HOW JACOB DECEIVED HIS FATHER

Now Isaac prayed to Jehovah for his wife, because she had no children; and Jehovah heard his prayer, and Rebekah became the mother of twin boys. They named one Esau and the other Jacob.

As they grew up, Esau became a skilful hunter, a man who lived out in the fields; but Jacob was a quiet man who stayed about the tents. Isaac loved Esau, for he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Once when Jacob was preparing a stew, Esau came in from the fields, and he was very hungry; so he said to Jacob, "Let me swallow some of that red stew, for I am very hungry." But Jacob said, "Sell me first of all your right as the eldest." Esau replied, "See, I am nearly dead now! So of what use is this birthright to me?" Jacob said, "First solemnly promise to give it to me." So Esau solemnly promised and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and stewed lentils, and when he had had something to eat and drink, he got up and went away. In this way Esau gave away his birthright.

When Isaac was so old and so nearly blind that he could not see, he called Esau his oldest son and said to him, "My son." Esau answered, "Here am I." Then Isaac said, "See, I am old and do not know how soon I may die. Now, therefore, take your quiver and your bow and go out into the fields and hunt game for me and prepare for me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat and that I may bless you before I die."

Rebekah was listening when Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went into the fields to hunt game, Rebekah said to her son Jacob, "I just now heard your father say to your brother Esau, 'Bring me game and prepare for me savory food that I may eat it and bless you before I die.' Now, my son, do as I tell you: Go to the flock and bring me from there two good kids, and I will make of them savory food for your father, such as he loves. Then take it to him, that he may eat, so that he may bless you before he dies." But Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, "You know that my brother Esau is a hairy man, while I am smooth. Perhaps my father will feel of me; then I shall appear to him as a deceiver, and I shall bring blame upon me and not a blessing." But his mother said to him, "Upon me be the blame, my son; only obey me and go, bring the kids to me." So he went and brought them to his mother, and his mother made savory food such as his father loved.

Rebekah also took the fine clothes of her older son Esau, which she had with her in the tent, and put them on her younger son Jacob. Then she put the skins of the kids upon his hands and upon the smooth part of his neck, and she placed the savory food and the bread which she had prepared in his hand, and he went to his father and said, "My father." Isaac answered, "Here am I; who are you, my son?" Jacob said, "I am Esau your oldest son. I have done as you commanded me. Sit up and eat of my game, that you may bless me." Isaac said to his son, "How very quickly you have found it, my son." He answered, "Yes, because Jehovah your God gave me success."

Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Come here, my son, that I may feel of you to find out whether you are really my son Esau or not." So Jacob went near to Isaac his father, and he felt of him and said, "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau. Are you really my son Esau?" Jacob answered, "I am." And Isaac did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like his brother Esau's. So he blessed him. Then Isaac said, "Bring the food to me, that I may eat of my son's game and bless you." So he brought it to him, and he ate. Jacob also brought him wine, and he drank.

Then his father Isaac said to him, "Come near now and kiss me, my son." As he came near and kissed him, he smelled the smell of his garment, and blessed him.

As soon as Isaac had given Jacob his blessing, and Jacob was about to leave his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. He also had made savory food and was bringing it to his father. So he said to him, "Father, rise and eat of your son's game, that you may bless me." But Isaac his father said to him, "Who are you?" He answered, "I am your son, your oldest, Esau." Then Isaac trembled and said, "Who then is he that has hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate plentifully before you came, and blessed him? Also blessed shall he be!"

When Esau heard the words of his father, he uttered a loud and bitter cry and said to his father, "Bless me, even me also, O my father."

But Isaac said, "Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing." Esau said, "Is it not because he was named Jacob, which means Supplanter, that he has supplanted me these two times: he took my birthright, and now he has taken my blessing!" Then he said, "Have you kept a blessing for me?" Isaac answered Esau, "See, I have made him your master and I have given to him all his relatives as servants and grain and wine as his food. What then can I do for you, my son?" Esau said to his father, "Is that the only blessing you have, my father?" and Esau began to weep aloud. Then Isaac his father answered him: "You shall live far from earth's fertile places, And away from the dew of heaven. By your sword you shall live, And your brother you shall serve."

NEXT STORY: JACOB'S DREAM



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