The Old Testament News


Jacob Steals the Blessing


(Genesis 25.27-34)


Isaac was old now.



He was bent over. The hair he had left on his head had turned white. And he could no longer see. He knew he would die soon.

And so he called his son Esau.

“Here I am,” Esau answered.

“My son, before I die, I want you to take your bow and your arrows and go out hunting. When you come back, cook the meat you have caught. Make one of your delicious meals, the kind I like so much, and bring it to me. And then I will bless you.”

Now, Rebekah just happened to hear all of this from the other room (the walls of tents aren’t very thick!).

As soon as Esau left, Rebekah took Jacob by the arm and said to him, “Your father has sent Esau away to hunt. When Esau gets back, he is going to fix your father’s favorite dinner, and your father is going to give him his blessing.

“Quick! Do what I say! Go out into the fields and bring me two young goats, and I will make your father’s favorite dinner from them. Bring it to him, and your father will think you are Esau, and he will bless you instead.”

But Jacob said, “Esau is all hairy, and I am not! If my father feels me, he will know I am trying to trick him, and he will curse me instead of blessing me!”

“Let the curse be on me,” Jacob’s mother said, “Just do what I say.”

And so Jacob did.

When Jacob had brought the two goats, Rebekah prepared a delicious meal. Then she took some of Esau’s clothes and had Jacob put them on. She took the skins from the goats and put them on Jacob’s arms and the back of his neck so that he would be hairy like his brother.

Wearing the disguise his mother had made, Jacob took the steaming hot meal in to his father.

“Who is there?” his father asked.

“It is your first born son Esau,” Jacob said. “I have brought your favorite dinner, just like you asked.”

“How did you do it so quickly?” his father asked.

“Your God was with me, and he gave me success,” Jacob answered. “Eat, and then you can give me your blessing.”

“You don’t sound like Esau,” Isaac said. “You sound like your brother Jacob. Come here. Let me touch you.”

Isaac felt the fur on Jacob’s neck and arms. And then he said, “The voice is Jacob’s, but the arms are Esau’s.”

He was about to give his blessing when he asked again, “Are you really my son Esau?”

“Yes, I am,” Jacob lied.

And so Isaac ate the meal he thought Esau had brought him. When he was finished he said, “Come here, my son, and kiss me, and then I will give you my blessing.”

So Jacob came near his father and kissed him. Isaac could smell the smell of Esau’s clothes, and so he said,

“The smell of my son is like the smell
of open country the Lord has blessed.
May God give you the dew of heaven,
and the richness of the earth,
corn and new wine in plenty!
Let nations and peoples serve you.
May you rule over your brothers,
and may they bow down to you.
Let anyone who curses you be cursed,
but blessed be anyone who blesses you!”

And so Isaac gave Jacob his blessing.

But he thought it was Esau.

Jacob had barely left when his brother Esau came in from his hunting. He fixed his father’s favorite meal, just as his father had asked him to. He brought it in to him, so that he could get his blessing.

“Who are you?” his father asked.

“Why, I am your firstborn son Esau, of course!” Esau said.

All of a sudden Isaac began to shake terribly. He knew he had been tricked. “Then who was just here? Who brought me my favorite meal, the one that I just ate? I gave him the blessing. and I can’t take it back!”

Esau knew right away who it was.

He cried out a terrible cry.

“Bless me also!” he pleaded.

“I can’t,” Isaac said, “Your brother has tricked me, and he has stolen your blessing.”

Esau cried out again.

“You named him right when you named him Jacob,” Esau cried (‘Jacob’ sounds like their word for ‘cheat’). “He has cheated me twice. First he took my birthright, and now he has stolen my blessing!” Now he knew how valuable his father’s blessings were - but it was too late.

“You must have a blessing for me,” he said to his father.

Isaac said, “I have already made you your brother’s servant. I have given him the corn and new wine of our fields. What do I have left to give to you?”

Esau fell to his knees. “Is there nothing left for me?” he cried out.

Then his father said to him,

“You will not have the richness of the earth,
The dew from heaven won’t be given to you.
You will have to live by taking,
and you will serve your brother.
But one day you will break free.”


From that day on Esau hated his brother Jacob. “One day, my father will die,” he said, “And then I will kill my brother Jacob!”

Esau’s words got back to Rebekah, and so she sent her son Jacob to run for his life. “I can’t lose both my sons in one day,” she said.

What a mess we make when we lie and cheat.

Jacob did lie, and he cheated his brother. But, still, God didn't leave him. God knows our weakness, and he is forgiving. He accomplishes his good and wonderful plans through us, even when we mess things up.


Next time...


Jacob has a mysterious dream
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Paul Dallgas-Frey

1/13/01





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