Tuesday, October 18, 2005

As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated (Gen 27)

Ah, I have a wireless connection and a lull in the meeting that may not last, I'll pop in here for a moment to deal with a chapter I am surprised to see having so few SAB notes. There does seem to be an affinity for pointing out the personal foibles of Biblical characters in the SAB, and this is a prime example for many of that sort of thing, although not all Bible readers see this story the same way.

Short synopsis: Isaac gets old, decides he's going to bless Esau, Rebekah tells Jacob and encourages him to trick his father into giving the blessing to him instead.

Jacob, one may note, never objects because it might be wrong to deceive his father, but only because he's not quite convinced he can pull it off. Either Jacob has no conscience about the matter, or perhaps he might think he's doing the right thing. Note that back in chapter 25, both before and after Jacob is born, there is indication that Jacob is destined to get the best of his brother. I'm not sure whether that so much makes it right for him to trick his father, nor whether it had to be that way for God's plan to work out, but there it is. Furthermore, I have heard it said that aside from the morality of Jacob's deception, Isaac was doing the wrong thing to base his decision of which son to bless based on his own preference rather than God's. Add to that the fact that Isaac obviously knows something is up in verse 22, and is hesitant. (Also in verse 35, he figures it out awfully quickly.) Perhaps Isaac knows what's right, and what's God's will, but... I don't know, this is an odd story, and I almost wish the SAB had more to say so I could respond more directly.

Both Jacob and Esau seem to believe they are the rightful owners of this blessing. Jacob's response to hearing it would go to his brother is to work to set things right. Esau's response is to plot to kill Jacob. This, along with the story at the end of chapter 25 shows the difference in the character of these brothers. Jacob may be tricky, but he isn't a violent or vengeful man. Maybe it's a self-fulfilling prophecy that Esau turns out so bad, but he is what he is in the end.

So, in a similar turn of events to his father, Jacob goes away to his cousins' land to find a wife, and out of the reach of his brother.

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