1 When Isaac had grown old, and his eyes were so weak that he could no longer see, he summoned his elder son Esau. ‘Son!’ he said, and Esau replied, ‘Here I am.’
2 He then said, ‘Look, I am old and do not know when I may die.
3 Now take your weapons, your quiver and bow; go out into the country and hunt me some game.
4 Make me the kind of appetising dish I like and bring it to me to eat and I shall give you my special blessing before I die.’
5 Rebekah was listening while Isaac was talking to his son Esau. So when Esau went into the country to hunt game for his father,
6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, ‘I have just heard your father saying to your brother Esau,
7 “Bring me some game and make an appetising dish for me to eat and then I shall bless you in Yahweh’s presence before I die.”
8 Now, son, listen to me and do as I tell you.
9 Go to the flock and bring me back two good kids, so that I can make the kind of special dish your father likes.
10 Then take it to your father for him to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies.’
11 Jacob said to his mother Rebekah, ‘Look, my brother Esau is hairy, while I am smooth-skinned.
12 If my father happens to touch me, he will see I am cheating him, and I shall bring a curse down on myself instead of a blessing.’
13 But his mother replied, ‘On me be the curse, my son! Just listen to me; go and fetch me the kids.’
14 So he went to fetch them and brought them to his mother, and she made the kind of special dish his father liked.
15 Rebekah took her elder son Esau’s best clothes, which she had at home, and dressed her younger son Jacob in them,
16 covering his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skins of the kids.
17 She then handed the special dish and the bread she had made to her son Jacob.
18 He went to his father and said, ‘Father!’ ‘Yes?’ he replied. ‘Which of my sons are you?’
19 Jacob said to his father, ‘I am Esau your first-born; I have done as you told me. Please sit up and eat some of the game I have brought and then give me your soul’s blessing.’
20 Isaac said to his son, ‘Son, how did you succeed so quickly?’ He replied, ‘Because Yahweh your God made things go well for me.’
21 Isaac said to Jacob, ‘Come closer, son, so that I can feel you and be sure whether you really are my son Esau or not.’
22 Jacob went closer to his father Isaac, who felt him and said, ‘The voice is Jacob’s voice but the arms are the arms of Esau!’
23 He did not recognise him since his arms were hairy like his brother Esau’s, and so he blessed him.
24 He said, ‘Are you really my son Esau?’ And he replied, ‘I am.’
25 Isaac said, ‘Serve it to me, so that I can eat my son’s game and give you my special blessing.’ He served it to him and he ate; he offered him wine, and he drank.
26 His father Isaac said to him, ‘Come closer, and kiss me, son.’
27 He went closer and kissed his father, who sniffed the smell of his clothes. Then he blessed him, saying: Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a fertile field which Yahweh has blessed.
28 May God give you dew from heaven, and the richness of the earth, abundance of grain and wine!
29 Let peoples serve you and nations bow low before you! Be master of your brothers; let your mother’s other sons bow low before you! Accursed be whoever curses you and blessed be whoever blesses you!
30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and just as Jacob was leaving his father Isaac, his brother Esau returned from hunting.
31 He too made an appetising dish and brought it to his father, ‘Father, please eat some of your son’s game and then give me your special blessing.’
32 His father Isaac asked, ‘Who are you?’ ‘I am your first-born son, Esau,’ he replied.
33 At this Isaac was seized with a violent trembling and said, ‘Who was it, then, that went hunting and brought me the game? I finished eating it just before you came; I blessed him, and now blessed he will remain!’
34 On hearing his father’s words, Esau cried out loudly and bitterly and said to his father, ‘Father, bless me too!’
35 But he replied, ‘Your brother came by fraud and took your blessing.’
36 Esau said, ‘His name should be Jacob right enough, for he has now supplanted me twice. First he took my birthright, and look, now he has gone and taken my blessing! But’, he added, ‘have you not kept a blessing for me?’
37 Isaac replied to Esau, ‘I have already made him your master; I have given him all his brothers as servants, I have given him grain and wine to sustain him. So what can I do for you, son?’
38 Esau said to his father, ‘Can you bless only once, father? Father, bless me too.’ Isaac remained silent, and Esau began to weep aloud.
39 Then his father Isaac spoke again and said: ‘Far from the richness of the earth and the dew of heaven above, your home will be.
40 By your sword you will live, and your brother will you serve. But when you win your freedom, you will shake his yoke off your neck.’
41 Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him, and Esau said to himself, ‘The time to mourn for my father willsoon be here. Then I shall kill my brother Jacob.’
42 When the words of Esau, her elder son, were repeated to Rebekah, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, ‘Look, your brother Esau means to take revenge and kill you.
43 Now, son, listen to me; go at once and take refuge with my brother Laban in Haran.
44 Stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury cools,
45 until your brother’s anger is diverted from you and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I shall send someone to bring you back. I do not want to lose you both on one day!’
46 Rebekah said to Isaac, ‘The Hittite women sicken me to death. If Jacob were to marry a Hittite woman like these, one of the local women, what would there be left in life for me?’
1 So Isaac summoned Jacob and blessed him; and he gave him this order: ‘You are not to marry any of the Canaanite women.
2 Go off to Paddan-Aram, the home of Bethuel your mother’s father, and there choose a wife for yourself from the daughters of Labanyour mother’s brother.
3 May El Shaddai bless you; may he make you fruitful and make you multiply so that you become a group of nations.
4 May he grant you the blessing of Abraham, you and your descendants after you, so that one day you may own the country where you are now living as a stranger — which God gave to Abraham.’
