Numbers 22.18 (actually Genesis)

Bill Rea cctr114 at it.canterbury.ac.nz
Mon Dec 3 15:17:43 EST 2001


Dave wrote:-


>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.

Another possibility is the conflict between Isaac natural love 
for his first born son against God's choice of Jacob. In the 
story we have a clear split of loyalties. Isaac loves Esau the
hunter, while Jacob, the one who stays in camp, is loved by his 
mother. But Isaac must recognise that Esau isn't the one to carry
on the covenant made with Abraham. Not only is there the prophesy
to Rebecca, but in Gen 27:20 we have `But Isaac said
to his son, ``How have you found game so quickly, my son?'' So he
replied, ``Because YHWH your God made it happen to me.'' '
That answer could never have fallen from the lips of Esau. The
story teller never puts the name of God in Esau's mouth. So though
Isaac loves Esau over Jacob, he knows God has chosen the son he doesn't
love. Hence there is internal turmoil in Isaac when faced with giving
his blessing to Jacob. As I wrote yesterday he gave his blessing to
Jacob in two pieces, offering Esau the chance to take the blessing
of Abraham if only he asked for it. But the blessing of Abraham wasn't
of value to Esau. In Gen 28 Isaac seems much more at peace with
himself and God and gives Jacob the blessing without any reservations.


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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