Genesis 27:4
And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.
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(4) Savoury meat.—On the rare occasions on which an Arab sheik tastes flesh, it is flavoured with almonds, pistachio nuts, and raisins. It would thus not be easy for Isaac to distinguish the taste of the flesh of a kid from that of an antelope. As the Arabs always spare their own flocks and herds, the capture of a wild animal gives them the greater pleasure, and a feast thus provided seemed to the patriarch a proper occasion for the solemn decision which son should inherit the promises made to Abraham.

That my soul may bless thee.—We gather from the solemn blessing given to his sons by Jacob (Genesis 49) that this was a prophetic act, by which the patriarchs, under the influence of the Spirit, and in expectation of death, decided to which son should belong the birthright. Jacob when dying bestowed it on Judah (Genesis 27:8-12). But here Isaac resisted the Spirit; for the clear warning had been given that “the elder should serve the younger” (Genesis 25:23). Isaac may have been moved to this act by indignation at the manner in which Esau had been induced to sell the birthright, and in annulling that sale he would have been within his rights; but he was not justified in disregarding the voice of prophecy, nor in his indifference to Esau’s violation of the Abrahamic law in marrying heathen women. And thus he becomes the victim of craft and treachery, while Jacob is led on to a deed which was the cause of endless grief to him and Rebekah, and has stained his character for ever. But had Jacob possessed the same high standard of honour as distinguished David afterwards, he would equally have received the blessing, but without the sin of deception practised upon his own father.

27:1-5 The promises of the Messiah, and of the land of Canaan, had come down to Isaac. Isaac being now about 135 years of age, and his sons about 75, and not duly considering the Divine word concerning his two sons, that the elder should serve the younger, resolved to put all the honour and power that were in the promise, upon Esau his eldest son. We are very apt to take measures rather from our own reason than from Divine revelation, and thereby often miss our way.Isaac was old. - Joseph was in his thirtieth year when he stood before Pharaoh, and therefore thirty-nine when Jacob came down to Egypt at the age of one hundred and thirty. When Joseph was born, therefore, Jacob was ninety-one, and he had sojourned fourteen years in Padan-aram. Hence, Jacob's flight to Laban took place when he was seventy-seven, and therefore in the one hundred and thirty-sixth year of Isaac. "His eyes were dim." Weakness and even loss of sight is more frequent in Palestine than with us. "His older son." Isaac had not yet come to the conclusion that Jacob was heir of the promise. The communication from the Lord to Rebekah concerning her yet unborn sons in the form in which it is handed down to us merely determines that the older shall serve the younger. This fact Isaac seems to have thought might not imply the transferrence of the birthright; and if he was aware of the transaction between Esau and Jacob, he may not have regarded it as valid. Hence, he makes arrangements for bestowing the paternal benediction on Esau, his older son, whom he also loves. "I am old." At the age of one hundred and thirty-six, and with failing sight, he felt that life was uncertain. In the calmness of determination he directs Esau to prepare savory meat, such as he loved, that he may have his vigor renewed and his spirits revived for the solemn business of bestowing that blessing, which he held to be fraught with more than ordinary benefits.4. make … savory meat—perhaps to revive and strengthen him for the duty; or rather, "as eating and drinking" were used on all religious occasions, he could not convey the right, till he had eaten of the meat provided for the purpose by him who was to receive the blessing [Adam Clarke] (compare Ge 18:7).

that my soul may bless thee—It is difficult to imagine him ignorant of the divine purpose (compare Ge 25:23). But natural affection, prevailing through age and infirmity, prompted him to entail the honors and powers of the birthright on his elder son; and perhaps he was not aware of what Esau had done (Ge 25:34).Quest. Why doth he require that he may eat before he bless him?


1. That being refreshed and delighted therewith, his spirit might be more cheerful, and so the fitter for the giving of this prophetical benediction; for which reason also the prophet Elisha called for a minstrel ere he could utter his prophecy, 2 Kings 3:15.

2. By the special direction of Divine Providence, that Esau’s absence might give Jacob the advantage of getting the blessing. He speaks not here of a common and customary blessing, which parents may bestow upon any of their children as and when they please; but of the last, solemn, extraordinary, and prophetical benediction, whereby these holy patriarchs did by God’s appointment, and with his concurrence, constitute one of their sons heir, not only of their inheritance, but of Abraham’s covenant, and all the promises, both temporal and spiritual, belonging to it. As for the oracle delivered to Rebekah, which transferred this blessing upon Jacob, Genesis 25:23, either Isaac knew not of it, not being sufficiently informed thereof by Rebekah; or he did not thoroughly understand it; or he might apprehend that it was to be accomplished not in the persons of Esau and Jacob, but in their posterity; or at this time it was quite out of his mind; or he was induced to neglect it through his passionate affection to his son Esau.

