Gen 25:19-28:22

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Home > The Old Testament > Genesis > Genesis 25b-35 > Chapter 25c-28 / Verses 25:19-28:22
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Relationship to Genesis 25b-35. The relationship of Chapter 25c-26 to the rest of the Jacob cycle is discussed at Genesis 25b-35.


Message. Themes, symbols, and doctrinal points emphasized in Chapter 25c-26 include:


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  • Outline. Chapter 25c-26 can be outlined as follows:
• Rebekah struggles in childbirth of Esau and Jacob (25:19-26)
• Jacob purchases Esau’s birthright (25:27-34)
• Isaac's covenants with God and king (26:1-33)
a. Abrahamic covenant given to Isaac (26:1-5)
b. Rebekah taken as wife by king Abimelech (26:6-11)
b. Philistines ask Isaac to depart (26:12-17)
c. Disputes with Philistines over wells (26:18-22)
a. Abrahamic covenant renewed with Isaac (26:23-25)
b. Covenant of peace with king Abimelech (26:26-31)
c. Well at Beersheba (26:32-33)
  • Gen 26:8: Sporting. The word for "sporting" here is the Hebrew tsachaq (צחק) and is defined by Strong's Concordance as "to laugh, mock, play." Did Abimelech discover that Isaac and Rebekah were married because he saw them flirting? Also, tsachaq is the same word used to describe both Abraham's and Sarah's laughter upon discovering that Isaac would be born. Isaac's name, Yitschaq (יצחק) is essentially the same word.
  • Outline.
Jacob obtains Isaac’s favored blessing by trick, flees (26:34-28:9)
a. Esau’s non-covenant marriages (26:34-35)
b. Isaac plans to bless Esau (27:1-5)
c. Rebekah arranges for Isaac to bless Jacob (27:6-17)
d. Isaac unwittingly blesses Jacob (27:18-29)
d. Isaac confirms Jacob’s blessing, then blesses Esau (27:30-40)
c. Rebekah arranges for Isaac to send Jacob to Haran (27:41-46)
b. Isaac sends Jacob to Haran for a covenant wife (28:1-5)
a. Esau's covenant marriage (28:6-9)
Abrahamic covenant given to Jacob (Jacob's ladder) (28:10-22)
  • Gen 27:12: Peradventure. According to the Heketav Vehakabbala (composed by Jacob Zvi Mecklenberg), peradventure is used here instead of lest (cf. Gen 3:22, Gen 11:4, Gen 41:4 where lest is used when the speaker does not wish the matter to come to pass) to imply inner reluctance on Jacob's part to go along with this plan: "Had Jacob wished to express the hope that his father would not feel him he should have said 'I am afraid lest my father feel me.' From here it would seem therefore that Jacob did not favour this attempt to outwit his father and that he would rather let matters take their natural course and his father bless whomsoever he thought fit. Jacob hoped that his mother would call off the attempt as a result of his plea. . . . The word 'peradventure' is used when the speaker desires the matter to come to pass, cf. 'peradventure he will accept me' (Gen 32:21)." (See Leibowitz reference below for more discussion.)
  • Gen 27:14: Went and fetched, and brought. Some scholars have suggested there is a conspicuous lack of enthusiasm on Jacob's part in this verse. Since time was short and Esau was due back soon from the field, Jacob should've been in a hurry. In several of the just-previous narratives, haste is mentioned (cf. Gen 18:2, 6-7; Gen 24:17; Gen 24:18, 20), so it the lack of any haste being mentioned here may be significant. As the Haketav Vehakaballah says (see reference below), "This indicates that [Jacob] did not apply himself with any enthusiasm but reluctantly carried out his mother's behest." Also, Radal suggests in the Midrash that the Hebrew prefixes to these three verbs, vay-vay-vay, connote reluctance and mistery onomatopeically.

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  • Gen 27:12: Peradventure. See Nehama Leibowitz, Studies in Bereshit (Genesis) (4th revised edition, 1981), pp. 264-5.
  • Gen 27:14: Went and fetched, and brought. For more, see commentary in Haketav Vehakaballah by Jacob Zvi Mecklenburg, or the discussion and quoted passage in Leibowitz (Ibid. v. 12) p. 265.


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