Observe here, I. The art and assurance with which Jacob managed this intrigue. Who would have thought that this plain man could have played his part so well in a design of this nature? His mother having put him in the way of it, and encouraged him in it, he dexterously applied himself to those methods which he had never accustomed himself to, but had always conceived an abhorrence of. Note, Lying is soon learnt. The psalmist speaks of those who, as soon as they are born, speak lies, Ps. 58:3; Jer. 9:5. I wonder how honest Jacob could so readily turn his tongue to say (Gen. 27:19), I am Esau thy first-born; nor do I see how the endeavour of some to bring him off with that equivocation, I am made thy first-born, namely by purchase, does him any service; for when his father asked him (Gen. 27:24), Art thou my very son Esau? he said, I am. How could he say, I have done as thou badest me, when he had received no command from his father, but was doing as his mother bade him? How could he say, Eat of my venison, when he knew it came, not from the field, but from the fold? But especially I wonder how he could have the assurance to father it upon God, and to use his name in the cheat (Gen. 27:20): The Lord thy God brought it to me. Isa. this Jacob? Isa. this Israel indeed, without guile? It is certainly written, not for our imitation, but for our admonition. Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. Good men have sometimes failed in the exercise of those graces for which they have been most eminent.
II. The success of this management. Jacob with some difficulty gained his point, and obtained the blessing.
1. Isaac was at first dissatisfied, and would have discovered the fraud if he could have trusted his own ears; for the voice was Jacob’s voice, Gen. 27:22. Providence has ordered a strange variety of voices as well as faces, which is also of use to prevent our being imposed upon; and the voice is a thing not easily disguised nor counterfeited. This may be alluded to to illustrate the character of a hypocrite. His voice is Jacob’s voice, but his hands are Esau’s. He speaks the language of a saint, but does the works of a sinner; but the judgment will be, as here, by the hands.
2. At length he yielded to the power of the cheat, because the hands were hairy (Gen. 27:23), not considering how easy it was to counterfeit that circumstance; and now Jacob carries it on dexterously, sets his venison before his father, and waits at table very officiously, till dinner is done, and the blessing comes to be pronounced in the close of this solemn feast. That which in some small degree extenuates the crime of Rebekah and Jacob is that the fraud was intended, not so much to hasten the fulfilling, as to prevent the thwarting, of the oracle of God: the blessing was just going to be put upon the wrong head, and they thought it was time to bestir themselves. Now let us see how Isaac gave Jacob his blessing, Gen. 27:26-29. (1.) He embraced him, in token of a particular affection to him. Those that are blessed of God are kissed with the kisses of his mouth, and they do, by love and loyalty, kiss the Son, Ps. 2:12. (2.) He praised him. He smelt the smell of his raiment, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the Lord hath blessed, that is, like that of the most fragrant flowers and spices. It appeared that God had blessed him, and therefore Isaac would bless him. (3.) He prayed for him, and therein prophesied concerning him. It is the duty of parents to pray for their children, and to bless them in the name of the Lord. And thus, as well as by their baptism, to do what they can to preserve and perpetuate the entail of the covenant in their families. But this was an extraordinary blessing; and Providence so ordered it that Isaac should bestow it upon Jacob ignorantly and by mistake, that it might appear he was beholden to God for it, and not to Isaac. Three things Jacob is here blessed with:—[1.] Plenty (Gen. 27:28), heaven and earth concurring to make him rich. [2.] Power (Gen. 27:29), particularly dominion over his brethren, namely, Esau and his posterity. [3.] Prevalency with God, and a great interest in Heaven: “Cursed by every one that curseth thee and blessed be he that blesseth thee. Let God be a friend to all thy friends, and an enemy to all thy enemies.” More is certainly comprised in this blessing than appears prima facie—at first sight. It must amount to an entail of the promise of the Messiah, and of the church; this was, in the patriarchal dialect, the blessing: something spiritual, doubtless, is included in it. First, That from him should come the Messiah, who should have a sovereign dominion on earth. It was that top-branch of his family which people should serve and nations bow down to. See Num. 24:19; Out of Jacob shall come he that shall have dominion, the star and sceptre, Num. 24:17. Jacob’s dominion over Esau was to be only typical of this, Gen. 49:10. Secondly, That from him should come the church, which should be particularly owned and favoured by Heaven. It was part of the blessing of Abraham, when he was first called to be the father of the faithful Gen. 12:3), I will bless those that bless thee; therefore, when Isaac afterwards confirmed the blessing to Jacob, he called it the blessing of Abraham, Gen. 28:4. Balaam explains this too, Num. 24:9. Note, It is the best and most desirable blessing to stand in relation to Christ and his church, and to be interested in Christ’s power and the church’s favours.
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