Genesis 27:1-4, 15-23 & 28:10-17

Genesis 27:1-4, 15-23 & 28:10-17
Narrative Lectionary


27:1 WhenI IsaacII was oldIII and his eyesIV were dimV so that he could not see,VI

Notes on verse 27:1a

I {untranslated} = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
II “Isaac” = Yitschaq. From tsachaq (to laugh, mock, play, make sport; this is laughing out loud whether in joy or in a scornful way). This is Isaac, meaning “he laughs.”
III “was old” = zaqen. From the same as zaqan (beard or chin – the beard represents old age). This is to be old or grow old.
IV “eyes” = ayin. This is eye in a literal or figurative sense so eye, appearance, favor, or a fountain (the eye of the landscape).
V “were dim” = kahah. 8x in OT. This is to darken, grow faint, fail, be weak, have one’s eye dim or become dull.
VI “see” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.

he calledVII his elderVIII sonIX EsauX and said to him, “My son”;

and he answered, “Here I am.”XI 

Notes on verse 27:1b

VII “called” = qara. This is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth.
VIII “elder” = gadol. From gadal (to grow up, become great, become wealthy – to advance. The root meaning may be to twist in the sense of the process of growing). This is great, high, bigger, noble, old, marvelous. It can also refer to someone who is powerful or distinguished.
IX “son” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
X “Esau” = Esav. From asah (to squeeze, handle, or press) OR from asah (to do, make, accomplish, become). This is Esau, perhaps meaning rough as something one handles. It could also be doer, maker, or worker. See
XI “here I am” = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!

2 He said, “See,XII, XIII I am old; I do not knowXIV the dayXV of my death.XVI 

Notes on verse 27:2

XII “see” = hinneh. Same as “here I am” in v27:1. See note XI above.
XIII {untranslated} = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
XIV “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
XV “day” = yom. Root may mean being hot. This is the day in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean birth, age, daylight, continually or other references to time.
XVI “death” = mavet. From muth (to die in a literal or figurative sense). This can be death, deadliness, the dead, or the place where the dead go. It can be used figuratively for pestilence or ruin.

Now then, takeXVII, XVIII your weapons,XIX your quiverXX and your bow,XXI

Notes on verse 27:3a

XVII “take” = nasa. This is to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept.
XVIII {untranslated} = na. Same as {untranslated} in v27:2. See note XIII above.
XIX “weapons” = keli. From kalah (to end, be finished, complete, prepare, consume, spent, or completely destroyed). This is something that was prepared – any implement, utensil, article, vessel, weapon, or instrument. Also includes jewels, weapons, bags, carriages, and furniture.
XX “quiver” = teli. 1x in OT. From halah (to hang or suspend; can be used for hanging someone on gallows). This is a quiver as hanging. It can also have a sense of a quiver including arrows.
XXI “bow” = qeshet. Perhaps from qush (to set a trap, lure, ensnare) OR from qashah (to be fierce, cruel, dense, tough, severe). This is a bow, arrow, or archer. Bow can be used figuratively for strength.

and go outXXII to the field,XXIII and huntXXIV gameXXV for me. 

Notes on verse 27:3b

XXII “go out” = yatsa. This is to go or come out, bring forth, appear. It is to go out in a literal or figurative sense.
XXIII “field” = sadeh. This is literally field, ground, soil, or land. It can be used to mean wild like a wild animal.
XXIV “hunt” = tsud. 18x in OT. From the same as tsayid (food or provision). This is to hunt, to lie in wait in order to catch an animal. It can be used figuratively for capturing people.
XXV “game” = tsedah. Related to “hunt” in v27:3. 11x in OT. From the same as tsayid (see note XXIV above). This is food, meat, or other provisions.

