Rebekah said to her son Jacob, "Behold, I overheard your father saying to your brother Esau,
To this day the method of Rebekah and Jacob is largely adopted by religious persons. It is notorious that persons whose ends are good frequently become thoroughly unscrupulous about the means they use to accomplish them. They dare not say in so many words that they may do evil that good may come, nor do they think it a tenable position in morals that the end sanctifies the means; and yet their consciousness of a justifiable and desirable end undoubtedly does blunt their sensitiveness regarding the legitimacy of the means they employ. For example, Protestant controversialists, persuaded that vehement opposition to Popery is good, and filled with the idea of accomplishing its downfall, are often guilty of gross misrepresentation, because they do not sufficiently inform themselves of the actual tenets and practices of the Church of Rome. In all controversy, religious and political, it is the same. It is always dishonest to circulate reports that you have no means of authenticating; yet how freely are such reports circulated to blacken the character of an opponent, and to prove his opinions to be dangerous. It is always dishonest to condemn opinions we have not inquired into, merely because of some fancied consequence which these opinions carry in them; yet how freely are opinions condemned by men who have never been at the trouble carefully to inquire into their truth. They do not feel the dishonesty of their position, because they have a general consciousness that they are on the side of religion, and of what has generally passed for truth. All keeping back of facts which are supposed to have an unsettling effect is but a repetition of this sin. There is no sin more hateful. Under the appearance of serving God, and maintaining His cause in the world, it insults Him by assuming that, if the whole bare, undisguised truth were spoken, His cause would suffer. The fate of all such attempts to manage God's matters by keeping things dark, and misrepresenting fact, is written for all who care to understand in the results of this scheme of Rebekah's and Jacob's. They gained nothing, and they lost a great deal, by their wicked interference. They gained nothing; for God had promised that the birthright would be Jacob's, and would have given it him in some way redounding to his credit and not to his shame. And they lost a great deal. The mother lost her son; Jacob had to flee for his life, and, for all we know, Rebekah never saw him more. And Jacob lost all the comforts of home, and all those possessions his father had accumulated. He had to flee with nothing but his staff, an outcast to begin the world for himself. From this first false step onwards to his death, he was pursued by misfortune, until his own verdict on his life was, "Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life."
Isaac, like his father, has his time of sojourn among the Philistines. The events of his intercourse with the Abimelech of his day resemble those of the former patriarch, though there are differences which show that the recurrence is historical
I. GOD REPEATS HIS LESSONS that they may make the deeper impression. The intention of the record is to preserve a certain line of Divine guidance. Isaac trod in the footsteps of Abraham. We have Isaac's wells, oaths, feast, Shebah - all following close upon those of the preceding generation.
II. The SAME PRESERVATION OF THE COVENANT RACE in the midst of heathens confirms that covenant. The same lesson of special providential protection and blessing is thus repeated and enforced. Again the same contrast of man's infirmity with God's unchangeableness. The perversity of the fleshly-minded man forming a marriage connection with heathen people, and bringing grief of mind to his parents, reveals the distinctness of the world from the kingdom of God. - R.
Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth. I.
THE HUMAN ELEMENT IN IT.
1. The partiality of a fond mother.
II. THE RELIGIOUS ELEMENT IN IT.
1. It seemed as if the oracle of God was likely to become void.
2. The crisis was urgent.
This is a mysterious affair. It was just that Esau should lose the blessing, for by selling his birthright he had despised it. It was God's design, too, that Jacob should have it. Rebekah also knowing of this design, from it having been revealed to her that "the elder should serve the younger," appears to have acted from a good motive. But the scheme which she formed to correct the error of her husband was far from being justifiable. It was one of those crooked measures which have too often been adopted to accomplish the Divine promises; as if the end would justify, or at least excuse the means. Thus Sarah acted in giving Hagar to Abraham; and thus many others have acted under the idea of being useful in promoting the cause of Christ. The answer to all such things is that which God addressed to Abraham: "I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be thou perfect." The deception practised on Isaac was cruel. If he be in the wrong, endeavour to convince him; or commit it to God, who could turn his mind, as he afterwards did that of Jacob when blessing Ephraim and Manasseh; but do not avail yourself of his loss of sight to deceive him. Such would have been the counsel of wisdom and rectitude; but Rebekah follows her own.
() Luther was very importunate at the throne of grace to know the mind of God in a certain matter; and it seemed to him as if he heard God speak to his heart thus: "I am not to be traced." One adds, "If He is not to be traced, He may be trusted; and that religion is of little value which will not enable a man to trust God where he can neither trace nor see Him. But there is a time for everything beneath the sun; and the Almighty has His 'times and seasons.' It has been frequently with my hopes and desires, in regard to Providence, as with my watch and the sun. My watch has often been ahead of true time; I have gone faster than Providence, and have been forced to stand still and wait, or I have been set back painfully. Flavel says, 'Some providences, like Hebrew letters, must be read backwards.'"
