New English Translation
Jacob Cheats Esau out of the Blessing
27 When[a] Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he was almost blind,[b] he called his older[c] son Esau and said to him, “My son!” “Here I am!” Esau[d] replied. 2 Isaac[e] said, “Since[f] I am so old, I could die at any time.[g] 3 Therefore, take your weapons—your quiver and your bow—and go out into the open fields and hunt down some wild game[h] for me. 4 Then prepare for me some tasty food, the kind I love, and bring it to me. Then[i] I will eat it so that I may bless you[j] before I die.”
5 Now Rebekah had been listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau.[k] When Esau went out to the open fields to hunt down some wild game and bring it back,[l] 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father tell your brother Esau, 7 ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare for me some tasty food. Then I will eat[m] it and bless you[n] in the presence of the Lord[o] before I die.’ 8 Now then, my son, do exactly[p] what I tell you![q] 9 Go to the flock and get me two of the best young goats. I’ll prepare[r] them in a tasty way for your father, just the way he loves them. 10 Then you will take[s] it to your father. Thus he will eat it[t] and[u] bless you before he dies.”
11 “But Esau my brother is a hairy man,” Jacob protested to his mother Rebekah, “and I have smooth skin![v] 12 My father may touch me! Then he’ll think I’m mocking him[w] and I’ll bring a curse on myself instead of a blessing.” 13 So his mother told him, “Any curse against you will fall on me,[x] my son! Just obey me![y] Go and get them for me!”
14 So he went and got the goats[z] and brought them to his mother. She[aa] prepared some tasty food, just the way his father loved it. 15 Then Rebekah took her older son Esau’s best clothes, which she had with her in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. 16 She put the skins of the young goats[ab] on his hands[ac] and the smooth part of his neck. 17 Then she handed[ad] the tasty food and the bread she had made to her son Jacob.
18 He went to his father and said, “My father!” Isaac[ae] replied, “Here I am. Which are you, my son?”[af] 19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau, your firstborn. I’ve done as you told me. Now sit up[ag] and eat some of my wild game so that you can bless me.”[ah] 20 But Isaac asked his son, “How in the world[ai] did you find it so quickly,[aj] my son?” “Because the Lord your God brought it to me,”[ak] he replied.[al] 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you,[am] my son, and know for certain if you really are my son Esau.”[an] 22 So Jacob went over to his father Isaac, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s.” 23 He did not recognize him because his hands were hairy, like his brother Esau’s hands. So Isaac blessed Jacob.[ao] 24 Then he asked, “Are you really my son Esau?” “I am,” Jacob[ap] replied. 25 Isaac[aq] said, “Bring some of the wild game for me to eat, my son.[ar] Then I will bless you.”[as] So Jacob[at] brought it to him, and he ate it. He also brought him wine, and Isaac[au] drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here and kiss me, my son.” 27 So Jacob[av] went over and kissed him. When Isaac caught the scent[aw] of his clothing, he blessed him, saying,
“Yes,[ax] my son smells
like the scent of an open field
which the Lord has blessed.
28 May God give you
the dew of the sky[ay]
and the richness[az] of the earth,
and plenty of grain and new wine.
29 May peoples serve you
and nations bow down to you.
You will be[ba] lord[bb] over your brothers,
and the sons of your mother will bow down to you.[bc]
May those who curse you be cursed,
and those who bless you be blessed.”
30 Isaac had just finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had scarcely left[bd] his father’s[be] presence, when his brother Esau returned from the hunt.[bf] 31 He also prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Esau[bg] said to him, “My father, get up[bh] and eat some of your son’s wild game. Then you can bless me.”[bi] 32 His father Isaac asked,[bj] “Who are you?” “I am your firstborn son,”[bk] he replied, “Esau!” 33 Isaac began to shake violently[bl] and asked, “Then who else hunted game and brought it to me? I ate all of it just before you arrived, and I blessed him.[bm] He will indeed be blessed!”
34 When Esau heard[bn] his father’s words, he wailed loudly and bitterly.[bo] He said to his father, “Bless me too, my father!” 35 But Isaac[bp] replied, “Your brother came in here deceitfully and took away[bq] your blessing.” 36 Esau exclaimed, “Jacob is the right name for him![br] He has tripped me up[bs] two times! He took away my birthright, and now, look, he has taken away my blessing!” Then he asked, “Have you not kept back a blessing for me?”
37 Isaac replied to Esau, “Look! I have made him lord over you. I have made all his relatives his servants and provided him with grain and new wine. What is left that I can do for you, my son?” 38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only that one blessing, my father? Bless me too!”[bt] Then Esau wept loudly.[bu]
39 So his father Isaac said to him,
“See here,[bv] your home will be by[bw] the richness[bx] of the earth,
and by the dew of the sky above.
