Notes & Commentary:
Old: 137 years, when falling sickly and blind, at least for a time, he wished to bless Esau, who was 77 years old.
Ver. 4. That,
&c. He does not mean, that the meat would induce him to give his blessing. Neither can we suppose, that he intended to
pervert the order of God, in making the younger son subject to the elder, if he was informed by Rebecca, of that disposition
of providence. (Calmet) --- But of this he seems to have been ignorant, ver. 29, 35. (Worthington)
Ver. 7. In
the sight of the Lord, answers to my soul, &c., ver. 4. I will bless thee with all earnestness and sincerity.
Ver. 12. Mocked
him, taking advantage of his blindness and old age. (Menochius)
Ver. 13. This
curse. Rebecca had too much confidence in God's promises, to think that he would suffer them to be ineffectual. Hence,
Onkelos makes her say, "I have learnt by revelation, that thou wilt receive no curse, but only blessing." The sequel shewed,
that she was directed by God in this delicate business. (Theodoret q. 78.) (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Very
good. Hebrew desirable, kept among perfumes, ver. 27. Such, the Hebrews say, were used by the first-born, when
they offered sacrifice. (St. Jerome, q. Hebrews.)
Ver. 19. I
am Esau, thy first-born. St. Augustine, (L. Contra Mendacium, c. x.) treating at large upon this place, excuseth
Jacob from a lie, because this whole passage was mysterious, as relating to the preference which was afterwards to be given
to the Gentiles before the carnal Jews, which Jacob by prophetic light might understand. So far is certain, that the first
birth-right, both by divine election, and by Esau's free cession, belonged to Jacob: so that if there were any lie in the
case, it could be no more than an officious and venial one. (Challoner) --- Ignorance might also excuse them from any sin;
as many good and learned men have thought an officious lie to be lawful. (St. Chrysostom, hom. 52; Origen; Bonfrere.) And
even if we allow that they did wrong; the Scripture relates, but does not sanction what they did, Let him that thinks himself
to stand, take heed, lest he fall, 1 Corinthians x. 12. (Calmet) --- As our Saviour says of St. John the Baptist, He
is Elias, Matthew xi, so, Jacob says, I am Esau, not in person , but in right of the first-born. (Worthington)
Ver. 22. Of
Esau. Thus, too often our voice contradicts our hands or actions! (Haydock)
Ver. 27. Plentiful.
A word retained by the Samaritan and Septuagint though lost in the Hebrew copies. (Grotius.) --- Hath blessed with
abundance of fruit and odoriferous herbs; such as had probably been shut up in the drawers with Esau's robes. (Menochius)
Ver. 28. Wine.
"By which Christ gathers together the multitude, in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood." (St. Augustine)
Ver. 29. Worship
thee, with civil respect, (Haydock) as the Idumeans, Philistines and Moabites did, with respect to David, Solomon, and
the Machabees, acknowledging their dominion, though reluctantly. --- With blessing. Thus Rebecca had not given her
son a vain assurance. Isaac prays that God may ever be his protector, and avenge his cause. (Haydock)
Ver. 30. Fear.
Septuagint, "Isaac was wrapt into an ecstasy exceedingly great;" during which God explained to him the meaning of what had
happened, that he might not think of revoking his blessing. (St. Augustine, q. 80.) He permitted Isaac to be in darkness respecting
this affair, that it might be more manifest, that the will of man had no part in preferring Jacob; (St. Chrysostom, hom. 53.)
and that Esau might not direct his rage against his father. (Worthington)
Ver. 33. Be blessed. Thus he confirms what he had
done; and shews that he bore no resentment towards his younger son, nor esteemed himself to be mocked, ver. 12. (Haydock)
Ver. 34. Roared,
through savage fury and envy of his brother. (Eusebius) (Menochius)
Ver. 35. Deceitfully.
Hebrew, slily; directed by wisdom, as the Chaldean has it. St. Chrysostom (de sacerd.) praises the address of Jacob
on this occasion. (Calmet)
Ver. 36. Jacob.
