Jacob served Esau for the last time. From now on, Esau would serve Jacob. With each swallow of the soup Esau’s birthright disintegrated into nothing. A full stomach gave way to an empty heart. Esau despised his birthright.
Years passed. Esau continued to hunt and his father continued to favor him. Jacob perfected his bean soup. Isaac aged. His eyesight grew dim. Death lurked just around the corner.
One day. So much happens in a day. Isaac called Esau into his quarters. “I am old and do not know the day of my death. Now, then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me; and prepare a savory dish for me such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die.”
Esau’s heart jumped for joy. A glimmer of hope shed new light on the emptiness. Though he did not have his birthright, at least he would receive the blessing. He readied his bow, filled his quiver with arrows, dressed in his best camouflage and headed straight for hunting ground.
Rebekah overheard the entire conversation. Her favor for Jacob overshadowed her respect for her husband. Her plan became her priority. Quickly she summoned Jacob, informed him of Isaac’s intention to give Esau the blessing and instructed him to choose two young goats from the flock. She would prepare one of Isaac’s favorite dishes and Jacob would carry it into him and receive the blessing.
“But mama,” Jacob replied, “Esau is hairy and I am smooth. What if my father feels me and discovers that I have deceived him. I will be a deceiver in his sight and receive a curse, not a blessing.”
“Do what I say,” Rebekah scolded. Jacob conceded.
Once again the pleasing aroma of a simple cooked meal paved the way for Jacob to receive what rightly belonged to Esau. He stepped into his father’s room.
“Here I am. Who are you, my son?”
“Esau, your firstborn. I have done as you told me.” Jacob hesitated—shocked by a shiver of fear. “Get up, please, sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me.”
Esau had never gotten game so quickly and prepared it so wonderfully. Isaac hesitated.
“How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?”
Jacob continued resolutely in his deception. “Because the Lord your God caused it to happen to me.”
Isaac hesitated again. Something wasn’t right about this and he couldn’t put his finger on it. “Come close that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.”
Jacob’s heart skipped a beat. Did Isaac know? He feared his father’s curse if his true identity were revealed. He walked timidly toward his father, arranging the goatskin that now graced his hands and neck so that his father would touch the hairy hands of Esau.
“The voice is the voice of Jacob,” Isaac stammered, “But the hands are the hands of Esau.”
Isaac blessed Jacob.
Another moment of doubt. “Are you really my son Esau?” Isaac asked.
Another lie. “I am.”
Jacob served Rebekah’s best. Young goat marinated in deception. Wine aged by dishonesty. An aging father, a desperate son, a doting mother and a deceitful brother. A recipe for disaster.
Isaac’s tired voice broke the silence. “Come close and kiss me my son.”
Jacob approached his father—again—and kissed him. The smell of the fresh goatskins pleased Isaac.
“See, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed. Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and an abundance of grain and new 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.”
Jacob breathed a sigh of relief, gathered the leftovers and slipped out of the room.