A Thief in the Family
Genesis 27:1–45; Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 179–182
People in God’s family are honest.
“Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another” (Leviticus 19:11).
Have you ever done something you knew you shouldn’t do? And when someone asked you about it, you told a lie? How would you feel if you were caught telling a lie? Jacob lied to his father and hurt his whole family.
You would never have thought that Jacob and Esau were twins. They looked different. They dressed differently. They had different interests. They were opposites. Esau loved to hunt. Jacob liked to stay home and look after the family flocks and herds.
Before they were born, God spoke to their mother, Rebekah. He said that the older brother would serve the younger. She didn’t know how this would happen. But she believed what God said.
Isaac was now old and blind. He decided that it was time for him to give the special blessing to his son. Rebekah reminded him of what God had said. But Esau was Isaac’s favorite. And Isaac was determined to give him the blessing.
One day Rebekah overheard Isaac talking to Esau. “Esau, I am old,” she heard Isaac say. “I don’t know how long I will live. Take your weapons and hunt some wild game for me. Prepare the kind of tasty food I like and bring it to me. Then I will give you my blessing.”
As soon as Esau left, Rebekah called Jacob to her. She told him what was happening. Then she said, “Don’t worry, Jacob. I have a plan. Go to the flock and bring me two of the best kid goats. I will prepare food just the way your father likes it. Then you can take it to him and get the blessing.”
Jacob replied, “But he will know the difference. Esau is hairy, and I am not. Father would know I was tricking him. He would curse me rather than bless me.”
“If anyone should be cursed, it will be me,” his mother responded. “Just go and do as I tell you.”
Rebecca gave Jacob some of Esau’s clothes, and Jacob put them on. She also covered his hands and neck with goat skins. Then Jacob went to Isaac with the food Rebekah had prepared.
Isaac heard Jacob entering the room. “Who is it?” he asked.
“Esau, your firstborn,” lied Jacob. “I have done as you told me, Father. Sit up and taste this good food and give me the blessing.”
“How did you find the game so quickly?” asked Isaac.
“God helped me,” lied Jacob once again.
Then Isaac said, “Come close so I can touch you. You sound like Jacob, but your hands feel like Esau. Are you really Esau?”
“Yes, Father,” Jacob lied again.
“Then come and give me some food to eat,” said Isaac. Jacob brought the meal to Isaac, and Isaac ate. Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come here, my son, and kiss me.” Jacob went to his father and kissed him. “Ah,” Isaac said, satisfied at last. “These smell of the field.” And so it was that Isaac blessed Jacob.
Jacob hurried away. He had just left when Esau entered his father’s tent. “Here is the food you asked for, Father,” announced Esau.
Isaac trembled. In a shaking voice he asked, “Who are you?”
“I am Esau, your firstborn,” replied Esau.
Isaac asked, “Then who was just here? Was it Jacob?” Isaac knew then what had happened.
He turned to Esau and sadly said, “I blessed him. I blessed your brother Jacob.”
Esau was furious. “Can’t you bless me as well? Jacob cheated me out of my inheritance. Now he has cheated me out of your blessing. Can’t you give me anything?”
Isaac sadly shook his head. “The blessing has been given. I cannot take it away.”
Esau muttered as he left his father’s tent. “When my father dies, I will kill Jacob and get what is mine.”
Jacob knew he had done wrong. And he was sorry. He felt sad. His lies had caused problems for everyone. He should have waited. God had made a promise. He wouldn’t have needed Jacob’s help—or Rebekah’s, either. What would happen now?