The dramatic story of how Rebekah plots with Jacob to deceive Isaac
3) Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob
According to two commentaries, Isaac was 137 years old when he called Esau to go hunting and cook wild game for him. He couldn’t see well and his sense of taste must have been impaired, too, since he thought the goat prepared by Rebekah was wild game.
Isaac believed he was near death, but he lived at least another 43 years.1
He valued Esau’s manly hunting skill and physical strength over God’s will, godly thinking, and spiritual wisdom and over his son Jacob.
Esau sold his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew and married pagan wives. When Isaac offered to bless him as the first born, he went along with the plan even though he gave up that right.
Rebekah preferred Jacob. She was correct that God planned for Jacob to take the place of the firstborn, but she didn’t trust the Lord.
Jacob willingly participated in the deception once he got over his fear of being caught.
4) The older shall serve the younger. (Genesis 25:23)
Strangely, Isaac insisted on giving the blessing to Esau, the one whom God did not choose (Genesis 25:23).
In the willfulness of his old age, he was determined to pass on the blessing to Esau, despite what the LORD had said and what the boys had shown in their lives. The fact Isaac tried to dispense the blessing secretly showed he knew what he wanted to do was wrong. Sadly, in this house, no one trusted anyone else.1
Rebekah knew God chose Jacob and that was her preference, too. She advised him to deceive his father. It doesn’t appear she sought God’s help to intervene and fulfill His promise but took matters into her own hands and devised her own scheme to manipulate the outcome.
5) Motives and methods
Doing a wrong thing for the right reason.
Like Jacob, we sometimes justify our actions because we believe it achieves God’s plan.
We often make decisions based on what we think will work instead of asking the LORD if it is the right thing to do.
Doing the (sometimes) right thing for the wrong reason.
In Numbers 1:1-3, the LORD commanded Moses to “take a census of all the congregation . . .”
But in 1 Chronicles 21:1 “Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel.” Because Israel belonged to God, it was up to Him to command a census. (Exodus 30:12)
Most congregations have head counters. What is their motive?
6) The could haves
Isaac could have talked to the LORD about his physical condition and His plans for blessing Esau and Jacob. (He wasn’t about to die like he thought.) And be more spiritually minded in general, asking the LORD the blessings He had in mind. Perhaps Isaac didn’t know, forgot or just behaved willfully.
Rebekah could have gone to the LORD as soon as she overheard Isaac’s conversation with Esau instead of involving Jacob in a sinful scheme.
Esau could have prized his birthright instead of despising it (Genesis 25:34). Guzik writes, “Esau’s tears were the tears of frustrated selfishness, not of regret for his own sin and despising of his birthright.”1
See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears. Hebrews 12:15-17
Jacob could have refused to participate in the deception and sought the Lord for help.
Jacob, the scoundrel, did not hesitate to give credit to God as part of his deception. [He} could do this, because his only concern was for what worked. Since he (rightly) knew that God wanted him to have the birthright, he justified any lie or other sin he committed in the pursuit of the birthright. He likely did so telling himself that it was all for a righteous cause.1
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1 EnduringWord.com used by written permission.
2 AWM Living Commentary used by written permission
3 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations from The ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
4 Strong’s Concordance, public domain
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