Hebrews – Chapter Eleven XXVI

by Ed Urzi

“By faith also Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning the future” (Hebrews 11:20 NET).

Genesis chapter twenty-seven records Isaac’s effort to grant a patriarchal blessing to his eldest son, Esau. In his attempt to impart that blessing, Isaac sought to follow the customary practice of that era by granting leadership authority to his first-born son. However, there were several warning signs that should have alerted Isaac to the fact that Esau was not God’s choice to carry on the covenantal agreement that God initiated with his father Abraham.

One issue that bears repeating is the fact that God had earlier spoken to Isaac’s wife Rebekah regarding her sons Esau and Jacob…

“‘…The sons in your womb will become two nations. From the very beginning, the two nations will be rivals. One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son'” (Genesis 25:23 NLT).

This should have told Isaac that God had a different plan in mind for his family. However, there were some other problems with Isaac’s plan to extend this blessing to Esau.

For instance, Esau had earlier chosen to sell his birthright as detailed in Genesis 25:29-34. In this instance, that birthright included more than just money or property; it also included the spiritual inheritance mentioned earlier. Although Esau didn’t seem to care very much about his birthright. it appears that his brother Jacob saw things differently and arranged to purchase it from him in exchange for a bowl of stew.

Genesis chapter twenty-six then tells us how Esau decided to marry two women who were members of a local people group known as the Hittites. The Hittites were an ancient tribal society that worshiped several different pagan gods. Unfortunately, there is no indication that Esau expressed any concern regarding the moral character or spiritual beliefs held by these women before he married them. Therefore, it should not be surprising to learn that “…Esau’s wives made life miserable for Isaac and Rebekah” according to Genesis 26:35 (NLT).

So, in addition to his lack of interest in the leadership position that was available to him as the eldest son, it also seems that Esau was a spiritually unconcerned person in regard to his personal relationships. These things should have told Isaac that Esau was not the person who God had chosen to carry His spiritual covenant forward into the next generation.

Nevertheless, Isaac chose to disregard those spiritual warning signs. That decision led to a chain of negative events that were soon to follow.