That is, a supplanter. (Challoner) --- My blessing. Both Isaac and Esau speak of this blessing, according to
the dictates of nature. But God had disposed of it otherwise. The profane and cruel manners of Esau rendered him unworthy
of it; and he could not maintain his natural claim, after having freely resigned it even with an oath. He seems to distinguish
the blessing from the birth-right, though one necessarily followed the other. (Haydock)
Ver. 37. Brethren,
or relations; (Menochius) for Isaac had no other children but these two. He never married any other woman but the beautiful
and virtuous Rebecca. (Haydock)
Ver. 39. Moved;
yet not so as to repent of what he had done; for Esau found no place of repentance in his father's breast, although
with tears he had sought it, (Hebrews xii. 17.) desiring to obtain the blessing of the first-born. (Haydock) --- In
the fat, &c. Idumea was a barren country; and hence some would translate the Hebrew, "far from the fat...shall thy
dwelling be; but thou shalt live by the sword." Thus min often means from, as well as for in: my flesh is
changed on account of the want of oil, Psalm cviii. 24. Hebrew, a pinguedine. (Calmet) --- But all the ancient
versions agree with the Vulgate. So that we may say, the blessing of God made those barren regions supply the wants of the
people abundantly; and as the Idumeans were to live by the sword, they would seize the rich habitations of their neighbours,
(Haydock) and thus obtain a country rendered fertile without their labour. (Menochius)
Ver. 40. Thy
brother, in the reign of David, 2 Kings viii. 14, and of the Machabees. (Josephus, Antiquities xiii. 17.) --- Yoke.
When the house of Juda shall rebel against the Lord, in the days of Joram, then the Idumeans shall regain their liberty for
a time; (4 Kings viii. 20.) to be subdued again after 800 years by John Hyrcan, the high priest. (Haydock) --- All the blessing
of Esau, tends to confirm that already given to his brother; so that the apostle seems to have considered it unworthy of notice.
(Calmet) --- Jacob, in the mean time, never asserted his dominion; but still called Esau his lord, (Chap. xxxii. 4.) and behaved
to him with the greatest deference. (Haydock) --- Yet the Idumeans always hated the Jews, and assisted Titus to destroy Jerusalem.
Ver. 41. My
father. He has no regard for this mother. (Menochius) --- Her love for Jacob filled him with greater indignation; and
he resolved to murder him, in order, perhaps, to revenge himself on both. Though this cruel resolution was taken in his
heart, with full deliberation, he was not so careful to conceal his intentions; but his watchful mother discovered it,
and by her prudence, preserved him from committing the external sin: and Jacob from falling a prey to this second Cain.
Ver. 45. Both
my sons. Esau would have forfeited his life for murder, chap. ix. 6. (Haydock) --- Perhaps she might also fear that Jacob,
in his own defence, should, in the very agony of death, give the aggressor a mortal wound; or that Esau, at least, would be
forced to flee his country. Indeed, she considered him already as a lost man, on account of his marriage with the two women
of Chanaan, and his savage manners. (Calmet)
Ver. 46. To
live. Life will be a burden to me. (Menochius) --- She does not mention the principal reason of her desiring Jacob to
go to Haran, for fear of grieving the tender heart of her husband; who, it seems, knew not the temper of Esau so well as she
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Jacob, by his mother's counsel, obtaineth his father's
blessing instead of Esau. And by her is advised to fly to his uncle Laban.
1 Now Isaac was old, *and his eyes were dim, and he could not see: and
he called Esau, his elder son, and said to him: My son? And he answered: Here I am.
2 And his father said to him, Thou seest that I am old, and know not
the day of my death.
3 Take thy arms, thy quiver, and bow, and go abroad; and when thou hast
taken something by hunting,
4 Make me savoury meat thereof, as thou knowest I like, and bring it
that I may eat: and my soul may bless thee, before I die.
5 And when Rebecca had heard this, and he was gone into the field to
fulfil his father's commandment,
6 She said to her son Jacob: I heard thy father talking with Esau, thy
brother, and saying to him:
7 Bring me of thy hunting, and make me meats that I may eat, and bless
thee in the sight of the Lord, before I die.
8 Now therefore, my son, follow my counsel:
9 And go thy way to the flock, bring me two kids of the best, that I
may make of them meat for thy father, such as he gladly eateth.
10 Which when thou hast brought in, and he hath eaten, he may bless thee
before he die.
11 And he answered her: Thou knowest that Esau, my brother, is a hairy
man, and I am smooth:
12 If my father should feel me, and perceive it, I fear lest he will
think I would have mocked him, and I shall bring upon me a curse instead of a blessing.
