Jacob and Padanaram—
A. Isaac’s determination to bless Esau—
1. Isaac’s old age.
a. Compare Gen. 27:46 with Gen. 26:34 and 25:26. How old was Isaac when Esau married Judith and Bashemath?
b. Compare Gen. 41:46, 47; 45:6 and 47:9. How old was Jacob approximately when Joseph was born?
c. Joseph was born in the 14th year of Jacob’s sojourn with Laban—see Gen.30:25 and 29:20, 17. Jacob was approximately 75 years old when he fled to Padanaram.
d. Hence, Isaac must have been approximately 137 years old when he determined to bless Esau.
2. How to be explained.
a. Isaac thought his death might be imminent—see verses 1-2. Did his blindness lead him to think this?
b. Was Isaac’s resolve to bless Esau based upon the fact that Esau was the firstborn? Could he have been ignorant of what God had revealed to Rebecca?—see Gen. 25:21-23 and Rom. 9:9-13. Must we believe that Rebecca would have kept Isaac in ignorance of this?
c. Did Isaac favor Esau for natural reasons? Was not Esau, naturally, a “jolly good fellow” and Jacob, also naturally, one who would cause aversion and dislike? Are all God’s people likable from a natural point of view?
d. Was not Isaac’s resolve sinful and rebellious against God’s will to bless Jacob? And is this not accentuated by his old age and blindness?
3. Why was Esau first requested as we read in verses 3-4?
a. Did Isaac need food to strengthen himself in order to proclaim the blessing?
b. Or did Isaac desire this because he was fond of the way Esau prepared meat, and, eating of it, he would be in a more advantageous position to express his love for Esau in the blessing?
4. The nature of the blessing—see also Gen. 9:25-27.
a. First, we have the full Word of God. And at the time of Gen. 27 there was as yet no Bible at all. God revealed Himself through dreams, visions and personal appearances.
b. Secondly, in these blessings the patriarchs spoke through Divine inspiration. This is important, and we will have occasion to refer to this.
B. Rebecca’s intervention—Verses 5-17.
1. What prompted her?
a. Was she concerned about Jacob and that the Lord had revealed to her that the “elder would serve the younger,” and that Jacob was the chosen of the Lord?—see Gen. 25:21-23.
b. Was she also “desperate” because she had overheard what Isaac had told Esau?—verses 1-4.
2. Was her action justified?
a. What is synergism? Does synergism come to revelation often in the Church of God?
b. Is synergism ever justified? Need we ever fear that the Lord will take care of His covenant and promise? Could God have prevented Isaac from blessing Esau without Rebecca’s plan of action? Can you conceive of any possibilities?
3. Does this reveal to us anything concerning Rebecca?
a. How old was Jacob at this time?
b. What objection did Jacob voice to his mother’s plan? What predicament did he fear?
c. Does Rebecca reveal herself here as a dominating character? And, could Isaac’s weakness and fondness for Esau have had anything to do with her action?
C. Isaac’s blessing of Jacob and Esau—Heb. 11:20.
1. Is it not strange that Heb. 11:20 speaks of the faith of Isaac?
a. Who is Isaac? It would be interesting to note what the Scriptures reveal of him. Was he a “spoiled child,” the only child of Abraham and Sarah? Abraham sends for a wife for him when he is 37 years old. Couldn’t he find one himself? He wants to bless Esau although he knows that Jacob is the favored of the Lord. He thinks he is blessing Esau. Isn’t it all a mistake on Isaac’s part? Where is his faith?
b. Rebecca is a conniving woman. She plots deception.
c. Jacob goes along with his mother, deceives his father.
d. Shall we say that about the only one for whom we have any sympathy here is Esau?
2. However, we must notice the following.
a. First, Isaac was attracted to Esau.
1/ Esau was strong, a hunter, “happy-go-lucky”, open and honest, did not “cover up.”
2/ Jacob was weaker, a schemer, naturally not as attractive.
3/ And Isaac was materialistic, loved the meat as Esau prepared it.
b. Secondly, however, Isaac was a child of God, although with many weaknesses.
1/ He did not love Esau spiritually. Esau was wicked, married heathen wives, hated God, despised the covenant, the birthright and was a fornicator.
2/ Jacob was the one favored by God and Isaac surely knew this.
3/ So, Isaac struggled between his natural desire to bless Esau and his faith that Jacob must be blessed.
c. Now notice the incident.
1/ First, Isaac blessed Jacob.
a/ Did Isaac really believe that Esau stood before him? Notice how he doubted. If Isaac really doubted, why didn’t he wait until he was sure?
b/ Notice the blessing. What was the birthright blessing? He declares, by the Spirit of God, God’s blessing upon Jacob, that Jacob would have the preeminence. Notice: God inspires Isaac here.
2/ Secondly, Isaac maintains the blessing.
a/ Later, Esau comes.
1/ Notice what we read in Heb. 12:17.
2/ This doesn’t mean that Esau sought repentance with tears. Notice how he accuses Jacob (verse 36). But Esau does not confess his own sin, that he sold the birthright, married heathen wives. Esau sought the PLACE of repentance, and this means that he sought it in Isaac’s heart. He wanted Isaac to repent, to change his blessing upon Jacob. Why did he want Isaac to repent? In what was he interested?
b/ And Isaac maintains the blessing upon Jacob.
1/ Why shouldn’t he change it, if he had made a mistake?
2/ He trembles, we read, is sorry for Esau, but he does not change it. He knows that Jacob must have the birthright blessing. And, literally, we read in verse 39 that his dwelling would be away from the fatness of the earth.
3/ Isaac’s faith triumphs and he maintains the blessing upon Jacob.
3/ Thirdly, Isaac also maintains the blessing upon Jacob in Gen. 28:1-4, when he sends Jacob to Padanaram with the blessing of the Lord.
D. Verses 41-46.
1. Again Esau reveals his wickedness. Instead of repenting of his sin, recognizing in the blessing of Isaac upon Jacob the blessing of the Lord, he determines to kill Jacob.
2. However, the Lord’s ways are so different.
a. How long did Rebecca think Jacob would be gone from home? Why did she think this? Was there something about Esau to lead her to this; Esau’s carnal superficiality?
b. Did Jacob see his mother again?
c. What was the result for Jacob and Rebecca of their conniving and deception? Jacob must flee away from the land of Canaan. Did not Jacob’s sin place him into an impossible situation? Conniving and deception always get us into trouble. It is true, of course, that Jacob also goes to Padanaram to get himself a wife. Nevertheless, Jacob gets himself into trouble and this trouble increases later.
3. Does Rebecca speak differently to Isaac than to Jacob?—Verses 42-46. Is it because she did not wish to cause Isaac anxiety for Jacob’s welfare? Of course, she was to blame, was she not, for Jacob’s predicament?