Another Scripture Portion Which Drives Me Crazy!

Posted on August 26, 2017


By David Ettinger

Giving It Another Go
In my previous blog, “A Scripture Portion Which Drives Me Crazy!” I took Abraham to task for the way he handled the banishment of Hagar and Ishmael. My contention was that he was absolutely right to do what he did, but did it in an irresponsible manner. ALL confusedof my readers who commented on my post graciously disagreed.

But, being a glutton for punishment, I’m giving it another go and, of course, enthusiastically welcome your comments and insights!

Isaac and Sons
I want to focus on Genesis Chapter 27, the infamous portion of Scripture where Isaac believes he is dying, wants to give his primary blessing to Esau, but is duped by his wife Rebekah and son Jacob into giving it to Jacob.

My contention is that though there was plenty of blame to go around to all four individuals, it was Isaac who is foremost to blame for what I believe was his blatant disregard of God’s clearly proclaimed will. Isaac should have known better!

The Scene
Isaac, now 137 years old (not stated in the text but Bible scholars have determined this based on his age when he died, Genesis 35:28, and other considerations), believes he could well be close to death. He summons Esau (age 77) to his bedside and tells him: “I am now an old man and don’t know the day of my death. Now then, get your equipment ­– your quiver and bow – and go out to the open country to hunt some wild game for me. Prepare me the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my blessing before I die” (vv. 2-4).

jacob bless

Jacob receives Isaac’s blessing

This sets off a series of events which will tear the family apart: Jacob will leave home, never to see his mother again; Esau will enter into a third regrettable marriage which will bring misery to his parents; and eventually Esau will move far away, stripping Isaac and Rebekah of their two children and subsequent grandchildren.

A Closer Look at Isaac
It is clear from Scripture that Isaac was not the man his father Abraham was.

Spiritually, Abraham walked intimately with God, acknowledging Him in all his ways. We are told four times that Abraham built altars to the Lord; Isaac is attributed but once with building an altar and this despite knowing God many decades longer than Abraham. (Abraham was not “introduced” to God until age 70; Isaac knew of God from toddlerhood.)

Isaac, 60 years old when he became a father, was guilty (as was Rebekah) of showing favoritism to their children. Genesis 25:28 reads: “Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.” Isaac’s preference for Esau based on Isaac’s taste buds hints at a certain carnality Isaac possessed, an indication he was more guided by the flesh than the spirit. This in no way is meant to indict Isaac as a sinful man; it just indicates that his spiritual acumen was not quite on par with his carnal inclinations.

Also, though possible he was feeling terrible at the time of the blessing, he badly miscalculated his impending death. He was off by 43 years. Could it be God had to “nudge” him into dispensing the blessing he should have already given?

hebrews 11And yes, I am aware he is mentioned in the famous “faith chapter”: “By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future” (Hebrews 11:20). (Note: Samson is also there.)

The Accusation
But here is where I believe Isaac is truly guilty.

Way back when Rebekah was pregnant, things were not going well: “The babies jostled each other within her, and she said, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ So she went to inquire of the Lord” (Genesis 25:22). God answered her in VERY CLEAR TERMS: “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, AND THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER” (v. 23, emphasis added).

God could not have been clearer! The message was: Note the two boys as they come out of the womb; the one who is born SECOND is the child of promise, he is the chosen one. There is absolutely no doubt here as to God’s will; it COULD NOT have been misinterpreted, and indeed, Rebekah got it right.

Now, technically, these words were spoken specifically to Rebekah and nowhere in Scripture do we see either God or Rebekah repeating them to Isaac. But really; are we to believe that Rebekah would not have told this to Isaac – many times? Does not logic dictate that God would have absolutely made clear His will to Isaac? Do you really think t77he subject did not come up many times in 77 years!

Out of the question! I believe Isaac knew precisely what it was he was to do, but allowed his preference for Esau to blot out what he knew to be fact. He wanted Esau to have the blessing of the firstborn and was bent on giving it to him. Of course God’s will won out, but Isaac’s disobedience tore the family apart. Had he done his duty, the blessing would have been granted properly, and life for the four individuals would have been far less dramatic. Yes, they all did wrong, but it started at the top, with Isaac, who should have known better.

Well, there it is. Am I being way too harsh on Isaac and far too critical? Feel free to let me know; I look forward to hearing from you!