5 Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and Jacob went to Paddan-Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramaean and brother of Rebekah the mother of Jacob and Esau.
6 When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-Aram to choose a wife there, and that in blessing him he had given him this order: ‘You are not to choose a wife from the Canaanite women,’
7 and that, in obedience to his father and mother, Jacob had gone to Paddan-Aram,
8 Esau then realised how much his father Isaac disapproved of the Canaanite women.
9 So Esau went to Ishmael and chose for a wife, in addition to the wives he had, Mahalath daughter of Abraham’s son Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth.
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran.
11 When he had reached a certain place, he stopped there for the night, since the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of that place, he made it his pillow and lay down where he was.
12 He had a dream: there was a ladder, planted on the ground with its top reaching to heaven; and God’s angels were going up and down on it.
13 And there was Yahweh, standing beside him and saying, ‘I, Yahweh, am the God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. The ground on which you are lying I shall give to you and your descendants.
14 Your descendants will be as plentiful as the dust on the ground; you will spread out to west and east, to north and south, and all clans on earth will bless themselves by you and your descendants.
15 Be sure, I am with you; I shall keep you safe wherever you go, and bring you back to this country, for I shall never desert you until I have done what I have promised you.’
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Truly, Yahweh is in this place and I did not know!’
17 He was afraid and said, ‘How awe-inspiring this place is! This is nothing less than the abode of God, and this is the gate of heaven!’
18 Early next morning, Jacob took the stone he had used for his pillow, and set it up as a pillar, pouring oil over the top of it.
19 He named the place Bethel, but before that the town had been called Luz.
20 Jacob then made this vow, ‘If God remains with me and keeps me safe on this journey I am making, if he gives me food to eat and clothes to wear,
21 and if I come home safe to my father’s home, then Yahweh shall be my God.
22 This stone I have set up as a pillar is to be a house of God, and I shall faithfully pay you a tenth part of everything you give me.’
1 My breathing is growing weaker and the gravediggers are gathering for me.
2 Scoffers are my only companions, their harshness haunts my nights.
3 So you must go bail for me to yourself, for which of them cares to clap his hand on mine?
4 For you have shut their hearts to reason, hence not a hand is lifted.
5 Just so is a man who invites his friends to share his property while the eyes of his own children languish.
6 I have become a byword among foreigners, and a creature on whose face to spit,
7 since I am nearly blind with grief and my limbs are reduced to a shadow.
8 Any honest person is appalled at the sight, the innocent is indignant at the sinner.
9 Anyone upright grows stronger step by step: and anyone whose hands are clean grows ever in vigour!
10 Come on then, all of you, back to the attack! I shall not find one wise man among you!
11 My days are over, so are my plans, my heart-strings are broken;
12 yet they would have me believe that night is day, that light to dispel the darkness is at hand,
13 when all I want, in fact, is to dwell in Sheol and in that darkness there to make my bed!
14 To the tomb, I cry, ‘You are my father!’ — to the worm, ‘You are my mother-you, my sister!’
15 Where then is my hope? Who can see any happiness for me?
16 unless they come down to Sheol with me, all of us sinking into the dust together?
1 Bildad of Shuah spoke next. He said:
2 What prevents you others from saying something? Think — for it is our turn to speak!
3 Why do you regard us as animals, considering us no more than brutes?
4 Tear yourself to pieces if you will, but the world, for all your rage, will not turn to desert, the rocks will not shift from their places.
5 The light of the wicked must certainly be put out, the lamp that gives him light cease to shine.
6 In his tent the light is dimmed, the lamp that shone on him is snuffed.
7 His vigorous stride loses its power, his own designs falter.
8 For into the net his own feet carry him, he walks into the snares.
9 A spring grips him by the heel, a trap snaps shut, and he is caught.
10 Hidden in the ground is a snare to catch him, pitfalls lie across his path.
11 Terrors threaten him from all sides following him step by step.
12 Hunger becomes his companion, by his side Disaster stands.
13 Disease devours his skin, Death’s First-Born gnaws his limbs.
14 He will be torn from the shelter of his tent, and you will drag him to the King of Terrors.
15 You can live in the tent, since it is no longer his, and brimstone will be scattered on his sheepfold.
16 Below, his roots dry out and his branches are blasted above.
17 His memory fades from the land, his name is forgotten in the countryside.
18 Driven from the light into the darkness, he is banished from the world,
19 without issue or posterity among his own people or a single survivor where he used to live.
20 His end appals the west and fills the east with terror.
21 Such indeed is the fate of the places where wickedness dwells — the home of everyone who knows not God.
Proverbs 3 [1-4]
1 My child, do not forget my teaching, let your heart keep my principles,
2 since they will increase your length of days, your years of life and your well-being.
3 Let faithful love and constancy never leave you: tie them round your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Thus you will find favour and success in the sight of God and of people.
Thoughts and Reflection
Jacob is very crafty. Not only did he take the birthright that belonged to Esau, he also had his father give him the blessing as well. Even though Isaac is upset that he gave his blessing, that was intended for Esau to Jacob, it cannot be undone. It was a covenant just like one can not undo their own baptism.
There is also a family dynamic her as well. Esau was loved more by Isaac while Jacob was more loved by Rebekah. This complicates their interpersonal relationships among themselves in their family. This is nothing new. There are always family dynamics that complicate relationships within them.
How can this be overcome? What strategies have you used if you’ve seen this dynamic in your own families?
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!