Genesis 27:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 27:1, NIV: "When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he called for Esau his older son and said to him, 'My son.' 'Here I am,' he answered."

Genesis 27:1, ESV: "When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.”"

Genesis 27:1, KJV: "And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I."

Genesis 27:1, NASB: "Now it came about, when Isaac was old and his eyes were too dim to see, that he called his older son Esau and said to him, 'My son.' And he said to him, 'Here I am.'"

Genesis 27:1, NLT: "One day when Isaac was old and turning blind, he called for Esau, his older son, and said, 'My son.' 'Yes, Father?' Esau replied."

Genesis 27:1, CSB: "When Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he could not see, he called his older son Esau and said to him, "My son." And he answered, "Here I am.""

What does Genesis 27:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Several things about this verse and those that follow may be surprising to modern readers. First, it was apparently customary for fathers, near the end of their lives, to gather all of their children to explain their wishes and to pass on their property. In a time before written wills, and when families might include multiple wives and many children, this makes sense. Here, though, Isaac only calls one of his sons, Esau, and not Esau's twin brother, Jacob.

It is also surprising because of what we were told at the end of the previous chapter about Esau. His marriages to local Canaanite women had made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah. Why would Isaac now be so eager to pass on his blessing to Esau alone?

The blatant favoritism in the family certainly comes into play (Genesis 25:28). Isaac probably assumes that if Rebekah or Jacob know about what's about to happen, they will interfere. Isaac's near-blindness will play an important role in the tragically comic scenes to follow.