13 And his mother said to him: Upon me be this curse, my son: only hear
thou my voice, and go, fetch me the things which I have said.
14 He went, and brought, and gave them to his mother. She dressed meats,
such as she knew his father liked.
15 And she put on him very good garments of Esau, which she had at home
16 And the little skins of the kids she put about his hands, and covered
the bare of his neck.
17 And she gave him the savoury meat, and delivered him bread that she
18 Which when he had carried in, he said: My father? But he answered:
I hear. Who art thou, my son?
19 And Jacob said: I am Esau, thy first-born: I have done as thou didst
command me; arise, sit, and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me.
20 And Isaac said to his son: How couldst thou find it so quickly, my
son? He answered: It was the will of God, that what I sought came quickly in my way:
21 And Isaac said: Come hither, that I may feel thee, my son, and may
prove whether thou be my son Esau, or no.
22 He came near to his father, and when he had felt him, Isaac said:
The voice indeed is the voice of Jacob; but the hands, are the hands of Esau.
23 And he knew him not, because his hairy hands made him like to the
elder. Then blessing him,
24 He said: Art thou my son Esau? He answered: I am.
25 Then he said: Bring me the meats of thy hunting, my son, that my soul
may bless thee. And when they were brought, and he had eaten, he offered him wine also, which after he had drunk,
26 He said to him: Come near me, and give me a kiss, my son.
27 He came near, and kissed him. And immediately as he smelled the fragrant
smell of his garments, blessing him, he said: Behold, the smell of my son is as the smell of a plentiful field, which the
Lord hath blessed.
28 God give thee of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth,
abundance of corn and wine.
29 And let peoples serve thee, and tribes worship thee: be thou lord
of thy brethren, and let thy mother's children bow down before thee. Cursed be he that curseth thee: and let him that blesseth
thee be filled with blessings.
30 Isaac had scarce ended his words, when, Jacob being now gone out abroad,
31 And brought in to his father meats, made of what he had taken in hunting,
saying: Arise, my father, and eat of thy son's venison; that thy soul may bless me.
32 And Isaac said to him: Why! who art thou? He answered: I am thy first-born
33 Isaac was struck with fear, and astonished exceedingly; and wondering
beyond what can be believed, said: Who is he then that even now brought me venison that he had taken, and I ate of all before
thou camest? and I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed.
34 Esau having heard his father's words, roared out with a great cry;
and, being in a consternation, said: Bless me also, my father.
35 And he said: Thy brother came deceitfully and got thy blessing.
36 But he said again: Rightly is his name called Jacob; for he hath supplanted
me lo this second time: *My first birth-right he took away before, and now this second time he hath stolen away my blessing.
And again he said to his father: Hast thou not reserved me also a blessing?
37 Isaac answered: I have appointed him thy lord, and have made all his
brethren his servants: I have established him with corn and wine, and after this, what shall I do more for thee, my son?
38 And Esac said to him: Hast thou only one blessing, father? I beseech
thee bless me also. And when he wept with a loud cry,*
39 Isaac being moved, said to him: In the fat of the earth, and in the
dew of heaven from above,
40 Shall thy blessing be. Thou shalt live by the sword, and shalt serve
thy brother: and the time shall come, when thou shalt shake off and loose his yoke from thy neck.
41 Esau therefore always hated Jacob, for the blessing wherewith his
father had blessed him; and he said in his heart: *The days will come of the mourning for my father, and I will kill my brother
42 These things were told to Rebecca: and she sent and called Jacob,
her son, and said to him: Behold Esau, thy brother, threateneth to kill thee.
43 Now therefore, my son, hear my voice, arise and flee to Laban, my
brother, to Haran:
44 And thou shalt dwell with him a few days, till the wrath of thy brother
45 And his indignation cease, and he forget the things thou hast done
to him: afterwards I will send, and bring thee from thence hither. Why shall I be deprived of both my sons in one day?
46 And Rebecca said to Isaac: *I am weary of my life, because of the
daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the stock of this land, I choose not to live.
1: Year of the World 2245, Year before Christ 1759.
36: Genesis xxv. 34.
38: Hebrews xi. 20.
41: Abdias i. 10.
46: Genesis xxix.[xxvi.?] 35.