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Good Morning. 

Now it came to pass, when Isaac was old and his eyes were so dim that he could not see, that he called Esau his older son and said to him, “My son.” And he answered him, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Behold now, I am old. I do not know the day of my death. Now therefore, please take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me. And make me savory food, such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.” (Genesis 27:1-4)

This is a crucial chapter in the Bible and one that can be quite puzzling in some regards. For instance, how is it that Isaac, a patriarch of Israel, prefer the son that God regarded as profane? Earlier the Bible emphatically states that Isaac preferred Esau because “he ate of his game” (Genesis 25:28). This question is complicated by the fact that Esau’s choice in women caused great distress for Isaac. So again, how is it that Isaac — the chief custodian of the covenant God made with Abraham — was seemingly prepared to bless Esau with the blessing of the firstborn, thus designating him as his successor?

Perhaps the key in the phrase, “His eyes were dim, so that he could not see.” Isaac would have been about 123 years old at this point, and so it makes sense that his eyesight was waning. But was there more to it? Is this Bible hinting that his sight was waning in more ways that just in the natural? Rabbinic literature seems to think so stating that because “he ate of his game,” Isaac had been deceived into thinking Esau was clean. The Hebrew word for “game” is also the word for “trapping” inferring that Esau led Isaac to view him in way that was not consistent with the truth. Because his eyes were dim, he could not discern the truth about Esau.

The Jewish sage, Rashi, wrote that Esau was a “pig’s foot” which is to say a convincing hypocrite. The phrase is derived from the fact that when a pig lies on his sides, he shows others his cloven hoof as if to say, “I am clean.” Anyone seeing him from a distance would assume that the pig is clean. But swine do not chew their cud meaning that their uncleanness is, at first, hidden from view. Only upon close inspection can one discern that they are not clean. Speaking of this sort, Jude said:

These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots. (Jude 1:11-12)

In these last days, it is very important that our eyes remain sharp and clear in order that we may see what needs to be seen. We must be able to discern between clean and unclean and we must be aware of those who would try to feign holiness when in fact they are a “pig’s foot.” In short, it is important that we remain diligent and fiercely guard what has been entrusted to us by the Master. That is our duty; let us remain faithful to do it.

Blessings and Shalom,  




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