The Blessing
Genesis 27:33-40
And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that has taken venison, and brought it me…

An accurate view of individual history — the history of real life — is always interesting.


1. Notice the individuals concerned; these are, Isaac and Rebekah, and their twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Isaac was the child of promise, given to Abraham in his old age, through whom the blessing pronounced on Abraham was to descend to an innumerable multitude. He married Rebekah, his cousin, the grand-child of Abraham's brother; and the offspring of their union were these twin children, Esau and Jacob. All that is recorded of the parents impresses us with the conviction of their piety. In the short notices of their life, we observe that, with sufficient evidence of their partaking of human infirmity, we have abundant testimony to their devotional habits, their submission to the dispensations of Providence, their peaceable and liberal disposition, and their prosperity under the blessing of the Lord. Esau and Jacob, their children, were characters widely differing from each other.

2. The blessing that Jacob obtained. It was a blessing which was inherent in the posterity of Abraham, and which one of the sons of Isaac was consequently to inherit.

3. The means which were used for the obtaining of this blessing. Isaac was on the point of conferring the blessing of the first-born upon Esau, contrary to the Divine intimation, contrary to the warrantable expectations of Rebekah, and contrary to those predilections which she seems to have cherished for the younger son, and which his regular and domestic habits appear to have strengthened. Acting under the influence of unbelief, she immediately suggested to Jacob the plan of supplanting his brother by fraud. Jacob's objections appear to have been those of prudence rather than of principle; they yielded to a mother's earnest entreaties; and the result shows him to be no inapt scholar in the ways of deception. There is something very humiliating in the whole of Jacob's interview with his father. Every succeeding step is marked with grosser hypocrisy and deeper guilt; and though, in the mysterious providence of God, the promised blessing was permitted to rest on his head, yet the guilt of that scene must afterwards have been like a barbed arrow in his conscience, and given increased severity to many of his subsequent sufferings. The promise was given to Isaac with this recognition of Abraham's character, "Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws." Isaac did the same. He entered into the spirit of the covenant, and lived a life of obedience. On what reasonable ground, therefore, could Esau, knowing this, expect the blessing? He was a "profane person, a fornicator," a mere sensualist. It is in this light, therefore, that we should regard him, and by these things that we must measure his tears.

II. The circumstances that have come before us suggest SOME VERY IMPORTANT AND USEFUL PRACTICAL REMARKS. We notice —

1. The evil of parental partialities. The selection of one child for favouritism is altogether inconsistent with the sacredness of parental duty, and with the strict justice which is essential to parental discipline. In the present instance, the fondness of Isaac for his first-born, and of Rebekah for her younger child, led both themselves and their children into sin.

2. The fearful results of one deviation from rectitude. One vice entails another. One instance of error or untruth frequently places a man in circumstances in which he is led to commit many to bring him off without suspicion; and he who tells one lie will not scruple much, in a very short time, blasphemously to call the name of God to witness it. "And he said, Because the Lord thy God brought it to me." Let every one, then, beware how he approaches the first appearances of evil, or oversteps in the least degree the line of propriety. "We cannot hope to be preserved when we have placed ourselves in questionable circumstances; and we have not strength to keep ourselves.

3. The character of the over-ruling providence of God. It was said of Jacob and Esau, "the elder shall serve the younger." But the ways of God are very mysterious. The same result is brought about by a series of natural events, on which we could not have calculated; events, however, which are in no respect the results of an absolute fatalism, but which are seen to arise fairly out of the elements of character and habits of the parties concerned. "we see each character developed in its peculiarities by the course which it is permitted to pursue; and to each, in the sovereignty of Divine Providence, a moral discipline is applied, calculated to forward the best interests of the soul.

4. The melancholy character of the sorrow of the world. While, therefore, the afflictions of Jacob, though they were the consequences of his sins, led him to draw near to God in his solitude, the grief of Esau was merely the regret consequent on worldly disappointment. The privation of the blessing of the first-born was only lamented by him as the ruin of his best earthly hopes. It was the downfall of his ambition. It was a limit prescribed to his indulgences. It was merely that sorrow which often seizes on ungodly men in the course of Providence, and in which they know not where to turn for consolation, because they will not turn to God.

5. Observe the immeasurable extent of the Divine compassion. It is only on the mercy of God that Jacob or Esau, or any character similar to either, can rest a sure and certain hope of deliverance at last.

(E. Craig.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed.

WEB: Isaac trembled violently, and said, "Who, then, is he who has taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before you came, and have blessed him? Yes, he will be blessed."

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