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Isaac Blesses Jacob

27 Isaac was old and almost blind, when he called in his first-born son Esau, who asked him, “Father, what can I do for you?”

Isaac replied, “I am old and might die at any time. So go hunting with your bow and arrows and kill a wild animal. Cook some of that tasty food that I love so much and bring it to me. I want to eat it once more and give you my blessing before I die.”

Rebekah had been listening, and as soon as Esau left to go hunting, she said to Jacob, “I heard your father tell Esau to kill a wild animal and cook some tasty food for him before he dies. Your father said this because he wants to bless your brother with the Lord as his witness. Now, my son, listen carefully to what I want you to do. Go and kill two of your best young goats and bring them to me. I'll cook the tasty food that your father loves so much. 10 Then you can take it to him, so he can eat it and give you his blessing before he dies.”

11 “My brother Esau is a hairy man,” Jacob reminded her. “And I am not. 12 If my father touches me and realizes I am trying to trick him, he will put a curse on me instead of giving me a blessing.”

13 Rebekah insisted, “Let his curse fall on me! Just do what I say and bring me the meat.” 14 So Jacob brought the meat to his mother, and she cooked the tasty food that his father liked. 15 Then she took Esau's best clothes and put them on Jacob. 16 She also covered the smooth part of his hands and neck with goatskins 17 and gave him some bread and the tasty food she had cooked.

18 Jacob went to his father and said, “Father, here I am.”

“Which one of my sons are you?” his father asked.

19 Jacob replied, “I am Esau, your first-born, and I have done what you told me. Please sit up and eat the meat I have brought. Then you can give me your blessing.”

20 Isaac asked, “My son, how did you find an animal so quickly?”

“The Lord your God was kind to me,” Jacob answered.

21 “My son,” Isaac said, “come closer, where I can touch you and find out if you really are Esau.” 22 Jacob went closer. His father touched him and said, “You sound like Jacob, but your hands feel hairy like Esau's.” 23 And so Isaac blessed Jacob, thinking he was Esau.

24 Isaac asked, “Are you really my son Esau?”

“Yes, I am,” Jacob answered.

25 So Isaac told him, “Serve me the wild meat, and I can give you my blessing.”

Jacob gave him some meat, and he ate it. He also gave him some wine, and he drank it. 26 Then Isaac said, “Son, come over here and kiss me.” 27 (A) While Jacob was kissing him, Isaac caught the smell of his clothes and said:

“The smell of my son
is like a field
    the Lord has blessed.
28 God will bless you, my son,
    with dew from heaven
and with fertile fields,
    rich with grain and grapes.
29 (B) Nations will be your servants
    and bow down to you.
You will rule over your brothers,
and they will kneel
    at your feet.
Anyone who curses you
    will be cursed;
anyone who blesses you
    will be blessed.”

30 Right after Isaac had given Jacob his blessing and Jacob had gone, Esau came back from hunting. 31 He cooked the tasty food, brought it to his father, and said, “Father, please sit up and eat the meat I have brought you, so you can give me your blessing.”

32 “Who are you?” Isaac asked.

“I am Esau, your first-born son.”

33 Isaac started trembling and said, “Then who brought me some wild meat right before you came in? I ate it and gave him a blessing that cannot be taken back.”

34 Esau cried out in great distress, “Father, give me a blessing too!”

35 Isaac answered, “Your brother tricked me and stole your blessing.”

36 (C) Esau replied, “My brother deserves the name Jacob,[a] because he has already cheated me twice. The first time he cheated me out of my rights as the first-born son, and now he has cheated me out of my blessing.” Then Esau asked his father, “Don't you have any blessing left for me?”

37 “My son,” Isaac answered, “I have made Jacob the ruler over you and your brothers, and all of you will be his servants. I have also promised him all the grain and grapes that he needs. There's nothing left that I can do for you.”

38 (D) “Father,” Esau asked, “don't you have more than one blessing? You can surely give me a blessing too!” Then Esau started crying again.

