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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Genesis 27

 

 

Verses 1-46


Jacob by Subtilty obtains the Blessing

Urged on by his mother, Jacob attempts by unworthy means to secure the blessing of the firstborn with all the privileges it involved. But the wrongdoing of the actors in the story was soon followed by the suffering which assuredly waits on sin. To quote Delitzsch: '(a) Isaac suffers for his preference for Esau, which was not determined by the will of God but by his weak affection: (b) Esau suffers for despising the blessing of the firstborn: (c) Rebekah suffers for her connivance, by separation from her favourite son whom she never saw again, (d) Jacob, from the time when he confirmed himself in the possession of the sinfully acquired birthright by sinfully acquiring the blessing, had to endure a long strain of hardship and disappointments which made him feel how he had sinned against his father and brother. Yet these were at the same time the means of his education by which his ignoble nature was to be done away, and himself made worthy of being one in the line of those who inherited the promises.' This chapter belongs to the Primitive narrative.

1. Isaac was old] He was about 120, and both he and Esau thought that his death was at hand (Genesis 27:2, Genesis 27:41). According to Genesis 35:27-29 he lived sixty years longer; and Jacob and Esau, their old strife put away, were present at his burial: but it must be noted that that passage is from a different (the Priestly) source, which has a different chronology from the Primitive document.

4. That my soul may bless thee before I die] In purposing to give the blessing to Esau, his firstborn son, Isaac was acting in opposition to the expressed decree of God: see Genesis 25:23.

5-14. Rebekah knew that the blessing was to be Jacob's; she therefore used this device to prevent an injustice from being done, and to obtain the fulfilment of God's purpose. That, however, she should have left to God to carry out in His way. Such 'pious frauds' are the outcome of a weak faith in the wisdom and method of the divine providence. The present narrative disproves the worldly maxim that 'the end justifies the means.'

11. Hairy man] see Genesis 25:25.

15. Goodly raiment] RV 'the goodly raiment,' his better clothes which were at home in his tent.

28, 29. The blessing as here recorded refers first to the fruitful land the supposed Esau would inherit, and then to his lordship over his brethren and other tribes. In Genesis 28:3, which belongs to the Priestly source, the 'blessing of Abraham' is expressed in another form characteristic of that source.

28. The dew of heaven] greatly valued in hot climates where rain often does not fall from April to September.

33. Yea, and he shall be blessed] Isaac evidently feels that the purposes of God are not to be thwarted by his own preferences, and does not withdraw the blessing from Jacob.

36. Supplanted] see on Genesis 25:26.

39. Shall be the fatness] rather, 'Shall be away from the fatness.' Read thus, the prophecy is in agreement with the general barrenness of Edom or Seir, where the descendants of Esau dwelt.

40. Shalt serve thy brother] Throughout OT. history we read of the subjugation of the Edomites to Israel, varied by their throwing off the yoke in troublous times: see 2 Samuel 8:14; 1 Kings 11 1 Chronicles 18:13; 2 Chronicles 21. About 100 b.c. the Maccabean prince, John Hyrcanus, subdued the Edomites and compelled them to receive circumcision, after which they formed one people with the Jews. Herod, the Edomite, ruled Judaea in our Lord's day.

41. Days of mourning] see on Genesis 27:1.

44. Tarry with him a few days] It was twenty years before Jacob returned from Haran; and Rebekah, so far as we know, never saw him again.

45. Deprived also of you both] of Jacob by death, and of Esau through punishment as a murderer.

46. This verse must be read in connexion with Genesis 28:1; Genesis 27:46; - Genesis 28:9 are from the Priestly source and continue the narrative of Genesis 26:34-35, without any reference to Genesis 27:1-45. Rebekah suggests to Isaac as the reason for Jacob's departure that it was desirable that Jacob, as the acknowledged heir, should seek a wife among his relatives at Haran, as Isaac had done before him (Genesis 24). Esau's heathen marriages had evidently caused his parents much unhappiness: see Genesis 26:34-35 and notes.

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Genesis 27:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/genesis-27.html. 1909.

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