Deception in the Family

KEY VERSE: “He said, Thy brother came with subtlety, and bath taken away thy blessing.” —Genesis 27:35

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Genesis 27:6-8, 15-27

BECAUSE ESAU WAS the firstborn of Isaac and Rebekah, the birthright belonged to him; however, as the Scriptures point out, “He despised his birthright” (Gen. 25:34), and was willing to sell to his brother, Jacob, for a paltry sum: a tangible meal of red pottage which he loved more than his birthright as the firstborn.

Isaac and Rebekah were aware that the family birthright held the heirship to the wonderful promise God had made to Isaac’s father, Abraham, regarding his seed. Rebekah remembered that the Lord had given her assurance that she would give birth to twins, and that the elder would serve the younger. Although this was contrary to the custom of the firstborn being the heir, apparently she never questioned the propriety of the arrangement.

When Isaac “was old and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see” (Gen. 27:1), he called Esau, his older son, asking him to go out it into the field to get some venison and prepare it for him, after which Isaac said he would bestow his blessing upon him. It seems Esau had not told his father both he had sold his birthright to Jacob, otherwise Isaac would not have arranged to pronounce his special blessing upon him.

Meanwhile, Rebekah, hearing her husband’s instructions to Esau and knowing whom the Lord had chosen, instructed Jacob to get “two good kids of the goats; and she said,” having in mind the interests of Jacob, “I will make them savory meat for thy father, such as he loveth.” She then began to carry out her delusive plan. Esau was covered with hair, while Jacob had smooth skin, so his mother put the skins of the kids of the goats upon his hands and upon the smooth of his [Jacob’s] neck.” (vs. 16) When Jacob brought the meat to Isaac, there was some doubt on his part as to who stood before him. Jacob, however, insisted he was Esau; and after some hesitation, Isaac gave his blessing to Jacob.

Many have condemned Jacob and his mother for this obvious deception, but it worked out in harmony with God’s purpose, since Jacob held God’s promise in such high esteem, and Esau did not. The Apostle Paul quotes prophecy proving that God had chosen Jacob to inherit the promise made to his grandfather. Paul said, “This is what the promise said, ‘About this time I will return and Sarah shall have a son’. Nor is that all; something similar happened to Rebecca when she had conceived children by one husband, our ancestor Isaac. Even before they had been born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose of election might continue, not by works but by his call) she was told, ‘The elder shall serve the younger’.” (Rom. 9:9-12, Revised Standard Version) Paul continues quoting the Prophet Malachi, saying: “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated [loved less].”—Mal. 1:2,3

It was God’s plan that Jacob should be the heir, and there is no indication in the Bible that either Jacob or his mother were condemned in the course they took. It is well to remember that the promise made to Abraham, and passed on to Isaac and Jacob, embraces the development of the ‘seed of Abraham’. The Apostle Paul declares in Galatians 3:16, that Christ is the true inheritor of this blessing: “To Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and thy thy seed, which is Christ.”

Dawn Bible Students Association
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