And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his oldest son…
1. His longing for the performance of Esau's filial kindness as for a last time.
(1) Esau was his favourite son; not on account of any similarity between them, but just because they were dissimilar; the repose and contemplativeness and inactivity of Isaac found a contrast in which it reposed in the energy and even the restlessness of his firstborn.
(2) It was natural to yearn for the feast of his son's affection for the last time, for there is something peculiarly impressive in whatever is done for the last time.
2. Isaac prepared for death by making his last testamentary dispositions. They were made, though apparently premature —
(1) Partly because of the frailty of life and the uncertainty whether there may be any to-morrow for that which is put off to-day;
(2) Partly perhaps because he desired to have all earthly thoughts done with and put away. When he came to die there would be no anxieties about the disposition of property, to harass him. For it is good to have all such things done with before that hour comes. Is there not something incongruous in the presence of a lawyer in the death room, agitating the last hours? The first portion of our lives is spent in learning the use of our senses and faculties, ascertaining where we are, and what. The second in using those powers, and acting in the given sphere, the motto being, "Work, the night cometh." A third portion, between active life and the grave, like the twilight between day and night (not light enough for working, nor yet quite dark), nature seems to accord for unworldliness and meditation. It is striking, doubtless, to see an old man, hale and vigorous to the last, dying at his work, like a warrior in armour. But natural feeling makes us wish perhaps that an interval might be given; a season for the statesman, such as that which Samuel had on laying aside the cares of office in the schools of the prophets, such as Simeon and Anna had for a life of devotion in the temple, such as the labourer has when, his long day's work done, he finds an asylum in the almshouse, such as our Church desires when she prays against sudden death; a season of interval in which to watch, and meditate, and wait.
(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I.