Isaac’s Dysfunctional Family

I. The sale of the Birthright (Genesis 25:27-34

A. The setting for the sale

1. Isaac was at least in his 80’s.

a. He is 60 at the birth of the boys (25:26).
b. The boys “grew” (25:27).
c. The boys had established lifestyles (25:27).

2. Isaac favors (“loves”) Esau because of his hunting skills (25:28).

a. In spite of God’s prophecy to the contrary (25:23)
b. In spite of Esau’s evil behavior (27:46; Hebrews 12:16).

3. Rebecca favors (“loves”) Jacob because of his character (25:28).

a. Jacob was a “plain” man, dwelling in tents (25:27)
b. Hebrew word is TAM = “perfect” or “complete”

B. Jacob behaved like Job – a “perfect” and “upright” man.  These are all the additional references in the Bible where TAM is used.

1. There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. (Job 1:1)

2. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? (Job 1:8)

3. And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. (Job 2:3)

4. Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers: (Job 8:20)

5. If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect it shall also prove me perverse. (Job 9:20)

6. Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.  (Job 9:21)

7. This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked. (Job 9:22)

8. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.  (Psalm 37:37)

9. That they may shoot in secret at the perfect suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. (Psalm 64:4)

10. Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night. (Song of Solomon 5:2)

11. My dove, my undefiled is but one; (Song of Solomon 6:9)

C. The value of the Birthright was significant.

1. This word denotes the special privileges and advantages belonging to the first-born son among the Jews.

2. The first-born son had allotted to him also a double portion of the paternal inheritance (Deuteronomy 21:15-17).

3. The first-born inherited the judicial authority of his father, whatever it might be (2 Chronicles 21:3).

4. The eldest son had great respect paid to him in the household, and, as the family widened into a tribe, this grew into a sustained authority, undefined save by custom, in all matters of common interest.

D. Esau “despises” the Birthright (25:34).

1. Jacob is boiling a “stew” – normal course of family life.

2. Esau came in from the field, “faint.”

a. The “field” is not the farm/ranch – the “wild lands”
b. A “faint” condition is merely “tired” or “thirsty” (Judges 8:4).

3. Esau demands some “red” from Jacob (25:30).

a. The Hebrew word is ADM (Aleph, Daleth, Mem)
b. Different tonal pronunciations for different applications.
1) Aw-dawm = “Adam” the first man: also “man”
2) Aw-dam = “red” as a noun
3) Aw-dome = “reddish” – red color as an adjective
c. This is so significant (“therefore” – 25:30) that Esau is thereafter referred to as “Edom” – a play on the word.

4. Jacob seizes the opportunity; demands the sale of the birthright.

a. This is a legitimate request – Esau acknowledges (27:36)
b. There is nothing “deceitful” about the transaction.
c. The “birthright” is not the same as the “blessing.”
d. The “blessing” comes later when Isaac is old.

5. Esau sells and despises his birthright (25:33-34).

a. “Feed me: I’m dying: What birthright?”
b. Esau “swore” (a formal oath) to Jacob in agreement.
c. The birthright was “sold” (formal transaction) to Jacob.
d. Esau “ate, drank, rose up, and went his way” (total indifference to the circumstance).
e. THUS Esau “despised” (held in contempt; disdained) his first-born rights to inheritance and authority.
f. Esau later lamented his foolish actions (27:36-38) and tried to change the “oath” with “tears” (Hebrews 12:17).

II. The years of wandering and instability (Genesis 26)

A. Isaac repeats his father’s mistakes (26:1-16).

1. Famine “tests” Isaac just like Abraham (12:10).

2. The LORD appears to warn and to bless (26:2-5).

a) Do not go down to Egypt (like Abraham).
b) Stay in this land that I have designated.
c) I will bless you like I promised Abraham.

3. Isaac obeys – half-way, and stays in Gerar (26:6).

a. He repeats the same half-lie as Abraham (26:7-11).
b. He receives the same rebuke as Abraham (20:9-10).
c. He is blessed and prospers (26:12-16).
d. He is sent away as an enemy (NOT like Abraham).

B. Isaac wandered throughout the land, settling at Beersheba (26:17-33).

1. Isaac follows the path of Abraham (26:18).

2. Isaac was in constant battle with the Philistines (26:19-22).

a. Battles centered around the wells of water.
b. Isaac “removed” (moved on) to the next place.

3. Isaac moves from Esek to Sitnah to Rehoboth.

4. Isaac settles in Beersheba (26:23) the old home of Abraham.

C. The LORD appears to Isaac at Beersheba (26:24).

1. God repeats His promise to bless Isaac because of Abraham.

2. Isaac now “calls on the name of the LORD” (26:25).

D. Isaac now “settles” in for many years at Beersheba.

1. Abimelech makes a peace-treaty with Isaac (26:26-31).

2. Isaac establishes his “business” there (great wealth).

3. Esau (at 40) takes two Hittite wives in defiance of what he knew was God’s will and in spite of the grief it caused Isaac and Rebecca (26:34-35).

The Patriarchs
ch. 25-26


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