40 You will live by your sword
but you will serve your brother.
When you grow restless,
you will tear off his yoke
from your neck.”[by]
41 So Esau hated[bz] Jacob because of the blessing his father had given to his brother.[ca] Esau said privately,[cb] “The time[cc] of mourning for my father is near; then I will kill[cd] my brother Jacob!”
42 When Rebekah heard what her older son Esau had said,[ce] she quickly summoned[cf] her younger son Jacob and told him, “Look, your brother Esau is planning to get revenge by killing you.[cg] 43 Now then, my son, do what I say.[ch] Run away immediately[ci] to my brother Laban in Haran. 44 Live with him for a little while[cj] until your brother’s rage subsides. 45 Stay there[ck] until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I’ll send someone to bring you back from there.[cl] Why should I lose both of you in one day?”[cm]
- Genesis 27:1 tn The clause begins with the temporal indicator (“and it happened”), making it subordinate to the main clause that follows later in the sentence.
- Genesis 27:1 tn Heb “and his eyes were weak from seeing.”
- Genesis 27:1 tn Heb “greater” (in terms of age).
- Genesis 27:1 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Esau) is specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 27:2 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Isaac) is specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 27:2 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) here introduces a logically foundational statement, upon which the coming instruction will be based.
- Genesis 27:2 tn Heb “I do not know the day of my death.”
- Genesis 27:3 tn The Hebrew word is to be spelled either צַיִד (tsayid) following the marginal reading (Qere), or צֵידָה (tsedah) following the consonantal text (Kethib). Either way it is from the same root as the imperative צוּדָה (tsudah, “hunt down”).
- Genesis 27:4 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with the prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result.
- Genesis 27:4 tn Heb “so that my soul may bless you.” The use of נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) as the subject emphasizes that the blessing will be made with all Isaac’s desire and vitality. The conjunction “so that” closely relates the meal to the blessing, suggesting that this will be a ritual meal in conjunction with the giving of a formal blessing.
- Genesis 27:5 tn The disjunctive clause (introduced by a conjunction with the subject, followed by the predicate) here introduces a new scene in the story.
- Genesis 27:5 tc The LXX adds here “to his father,” which may have been accidentally omitted in the MT.
- Genesis 27:7 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with the prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result.
- Genesis 27:7 tn The cohortative, with the prefixed conjunction, also expresses logical sequence. See vv. 4, 19, 27.
- Genesis 27:7 tn In her report to Jacob, Rebekah plays down Isaac’s strong desire to bless Esau by leaving out נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”), but by adding the phrase “in the presence of the Lord,” she stresses how serious this matter is.
- Genesis 27:8 tn Heb “listen to my voice.” The Hebrew idiom means “to comply; to obey.”
- Genesis 27:8 tn Heb “to that which I am commanding you.”
- Genesis 27:9 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with the prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result.
- Genesis 27:10 tn The form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive. It carries forward the tone of instruction initiated by the command to “go…and get” in the preceding verse.
- Genesis 27:10 tn The form is the perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive; it carries the future nuance of the preceding verbs of instruction, but by switching the subject to Jacob, indicates the expected result of the subterfuge.
- Genesis 27:10 tn Heb “so that.” The conjunction indicates purpose or result.
- Genesis 27:11 tn Heb “And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, ‘Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, but I am a smooth [skinned] man.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 27:12 tn Heb “Perhaps my father will feel me and I will be in his eyes like a mocker.” The Hebrew expression “I will be in his eyes like” means “I would appear to him as.”
- Genesis 27:13 tn Heb “upon me your curse.”
- Genesis 27:13 tn Heb “only listen to my voice.”
- Genesis 27:14 tn The words “the goats” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 27:14 tn Heb “his mother.” This has been replaced by the pronoun “she” in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 27:16 tn In the Hebrew text the object (“the skins of the young goats”) precedes the verb. The disjunctive clause draws attention to this key element in the subterfuge.
- Genesis 27:16 tn The word “hands” probably includes the forearms here. How the skins were attached is not specified in the Hebrew text; cf. NLT “she made him a pair of gloves.”
- Genesis 27:17 tn Heb “gave…into the hand of her . . . .”
- Genesis 27:18 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 27:18 sn Which are you, my son? Isaac’s first question shows that the deception is going to require more subterfuge than Rebekah had anticipated. Jacob will have to pull off the deceit.
