Numbers 22.18 (actually Genesis)

Bill Rea cctr114 at
Sun Dec 2 19:48:40 EST 2001

Jonathan wrote:-

>Interestng! A close reading of the text indicates that Jacob made a
>reasonable attempt to ascertin the identity of his son, but in the end he
>expressies his puzzlement and perplexity with the statement, "The voice is
>Jacob's voice, but the hands are Esau's hands!" When the plot is discovered,
>Jacob does not rejoice, but says that Jacob stole the blessing that was
>rightfully Esau's.
>The whole tenor of the narrative is that Jacob, with his mother's
>instigation and cmplicity, robs his brother of his blessing, just as
>previously he has cheated him of his birthright.
>Rather than approve of Jacob and Rebecca's duplicity, the narrator has them
>both punished - Jacob by long exile from his father's house, by being
>deceived himself time and time again by Laban, and by never seeng his mother
>again; and Rebecca by never seeing her beloved son again.
>Isaac is an active participant in the story, a major character, but he
>certainly did not contrive to deceive himself. It was Divinely ordained and
>executed by Jacob and Rebecca.

I think there's a bit more going on here. This story teller is good.
First, when Jacob comes in and speaks it seems to me that Isaac knows
that it's Jacob and not Esau. He certainly recognises Jacob's voice
later. His question of -- Which of my sons are you? (Gen 27:18) isn't
out of ignorance, I think he has some idea of why Jacob is there.
Secondly when he does bless Jacob he doesn't give him the spiritual
blessing of Abraham, which one would expect he would give his
first-born, in the case that he's truly decieved.  When Esau arrives
Isaac tells him what blessing he's given Jacob and asks what blessing
is left to give Esau. v37 ``Certainly, I made him master over you and I
gave him all your brothers as slaves, and I supported him with grain
and wine. Now, for you, what shall I do, my son?'' I don't think that's
entirely a rhetorical question. But Esau does not ask for Abraham's
blessing, so Isaac doesn't give it.

Finally, when Jacob is sent to Laban by his mother, Isaac doesn't hesitate to
give him this blessing -  Gen 28:3 ``... may El Shaddai bless you and
make you fertile and numerous, so that you may possess the land in
which you reside as an alien, which God gave to Abraham.'' If the
first blessing on Jacob was intended to be his death-bed blessing to
the first born son, why wasn't this included then? 

The narrator doesn't approve of all this, the judgements you speak of 
are quite clear. But when you say "It was Divinely ordained and
executed by Jacob and Rebecca.'' I would add Isaac to that list as
a reluctant participant.

Bill Rea, Information Technology Dept., Canterbury  University  \_ 
E-Mail b dot rea at it dot canterbury dot ac dot nz             </   New 
Phone   64-3-364-2331, Fax     64-3-364-2332                   /)  Zealand 
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