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Wednesday, September 12 2018
A Bible Journey, 27: The Blessing And Birthright From Esau To Jacob
"Thy brother came with subtilty, and hath taken away thy blessing"
The strife between Esau and Jacob began even as they were unborn ("And the children struggled together within her," Genesis 25:22 KJV). As the actual firstborn, everything was Esau's to keep, or to lose, beginning with the birthright (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Birthright). The competition between Jacob and Esau originated, from conception growing to children, from their parents; "25:28 And Isaac loved Esau, because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob" (Genesis 25:28 KJV).
After the matter of the birthright, there still remained the situation with 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.
Rebekah blatantly 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 were also 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 soon returned and discovered what happened. Isaac refused to change anything, 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
This Day In History, September 12
490 BC: The Battle of Marathon. Athenians defeated the second Persian invasion of Greece (see also Send In The Marines) at the Greek town of Marathon (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Babylon and Persia and A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids).
1309: The First Siege of Gibraltar began during the Spanish Reconquista; the forces of the Kingdom of Castile against the Emirate of Granada produced a Castilian victory.
1609: English explorer Henry Hudson, while employed by the Netherlands, discovered a river in eastern North America that would later be named after him - the Hudson River. New York City was originally named New Amsterdam by its Dutch founders.
Canada's vast Hudson Bay is named after Henry Hudson from his exploration of it.
1683: Austrian and Polish forces took Vienna, Austria, back from the Ottomans after the Battle of Kahlenberg (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1683: Vienna was retaken from the Ottomans.
1722: The Treaty of St. Petersburg ended the Russo-Persian War.
1758: French astronomer Charles Messier began his Messier Catalog of deep-sky objects with the Crab Nebula - the remnants of a supernova explosion that was first observed by Chinese astronomers in 1054.
1848: Switzerland adopted a new constitution under which it became a federal republic.
1878: The obelisk known as Cleopatra's Needle, originally cut from the quarries of Aswan in about 1475 B.C., was erected in London (see also The Cleopatra Connection). The Washington Monument was designed identical to the same ancient phallic symbol from Egypt.
1914: During the First World War (1914-1918), the First Battle of the Aisne in France began. It lasted 17 days. British and French forces battled the Germans to a stalemate; static trench warfare set in on the Aisne and lasted for the next 18 months (see The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars).
1934: The Baltic Entente, a mutual defense pact by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, was signed. Intended primarily against Nazi Germany which had replaced the Soviet Union as the greatest (perceived) threat against them.
1938: Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany annexed Czech Sudetenland (see also The Terrorist Attack That Enabled Hitler To Become A Dictator).
1962: In a lead-up to his political face-saving "Cuban Missile Crisis" (after the failed CIA "Bay of Pigs" attempted invasion of Cuba), U.S. President Kennedy held a news conference and announced that the U.S. would not tolerate any Soviet base in the western hemisphere (while at the same time the U.S. itself had dozens of offensive bases in the eastern hemisphere, some right on the Russian border, as is still the case today).
Militarily, Russian missiles in Cuba actually would have been no greater threat to the U.S. than long-range ballistic missiles launched from Russia (which to this day cannot be stopped - no effective defense has yet been developed that is capable of stopping ballistic missiles) or from missiles and cruise missiles launched by Russian submarines positioned near the U.S. east and west coasts, much closer than Cuba, as is still the case today. The "Cuban Missile Crisis," that could have killed millions of people all around the world, was about little more than one man's domestic U.S. politics (see also Who Would Throw A Nuclear Boomerang?).
1988: Hurricane Gilbert inflicted heavy damage on Jamaica before turning toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula where it caused an estimated $5 billion in damage (see also The Origin Of Hurricanes, Cyclones and Typhoons).
1972: Idi Amin, dictator of Uganda, sent a cable to the United Nations Secretary General to announce that since no statue of Hitler had been erected in Germany, he proposed to set one up in Uganda.
1974: Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was deposed by a military coup, ending a reign of 58 years.
1990: Agreements were signed by Britain, the U.S., France, Russia, and East and West Germany that permitted the re-unification of Germany - a key event in European history, and Bible prophecy (see The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
2003: In Fallujah, U.S. forces shot and killed eight Iraqi police officers in a "friendly fire" incident. Over the course of the first ten years of the conflict that began when George W. Bush ordered the invasion, over 1 million Iraqi people were killed, wounded or maimed, while the country was reduced to rubble and chaos. Bush's justification for the destruction, Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction," were never found, and were later declared to have never existed. Despite a persistent myth, Iraq also had no connection to the 9-11 terrorist attacks; captured documents proved that Saddam Hussein actually viewed Al-Qaeda, the terrorist Muslim organization founded by Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, as a threat to Iraq.