- Genesis 27:19 tn Heb “get up and sit.” This may mean simply “sit up,” or it may indicate that he was to get up from his couch and sit at a table.
- Genesis 27:19 tn Heb “so that your soul may bless me.” These words, though not reported by Rebekah to Jacob (see v. 7) accurately reflect what Isaac actually said to Esau (see v. 4). Perhaps Jacob knew more than Rebekah realized, but it is more likely that this was an idiom for sincere blessing with which Jacob was familiar. At any rate, his use of the precise wording was a nice, convincing touch.
- Genesis 27:20 tn Heb “What is this?” The enclitic pronoun “this” adds emphasis to the question, which is comparable to the English rhetorical question, “How in the world?”
- Genesis 27:20 tn Heb “you hastened to find.” In translation the infinitive becomes the main verb and the first verb becomes adverbial.
- Genesis 27:20 tn Heb “caused to meet before me.”
- Genesis 27:20 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Because the Lord your God….’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 27:21 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result.
- Genesis 27:21 tn Heb “Are you this one, Esau, my son, or not?” On the use of the interrogative particle here, see BDB 210 s.v. הֲ.
- Genesis 27:23 tn Heb “and he blessed him.” The referents of the pronouns “he” (Isaac) and “him” (Jacob) have been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 27:24 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 27:25 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 27:25 tn Heb “Bring near to me and I will eat of the wild game, my son.” Following the imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.
- Genesis 27:25 tn Heb “so that my soul may bless you.” The presence of נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) as subject emphasizes Isaac’s heartfelt desire to do this. The conjunction indicates that the ritual meal must be first eaten before the formal blessing may be given.
- Genesis 27:25 tn Heb “and he brought”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 27:25 tn Heb “and he drank”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 27:27 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 27:27 tn Heb “and he smelled the smell”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 27:27 tn Heb “see.”
- Genesis 27:28 tn Heb “and from the dew of the sky.”
- Genesis 27:28 tn Heb “and from the fatness.”
- Genesis 27:29 tn Heb “and be.” The verb is an imperative, which is used rhetorically in this oracle of blessing. It is an invitation to exercise authority over his brothers and indicates that he is granted such authority by the patriarch of the family. Furthermore, the blessing enables the recipient to accomplish this.
- Genesis 27:29 tn The Hebrew word is גְבִיר (gevir, “lord, mighty one”). The one being blessed will be stronger and therefore more powerful than his brother. See Gen 25:23. The feminine form of this rare noun means “mistress” or “queen-mother.”
- Genesis 27:29 tn Following the imperative, the prefixed verbal form (which is either an imperfect or a jussive) with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.
- Genesis 27:30 tn The use of the infinitive absolute before the finite form of the verb makes the construction emphatic.
- Genesis 27:30 tn Heb “the presence of Isaac his father.” The repetition of the proper name (“Isaac”) was replaced by the referent (“his father’s…”) for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 27:30 tn Heb “and Esau his brother came from his hunt.”
- Genesis 27:31 tn Heb “and he said to his father”; the referent of “he” (Esau) has been specified in the translation for clarity, while the words “his father” have been replaced by the pronoun “him” for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 27:31 tn Or “arise” (i.e., sit up).
- Genesis 27:31 tn Heb “so that your soul may bless me.”
- Genesis 27:32 tn Heb “said.”
- Genesis 27:32 tn Heb “and he said, ‘I [am] your son, your firstborn.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 27:33 tn Heb “and Isaac trembled with a great trembling to excess.” The verb “trembled” is joined with a cognate accusative, which is modified by an adjective “great,” and a prepositional phrase “to excess.” All of this is emphatic, showing the violence of Isaac’s reaction to the news.
- Genesis 27:33 tn Heb “Who then is he who hunted game and brought [it] to me so that I ate from all before you arrived and blessed him?”
- Genesis 27:34 tn The temporal clause is introduced with the temporal indicator and has the infinitive as its verb.
- Genesis 27:34 tn Heb “and he yelled [with] a great and bitter yell to excess.”
- Genesis 27:35 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Genesis 27:35 tn Or “took”; “received.”
- Genesis 27:36 tn Heb “Is he not rightly named Jacob?” The rhetorical question, since it expects a positive reply, has been translated as a declarative statement.
- Genesis 27:36 sn He has tripped me up. When originally given, the name Jacob was a play on the word “heel” (see Gen 25:26). The name (since it is a verb) probably means something like “may he protect,” that is, as a rearguard, dogging the heels. This name was probably chosen because of the immediate association with the incident of grabbing the heel. Esau gives the name “Jacob” a negative connotation here, the meaning “to trip up; to supplant.”
