Today we begin Chapter 28.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For King James Bible, click here.
Though it may be typical in our day and age to view the blessings and curses in the bible as cute little sayings and prayers that embodied the hopes and aspirations of those pronouncing them, it is important to examine them very closely because more often than not, they are prophecies that connect with many future events in both the Old and New Testaments.
Let’s take a close look at the farewell blessing Isaac pronounced on Jacob prior to his departure to Padanaram.
Picking up from our last post, the situation is that Jacob in cohorts with his mother had just “cheated” Esau out of his blessing and in the process had also outright deceived and lied to his father.
So now Jacob has to to flee from the enraged Esau or risk losing his life.
As an ably engineered excuse, Rebecca lodges a complaint about Hittite women and having to send Jacob off to find a suitable bride.
Prior to his departure to the Land of Haran, Isaac gives Jacob a farewell blessing.
Let’s take a close look at verse 3.
“And may El Shaddai bless you and make you fruitful and multiply so you may become an assembly of people.“
Now let’s take a look at the blessing that God pronounced to both Abraham and Isaac many years earlier.
“I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great.”
Do you notice the difference in wording?
In the blessing that God issued to both Abraham and Isaac, God says “I will make you a great nation‘“.
However, in the blessing that issued to Jacob, He says I will make you an “assembly of people“.
The Hebrew is as follows.
Assembly of People=Kahal Ammim
Now in the day and age that we live in, “goy” specifically means gentile or gentile nations.
However, in Abraham’s time, there was no such thing yet as a Hebrew race.
It wouldn’t have made any sense to take the meaning of the word “goy” to mean the non-Hebrew nations.
At the time, “goy” just had the generic meaning of “nations“.
The same goes for when this blessing was pronounced to Isaac.
“Goy” still meant just “nations” without any Hebrew or non-Hebrew distinction being made.
However, with Jacob, all of that changed.
Let me try to break it down for you really easy.
1) Abraham started life as a Gentile. But by a declaration of God became a Hebrew. In other words, Abraham had no Hebrew ancestors.
2) Abraham had two children, Ishmael and Isaac. However, again per God’s sovereign decision, Ishmael was separated and Isaac was declared the Hebrew.
3) Isaac and Rebecca had two children, Esau and Jacob. And yet again, due to God’s sovereign decision, Jacob was declared the Hebrew.
4) From Jacob onward, there would be no more dividing declarations by God. All those born from Jacob’s seed would be considered full fledged Hebrews. With the two wives he would take, Jacob would become the father of the 12 tribes of Israel.
So the blessing that God issued to Jacob reflects this distinction.
He is telling Jacob that he would become a Kahal Ammim.
This is a different promise than the one he gave to Abraham.
In other words, Jacob’s seed would literally become “an assembly of people or a holy convocation set apart for God’s holy purposes“.
Later on, we will see Jacob undergo a name change to “Israel” that will further reflect this division.