Genesis 27:40 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 27:40, NIV: "You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother. But when you grow restless, you will throw his yoke from off your neck.'"

Genesis 27:40, ESV: "By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck.”"

Genesis 27:40, KJV: "And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck."

Genesis 27:40, NASB: "And by your sword you shall live, And you shall serve your brother; But it shall come about when you become restless, That you will break his yoke from your neck.'"

Genesis 27:40, NLT: "You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.'"

Genesis 27:40, CSB: "You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you rebel, you will break his yoke from your neck."

What does Genesis 27:40 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In the previous verse, Isaac began a response to Esau's request for a blessing. Only, it doesn't sound like a blessing. Isaac's original intent was to bless his older son, Esau, but the plan was overheard by the boy's mother, Rebekah (Genesis 27:1–6). She and Jacob pulled off a scam to impersonate Esau, fooling the elderly and blind Isaac into blessing the wrong son (Genesis 27:15–7). Both mother and father are motivated by blatant favoritism (Genesis 25:28). In Isaac's case, this meant that his blessing bestowed almost total dominance and success of one son over the other (Genesis 27:27–29). While Esau hopes to gain something—anything—from his father, Isaac has left nothing positive to grant now that he has been fooled.

Instead, Isaac has described the life of a nomad wandering the desolate places of the earth away from the dew of heaven and the fat of the land. Isaac continues here by predicting that Esau will live by the sword and serve his brother. One day, though, he will grow restless and break free of Jacob's rule.

The offspring of Jacob and Esau will clearly fulfill these prophesies. Esau's descendants became the Edomites, a violent and warring people who did in fact serve Israel under David's rule only to break free and take their revenge (2 Kings 8:20–22). The eventual doom of these people is predicted in the brief book of Obadiah.