- Genesis 27:38 tn Heb “Bless me, me also, my father.” The words “my father” have not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 27:38 tn Heb “and Esau lifted his voice and wept.”
- Genesis 27:39 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) calls for someone’s attention.
- Genesis 27:39 tn Or “next to.” The preposition מִן (min) generally indicates the source of something or separation from something, and so is often rendered “from.” Older translations (KJV, ASV, Douay-Rheims, Young’s, JPS) took the preposition as indicating source: “of the fatness of the earth.” More recent translations (NASB, NIV, ESV, NLV) take it as separative: “away from the fatness.” In Jacob’s blessing the preposition works with the verb “give” and indicates source. In Esau’s blessing the preposition functions in a nominal clause and modifies “your dwelling.” HALOT says that מִן can point “to the place… where something can be found” and thus means “in” in Gen 2:8; Lev 14:41; 2 Sam 5:13; Ezra 1:4; Job 30:30; Isa 5:26; 23:7 (HALOT 597, s.v.). In combination with the verb “to dwell,” the preposition מִן means “by,” “next to,” or “across from” (Ruth 2:14; 1 Sam 20:25; Ezek 16:46; Jonah 4:5). The closest parallel for the noun “dwelling” is Gen 10:30 where מִן as “away from” is not possible (rather “at” or “beginning at.”) sn In contrast to Jacob, to whom God will give some of earth’s fatness and heaven’s dew, Esau will dwell next to these. Esau himself continues to dwell with Isaac in Canaan, so perhaps he dwells “at” or “in” the richness of the land. But the land of his descendants, Edom, is more arid and might be considered “next to” or “across from” Canaan. The main contrast seems to be that God will give Jacob something, while Esau will have access to two of the same things. “Grain” and “wine” are not repeated for Esau, which may also reflect different conditions in Edom and Canaan.
- Genesis 27:39 tn Heb “from the fatness.”
- Genesis 27:40 sn You will tear off his yoke from your neck. It may be that this prophetic blessing found its fulfillment when Jerusalem fell and Edom got its revenge. The oracle makes Edom subservient to Israel and suggests the Edomites would live away from the best land and be forced to sustain themselves by violent measures.
- Genesis 27:41 tn Or “bore a grudge against” (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV). The Hebrew verb שָׂטַם (satam) describes persistent hatred.
- Genesis 27:41 tn Heb “because of the blessing which his father blessed him.”
- Genesis 27:41 tn Heb “said in his heart.” The expression may mean “said to himself.” Even if this is the case, v. 42 makes it clear that he must have shared his intentions with someone, because the news reached Rebekah.
- Genesis 27:41 tn Heb “days.”
- Genesis 27:41 tn The cohortative here expresses Esau’s determined resolve to kill Jacob.
- Genesis 27:42 tn Heb “and the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah.”
- Genesis 27:42 tn Heb “she sent and called for.”
- Genesis 27:42 tn Heb “is consoling himself with respect to you to kill you.” The only way Esau had of dealing with his anger at the moment was to plan to kill his brother after the death of Isaac.
- Genesis 27:43 tn Heb “listen to my voice.”
- Genesis 27:43 tn Heb “arise, flee.”
- Genesis 27:44 tn Heb “a few days.” Rebekah probably downplays the length of time Jacob will be gone, perhaps to encourage him and assure him that things will settle down soon. She probably expects Esau’s anger to die down quickly. However, Jacob ends up being gone 20 years and he never sees Rebekah again.
- Genesis 27:45 tn The words “stay there” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Genesis 27:45 tn Heb “and I will send and I will take you from there.” The verb “send” has no object in the Hebrew text; one must be supplied in the translation. Either “someone” or “a message” could be supplied, but since in those times a message would require a messenger, “someone” has been used.
- Genesis 27:45 tn If Jacob stayed, he would be killed and Esau would be forced to run away.
- Genesis 27:46 tn Heb “loathe my life.” The Hebrew verb translated “loathe” refers to strong disgust (see Lev 20:23).
- Genesis 27:46 tn Some translate the Hebrew term “Heth” as “Hittites” here (see also Gen 23:3), but this gives the impression that these people were the classical Hittites of Anatolia. However, there is no known connection between these sons of Heth, apparently a Canaanite group (see Gen 10:15), and the Hittites of Asia Minor. See H. A. Hoffner, Jr., “Hittites,” Peoples of the Old Testament World, 152-53.
- Genesis 27:46 tn Heb “If Jacob takes a wife from the daughters of Heth, like these, from the daughters of the land, why to me life?”