Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God’s Plan? Part 12

This entry is part 12 of 45 in the series Did the Old Testament Greats Understand God's Plan?

Recap of Part 11: Eliezer delivers Rebekah to Isaac after having a successful adventure to Abraham’s kindred. After being barren for a while, they successfully have twins. Jacob and Esau, twin brothers, are born of the promised seed; Isaac. In their youth, Jacob gave unto Esau some of his lentils and Esau gave Jacob his birth right.

Part 12

When Isaac is advanced in age he decides to bless his son Esau; his favorite. However, Rebekah knew what God intended for her favorite son, Jacob. “And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23). Rebekah instructs her son Jacob to bring a dish she prepares to Isaac, whose vision had become weak. She dresses him with animal furs, to mimic Esau’s skin and hair, and instructs Jacob on what he should say to Isaac.

Jacob goes in to see his father, presents the food prepared, and waits for his brother’s blessing. When asked who he was he says: “Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am” (v. 24). His father asks him to bring the food offering. After eating, Isaac call his son: “Come near now, and kiss me, my son” (v. 24). Next, Isaac smells his son and feels the furs and is deceived. “And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother’s sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee” (vs. 27-29).

As soon as Jacob receives the blessing he exits quickly and Esau returns. Esau goes before his father and both learn of the deceit. Isaac blesses Esau also, after much tears, but his blessing suggests service to Jacob. “Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck” (vs. 39-40). Was this the right thing to do? Did Jacob act appropriately?

Jacob deserved the blessings because his brother Esau thought so little of his birthright that he gave it away for some lentils. His mother was told in advance of the election of God: “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth. It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” (Romans9:11-13). That seems harsh doesn’t it? Why does God hate him? What aren’t we paying attention to?

We must understand the importance of birthright. In early days the will of the father fixed the part of the chief heir, but the law of Deuteronomy demands for him a double portion of all the possessions and forbids favor being shown to a younger son (Deut. 21:15-17). After the death of the father the first-born son was the head of the family; he had to provide for the widows of his father and for his unmarried sisters, since they ordinarily did not have any hereditary rights.

We see what God thinks of this arrangement between Jacob and Esau, when Esau gave up his birthright. “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” (Hebrews 12:16-17). We must never take for granted the blessings God has in store for us; especially those in Christ Jesus.

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