39 (E) So his father said:

“Your home will be far
    from that fertile land,
where dew comes down
    from the heavens.
40 (F) You will live by the power
of your sword
    and be your brother's slave.
But when you decide to be free,
    you will break loose.”

41 Esau hated his brother Jacob because he had stolen the blessing that was supposed to be his. So he said to himself, “Just as soon as my father dies, I'll kill Jacob.”

42 (G) When Rebekah found out what Esau planned to do, she sent for Jacob and told him, “Son, your brother Esau is just waiting for a chance to kill you. 43 Now listen carefully and do what I say. Go to the home of my brother Laban in Haran 44 and stay with him for a while. When Esau stops being angry 45 and forgets what you have done to him, I'll send for you to come home. Why should I lose both of my sons on the same day?”[b]

46 Rebekah later told Isaac, “Those Hittite wives of Esau are making my life miserable! If Jacob marries a Hittite woman, I'd be better off dead.”

Isaac's Instructions to Jacob

28 Isaac called in Jacob, then gave him a blessing, and said:

Don't marry any of those Canaanite women. Go at once to your mother's father Bethuel in northern Syria[c] and choose a wife from one of the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother. I pray that God All-Powerful will bless you with many descendants and let you become a great nation. (H) May he bless you with the land he promised Abraham, so that you will take over this land where we now live as foreigners.

Isaac then sent Jacob to stay with Rebekah's brother Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean.

Esau Marries the Daughter of Ishmael

Esau found out that his father Isaac had blessed Jacob and had warned him not to marry any of the Canaanite women. He also learned that Jacob had been sent to find a wife in northern Syria[d] and that he had obeyed his father and mother. Esau already had several wives, but he now realized how much his father hated the Canaanite women. So he married Ishmael's daughter Mahalath, who was the sister of Nebaioth[e] and the granddaughter of Abraham.

Jacob's Dream at Bethel

10 (I) Jacob left the town of Beersheba and started out for Haran. 11 At sunset he stopped for the night and went to sleep, resting his head on a large rock. 12 (J) In a dream he saw a ladder that reached from earth to heaven, and God's angels were going up and down on it.

13 (K) The Lord was standing beside the ladder[f] and said:

I am the Lord God who was worshiped by Abraham and Isaac. I will give to you and your family the land on which you are now sleeping. 14 (L) Your descendants will spread over the earth in all directions and will become as numerous as the specks of dust. Your family will be a blessing to all people.[g] 15 Wherever you go, I will watch over you, then later I will bring you back to this land. I won't leave you—I will do all I have promised.

16 Jacob woke up suddenly and thought, “The Lord is in this place, and I didn't even know it.” 17 Then Jacob became frightened and said, “What a frightening place! It must be the house of God and the gateway to heaven.”

18 When Jacob got up early the next morning, he took the rock that he had used for a pillow and stood it up as a place of worship. Then he poured olive oil on the rock to dedicate it to God, 19 and he named the place Bethel.[h] Before that it had been named Luz.

20 Jacob solemnly promised God, “If you go with me and watch over me as I travel, and if you give me food and clothes 21 and bring me safely home again, you will be my God. 22 This rock will be your house, and I will give back to you a tenth of everything you give me.”

Jacob Arrives at Laban's Home

29 As Jacob continued on his way to the east, he looked out in a field and saw a well where shepherds took their sheep for water. Three flocks of sheep were lying around the well, which was covered with a large rock. Shepherds would roll the rock away when all their sheep had gathered there. Then after the sheep had been watered, the shepherds would roll the rock back over the mouth of the well.

Jacob asked the shepherds, “Where are you from?”

“We're from Haran,” they answered.

Then he asked, “Do you know Nahor's grandson Laban?”

“Yes we do,” they replied.

“How is he?” Jacob asked.

“He's fine,” they answered. “And here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.”

