Answers to Quora Questions by Yair Davidiy (5 November 2017, 15 Heshbon, 5778)
How could Jacob get away with his lie, and why can't Issac give Esau another blessing? Does it cost Issac anything to say a few extra words for his son?
The Bible relates how Isaac was about to bless his son Esau.
1 Now it came about, when Isaac was old and his eyes were too dim to see, that he called his older son Esau and said to him, 'My son.' And he said to him,'Here I am' 2 Isaac said, 'Behold now, I am old and I do not know the day of my death. 3 Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me; 4 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.'
Rebeka the mother of Esau and Jacob told Jacob to dress himself up as Esau and present himself to Isaac who was blind. The blessing was thus given to Jacob.
Jacob misled Isaac because his mother Rebeka had told him to do so. Rebeka took upon herself any calumny that might result.
6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, '˜Behold, I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, saying, 7 '˜Bring me some game and prepare a savory dish for me, that I may eat, and bless you in the presence of the LORD before my death.' 8 Now therefore, my son, listen to me as I command you. ... 11 Jacob answered his mother Rebekah, â€˜Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man and I am a smooth man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, then I will be as a deceiver in his sight, and I will bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing.' 13 But his mother said to him, 'Your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me.' ....
Rebeka had received a Prophecy regarding her sons at birth (Genesis 25:21-23).'
Isaac blessed Jacob and in doing so felt that God was speaking through him, that the blessing was valid and irrevocable regardless as to whether he was being deceived or not.
33 Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, 'Who was he then that hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate of all of it before you came, and blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.'
Esau then asked that he too should receive a blessing:
Genesis (NKJV) 27:
34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, 'Bless me, me also, O my father!'
35 But he said, '˜Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing.'
36 And Esau said, 'Is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has supplanted me these two times. He took away my birthright, and now look, he has taken away my blessing!' And he said, 'Have you not reserved a blessing for me?'
37 Then Isaac answered and said to Esau, 'Indeed I have made him your master, and all his brethren I have given to him as servants; with grain and wine I have sustained him. What shall I do now for you, my son?'
38 And Esau said to his father, 'Have you only one blessing, my father? Bless me, me also, O my father!' And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.
39 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him:
'Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth,
And of the dew of heaven from above.
40 By your sword you shall live,
And you shall serve your brother;
And it shall come to pass, when you become restless,
That you shall break his yoke from your neck.'
Isaac at first did not want to give a blessing to Esau. Nethertheless in the end after the importunities of Esau he did.
Why did he refuse at first and then relent and give a blessing?
It may be that since he had made Jacob the master of Esau and all his kin (Genesis 27:37) then anything that accrued to Esau ultimately would belong to Jacob? In Hebrew Law a slave has no property of his own but whatever he has really belongs to his master. The blessing to Esau was in fact ultimately only an addition to that given to Jacob and in the end will go to Jacob.