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Noon Day Bible Study
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Rev. Dr. Howard L. Woods, Jr.
Tuesday, November 21, 2023

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Esau’s Lost Hope

Genesis 27:30 Now it happened, as soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.

Genesis 27:31 He also had made savory food, and brought it to his father, and said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that your soul may bless me.”

Genesis 27:32 And his father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” So he said, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.”

Genesis 27:33 Then Isaac trembled exceedingly, and said, “Who? Where is the one who hunted game and brought it to me? I ate all of it before you came, and I have blessed him— and indeed he shall be blessed.” 

Visibly shocked when the scandal was uncovered by the entrance of Esau, the father, remembering the Lord’s words to Rebekah (25:23), refused to withdraw the blessing and emphatically affirmed its validity—“yes, and he shall be blessed” and a little later “Behold, I have made him your master” and also “your brother you shall serve” (vv. 37, 40). Sudden realization at having opposed God’s will all those years likely made the shock more severe.

Genesis 27:34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me—me also, O my father!” 

Esau fully expected to receive the blessing, for he had identified himself to his father as the firstborn (v. 32). 12
Anguished at losing this important paternal blessing and bitterly acting as the innocent victim (v. 36), Esau shifted the blame for the loss of birthright and blessing to Jacob and pleaded for some compensating word of blessing from his father (vv. 36, 38).

Genesis 27:35 But he said, “Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing.”

Genesis 27:36 And Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!” And he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?”

Genesis 27:37 Then Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Indeed I have made him your master, and all his brethren I have given to him as servants; with grain and wine I have sustained him. What shall I do now for you, my son?”

Genesis 27:38 And Esau said to his father, “Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me —me also, O my father!” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.

Genesis 27:39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: “Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, And of the dew of heaven from above. :40 By your sword you shall live, And you shall serve your brother; And it shall come to pass, when you become restless, That you shall break his yoke from your neck.” 

The prayer-wish called for prosperity and inferiority, i.e., maintaining the validity of the words to Jacob and replacing “be master of your brothers” with “your brother you shall serve” (vv. 29, 40). This secondary blessing would not and could not undo the first one. 

In later history, the Edomites, who descended from the line of Esau, fought time and again with Israel and shook off Israelite control on several occasions (2Ki 8:20; 2Ch 21:8–10; 28:16, 17). 

Jacob Escapes from Esau

Genesis 27:41 So Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him, and Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” 

Evidently Esau also thought his father was on the verge of death (27:1) and so, out of respect for his aged father, he postponed murder. Isaac lived another 43 years.

Genesis 27:42 And the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah. So she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said to him, “Surely your brother Esau comforts himself concerning you by intending to kill you.

Genesis 27:43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice: arise, flee to my brother Laban in Haran.

Genesis 27:44 And stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away, :45 until your brother’s anger turns away from you, and he forgets what you have done to him; then I will send and bring you from there. Why should I be bereaved also of you both in one day?” 

Rebekah understood she stood to lose both her sons since, after the murder of Jacob, the avenger of blood, i.e., the next nearest relative, would track down and execute Esau.

Genesis 27:46 And Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth; if Jacob takes a wife of the daughters of Heth, like these who are the daughters of the land, what good will my life be to me?” (Local Hittite women.)

Genesis 28:1 Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him: “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. 

Rebekah easily convinced her husband that the time had come for him to seek a non-Canaanite wife back in their homeland and preferably from near kinsmen (vv. 2, 5), just as Rebekah had been sought for Isaac.

Genesis 28:2 Arise, go to Padan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and take yourself a wife from there of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.

Genesis 28:3 “May God Almighty bless you, And make you fruitful and multiply you, That you may be an assembly of peoples; :4 And give you the blessing of Abraham, To you and your descendants with you, That you may inherit the land In which you are a stranger, Which God gave to Abraham.”

This extra patriarchal blessing unveiled where Isaac was in his thinking. He had come to understand that the divine blessings would go through Jacob, to whom the Abrahamic Covenant promises of posterity and land also applied—quite the reversal of prior wishes and understanding. 

The lack of land possession at that time, described by the phrase “the land of your sojournings,” did not deter at all from the certainty of God’s promise.

Genesis 28:5 So Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Padan Aram, to Laban the son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau. 

Ca. 1928 b.c. This must have been a hard departure for the domestic Jacob.

Esau Marries Mahalath

Genesis 28:6 Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Padan Aram to take himself a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan,” :7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and had gone to Padan Aram.

Genesis 28:8 Also Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan did not please his father Isaac. :9 So Esau went to Ishmael and took Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife in addition to the wives he had. 

Marrying back into the line of Abraham through the family of Ishmael seemed to have been a ploy to gain favor with his father (vv. 6, 8), and show an obedience similar to his brother’s (v. 7). 

He hoped by such gratifying of his parents to atone for past delinquencies, and maybe have his father change the will. 

He actually increased iniquity by adding to his pagan wives (26:34, 35) a wife from a family God had rejected.


Macdonald, Farstad  Grady Scott, Hindson, E. MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006).