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Friday, August 16 2013
Genesis 27: Esau's Blessing Taken By Jacob
"Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing"
The animosity between Jacob and Esau had begun before they were born ("And the children struggled together within her," Genesis 25:22 KJV). As the firstborn, everything was Esau's to lose - and he did, beginning with the birthright (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Birthright). The tension between Jacob and Esau extended to their parents; "25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob" (Genesis 25:28 KJV).
There remained the matter of the blessing, a formal transfer of family responsibility (it wasn't simply a matter of favoritism, although it often was made that way), usually, to the firstborn son. When Isaac realized that he could no longer continue, he made ready "that my soul may bless thee before I die."
"27:1 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.
As stated in the Scriptures, Rebekah favored Jacob, so she made a plan to have the blessing given to Jacob. Again, it wasn't simply a matter of favoritism; Rebekah's own well-being and security was at stake in the choice of who would succeed their father as the leader of the family. Although Isaac was suspicious, he unknowingly went along with the ruse.
"27:5 And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it. 27:6 And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, 27:7 Bring me venison, and make me savoury meat, that I may eat, and bless thee before the LORD before my death. 27:8 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. 27:9 Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savoury meat for thy father, such as he loveth: 27:10 And thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, and that he may bless thee before his death.
Esau returned not long after the deed was done. Isaac refused to change what had happened, even after he knew that he had been deceived.
"27:30 And 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. 27:31 And 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.
Having then lost both the blessing and the birthright to Jacob, Esau began threatening to recover the blessing and birthright, after Isaac's death, by killing Jacob. While some have interpreted this to mean that Esau was simply going to murder Jacob at a time when he would not have to face his father for having done so, such an act of murder would have gained Esau nothing and lost him everything that he did have - his life and the property that he did own. If Esau was thinking (which he was, because he had the self-control to wait until the advantageous time), it was a logical and legal course of action. If he found a way to provoke a fight with Jacob, and exercised his right to self defense, the blessing and the birthright would revert automatically and legally to him - provided that Isaac was also no longer among the living, which is what Esau had said that he was waiting for i.e. "The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob." Rebekah heard of the plan however, and quickly made arrangements for Jacob to seek refuge with her brother Laban in Syria.
"27:41 And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
Fact Finder: Nearly all (including Judah) of the Israelite patriarchs were born in Syria while Jacob lived with Laban (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria). What language of that place was also the primary language of the Messiah centuries later?
This Day In History, August 16
30 BC: Marcus Atonius, more popularly known today as Mark Antony, died at age 52. He was a Roman military and political leader, an associate of Julius Caesar, and lover and ally of Cleopatra (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids).
1513: English and German forces under Henry VIII defeated the French at Guinegate, in what was called the Battle of the Spurs.
1777: France declared bankruptcy.
1812: During the War of 1812 (1812-1814), British General Isaac Brock, together with native allies, attacked and captured Detroit along with U.S. General William Hull and his army. Hull, with more than 2,000 men, had retired to Fort Detroit after a failed U.S. invasion of Upper Canada (today known as Ontario). Brock was knighted for the action, however news of the award did not reach Canada until after Brock's death at the Battle of Queenston Heights in October 1812.
1868: A magnitude 8.5 earthquake in the Peru-Chile Trench in the Pacific produced a tsunami that struck the coast of Peru and Chile, killing approximately 70,000 people.
1870: The Battle of Mars-la-Tour during the Franco-Prussian War ended with a Prussian victory.
1896: Gold was discovered in Rabbit Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River, near the present site of Dawson, Canada. It set off what is often described as the greatest gold rush in human history.
1906: A powerful earthquake struck Valparaíso, Chile, killing nearly 4,000 people.
1914: During the First World War (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars), Liege fell to the Germans after fierce Belgian resistance and heavy German casualties. On the same day, the Austrian-born Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion), who a year earlier had been rejected by the Austrian army on medical grounds, volunteered for service in a German regiment and was accepted.
1929: The 1929 "Palestine" (an English rendering of the Biblical Hebrew word "Philistine") riots between Arabs and Jews erupted in the British Mandate (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate). Over 130 Jews and 115 Arabs were killed.
1930: The first British Empire Games were opened, in Hamilton, Ontario.
1945: At the end of the Second World War, Puyi, the last Chinese emperor and ruler of Manchukuo, was captured by Soviet troops.
1949: After 45 years of burial in Vienna, the body of Theodor Herzl was taken to Israel, according to his request that the Jewish people move him there after the creation of the State of Israel. He was buried on a ridge facing Jerusalem, bearing the name Mount Herzl (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Zion and Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism; also Israel Never Knew Purim, Hanukkah Or Judaism).
1960: Cyprus became an independent republic, with Archbishop Makarios as its first president.
1964: During the Vietnam civil war (the Vietnamese people were divided into North and South by French colonial forces in the 1950s), a U.S. backed coup overthrew South Vietnam President Duong Van Minh and replaced him with General Nguyen Khanh.
1972: Morocco's King Hassan II escaped unhurt when an airliner carrying him to Rabat was fired on by Moroccan Air Force pilots.
1989: A geomagnetic storm produced by a solar flare affected computers on earth e.g. it caused a shutdown of all trading on Toronto's stock exchange.
2010: China surpassed Japan as the World's second-largest economy.