()We must walk in simplicity, sine plicis, for though the serpent can shrink up into his folds, and appear what he is not, yet it doth not become the saint to shuffle either with God or men. Jacob got the blessing by a wile, but he might have got it cheaper by plain dealing.
()The minister of the seminary at Clermont, France, having been seized at Autun by the populace, the mayor, who wished to save him, advised him not to take the oath, but to allow him to tell the people that he had taken it. "I would myself make known your falsehood to the people," replied the clergyman; "it is not permitted me to ransom my life by a lie. The God who prohibits my taking the oath will not allow me to make it believed that I have taken it." The mayor was silent, and the minister was martyred.
PeopleEsau, Haran, Heth, Isaac, Jacob, Laban, Rebekah
TopicsBehold, Brother, Esau, Hearing, Jacob, Overheard, Rebecca, Rebekah, Saying, Spake, Speak, Speaking, Spoke, Spoken
Outline1. Isaac sends Esau for venison.
6. Rebekah instructs Jacob to obtain the blessing.
14. Jacob, feigning to be Esau, obtains it.
30. Esau brings venison.
33. Isaac trembles.
34. Esau complains, and by importunity obtains a blessing.
41. He threatens Jacob's life.
42. Rebekah disappoints him, by sending Jacob away.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesGenesis 27:1-25
5095 Jacob, life
5719 mothers, responsibilities
8716 dishonesty, examples
LibraryThere is a Great Question About Lying, which Often Arises in the Midst Of...
1. There is a great question about Lying, which often arises in the midst of our every day business, and gives us much trouble, that we may not either rashly call that a lie which is not such, or decide that it is sometimes right to tell a lie, that is, a kind of honest, well-meant, charitable lie. This question we will painfully discuss by seeking with them that seek: whether to any good purpose, we need not take upon ourselves to affirm, for the attentive reader will sufficiently gather from the …
St. Augustine—On Lying
Epistle Lii. To Natalis, Bishop .
To Natalis, Bishop  . Gregory to Natalis, Bishop of Salona. As though forgetting the tenour of former letters, I had determined to say nothing to your Blessedness but what should savour of sweetness: but, now that in your epistle you have recurred in the way of argumentation to preceding letters, I am once more compelled to say perhaps some things that I had rather not have said. For in defence of feasts your Fraternity mentions the feast of Abraham, in which by the testimony of Holy Scripture …
Saint Gregory the Great—the Epistles of Saint Gregory the Great
The Blessing of Jacob Upon Judah. (Gen. Xlix. 8-10. )
Ver. 8. "Judah, thou, thy brethren shall praise thee; thy hand shall be on the neck of thine enemies; before thee shall bow down the sons of thy father. Ver. 9. A lion's whelp is Judah; from the prey, my son, thou goest up; he stoopeth down, he coucheth as a lion, and as a full-grown lion, who shall rouse him up? Ver. 10. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto Him the people shall adhere." Thus does dying Jacob, in announcing …
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament
Letter xxxv. From Pope Damasus.
Damasus addresses five questions to Jerome with a request for information concerning them. They are: 1. What is the meaning of the words "Whosoever slayeth Cain vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold"? (Gen. iv. 5.) 2. If God has made all things good, how comes it that He gives charge to Noah concerning unclean animals, and says to Peter, "What God hath cleansed that call not thou common"? (Acts x. 15.) 3. How is Gen. xv. 16, "in the fourth generation they shall come hither again," to be reconciled …
St. Jerome—The Principal Works of St. Jerome
Touching Jacob, However, that which He did at his Mother's Bidding...
24. Touching Jacob, however, that which he did at his mother's bidding, so as to seem to deceive his father, if with diligence and in faith it be attended to, is no lie, but a mystery. The which if we shall call lies, all parables also, and figures designed for the signifying of any things soever, which are not to be taken according to their proper meaning, but in them is one thing to be understood from another, shall be said to be lies: which be far from us altogether. For he who thinks this, may …
St. Augustine—Against Lying
"Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him that hath endured such gainsaying of sinners against themselves, that ye …
Thomas Charles Edwards—The Expositor's Bible: The Epistle to the Hebrews
First Withdrawal from Herod's Territory and Return.
(Spring, a.d. 29.) Subdivision C. The Twelve Try to Row Back. Jesus Walks Upon the Water. ^A Matt. XIV. 22-36; ^B Mark VI. 45-56; ^D John VI. 15-21. ^d 15 Jesus therefore perceiving that they were about to come and take him by force, to make him king, withdrew again into the mountain himself alone. [Jesus had descended to the plain to feed the multitude, but, perceiving this mistaken desire of the people, he frustrated it by dismissing his disciples and retiring by himself into the mountain.] ^a …
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel
The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
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