Genesis chapter 27

English Standard Version

28May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine. 29Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!” 30As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.” 32His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” 33Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.” 34As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” 35But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” 36Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” 38Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
New International Version

New American Standard Bible

Christian Standard Bible

New Living Translation

King James Version

18And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son? 19And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. 20And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because the LORD thy God brought it to me. 21And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not. 22And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. 23And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him. 24And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am. 25And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank. 26And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. 27And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said, See, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which the LORD hath blessed: 28Therefore God give thee of the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine: 29Let people serve thee, and nations bow down to thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and blessed be he that blesseth thee.
30And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31And he also had made savoury meat, and brought it unto his father, and said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me. 32And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau. 33And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who? where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed. 34And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with a great and exceeding bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. 35And he said, Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing. 36And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me? 37And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do now unto thee, my son? 38And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. 39And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; 40And 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.

What does Genesis chapter 27 mean?

By the end of Genesis 27, Isaac will have handed the family blessing down to his second-born, Jacob. This should seem unusual, since Esau is technically oldest and is entitled to that inheritance. At the start of the chapter, though, Isaac has no intention of doing so. Instead, Isaac sets out to confer the blessing on Esau, the firstborn of the two twins. Isaac is old and blind. He believes himself to be near the end of his life. The time has come to pass the blessing on (Genesis 27:1–4).

When the day comes, Isaac tells Esau to go out into the field to hunt fresh game and to prepare for him a delicious meal. When Esau returns, Isaac will eat the meal and give to Esau the blessing. Esau agrees, which is a far cry from his earlier attitude—an oath, given to Jacob, in a moment of recklessness, to sell his birthright (Genesis 25:29–34).

Isaac's wife Rebekah overhears the exchange between Isaac and Esau (Genesis 27:5). She loves Jacob more than Esau (Genesis 25:28), and she wants him to receive this critical blessing. Before the twins were even born, Rebekah received an oracle from the Lord prophesying that the younger would one day rule over the older (Genesis 25:23). Rebekah decides to step in to help that prophecy along. As was the case with Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar, trying to "help" God's plans usually backfires (Genesis 16:1–5; 21:9–12).

Rebekah compels Jacob to participate in a scheme to deceive Isaac into giving him the blessing by pretending to be Esau. She will prepare the meal Isaac is expecting from Esau. She will dress Jacob in Esau's clothes to make him smell like his brother. She will cover his smooth hands, arms, and neck with goat's skin to make him feel to the touch like hairy Esau. This is an elaborate, very deliberate act of deceit.

Jacob offers one objection about the plan: What if his father catches on and curses him instead of giving him the blessing? It's worth noting that Jacob's concern here is not about whether or not this action is moral; rather, his concern is only about what will happen if he is caught in the lie. Rebekah assures Jacob the curse will fall to her if that happens. She commands him to obey and do what she says. Jacob agrees (Genesis 27:6–13).

When Jacob goes to his blind father with the meal, it seems the plan is doomed from the start. Isaac knows it's too soon for Esau to have returned, and the voice of this man claiming to be Esau sounds like Jacob. Jacob is forced to lie outright to Isaac insisting that he is Esau. This statement—deception about his identity—is something God will turn on Jacob later in his life (Genesis 29:21–26; 32:24–28). Isaac is finally convinced by Jacob's disguised hairy hands and the smell of the fields on his clothes (Genesis 27:14–25).

As the son of Abraham and receiver of the promises of God, Isaac's prayer of blessing carries the weight of certainty. Isaac knows God will bring his blessing to pass. He prays for great wealth in grain and in the fat of the land. He also prays for the one before him to be lord over his brothers and other nations. Finally, Isaac passes on the promise that all who bless or curse this one will receive the same in return (Genesis 27:26–29).

Moments after Jacob leaves with these blessings from Isaac, Esau returns with his own meal. Shocked and shaking with anger, Isaac realizes he has been duped by Jacob. Still, he says the blessing will stand. Jacob will be blessed (Genesis 27:30–35).

Esau is distraught. He recalls the time Jacob "cheated" him out of the birthright for a bowl of stew and mocks the meaning of Jacob's name. Ya'aqob literally means "heel grabber" or "usurper." In more casual understanding, the name can be understood as "he lies," or "cheater." This is a somewhat ironic moment, since Esau's oath to sell the birthright should have meant allowing Jacob to take the blessing in the first place. Esau begs his father for some kind of blessing of his own (Genesis 27:36–38).

That blessing, though, reads more like a curse. Esau and his descendants will be wanderers, living away from moisture and the fat of the land. They will live by the sword and only at some point in the future break free from the rule of his brother (Genesis 27:39–40). The sad end of this family strife, lived out through the nations of Israel and Edom, is summarized in the book of Obadiah.

Esau, heartbroken and bitter, falls into a dark rage, committing himself to murder Jacob after Isaac dies. Rebekah learns of his plan and urges Jacob to obey her once more by running away to live with her brother Laban in Mesopotamia. She then urges Isaac to send Jacob away to find a wife from among her own people (Genesis 27:41–46). Her punishment for this fraud is not small; so far as we can tell from Scripture, Rebekah will never see Jacob again (Genesis 35:27; 49:31).
What is the Gospel?
Download the app: