Genesis 27-29 The Message Bible

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Jacob Obtains Isaac's Blessing

27 1  When Isaac had become an old man and was nearly blind, he called his eldest son, Esau, and said, "My son." "Yes, Father?" 2  "I'm an old man," he said; "I might die any day now. 3  Do me a favor: Get your quiver of arrows and your bow and go out in the country and hunt me some game. 4  Then fix me a hearty meal, the kind that you know I like, and bring it to me to eat so that I can give you my personal blessing before I die." 5  Rebekah was eavesdropping as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. As soon as Esau had gone off to the country to hunt game for his father,

6  Rebekah spoke to her son Jacob. "I just overheard your father talking with your brother, Esau. He said, 7  'Bring me some game and fix me a hearty meal so that I can eat and bless you with God's blessing before I die.' 8  "Now, my son, listen to me. Do what I tell you. 9  Go to the flock and get me two young goats. Pick the best; I'll prepare them into a hearty meal, the kind that your father loves. 10  Then you'll take it to your father, he'll eat and bless you before he dies." 11  "But Mother," Jacob said, "my brother Esau is a hairy man and I have smooth skin. 12  What happens if my father touches me? He'll think I'm playing games with him. I'll bring down a curse on myself instead of a blessing." 13  "If it comes to that," said his mother, "I'll take the curse on myself. Now, just do what I say. Go and get the goats." 14  So he went and got them and brought them to his mother and she cooked a hearty meal, the kind his father loved so much. 15  Rebekah took the dress-up clothes of her older son Esau and put them on her younger son Jacob. 16  She took the goatskins and covered his hands and the smooth nape of his neck. 17  Then she placed the hearty meal she had fixed and fresh bread she'd baked into the hands of her son Jacob.

18  He went to his father and said, "My father!" "Yes?" he said. "Which son are you?" 19  Jacob answered his father, "I'm your firstborn son Esau. I did what you told me. Come now; sit up and eat of my game so you can give me your personal blessing." 20  Isaac said, "So soon? How did you get it so quickly?" "Because your God cleared the way for me." 21  Isaac said, "Come close, son; let me touch you - are you really my son Esau?" 22  So Jacob moved close to his father Isaac. Isaac felt him and said, "The voice is Jacob's voice but the hands are the hands of Esau." 23  He didn't recognize him because his hands were hairy, like his brother Esau's. 24  he pressed him, "You're sure? You are my son Esau?" "Yes. I am." 25  Isaac said, "Bring the food so I can eat of my son's game and give you my personal blessing." Jacob brought it to him and he ate. He also brought him wine and he drank. 26  Then Isaac said, "Come close, son, and kiss me." 27  He came close and kissed him and Isaac smelled the smell of his clothes. Finally, he blessed him, Ahhh. The smell of my son is like the smell of the open country blessed by God. 28  May God give you of Heaven's dew and Earth's bounty of grain and wine. 29  May peoples serve you and nations honor you. You will master your brothers, and your mother's sons will honor you. Those who curse you will be cursed, those who bless you will be blessed.

30  And then right after Isaac had blessed Jacob and Jacob had left, Esau showed up from the hunt. 31  He also had prepared a hearty meal. He came to his father and said, "Let my father get up and eat of his son's game, that he may give me his personal blessing." 32  His father Isaac said, "And who are you?" "I am your son, your firstborn, Esau." 33  Isaac started to tremble, shaking violently. He said, "Then who hunted game and brought it to me? I finished the meal just now, before you walked in. And I blessed him - he's blessed for good!" 34  Esau, hearing his father's words, sobbed violently and most bitterly, and cried to his father, "My father! Can't you also bless me?" 35  "Your brother," he said, "came here falsely and took your blessing." 36  Esau said, "Not for nothing was he named Jacob, the Heel. Twice now he's tricked me: first he took my birthright and now he's taken my blessing." He begged, "Haven't you kept back any blessing for me?" 37  Isaac answered Esau, "I've made him your master, and all his brothers his servants, and lavished grain and wine on him. I've given it all away. What's left for you, my son?" 38  "But don't you have just one blessing for me, Father? Oh, bless me my father! Bless me!" Esau sobbed inconsolably. 39  Isaac said to him, You'll live far from Earth's bounty, remote from Heaven's dew. 40  You'll live by your sword, hand-to-mouth, and you'll serve your brother. But when you can't take it any more you'll break loose and run free.

Jacob Flees from Esau

41  Esau seethed in anger against Jacob because of the blessing his father had given him; he brooded, "The time for mourning my father's death is close. And then I'll kill my brother Jacob." 42  When these words of her older son Esau were reported to Rebekah, she called her younger son Jacob and said, "Your brother Esau is plotting vengeance against you. He's going to kill you. 43  Son, listen to me. Get out of here. Run for your life to Haran, to my brother Laban. 44  Live with him for a while until your brother cools down, 45  until his anger subsides and he forgets what you did to him. I'll then send for you and bring you back. Why should I lose both of you the same day?" 46  Rebekah spoke to Isaac, "I'm sick to death of these Hittite women. If Jacob also marries a native Hittite woman, why live?"

