One Blessing

In Genesis 27 Isaac gives “the blessing” to Jacob (his second son) by being tricked.  Later when Esau comes in and wants “the blessing,” why does Isaac act like there was only one blessing? Can’t there be more than one blessing?

What a great question…the answer is: yes and no.
The specific blessing that God had said was going to go to Jacob, the one through whom the nation of Israel would be birthed and would ultimately lead the Messiah, there was only one of those.  I even think that if Isaac did in fact try to give that promised blessing to Esau it would not have come out like he intended (much like Balaam when he attempts to curse Israel in Numbers 22).
When Esau begs to get the blessing too, I believe Isaac understands the truth of the situation, that God had decided to work through Jacob. Many commentators believe that when Esau cried (Genesis 27:38) for the lost blessing, it was not the spiritual portion, but the monetary portion, that he didn’t want to lose. Esau was a man of the field who cared more for a bowl of stew than he did his birthright.
The blessing Isaac intended to give to Esau, the one that Jacob stole, was one of monetary blessing, not spiritual blessing. The spiritual blessing, that God said would be Jacob’s, is given to him by his father in chapter 28. Many believe that Isaac always intended to give Jacob the promised blessing and that the blessing he was going to give to Esau was always strictly going to be a monetary one as evidenced by the words, “May God give you of the dew of heaven and of the fatness of the earth and plenty of grain and wine” (Genesis 27:28). Whether this is true or not is open for debate.
It could also be that Isaac didn’t want to have to choose between his two sons, the way his father had. Isaac seems to intend to bless both of his sons because Isaac does give Esau a blessing. Genesis 27:39-40 Then Isaac his father answered and said to him: “Behold, away from the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you grow restless you shall break his yoke from your neck.”
These blessings were sort of a prophecy of what would come to pass in Jacob and Esau’s lives. Eventually Esau settles in the mountains below the Dead Sea (known as Idumea; Genesis 33:16; 36:8-9; Deuteronomy 2:4-5). This nation became known as Edom.
During the Exodus the Edomites opposed the Israelites when they attempted to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 20:14-21; Judges 11:17). In the Torah, God told the Israelites to be kind to the Edomites (Deuteronomy 23:7-8), but after the Israelites entered Palestine, warfare occurred with the Edomites and they were subdued (1 Samuel 14:47-48; 2 Samuel 8:13-14).

  • In 2 Samuel 8:13-14 King David had a victory that achieved dominant control over Edom during his reign.
  • During King Solomon's reign, the Edomites rebelled (1 Kings 11:14-22), but were subjected again.
  • The Edomites were under the control of King Jehosphat according to 1 Kings 22:47-50.
  • The Edomites were defeated again by King Amaziah (2 Chronicles 25:11-12).
  • The book of Obadiah eventually pronounces judgment on Edom for all of their treacheries. Malachi 1:2-5 clearly indicates the same message that some day they would be defeated and cease to exist as a nation.

Esau’s descendants went through periods of submission and freedom. When the Babylonians defeated the nation of Israel, the Edomites had allied themselves with the Babylonians and celebrated the victory. Essentially, Edom finally “broke the yoke” from their neck.
History tells us that the capital of the Edomites was Petra. It was supposedly a magnificent city, but today it is nothing but ruins.
Sorry to end on a downer, but all life, apart from Christ, is a downer.