Jacob told them, “Look, the sun is still high up in the sky, and it's too early to bring in the rest of the flocks. Water your sheep and take them back to the pasture.”

But they replied, “We can't do that until they all get here, and the rock has been rolled away from the well.”

While Jacob was still talking with the men, his cousin Rachel came up with her father's sheep. 10 When Jacob saw her and his uncle's sheep, he rolled the rock away and watered the sheep. 11 He then kissed Rachel and started crying because he was so happy. 12 He told her that he was the son of her aunt Rebekah, and she ran and told her father about him.

13 As soon as Laban heard the news, he ran out to meet Jacob. He hugged and kissed him and brought him to his home, where Jacob told him everything that had happened. 14 Laban said, “You are my nephew, and you are like one of my own family.”

Jacob Marries Leah and Rachel

After Jacob had been there for a month, 15 Laban said to him, “You shouldn't have to work without pay, just because you are a relative of mine. What do you want me to give you?”

16-17 Laban had two daughters. Leah was older than Rachel, but her eyes didn't sparkle,[i] while Rachel was beautiful and had a good figure. 18 Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he answered, “If you will let me marry Rachel, I'll work seven years for you.”

19 Laban replied, “It's better for me to let you marry Rachel than for someone else to have her. So stay and work for me.” 20 Jacob worked seven years for Laban, but the time seemed like only a few days, because he loved Rachel so much.

21 Jacob said to Laban, “The time is up, and I want to marry Rachel now!” 22 So Laban gave a big feast and invited all their neighbors. 23 But that evening he brought Leah to Jacob, who married her and spent the night with her. 24 Laban also gave Zilpah to Leah as her servant woman.

25 The next morning Jacob found out that he had married Leah, and he asked Laban, “Why did you do this to me? Didn't I work to get Rachel? Why did you trick me?”

26 Laban replied, “In our country the older daughter must get married first. 27 After you spend this week[j] with Leah, you may also marry Rachel. But you will have to work for me another seven years.”

28-30 At the end of the week of celebration, Laban let Jacob marry Rachel, and he gave her his servant woman Bilhah. Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, but he had to work another seven years for Laban.

31 The Lord knew that Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah, and so he gave children to Leah, but not to Rachel. 32 Leah gave birth to a son and named him Reuben.[k] Then she said, “The Lord has taken away my sorrow. Now my husband will love me more than he does Rachel.” 33 She had a second son and named him Simeon,[l] because she said, “The Lord has heard that my husband doesn't love me.” 34 When Leah's third son was born, she said, “Now my husband will hold me close.” So this son was named Levi.[m] 35 She had one more son and named him Judah,[n] because she said, “I'll praise the Lord!”


  1. 27.36 Jacob: In Hebrew “Jacob” sounds like “cheat.”
  2. 27.45 lose … day: Esau would be hunted down as a murderer if he killed Jacob, and so Rebekah would lose both of her sons.
  3. 28.2 northern Syria: See the note at 24.10.
  4. 28.6 northern Syria: See the note at 24.10.
  5. 28.9 Nebaioth: Ishmael's oldest son (see 25.13).
  6. 28.13 the ladder: Or “Jacob” or “the stairway.”
  7. 28.14 Your family … people: Or “All people will ask me to bless them as I have blessed your family.”
  8. 28.19 Bethel: In Hebrew “Bethel” means “House of God.”
  9. 29.16,17 but her eyes didn't sparkle: Or “and her eyes sparkled.”
  10. 29.27 this week: The wedding feast lasted for seven days (see Judges 14.12,17).
  11. 29.32 Reuben: In Hebrew “Reuben” means, “Look, a son!”
  12. 29.33 Simeon: In Hebrew “Simeon” sounds like “someone who hears.”
  13. 29.34 hold me close … Levi: In Hebrew “Levi” sounds like “hold (someone) close.”
  14. 29.35 Judah: In Hebrew “Judah” sounds like “praise.”

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