28 1  So Isaac called in Jacob and blessed him. Then he ordered him, "Don't take a Caananite wife. 2  Leave at once. Go to Paddan Aram to the family of your mother's father, Bethuel. Get a wife for yourself from the daughters of your uncle Laban. 3  "And may The Strong God bless you and give you many, many children, a congregation of peoples; 4  and pass on the blessing of Abraham to you and your descendants so that you will get this land in which you live, this land God gave Abraham." 5  So Isaac sent Jacob off. He went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

6  Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan Aram to get a wife there, and while blessing him commanded, "Don't marry a Canaanite woman," 7  and that Jacob had obeyed his parents and gone to Paddan Aram. 8  When Esau realized how deeply his father Isaac disliked the Canaanite women, 9  he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son. This was in addition to the wives he already had.

God Appears to Jacob at Beth-el

10  Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran. 11  He came to a certain place and camped for the night since the sun had set. He took one of the stones there, set it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12  And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground and it reached all the way to the sky; angels of God were going up and going down on it. 13  Then God was right before him, saying, "I am God, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. I'm giving the ground on which you are sleeping to you and to your descendants. 14  Your descendants will be as the dust of the Earth; they'll stretch from west to east and from north to south. All the families of the Earth will bless themselves in you and your descendants. 15  Yes. I'll stay with you, I'll protect you wherever you go, and I'll bring you back to this very ground. I'll stick with you until I've done everything I promised you."

16  Jacob woke up from his sleep. He said, "God is in this place - truly. And I didn't even know it!" 17  He was terrified. He whispered in awe, "Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God's House. This is the Gate of Heaven." 18  Jacob was up first thing in the morning. He took the stone he had used for his pillow and stood it up as a memorial pillar and poured oil over it. 19  He christened the place Bethel (God's House). The name of the town had been Luz until then. 20  Jacob vowed a vow: "If God stands by me and protects me on this journey on which I'm setting out, keeps me in food and clothing, 21  and brings me back in one piece to my father's house, this God will be my God. 22  This stone that I have set up as a memorial pillar will mark this as a place where God lives. And everything you give me, I'll return a tenth to you."

Jacob Serves Laban for Rachel and Leah

29 1  Jacob set out again on his way to the people of the east. 2  He noticed a well out in an open field with three flocks of sheep bedded down around it. This was the common well from which the flocks were watered. The stone over the mouth of the well was huge. 3  When all the flocks were gathered, the shepherds would roll the stone from the well and water the sheep; then they would return the stone, covering the well. 4  Jacob said, "Hello friends. Where are you from?" They said, "We're from Haran." 5  Jacob asked, "Do you know Laban son of Nahor?" "We do." 6  "Are things well with him?" Jacob continued. "Very well," they said. "And here is his daughter Rachel coming with the flock." 7  Jacob said, "There's a lot of daylight still left; it isn't time to round up the sheep yet, is it? So why not water the flocks and go back to grazing?" 8  "We can't," they said. "Not until all the shepherds get here. It takes all of us to roll the stone from the well. Not until then can we water the flocks."

9  While Jacob was in conversation with them, Rachel came up with her father's sheep. She was the shepherd. 10  The moment Jacob spotted Rachel, daughter of Laban his mother's brother, saw her arriving with his uncle Laban's sheep, he went and single-handedly rolled the stone from the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of his uncle Laban. 11  Then he kissed Rachel and broke into tears. 12  He told Rachel that he was related to her father, that he was Rebekah's son. She ran and told her father. 13  When Laban heard the news - Jacob, his sister's son! - he ran out to meet him, embraced and kissed him and brought him home. Jacob told Laban the story of everything that had happened. 14  Laban said, "You're family! My flesh and blood!"

15  Laban said, "Just because you're my nephew, you shouldn't work for me for nothing. Tell me what you want to be paid. What's a fair wage?" 16  Now Laban had two daughters; Leah was the older and Rachel the younger. 17  Leah had nice eyes, but Rachel was stunningly beautiful. 18  And it was Rachel that Jacob loved. So Jacob answered, "I will work for you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel." 19  "It is far better," said Laban, "that I give her to you than marry her to some outsider. Yes. Stay here with me." 20  So Jacob worked seven years for Rachel. But it only seemed like a few days, he loved her so much. 21  Then Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife; I've completed what we agreed I'd do. I'm ready to consummate my marriage." 22  Laban invited everyone around and threw a big feast. 23  At evening, though, he got his daughter Leah and brought her to the marriage bed, and Jacob slept with her. 24  (Laban gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as her maid.) 25  Morning came: There was Leah in the marriage bed! Jacob confronted Laban, "What have you done to me? Didn't I work all this time for the hand of Rachel? Why did you cheat me?" 26  "We don't do it that way in our country," said Laban. "We don't marry off the younger daughter before the older. 27  Enjoy your week of honeymoon, and then we'll give you the other one also. But it will cost you another seven years of work." 28  Jacob agreed. When he'd completed the honeymoon week, Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 29  (Laban gave his maid Bilhah to his daughter Rachel as her maid.) 30  Jacob then slept with her. And he loved Rachel more than Leah. He worked for Laban another seven years.

The Children Born to Jacob

31  When God realized that Leah was unloved, he opened her womb. But Rachel was barren. 32  Leah became pregnant and had a son. She named him Reuben (Look-It's-a-Boy!). "This is a sign," she said, "that God has seen my misery; and a sign that now my husband will love me." 33  She became pregnant again and had another son. "God heard," she said, "that I was unloved and so he gave me this son also." She named this one Simeon (God-Heard). 34  She became pregnant yet again - another son. She said, "Now maybe my husband will connect with me - I've given him three sons!" That's why she named him Levi (Connect). 35  She became pregnant a final time and had a fourth son. She said, "This time I'll praise God." So she named him Judah (Praise-God). Then she stopped having children.

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