Too Dim to See Part Three

Have you ever experienced deception?

I have. More than once.

Ranging from practical jokes to outright cruelty, deception is something we all have or will encounter during our life journey.

How we react when a deception towards us is revealed often depends on the motives driving the deceiver.

If the deception was to keep us in the dark so that we can experience a surprise blessing from our family and friends, we might react with delight and joy.

When deception is dishonorable, though, our reaction might range from sadness to outright rage toward the deceiver.

Isaac, in Genesis 27, experienced deception by both his wife Rebekah and son Jacob.

Have you ever thought about Isaac’s reaction to this betrayal?

Review the opening scene of Genesis 27.

When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son”; and he answered, “Here I am.” He said, “Behold, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me, and prepare for me delicious food, such as I love, and bring it to me so that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.” [1]

Isaac intended to bless his oldest and most favored son, Esau. (Also see Gen 25:28)

The following verses tell us that Rebekah, after eavesdropping on Isaac’s conversation with Esau, immediately took deceptive measures to get Isaac’s blessing for her favorite son, Jacob. (Gen 27:5-17 and Gen 25:28)

Having agreed to the deception plan, Jacob goes to his father Isaac, pretending to be Esau. (Gen 27:18).

Isaac questions Jacob four times before giving Jacob the blessing he intended to give Esau. (Gen 27:19-29)

Read the next part of this story.

30 As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, when Jacob had scarcely gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, Esau his brother came in from his hunting. 31 He also prepared delicious food and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father arise and eat of his son’s game, that you may bless me.” 32 His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” He answered, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” 33 Then Isaac trembled very violently and said, “Who was it then that hunted game and brought it to me, and I ate it all before you came, and I have blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.”[2]

What is Isaac’s response to Esau in verse 32?

Read Isaac’s initial response to Jacob back in Gen 27:18.

18 So [Jacob] went in to his father and said, “My father.” And [Isaac] said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?”[3]

How is Isaac’s response to his two sons the same? How is it different?

It makes sense that Isaac, being too blind to see, would ask, “who is it” to both his sons to confirm that the voice he was hearing was whom he thought was speaking. 

It is interesting that Isaac calls Jacob my son, but Esau identifies himself as a son.

Why do you think Isaac did not acknowledge that Esau was his son as soon as he heard Esau’s voice?

Describe Isaac’s response to Esau in Gen 27:33.

How would you rate Isaac’s initial response after confirming Jacob’s deception?

Read the next part of Esau and Isaac’s conversation.

34 As soon as Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” 35 But he said, “Your brother came deceitfully, and he has taken away your blessing.” 36 Esau said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times. He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” Then he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37 Isaac answered and said to Esau, “Behold, I have made him lord over you, and all his brothers I have given to him for servants, and with grain and wine I have sustained him. What then can I do for you, my son?” [4]

How does Isaac describe Jacob in verse 35?

Do you think Isaac suspected his wife was directing the deception? Why or why not?

What is Isaac’s response when Esau presses for a blessing of his own? (See verse 37.)

Read the remaining conversation between Esau and Isaac.

38 Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him:
       “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be,
and away from the dew of heaven on high.
40    By your sword you shall live,
and you shall serve your brother;
       but when you grow restless
you shall break his yoke from your neck.” [5]

Scripture tells us Isaac favored Esau (Gen 25:28), yet even though Jacob stole the blessing Isaac intended for Esau, Isaac would not retract it. Blessings of this type had legal force, much like a will and testament does today. Thus, Isaac responded by indicating Esau would experience the opposite of Jacob’s blessing.

What glimmer of hope did Isaac also offer Esau? 

Why do you think God shares with us this story of deception?

How does reading about a family who struggles with sibling rivalry, parental favoritism, deception, and anger help us in our own relationships?

Is this a passage about what to do or what not to do in relationships? Explain.

Heavenly Father, oh most Holy One, as we consider Isaac’s successes and failures in the history of Your Covenantal grace, help us learn to seek Your counsel whenever we doubt our physical senses so that the coming of Your Kingdom and Will on Earth exist in our behavior and speech with one another. Provide for us each day the sustenance we need, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, to serve as Your ambassadors. Help us forgive those who harmfully deceive us as you have forgiven us more times than we are even aware. Keep us all safe from the deceptive harm of evil. Amen.


Barbara Lynn


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ge 27:1–4.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ge 27:30–33.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ge 27:18.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ge 27:34–37.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Ge 27:38–40.

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