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passions have frequently blazed on the other side. It was not as the father of the holy nation, but as being lord over his brethren, that Jacob was the object of Esau's envy. And this may
farther account for the blessing of Isaac on the former dwelling principally upon temporal advantages, as designed of God to cut off the vain hopes of the latter, of enjoying the power attached to the blessing, while he despised the blessing itself.
When Esau perceived that Jacob must be blessed, he entreated to be blessed also : Bless me, even me also, O my father ! One sees in this language just that partial conviction of there being something in religion, mixed with a large portion of ignorance, which it is common to see in persons who have been brought up in a religious family, and yet are strangers to the God of their fathers. If this earnest request had extended only to what was consistent with Jacob's having the pre-eminence, there was another blessing for bim, and he had it : but though he had no desire after the best part of Jacob's portion, yet he was very earnest to have had that clause of it reversed, Be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's sons bow down to thee. If this could have been granted him, he had been satisfied; for the fatness of the earth was all he cared for. But this was an object concerning which, as the Apostle observes, he found no place of repentance, (that is, in the mind of his father,) though he sought it carefully with tears. Such will be the case with fornicators, and all profane persons, who, like Esau, for a few momentary gratifications in the present life, make light of Christ, and the blessings of the gospel. They will cry with a great and exceeding bitter cry, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us! But they will find no place of repentance in the mind of the Judge, who will answer them, I know you not whence ye are : depart from me, ye workers of iniquity.
Esau's reflections on his brother, for having twice supplanted him, were not altogether without ground : yet his statement is exaggerated. It was not accurate to say, He took away my birthright, as though he had robbed him of it, seeing he himself had so despised it as to part with it for a morsel of meat : and having done so, whatever might be said of Jacob's conduct in the sight of God, he had no reason to complain.
Ver. 41. Esau obtained, as we have seen, a blessing, and some relief on the score of subjection ; yet because he could not gain his point, but the posterity of Jacob must needs have the ascendency, there is nothing left for him but to hate him for the blessing wherewith his father blessed him. He was not ignorant of Isaac's partiality: he must therefore have known that it was not owing to him, nor even to Jacob's subtilty, that the first dominion was given him. He must have perceived, from what his father had said, that the thing was of the Lord, and therefore could not be reversed. Hence it appears that the hatred of Esau was of the same nature with that of Cain to Abel, and of Saul to David ; and operated in the same way : it was directed against him principally on account of his having been an object whom the Lord had favoured. Such also was the motive of the hatred which, in after ages, subsisted in the Edomites against Israel. As nothing could comfort Esau but the hope of murder, so nothing could satisfy his posterity but to see Jerusalem rased to its foundations. Isaac had talked of dying, and Esau thought to be sure the time was not far distant ; and then during the days of mourning for his father, he hoped for an opportunity of murdering his brother. He might think also that it was best to suppress his resentment till the poor old man was dead, and then it would not be a grief to him. The most cruel designs of wicked men may be mixed with a partiality for those who have been partial to them.
Ver. 42–45. Esau, it seems, had not only said in his heart, I will slay my brother, but had put his thoughts into words, probably before some of the servants. The hint, however, was carried to Rebekah, and she clearly foresaw what was to be expected. She therefore sent for Jacob, and told him of his brother's design, counselling him at the same time to go to her relations at Haran, and tarry there awhile, till Esau's anger should have subsided. The reason which she urges to enforce her counsel is
very strong : Why should I be deprived of you both in one day? Had Esau's purpose succeeded, the murderer, as well as the murdered, had been lost to her. We see here the bitter fruits which Rebekah begins to reap from her crooked policy: she must part with her favourite son to preserve his life, and will never see him again in
this world, though she thinks of sending in a little time to fetch him home.
Ver. 46. By the manner in which things are here related, it appears that Isaac was so infirm as to have lost all the power of management, and that the whole in a manner devolved op Rebekah. She advises Jacob what to do; it is expedient, if not necessary, however, before he takes bis departure, to obtain his father's concurrence. She does not choose to tell her husband the true reason of her wishes, as that was a tender point, and might lead to a subject which she might think it better to pass over in silence; but knowing that he, as well as herself, had been grieved with Esau's wives, (Chap. xxvi. 35.) she judges that the most likely means of success would be a proposal for Jacob to go to Haran for the purpose of taking a wife from among their relations in that country. She does not propose it, however, directly; but merely expresses her strong disapprobation of his following the example of his brother, leaving it to Isaac to mention positively what should be done. And this, her apparent modesty, answered the end, as we shall see in the following chapter.
JACOB'S DEPARTURE FROM BEERSHEBA.
VER. 1-4. THE hint which Rebekah had dropped against Jacob's taking a wife from among the daughters of Heth, quite fell in with Isaac's mind; and knowing that there was but one place for him to go on such an errand, he determines without delay to send him thither. The account bere given of his calling, blessing, and charging him, is very much to his honour. The first of these terms implies his reconciliation to him ; the second, his satisfaction in what had been done before without design ; and the last, his concern that he should act in a manner worthy of the blessing which he had received. How differently do things issue in different minds! Esau, as well as Isaac, was exceedingly affected by what had lately occurred: but the bitter
of the one issued in a settled hatred, while the trembling of the other brought him to a right mind. He had been thinking matters over ever since, and the more he thought of them, the more satisfied he was that it was the will of God ; and that all his private partialities should give place to it.
One sees in what he now does that his heart is in it. He not only blesses bim, but invokes the blessing of Almighty God to attend him : God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; and give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee, that thou
mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham. Who does not perceive the difference be