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CHAP. XXV. 19, to the end. Contains an account of the birth and character of Isaac's sons ; and
of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob. 19 A ND these [are] the generations of Isaac, Abraham's 20 o son : Abraham begat Isaac : And Isaac was forty
years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padanaram, the sister to Laban the
Syrian. 21 'And Isaac entreated, prayed fervently and continually, for
near twenty years together, to the LORD for his wife, because
she (was] barren ; and the LORD was entreated of him, and 22 Rebekah his wife conceived. And the children, in an unusual
and painful manner, struggled together within her; a presage of the enmity which would subsist between their posterity : and she said, If [it be] so, why [am] I thus ? if God hath answer
ed our prayers, why am I in danger of death : why did I con. 23 ceive, if I cannot be delivered? And she went to inquire of
the LORD, by solemn prayer, and other acts of devotion. And the LORD said unto her, Two heads of nations Care] in thy womb; two children, different in their bodily constitution, in their temper of mind, in their course of action, and the practice of religion ; and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels, the Edomites and the Israelites ; and (the one) people shall be stronger than the other] people, the Edomites shall be stronger than the Israelites for a time, but afterward it shall be otherwise ; and the elder shall serve the younger. This was fulfilled in David's lime, when the descend
ants of Esau were conquered. 24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, 25 [there were) twins in her womb. And the first came out
red, all over like an hairy garment, a strong full grown child ; and they called his name Esau, which signifies perfected, being
of a more strong and perfect natural constitution, than other chil. 26 dren usually are ; and hairy, like a man full grown. And af.
ter that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel, as if he would draw him back, that he might be born first ; and his name was called Jacob, which signifies a supplanter ; a divine presage of what would afterward come to pass : and
Isaac (was] threescore years old when she bare them. 27 And the boys grew : and Esau was a cunning hunter, a
man of the field, spending most of his time abroad in the fields, in hunting and the like exercises ; and Jacob (was) a plain
man, dwelling in tents ; keeping at home, and minding household 28 affairs, and the herds and flocks of his father. And Isaac loved
Esau, because he did eat of Chis] venison, and considered the presents he brought him as tokens of respect : but Rebekah loved Jacob, because of his more mild and gentle temper, his 29 piety, and the divine prediction concerning him. And Jacob
sod pottage, had prepared some rich broth or soup : and Esau
came from the field, and he (was] faint, being fatigued with 30 his exercise : And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee,
with that same red (pottage ;*] for I [am] faint: therefore 31 was his name called Edom, that is, red. And Jacob, taking
advantage of his brother's nicety and hasty temper, said, Sell 32 me this day, speedily without delay, thy birthright.t And
Esau said, Behold, I (am) at the point to die, always in danger
of my life : and what profit shall this birthright do to me 33 when I am dead? I care nothing for it. And Jacob said,
Swear to me this day : and he, being a profane man, and not
regarding an oath, sware unto him : and he sold his birthright 34 unto Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of
lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way, without showing any remorse or sorrow for his profane bargain, for his ingratitude to God, or the injury he had donc himself and all his posterity : preferring the present and momentary gratification of his appetite before his father's blessing, and all the privileges of the birthright; thus Esau despised [his] birthright.
1. T E T us seek the blessing and counsel of God in all our
I affairs. These good men of old were men of prayer ; they lived near to God, and conversed much with him. Let us emulate their piety, and, in every time of difficulty, seek the Lord ; so Isaac did, for his wife and with her, as the word might be rendered. God is capable of giving those blessings which seem most unlikely, Let us pray in faith ; waiting for the accomplishment of our desire, though it should be long delayed, God promised Isaac a numerous offspring, yet he prayed, God's promises are designed to encourage, and not to supersede our prayers ; for this will I be sought unto, to do it for them, saith the Lord. Isaac prayed for near twenty years, before he was answers ed. Thus men ought always to pray and not to faint, being assured that God will at length be the rewarder of all them that diligently seek him. Let us thus ask that we may receive, and seek that we may find, in every affair of doubt and uncertainty: Let us in
• Perhaps it was tinctured red hy saffron, or some other herbs or spices : and so of an agreeable flavour and smell. Fred me with that red red, for I a faint. The word rer! is repeated in the original; which showed his extreme faintness, and the impatience of his appetite. Edit.
+ Several privileges attended this, as for instance, a double portion of the father's goods ; greater authority and dignity in the family; and probably some spiritual blessings. particularly the conducting of religious services, and instructing the younger branches of it.
1 In the whole of this, Jacob was highly to blame, and did not act that plain and konourable part he ought to have done ; he took an unsair advantage, and hurried on an unfair bargain.
quire of the Lord, as Rebekah did : and though we have no Shekinah, or visible appearance of God among us, and though dreams and visions are not to be expected, yet by his secret influences God can show us the path of life, and lead us in the right way to a city of habitation. If in all our ways we acknowledge him, he will direct our paths. He hath astonishing and unexpected methods in the course of his providence to show us our duty. Let us, therefore wait on him continually. This will be a present ease and satisfaction to the mind, amidst ten thousand uneasy struggles, and is the likeliest way to have success. The success that Isaac found in his prayer, and the answer Rebekah received to her in quiry, should teach us to be careful for nothing, that is, not to be immoderately anxious about any event, but by prayer and thanksgiving make known our requests unio God.
