The Character of Isaac
Genesis 35:28-29
And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years.…

The lives of Abraham and Jacob are as attractive as the life of Isaac is apparently unattractive. Isaac's character had few salient features. It had no great faults, no striking virtues; it is the quietest, smoothest, most silent character in the Old Testament. It is owing to this that there are so few remarkable events in the life of Isaac, for the remarkableness of events is created by the character that meets them. It seems to be a law that all national, social, and personal life should advance by alternate contractions and expansions. There are few instances where a great father has had a son who equalled him in greatness. The old power more often reappears in Jacob than in Isaac. The spirit of Abraham's energy passed over his son to his son's son. The circumstances that moulded the character of Isaac were these.

1. He was an only son.

2. His parents were both very old. At atmosphere of antique quiet hung about his life.

3. These two old hearts lived for him alone.

I. Take the EXCELLENCES of his character first. His submissive self-surrender on Mount Gerizim, which shadowed forth the perfect sacrifice of Christ.

2. His tender constancy, seen in his mourning for his mother, and in the fact that he alone of the patriarchs represented to the Jewish nation the ideal of true marriage.

3. His piety. It was as natural to him as to a woman to trust and love: not strongly, hut constantly, sincerely. His trust became the habit of his soul. His days were knit each to each by natural piety.

II. Look next at the FAULTS of Isaac's character.

1. He was slow, indifferent, inactive. We find this exemplified in the story of the wells (ver. 26:18-22).

2. The same weakness, ending in selfishness, appears in the history of Isaac's lie to Abimelech.

3. He showed his weakness in the division between Jacob and Esau. He took no pains to harmonize them. The curse of favouritism prevailed in his tent.

4. He dropped into a querulous old age, and became a lover of savoury meat. But our last glimpse of him is happy. He saw the sons of Jacob at Hebron, and felt that God's promise was fulfilled.

(S. A. Brooke, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years.

WEB: The days of Isaac were one hundred eighty years.

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