desperate necessity in
this case to prevent a much worse sin: that of blasphemously presuming to impart
the most holy of God's offices to a man who neither appreciated its depth, nor
would honor it-- and to do so directly in the face of God's commandment against it.

Such an eventuality surely would have incurred God's most severe discipline upon
both Isaac and Esau; and I am convinced that Rebecca felt she must prevent that
occurrence at all costs, even if it meant alienating her husband and infuriating Esau
to the point of seeking Jacob's death.

Isaac, because of the solemn nature of what he was doing, (conveying holy
covenant promises and blessings to a son, who in turn would be responsible for
their transmission and implementation in his own family) was no doubt under the
influence of the power of God that day and was carried along in the scheme even
though he half suspected the son in the room with him wasn't Esau. No. Jacob was
getting that blessing, and there was nothing short of Heaven and Hell themselves
that could prevent it.

The Almighty Himself, who had made His solemn covenant with Abraham, and
renewed it with Isaac, certainly was present in that room during the whole affair.
What would have happened if Esau was instead standing there that day we can only

But it seems highly probable that the consequences would have been tragic for both
father and son. The Almighty God's holy promises and covenants are never to be
dispensed as trifles, subject to the whim and preference of self centered mortals
who are swayed to make important decisions simply upon the taste of their favorite