2. Let us learn, from the example of Esau, not to indulge sensual appetites and passions, and despise our spiritual birthright. This is Paul's reflection in Heb. xii. 16. lest there be any fornicafor, or profune person among you, who, like Esau, for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. We are God's rational creatures, formed for himself, and born for eternal glory : that spiritual birthright is ours, if we do not miss of it through our own folly. Let us be thankful that we are made capable of being happy, have rational faculties, and immortal natures. Let us praise God that we are distinguished from the heathen nations, in having an assurance of a future eternal world ; and that so many spiritual blessings are promised us in our way to it. May we guard against every thing that would alienate our minds from it, and make us despise the favour of God's covenant ; or think lightly of his blessings, and esteem them not worth having. He will justly be displeased if we do so; and will not suffer them to be despised with impunity. Let us especially guard against fleshly lusts ; all degrees of sensuality, and particularly such a love of meat and drink, as would unfit us for communion with God, and the pleasures of devotion. This many may indulge, who are not called drunkards or gluttons. What a wretched figure does Esau make ! And how do we pity his folly, who for a meal of meat would sell his birthright, his worldly goods, his authority, and his father's blessing. And are not those greater fools, who sacrifice theirsouls for such things ? Yet, alas ! how many, like him, are always studying how to indulge their appetites ; eager after every thing that is new, and grateful to their taste ; and are ready to faint and die if their appetite be not indulged! What an unmanly temper is this! What a contemptible figure do such persons make in the eyes of all serious and thinking men ! What a wretched thing is it for christians to make a god of their belly, sell their claim to eternal happiness, and sacrifice their precious souls to please their palates ! What a dreadful bargain do they make ! Esau, if he had possessed but a little patience and self-de.
pial, might have had his hunger satisfied, and kept his birthright: So we may moderately use the good things of life, and our spiritual interest not be in danger by it: but if men will make provision for the flesh, run on to excess, and destroy their reason, then, when their passions are strong, they will do any thing ; blaspheme God, injure their neighbours, and sport away their souls : and their case will be the same as Esau's ; they, if they do not repent immediately, may find no place for repentance hereafter ; nor will God accept them : but, according to his threatenings, exclude all such shameless persons from the kingdom of heaven, as he did Esau from the earthly Canaan. Let us therefore be upon our guard, knowing that we are in a corrupt body, and easily led astray; surrounded with bad examples, and exposed to the solicitations of the evil one, who takes advantage of all our hasty pas-. sions, to hurry us on to sin and ruin. Let us deny ourselves, keep under our bodies, and be spiritually minded ; never resign spiritual blessings and eternal glory, for any of the accommodations and delights of this world. Better, a thousand times better, to die by hunger or thirst, than to go down to destruction, where there is not a crumb of comfort, or a drop of ease. If we habituate ourselves to a steady course of sobriety and heavenly mindedness, God will delight to bless us; he will fulfil the promise of his covenant to us here, and at length give us a place in the church of the first born that are written in heaven,
We have here Isaac's departure to Gerar, on account of the famine ;
his denying his wife, and the reproof for it; the envy and conten: tion of the Philistines at his prosperity : the covenant between him and Abimelech ; and the marriage of his eldest son, Esau. 1 A ND there was a famine in the land, beside the first
A famine that was in the days of Abraham. Though a good land, yet it was turned into barrenness by the wickedness of those who dwelt therein. And Isaac went unto Abimelech king of the Philistines, (not the same Abimelech that was meh. tioned before, but his son, or successor,) unto Gerar, where
Isaac was born. 2 And the Lord appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt, where Abraham went; but dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of: Thus God was pleased to direct his
steps, and also to renew the promise made to Abraham, saying, 3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless
thee ; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these
countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto 4 Abraham thy father ; And I will make thy seed to multiply
as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these
countries ; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth 5 be blessed; for this reason, Because that Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my stat
utes, and my laws.* 67 And Isaac dwelt in Gerar: And the men of the place
asked [him) of his wife ; and he said, She [is] my sister : for he feared to say, [She is) my wife ; lest, [said he,] the men of the place should kill me for Rebekah ; because she was fair to look upon. Thus he fell into the same snare and sin that Abraham did. And it came to pass, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac [was) sporting with Rebekah his wife ; using some familiarity which he thought a man of Isaac's gravity and goodness would not take with his 9 sister. And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a
surety she [is] thy wife : and how saidst thou, She [is] my
sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die 10 for her. And Abimelech said, What [is] this thou hast done
unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy
wife, and thou shouldst have brought guiltiness upon us.t 11 And Abimelech charged all (his] people, saying, He that
toucheth, or hurteth, this man or his wife shall surely be put
to death. 12 Then Isaac sowed in some part of that land, which he had
probably hired, and received in the same year an hundred 13 fold: and the Lord blessed him: And the man waxed great,
and went forward, and grew until he became very great : 14 For he had possession of flocks, and possession of herds, and
great store of servants, for managing his husbandry : and the 15 Philistines envied him. For all the wells which his father's
servants had digged in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines, contrary to their covenant and oath, (ch. xxi. 30,
31.) had stopped them, and filled them with earth, because 16 they envied Isaac. And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from
us ; for thou art much mightier than we ; this may breed
contentions, and be attended with dangerous consequences. 17 And Isaac, without resistance, and for peace sake, gave up his
lands and departed thence, and pitched his tent in the valley of Gerar, and dwelt there.
And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father ;t for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham : and he
• It must give high delight to Isaac to hear his father thus honourably mentioned, and it was a powerful motive to him to go and do likewise.
+ Such an enormous crime did the Philistines think adultery to be, that Abimelech expected God would have punished all his country for it.
1 This he had a right to do by agreement, and there he was sure to find water. Vol. I,