While Isaac lived another 40 some years, in point of fact, Esau believed his father’s death was imminent; and, he resolved to kill his twin brother after the days of mourning for their father had passed. Esau was intent on revenge. His resentment was fueled by Jacob’s role in gaining their father’s blessing. Acutely aware of Esau’s intent and the threat he posed, Isaac summoned Jacob:
GENESIS 28:1-5 (emphasis added)
“Then Isaac called Jacob and blessed him, and charged him, and said to him: “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan Aram, to the house of Bethuel your mother’s father; and take yourself a wife from there of the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.
‘May God Almighty bless you,
And make you fruitful and multiply you,
That you may be an assembly of peoples;
And give you the blessing of Abraham,
To you and your descendants with you,
That you may inherit the land
In which you are a stranger,
Which God gave to Abraham.’
So Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Padan Aram, to Laban the son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.”
His resolve to end Jacob’s life once again demonstrated Esau’s unsuitability as the covenantal heir. Although not specifically stated, Isaac acknowledged his fault in nearly passing the covenantal blessing to Esau rather than Jacob, God’s chosen heir. Apparently, the gravity of the situation had brought a change of heart and mind for Isaac (24:33).
Somehow, Rebekah learned of Esau’s plot and purposed to send Jacob to safety; Isaac immediately called for Jacob. Isaac’s wholehearted and complete reiteration and reconfirmation of the covenantal blessing on Jacob was central to their meeting.
Isaac’s second blessing incorporated the name of God Almighty (El Shaddai) echoing the promise to Abraham just before the birth of Isaac (17:1). It was a personal blessing upon Jacob with implications for the future nation that would emerge from his family.
Connecting his blessing to the Abrahamic Covenant, Isaac reassured Jacob that his descendants would ultimately possess the land of Canaan just as God promised Abraham. Jacob would be fruitful on a personal level and his descendants would become “a great assembly”—a mighty nation (28:3).
With the blessing still fresh in Jacob’s mind, Isaac and Rebekah commanded him to go to Padan Aram. The phraseology, “Arise, go” reflects extreme urgency—a call for immediate action with no time to lose. It was imperative that Jacob escaped Esau’s threat.
There was also another concern. Just as Abraham had recognized the danger inherent in Isaac taking a wife from among the neighboring Canaanite women, Isaac and Rebekah counseled Jacob to seek his wife in Padan Aram.
Isaac was specific. Jacob was to travel to the house of Bethuel and specifically take a wife from the daughters of Rebekah’s brother Laban. Obediently and without hesitation, Jacob left on a journey that would define his destiny.
The text reveals that Esau was aware of Isaac’s reiterated blessing upon Jacob and command to take a wife from among his mother’s relatives in Padan Aram. Interestingly, the text seems to suggest that Esau attempted to mollify his parent’s impression of him by taking yet another wife from Ishmael’s extended family; he had previously married two Canaanite women.
With no real interest in the Abrahamic Covenant and ignorant of its significance, Esau married a woman named Mahalath and ironically allied himself with the rejected son of Abraham. In this act, Esau unequivocally demonstrated his disconnect with the plan inherent in God’s promises to Abraham and His chosen seed.
During the ensuing four decades until his death, Scripture says virtually nothing more about Isaac. From this point onward, the biblical record focuses on the life of Jacob as God’s covenantal plan progressed toward the chosen nation that would emerge through him.
God’s sovereign plan was not dependent upon Isaac, Rebekah, Esau or even Jacob for success. Yet, He worked through all of their flawed actions to accomplish His perfect plan and purpose.
1) Bible opened to Isaiah. By, Ken Horn, [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
2) Abraham twice blesses Jacob before sending him to Padan Aram, (circa. Second half of the 12th century), Capital of the nave of Vézelay Abbey: By Vassil (Own work) [PD-US, PD-Art], via Wikimedia Commons – Enhancement: MKM Portfolios
© Charles E. McCracken 2016, devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Print a PDF of this post? Click Here!