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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



GENESIS 27

 

CHAPTER XXVII

 

Ver. 1.  Old: 137 years, when falling sickly and blind, at least for a time, he wished to bless Esau, who was 77 years old.  T.

 

Ver. 4.  That, &c.  He does not mean, that the meat would induce him to give his blessing.  Neither can we suppose, that he intended to pervert the order of God, in making the younger son subject to the elder, if he was informed by Rebecca, of that disposition of providence.  C. --- But of this he seems to have been ignorant, v. 29. 35.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  In the sight of the Lord, answers to my soul, &c. v. 4.  I will bless thee with all earnestness and sincerity.  H.

 

Ver. 12.  Mocked him, taking advantage of his blindness and old age.  M.

 

Ver. 13.  This curse.  Rebecca had too much confidence in God's promises, to think that he would suffer them to be ineffectual.  Hence, Onkelos makes her say, "I have learnt by revelation, that thou wilt receive no curse, but only blessing."  The sequel shewed, that she was directed by God in this delicate business.  Theod. q. 78.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Very good.  Heb. desirable, kept among perfumes, v. 27.  Such, the Hebrews say, were used by the first-born, when they offered sacrifice.  S. Jerom, q. Heb.

 

Ver. 19.  I am Esau, thy first-born.  S. Augustine, (L. Contra Mendacium, c. x..) treating at large upon this place, excuseth Jacob from a lie, because this whole passage was mysterious, as relating to the preference which was afterwards to be given to the Gentiles before the carnal Jews, which Jacob by prophetic light might understand.  So far is certain, that the first birth-right, both by divine election, and by Esau's free cession, belonged to Jacob: so that if there were any lie in the case, it could be no more than an officious and venial one.  Ch. --- Ignorance might also excuse them from any sin; as many good and learned men have thought an officious lie to be lawful.  S. Chrys. hom. 52.  Origen.  Bonfrere.  And even if we allow that they did wrong; the Scripture relates, but does not sanction what they did, Let him that thinks himself to stand, take heed lest he fall.  1 Cor. x. 12. C. --- As our Saviour says of S. John, He is Elias, Matt. xi, so, Jacob says, I am Esau, not in person , but in right of the first-born.  W.

 

Ver. 22.  Of Esau.  Thus, too often our voice contradicts our hands or actions!  H.

 

Ver. 27.  Plentiful.  A word retained by the Sam. and Sept. though lost in the Hebrew copies.  Grotius. --- Hath blessed with abundance of fruit and odoriferous herbs; such as had probably been shut up in the drawers with Esau's robes.  M.

 

Ver. 28.  Wine.  "By which Christ gathers together the multitude, in the Sacrament of his Body and Blood."  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 29.  Worship thee, with civil respect, (H.) as the Idumeans, Philistines and Moabites did, with respect to David, Solomon, and the Machabees, acknowledging their dominion, though reluctantly. --- With blessing.  Thus Rebecca had not given her son a vain assurance.  Isaac prays that God may ever by his protector, and avenge his cause.  H.

 

Ver. 30.  Fear.  Sept. "Isaac was rapt into an ecstasy exceedingly great;" during which God explained to him the meaning of what had happened, that he might not think of revoking his blessing.  S. Aug. q. 80.  He permitted Isaac to be in darkness respecting this affair, that it might be more manifest, that the will of man had no part in preferring Jacob; (S. Chrys. hom. 53.) and that Esau might not direct his rage against his father.  W.

 

Ver. 33.  Be blessed.  Thus he confirms what he had done; and shews that he bore no resentment towards his younger son, nor esteemed himself to be mocked, v. 12.  H.

 

Ver. 34.  Roared, through savage fury and envy of his brother.  Euseb.  M.

 

Ver. 35.  Deceitfully.  Heb. slily; directed by wisdom, as the Chal. has it.  S. Chrysostom (de sacerd.) praises the address of Jacob on this occasion.  C.

 

Ver. 36.  Jacob.  That is, a supplanter.  Ch. --- My blessing.  Both Isaac and Esau speak of this blessing, according to the dictates of nature.  But God had disposed of it otherwise.  The profane and cruel manners of Esau rendered him unworthy of it; and he could not maintain his natural claim, after having freely resigned it even with an oath.  He seems to distinguish the blessing from the birth-right, though one necessarily followed the other.  H.

 

Ver. 37.  Brethren, or relations; (M.) for Isaac had no other children but these two.  He never married any other woman but the beautiful and virtuous Rebecca.  H.

 

Ver. 39.  Moved; yet not so as to repent of what he had done; for Esau found no place of repentance in his father's breast, although with tears he had sought it, (Heb. xii. 17.) desiring to obtain the blessing of the first-born. H. --- In the fat, &c.  Idumea was a barren country; and hence some would translate the Heb. "far from the fat...shall they dwelling be; but thou shalt live by the sword."  Thus min often means from, as well as for in: my flesh is changed on account of the want of oil, Ps. cviii. 24.  Heb. a pinguedine.  C. --- But all the ancient versions agree with the Vulg.  So that we may say, the blessing of God made those barren regions supply the wants of the people abundantly; and so the Idumeans were to live by the sword, they would seize the rich habitations of their neighbours, (H.) and thus obtain a country rendered fertile without their labour.  M.

 

Ver. 40.  Thy brother, in the reign of David, 2 K. viii. 14, and of the Machabees.  Josep. Ant. xiii. 17. --- Yoke.  When the house of Juda shall rebel against the Lord, in the days of Joram, then the Idumeans shall regain their liberty for a time; (4 K. viii. 20.) to be subdued again after 800 years by John Hyrcan, the high priest.  H. --- All the blessing of Esau tends to confirm that already given to his brother; so that the apostle seems to have considered it unworthy of notice.  C. --- Jacob, in the mean time, never asserted his dominion; but still called Esau his lord, (C. xxxii. 4.) and behaved to him with the greatest deference.  H. --- Yet the Idumeans always hated the Jews, and assisted Titus to destroy Jerusalem.  Joseph.  T.

 

Ver. 41.  My father.  He has no regard for this mother.  M. --- Her love for Jacob filled him with greater indignation; and he resolved to murder him, in order, perhaps, to revenge himself on both.  Though this cruel resolution was taken in his heart, with full deliberation, he was not so careful to conceal his intentions; but his watchful mother discovered it, and by her prudence, preserved him from committing the external sin: and Jacob from falling a prey to this second Cain.

 

Ver. 45.  Both my sons.  Esau would have forfeited his life for murder.  C. ix. 6.  H. --- Perhaps she might also fear that Jacob, in his own defence, should in the very agony of death, give the aggressor a mortal wound; or that Esau, at least, would be forced to flee his country.  Indeed, she considered him already as a lost man, on account of his marriage with the two women of Chanaan, and his savage manners.  C.

 

Ver. 46.  To live.  Life will be a burden to me.  M. --- She does not mention the principal reason of her desiring Jacob to go to Haran, for fear of grieving the tender heart of her husband; who, it seems, knew not the temper of Esau so well as she did.  C.

 

 








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