And make me savoury meat, such as I love,.... For, though he had lost his sight, he had not lost his taste, nor his appetite for savoury food:

and bring it to me, that I may eat; this, was enjoined to make trial of his filial affection and duty to him, before he blessed him:

that my soul may bless thee before I die; not only that he might do it with cheerfulness and vivacity, having eaten a comfortable meal, and being refreshed with it, but that having had proof of his son's duty and affection to him, he might confer the blessing on him heartily: this blessing was not an ordinary and common one, but what parents used to bestow upon their children at the time of their death, or a little before it; and good men oftentimes did this under a spirit of prophecy, declaring what would be the case and circumstances of their children in time to come; and particularly the principal part of the blessing of Isaac, which Abraham had entailed upon him by divine direction, and he thought to have entailed on Esau his firstborn, was the promise of the descent of the Messiah from him and his seed, and of the possession of the land of Canaan by them: and this shows that Rebekah had not made known the oracle to Isaac, that the "elder should serve the younger", Genesis 25:23, or, if she had, he had forgot, or did not understand it, and might think it respected not the persons of his sons, but their posterity; or however, from a natural affection for Esau his firstborn, and that the blessing and inheritance might go in the common channel, he was desirous he should have it; and he might also be ignorant of Esau's having sold his birthright to Jacob, or that he made no account of it.

And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my {a} soul may bless thee before I die.

(a) The carnal affection he had for his son made him forget what God spoke to his wife. Ge 25:23.

4. that my soul may bless thee] Cf. 19, 25, 31. See note on Genesis 12:13. A sacrificial meal is not intended. The strengthening food is from the chase, not the flesh of domestic animals.

Verse 4. - And make me savory meat, - "delicious food," from a root whose primary idea is to taste, or try the flavor, of a thing. Schultens observes that the corresponding Arabic term is specially applied to dishes made of flesh taken in hunting, and highly esteemed by nomad tribes (vide Gesenius, p. 467) - such as I love (cf. Genesis 25:28, the ground of his partiality for Esau), and bring it to me, that I may eat; - "Though Isaac was blind and weak in his eyes, yet it seem-eth his body was of a strong constitution, seeing he was able to eat of wild flesh, which is of harder digestion" (Willet) - that - the conjunction בַּעֲבוּר followed by a future commonly expresses a purpose (cf. Exodus 9:14) - my soul may bless thee - notwithstanding the oracle (Genesis 25:23) uttered so many (fifty-seven or seventy-seven) years ago, Isaac appears to have clung to the belief that Esau was the destined heir of the covenant blessing; quoedam fuit coecitatis species, quae illi magis obstitit quam externa oeulorum caligo (Calvin) - before I die. Genesis 27:4When Isaac had grown old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could no longer see (מראת from seeing, with the neg. מן as in Genesis 16:2, etc.), he wished, in the consciousness of approaching death, to give his blessing to his elder son. Isaac was then in his 137th year, at which age his half-brother Ishmael had died fourteen years before;

(Note: Cf. Lightfoot, opp. 1, p. 19. This correct estimate of Luther's is based upon the following calculation: - When Joseph was introduced to Pharaoh he was thirty years old (Genesis 41:46), and when Jacob went into Egypt, thirty-nine, as the seven years of abundance and two of famine had then passed by (Genesis 45:6). But Jacob was at that time 130 years old (Genesis 47:9). Consequently Joseph was born before Jacob was ninety-one; and as his birth took place in the fourteenth year of Jacob's sojourn in Mesopotamia (cf. Genesis 30:25, and Genesis 29:18, Genesis 29:21, and Genesis 29:27), Jacob's flight to Laban occurred in the seventy-seventh year of his own life, and the 137th of Isaac's.)

and this, with the increasing infirmities of age, may have suggested the thought of death, though he did not die till forty-three years afterwards (Genesis 35:28). Without regard to the words which were spoken by God with reference to the children before their birth, and without taking any notice of Esau's frivolous barter of his birthright and his ungodly connection with Canaanites, Isaac maintained his preference for Esau, and directed him therefore to take his things (כּלים, hunting gear), his quiver and bow, to hunt game and prepare a savoury dish, that he might eat, and his soul might bless him. As his preference for Esau was fostered and strengthened by, if it did not spring from, his liking for game (Genesis 25:28), so now he wished to raise his spirits for imparting the blessing by a dish of venison prepared to his taste. In this the infirmity of his flesh is evident. At the same time, it was not merely because of his partiality for Esau, but unquestionably on account of the natural rights of the first-born, that he wished to impart the blessing to him, just as the desire to do this before his death arose from the consciousness of his patriarchal call.

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