May God give to you
of the dew of the heavens
And of the fertility of the earth
abundance of grain and wine.
May peoples serve you
and nations bow down to you;
Be master of your brothers,
and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be those who curse you,
and blessed be those who bless you.
~ Genesis 27:28-29
Today’s chapters cover Abraham’s long life, as well as the lives of Isaac and Jacob. We see the birth of Abraham’s children, their growing up, marrying, and the births of their children, as well as how each found success and prosperity.
Included in this are a few particular stories, like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the substitution of Leah for Rachel at Jacob’s wedding, and the testing of Abraham by God’s command to sacrifice Isaac. I noted, in particular, the story of Jacob stealing is brother Esau’s blessing, which is quoted above from Genesis 27. This is predicted before the birth of the twins, when Sarah cries out to God during her tumultuous pregnancy and He responds:
Two nations are in your womb,
two peoples are separating while still within you;
But one will be stronger than the other,
and the older will serve the younger.
~ Genesis 25:23
However, for this to come to pass, Jacob (the second-born of the twins) must convince his blind father that he is, in fact, his favored brother, which he does with the aid of his doting mother by covering his arms and neck with animal skins to duplicate Esau’s hairiness and borrowing Esau’s clothing to wear his scent. I find it intriguing that for Jacob to inherit the fruits of God’s favor, he must perform this deception.
Jacob’s isn’t the only lie we read in these chapters. In Chapter 20, we see Abraham, moving to a new city and concerned that jealous men will kill him to be able to marry his beautiful wife Sarah:
While he resided in Gerar as an alien, Abraham said of his wife Sarah, “She is my sister.”
~ Genesis 20:1-2
Similarly, Isaac also settles for a time in Gerar, and has the same worries:
When the men of the palace asked questions about his wife, he answered, “She is my sister.”
~ Genesis 26:7
In Abraham’s case, the King of Gerar (Abimelech) is stopped by God just before he takes Sarah for his wife. He berates him for his lies, and then offers him choice land and a favored position in Gerar by way of apology for his indiscretion.
In Isaac’s case, Abimelech catches Isaac being overly familiar with his “sister” and calls his lies. Isaac is similarly berated, but allowed to continue to live in Gerar, and he settles on the land that had belonged to his father Abraham.
It should be noted here that there is a third incidence of this same story in yesterday’s reading:
When he was about to enter Egypt, [Abram] said to his wife Sarai: “I know that you are a beautiful woman. When the Egyptians see you, they will say, ‘She is his wife’; then they will kill me, but let you live. Please say, therefore, that you are my sister, so that I may fare well on your account and my life may be spared for your sake.”
~ Genesis 12:11-13
As before, when Pharaoh is about to wed Abram’s “sister” God strikes his household with illness by way of warning him against Sarai. Pharaoh berates Abram for his lies, returns Sarai, and sends them from Egypt with their household.
These chapters were punctuated by these episodes of dishonesty, but it could be argued that the lies are in defense of God’s will. What are your thoughts on these passages and the rest of today’s reading? Comment or link up to this post below!