Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 27:30-36

30 And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.

31 And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may bless me.

32 And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau.

33 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.

34 And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father.

35 And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing.

36 And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?

As I mentioned previously, Isaac immediately pieced together what transpired once he was greeted by the real Esau, so he must have still had his suspicions all the way through giving Jacob the first blessing.

And as for Esau, even amidst his anguish his chief concern was that he still receive some sort of blessing. His words “hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?” further shows his misunderstanding of how blessings work. He seems to believe that it us up to his father to produce and give out blessing as if they could be pulled out a bag.

Esau does not appreciate that true blessings are the immutable word of God, given and withheld entirely at His choosing. Thus the blessing that Esau ends up receiving is not some backup gift his father conjured up, it is the original blessing that was always intended for him by God.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 27:1-4

1 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.

2 And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death:

3 Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison;

4 And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.

We previously read about when Ishmael had been born, but not Isaac, and God promised to Abraham that Sarah would yet have a child of her own. Abraham had thought that was incredulous, and suggested God just take all of the covenanted blessings and bestow them upon his current son, Ishmael (Genesis 17:17-18). But God rejected that plan, assuring Abraham that the covenant must pass on to an as-of-yet unborn child, and from that point on Abraham seems to have accepted God’s word on the matter, even though Isaac was the second-born.

It is interesting that Isaac, a second-born who received the covenant blessing from God, did not realize that the same selection needed to occur upon his own sons. For some reason he was not aligned with God’s purposes in this matter as his father had been. It is especially strange that he is not open to this arrangement after he saw Esau defy the Lord’s commandments by marrying two strange wives that were outside of the covenant.

Was it because Isaac loved Esau more than Jacob (Genesis 25:28) that he was unwilling to entertain the thought of giving his choicest blessings to the younger? As today’s verses state, Isaac’s eyes seem to be dim on the matter, and not only in the physical sense.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 26:34-35

34 And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite:

35 Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.

Esau’s choice to marry the Hittite wives is another example of how he sought his immediate desires over the blessings of God. His family was living in Gerar, many miles away from the covenant bloodline. But rather than take a trip to the home of his forefathers to find a wife who knew and followed Jehovah, he sought immediate gratification from the idolatrous wives who lived next door.

As with his birthright and the mess of pottage, Esau showed an aloofness for the things of God, a failure to see the weight and significance in anything that did not immediately feed his physical, carnal appetites. When we first met him in Genesis 25:27 he was called a “man of the field,” and that is an incredibly astute description. Esau was a man of the earth, a man of the physical realm, whose thoughts extended no higher than the dirt of the plain.

Scriptural Analysis- Genesis 25:29-34

29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint:

30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom.

31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.

32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me?

33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

Here we have the famous scene of Esau selling his birthright for a mess of pottage. Of course, God had already foretold that his covenant blessings would be continued through Jacob, not Esau, and I wonder whether Jacob was aware of that prophecy, or if he was fulfilling it unknowingly.

There are those who decry Jacob for taking advantage of his brother, though personally his methods have in these verses have never disturbed me. Esau might have said “I am at the point to die,” but he was still walking and talking, hardly the behavior of someone who is literally at death’s door. And if Esau was willing to trade the blessings of God to satiate his hunger, then he didn’t deserve to have it in the first place. He was literally valuing the things of the body more than the things of God. Even after Esau had taken care of his physical needs it then describes him as simply rising up and walking away, not showing the slightest sign of remorse at the priceless birthright that he had just given up.

And no doubt Esau’s temporal-focused mindset was evident in the way he lived his life, even before this moment. Jacob would have known that his brother would never honor and cherish God’s birthright in the same way that he would. Perhaps part of the reason why Esau was willing to sell the birthright was because he knew it, too.

There is a good deal of supposition from me in all of that, but I do think there is enough room for doubt that we shouldn’t try to judge Jacob on the matter. Maybe he was in the wrong, but also maybe he was not. And in any case, this whole exchange was only a bit of human theatrics, it did not actually change either man’s destiny. God had already determined where the blessings would go years prior, and Esau and Jacob were merely playing into his foreordained plan.