Numbers 22.18 (actually Genesis)

Dave Washburn dwashbur at
Sun Dec 2 20:17:07 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.

Looking at the way Isaac handles all this, and the fact that he is so 
shaken when Esau lets him know what Jacob has done, I wonder if 
Isaac wasn't a bit senile?  He seems to have trouble keeping track 
of what is going on from one moment to the next.  So could it be 
that Isaac was just confused by the contradiction between the 
hands and the voice?  And if his capacity is a bit diminished, when 
Jacob says "I'm Esau, your son" his mind shifts into "Esau mode" 
(for lack of a better term) and he goes with it.  This is just a 
suggestion, of course, but it might be worth exploring a little.

Dave Washburn
This time, like all times, is a very good one if we but know what to do with it.

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