Genesis 27:1–17

27 1 When Isaac was old and his eyes grew too dim to see, he called in Esau, his elder son, and said to him, “My son!”
     And Esau said, “Here I am.”
     Isaac said, “Look, I have grown old and do not know the day of my death. So now, take up your weapons, your quiver and bow, go out to the field, and hunt me down some game.Make me a dish that I love. Bring it to me, and I will eat so that I may give you my blessing before I die.”
     Now Rebekah was listening as Isaac spoke to Esau, his son. When Esau went out to the field to hunt game to bring back, Rebekah said to Jacob, her son, “I was listening as Isaac spoke to Esau your brother, ‘Bring me some game and make me a delicacy so that I can eat and bless you before YHWH before I die.’ Now, my son, listen to my voice, to what I command you. Go to the flock and take me two choice goat kids so I can prepare them as the delicious dish your father loves. 10 You shall bring it to your father, and he will eat so that he may bless you before he dies.”
     11 Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, “In truth, Esau, my brother, is a hairy man, and I am smooth-skinned. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, and I will be like a trickster in his eyes. Will I not bring a curse on me instead of a blessing?”
     13 His mother said to him, “Let your curse be upon me, my son. Just listen to my voice; go and bring them for me.” 14 And he went and brought them to his mother, and his mother made the delicious dish such as his father loved. 15 Rebekah took the garments of Esau, her elder son, that were in her house, and she put them on Jacob, her younger son. 16 She put the skins of the kids on his hands and the smooth part of his neck. 17 Then she placed the dish and the bread she had made in the hand of Jacob, her son.

After an interlude of an earlier time in Isaac’s life, we return to the heart of the story and an elderly, blind Isaac aware of an impending death that turns out to be some way off.

With Isaac needing care, Rebekah is nearby as Isaac calls for Esau. When Esau comes, Isaac asks for one thing in anticipation of passing his patriarchal blessing on to Esau. What is asked is a tasty stew of fresh game. Isaac’s sense of taste is the stronger for his lack of sight. Esau will provide Isaac strength to bless.

Readers have been primed for this moment by the revelation at his birth that Jacob would eventually take precedence and by Esau’s prior rejection of his birthright blessing. To base a blessing on what the blesser will first receive adds a lack of integrity to the scene.

Having developed a different sense of how the family can best be sustained, Rebekah begins a parallel line of action while Esau is on his hunt.

Explaining the situation to Jacob, Rebekah offers a command contrary to Isaac’s. [Note: no “biblically submissive” wife here.] Jacob is to bring two goat kids. Rebekah seasons a stew as she may have ordinarily done with the animals Esau brings back from the hunt. How Isaac does not hear the slaughter of goats or the smell of a fresh stew being brewed is not revealed.

Esau’s unwashed clothes are put on Jacob and cover his scent. Skins from the kids are put upon Jacob’s exposed skin.

Claiming she will bear any curse that might come should this plan go astray, Rebekah commands Jacob to take the new stew off to Isaac and pretend to be Esau. Having received Esau’s birthright from him, the goal is to get the second part—Isaac’s direct blessing.

This Mission Impossible is set in motion. Readers can but wait to see if Jacob can pull off Rebekah’s plan.

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