BR 14:05, Oct 1998
Jots & Tittles
Pulling the Goat Hair Over Isaacs Eyes
The story of Jacobs deception of Isaac (Genesis 27) is among the most beloved in the Bible. Children enjoy Jacobs sneakiness; adults appreciate the sensitivity with which the author handles moral ambiguity.
As the episode begins, Isaac, blind and generally decrepit, summons his eldest son, Esau, into his bedchamber. A hunter and a mans man, Esau is his fathers favorite. Isaac dispatches him to catch and prepare tasty game animals, so that the old man may gather strength to bless his heir before giving up the ghost. Esau rushes offa dutiful, if self-interested, son.
Rebecca, Isaacs wife, has overheard all this. She wants her own favoritedocile Jacob, who had already obtained his brothers monetary inheritance in exchange for a bowl of soup (Genesis 25:2934)to receive the deathbed blessing as well. Go to the flock, and fetch me two good kids, that I may prepare from them savory food for your father and you shall bring it to your father to eat, so that he may bless you before he dies. When Jacob timidly questions whether the old man can be fooled so easilyIsaacs nonvisual senses remain keen, and Jacob is smooth-skinned, unlike his hairy brotherhis mother clothes him in Esaus garments and covers his neck and arms with goatskins.