Genesis 27:1-29 Jacob’s Deception CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
When Isaac was 124, he had nearly gone blind. His older brother, Ishmael, had died the year before. So, Isaac decided it was time to “get his house in order,” and pass on the family blessing to his oldest heir, Esau. To commemorate the occasion, he would eat his favorite meal (25: 28), venison prepared by the son he would bless. When he announced his intention and desire to Esau, Rebekah overheard him and quickly schemed to trick her husband into blessing Jacob, her favorite son, instead (25: 28).
It is possible to calculate Isaac’s age at the time of this blessing. We know that Isaac was 60 years old when Jacob was born (Genesis 25: 26). So, if we can figure out Jacob’s age at the time of the blessing, we can figure out Isaac’s age then, too.
According to Genesis 47: 9, Jacob was 130 years old when he stood before Pharaoh in Egypt. At this time, Joseph was 39 years old (30 years old when he came out of prison, Genesis 41:46, plus the 7 years of plenty, Genesis 41:47, plus the first 2 years of famine, Genesis 45:11). Therefore, Jacob was 91 years old when Joseph was born.
Joseph was born after Jacob had been working for Laban for 14 years (Genesis 30:35). Jacob started working for Laban as soon as he ran from home. So, if we subtract the 14 years with Laban from Jacob’s age when Joseph was born, we find that Jacob was 77 years old when Isaac blessed him. Therefore, Isaac was 137 years old when he blessed Jacob (60 years old at Jacob’s birth plus Jacob’s age of 77). Isaac did not die until he was 180 years old (Genesis 35: 28-29). Thus, he gave this blessing 43 years before his death.
Isaac was urgent to give this blessing to his son, not only because he was going blind, but also because his older brother, Ishmael, had died when he was 137 years old (Genesis 25: 17). Ishmael was 14 years older than Isaac (Genesis 17:24-25; 21:5), which means that Isaac was 123 years old when Ishmael died. So, Isaac gave this blessing when he was the same age that Ishmael was at his death.
Rebekah cooked the meal that Isaac loved using kids instead of deer, hoping Esau would be delayed by the hunt, thus giving time for Jacob to steal the blessing before Esau could prepare his meal. To cover Jacob’s smooth skin (verse 11), she put the skins of the kids on his hands and neck (verse 16). To cover his smell, she dressed Jacob in Esau’s clothing (verse 15).
Jacob was afraid Isaac would figure him out and he would “seem to him as a deceiver,” (verse 12). There was no “seeming” to it. Isaac already knew that Jacob was a deceiver, for that was his name (verse 36).
Rebekah’s response to Jacob’s fear of being cursed (verse 13) matches the Jews’ response to Pilate (Matthew 27: 25). The results were terrible for both Rebekah and the Jews. Following the deception, Jacob was forced to run for his life and Rebekah was never able to see her favorite son again.
Isaac used every sense that he had to verify that he was blessing Esau. He couldn’t see but he obviously suspected from the very start that something was wrong. You can tell this by his doubts. Below are the doubts that he had and the corresponding lies that Jacob told in order to deceive his father.
Isaac blessed Jacob with “the dew of heaven,” verse 28. He also blessed him with national and familial supremacy (Isaiah 60: 12, Genesis 25: 23). Then he passed on the blessing that God had given to Abraham in Genesis 12:3, “cursed be everyone that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.”
What Goes Around Comes Around
Jacob lied about his name, pretending to be Isaac’s firstborn son, and deceived him with goat’s meat and goat’s skin. Later, Laban deceived Jacob with his firstborn daughter (Genesis 29: 26) and Jacob’s sons deceived him with goat’s blood (Genesis 37:31-33). Before the angel would bless Jacob, following their wrestling match, the angel wanted an honest answer from Jacob concerning his name (Genesis 32:27). He couldn’t lie about who he was this time.