When Rebecca overhears Isaac’s scheme to give Esau the blessing, she decides to intervene.
She and Jacob cook up a scheme of their own that has Jacob putting on Esau’s hairy garments to fool his father into thinking that he is Esau and thus trick him into giving him the blessing.
All and all, the ploy works like a dream and Jacob becomes the legal recipient of the blessing that cannot be reversed for any reason.
Again, I find it amazing that Jacob and his mother went through all they did to get a hold of something that God had already decreed was Jacob’s.
Certainly, God worked through the free will of Jacob and his mother to achieve His purposes, but I think that Jacob would have ended up the rightful recipient of the firstborn rights and the blessings anyway even if he hadn’t employed the deceptive tactics he used.
When Esau returns to find out that he has been duped out of receiving any blessing, there is nothing that Isaac can do at this point.
Isaac responds by saying…
“Behold, I have made him thy Lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with corn and wine have I sustained him: and what shall I do unto thee son?”
Esau breaks down and begins weeping, knowing that the situation cannot be changed.
Then Isaac utters the following:
“Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth,
and of the dew of heaven from above.”
Didn’t Isaac just get done telling Esau that he didn’t have any blessing left for him?
To put it bluntly, the way it is rendered in most of our English Bibles is a translation mistake!
There is both linguistic and geographical evidence to support my assertion that the way this is translated in most of our Bibles is a mistake.
A direct translation from the original Hebrew would render it as follows:
“Behold, AWAY from the richness of the earth and AWAY from the dew of heaven will be your home”.
This obviously makes much more sense contextually speaking, given that there was no more blessing of any kind left for Esau.
The NASB translation renders it correctly as follows:
“Your dwelling will be
away from the earth’s richness,
away from the dew of heaven above.”
The location of the land of Edom where Esau ended up residing is at the south end of the Dead Sea and is a very dry and infertile land.
My point being that it is anything but a seemingly nice and fertile place.
So why do some of our English bibles mistakenly render it “thy dwelling shall be the fat of the earth”?
Some say that there was sympathy for Esau.
Apparently, the ancient Rabbis and Scribes felt sorry for Esau and how he was treated and thus wanted to portray this story showing that Esau also received at least some type of blessing.
One question that the rabbis have struggled with is did God intend to curse Esau or just not bless him with the rights of the firstborn.
One interesting argument that has been brought to the table is that “fatness” is referring to “oil”.
So Esau was blessed by ending up in a land that had oil that would make him rich.
In response to this creative idea, I’ll just keep it short and state for the record that this theory does not hold water either linguistically nor geographically.
There were no oil reserves at all in Edom where Esau ended up dwelling.