Read: Genesis 27.1—28.5
[Rebekah said] “Now therefore, my son, obey my word as I command you. Go to the flock, and get me two choice kids, so that I may prepare from them savory food for your father, such as he likes; and you shall take it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.”
Genesis 27.8-10 (NRSV)
The title of this lesson is a misstatement. It is not just Jacob’s deception; it is Rebekah and Jacob’s conspiracy. Together they devise and execute a plan to redirect Isaac’s blessing for Esau to Jacob.
Isaac instructed his firstborn son, Esau, to hunt for and prepare the savory meat that he liked. He would eat the meal and then bestow on Esau the father’s blessing. Rebekah overheard her husband and called to Jacob, the second born son (her favorite). She informed Jacob that she planned to secure the father’s blessing for him. Together they would trick Isaac. Rebekah instructed Jacob to bring her two goats which she would prepare in a savory way. She also used the goat skin to fashion coverings for Jacob so that he would resemble his hairy brother. Wearing his “Esau costume,” Jacob took the food to his father. He explained his quick return from the hunt as a sign of the favor of his father’s God (Genesis 27.20). Isaac’s vision was dim. “You sound like Jacob,” he said, “but you smell like Esau” (v. 22). Then, when asked directly, “Are you really my son Esau?” Jacob replied, “I am” (v. 24). Jacob kissed his father and received the blessing intended for his brother. Rebekah’s role in this deception was played out at distance but Jacob had to carry out his part right in front of his father. Deceptive words sealed with a kiss. How sad.
It seems that Rebekah had not informed Isaac about the prophecy concerning the younger son (Genesis 25.23). This deception suggests a lack of trust in the family or perhaps reflects the difficulty in challenging the traditions of the eldest. In the ancient world, one survived either by being physically powerful or being mentally sharp. In the account of Jacob’s blessing, the clever one beat out the strong.
Reverend Steven B. Lawrence