4 Then prepareXXVI for me savory food,XXVII such as I like,XXVIII and bringXXIX it to me to eat,XXX

Notes on verse 27:4a

XXVI “prepare” = asah. Perhaps related to “Esau” in v27:1. See note X above (the second asah).
XXVII “savory food” = matam. 8x in OT. From taam (to taste, sense, perceive). This is some tasty food, a delicacy, a savory meat.
XXVIII “like” = aheb. This is to love, beloved, friend. It is to have affection for sexually or otherwise.
XXIX “bring” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
XXX “eat” = akal. This is to eat, devour, burn up, or otherwise consume. It can be eating in a literal or figurative sense.

so thatXXXI IXXXII may blessXXXIII you before I die.”XXXIV

Notes on verse 27:4b

XXXI “so that” = abur. From abar (to pass over, pass through, or pass by; cross over or to alienate; used for transitions). This is for, so that, on account of. Properly, it means crossed.
XXXII “I” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
XXXIII “bless” = barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God.
XXXIV “die” = muth. Related to “death” in v27:2. See note XVI above.

15 Then RebekahXXXV tookXXXVI the bestXXXVII garmentsXXXVIII of her elder son Esau,

Notes on verse 27:15a

XXXV “Rebekah” = Ribqah. From the same as marbeq (fattened, a stall used for housing cattle; root may mean to tie up). This is Rebekah, perhaps meaning tied up or secured. See
XXXVI “took” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
XXXVII “best” = chemdah. 18x in OT. From chemed (desire, delight); from chamad (to desire or delight in someone or something; something that is precious or coveted; to lust). This is desire or precious.
XXXVIII “garments” = beged. From bagad (to cover or conceal; figuratively, to act in a covert or treacherous way, to transgress or pillage). This is clothing, garment, robe, or some other kind of clothing. Figuratively, it can be treachery or pillaging.

which were with her in the house,XXXIX and put them onXL her youngerXLI son Jacob;XLII 

Notes on verse 27:15b

XXXIX “house” = bayit. Related to “son” in v27:1. Probably related to banah (see note IX above). This is house, court, family, palace, temple.
XL “put…on” = labash. This is to wrap around, which implies clothing oneself or someone else. This is wrapping around in a literal or figurative way.
XLI “younger” = qatan. From qut (grieved, cut off, to detest). This is least, small, young, little one. It is literally smaller whether in amount or size. Figuratively it is smaller in the sense of younger or less important.
XLII “Jacob” = Yaaqob. From the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.

16 and she put the skinsXLIII of the kidsXLIV on his handsXLV and on the smooth partXLVI of his neck.XLVII 

Notes on verse 27:16

XLIII “skins” = or. Perhaps from ur (to be made naked, exposed, or bare). This is skin, hide, or leather. It can also refer to a body.
XLIV “kids” = gedi + ez. Gedi is 16x in OT. From gadah (a riverbank). This is a young goat. Ez is perhaps from azaz (to be strong in a literal or figurative sense, overcome, be impudent). This is a female goat, but can refer to male goats when plural.
XLV “hands” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
XLVI “smooth part” = chelqah. From cheleq (portion, catch, division, reward, share, smooth tongue, flattery, associate); from chalaq (to be smooth in a figurative sense; can refer to the stones that were part of casting lots – hence, apportion, share, distribute; figuratively, it can also mean to flatter). This is smoothness. Figuratively it can mean a tract of land or other allotment or flattery.
XLVII “neck” = tsavvar. Perhaps from tsur (to confine, cramp, or bind in a literal or figurative sense; to besiege, assault, or distress, adversary). This is the neck or the back of the neck.

17 Then she handedXLVIII the savory food, and the breadXLIX that she had prepared, to her son Jacob.

18 So he went inL to his father,LI and said, “My father”;

and he said, “Here I am; who are you, my son?” 

Notes on verses 27:17-18

XLVIII “handed” = natanyad.  Literally “gave…into the hand.” Natan is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively. Yad is the same as “hands” in v27:16. See note XLV above.
XLIX “bread” = lechem. From lacham (to eat, feed on). This is bread, food, loaf. It can refer to food more generally for people or for animals.
L “went in” = bo. Same as “bring” in v27:4. See note XXIX above.
LI “father” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.

19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your firstborn.LII I have doneLIII as you toldLIV me;

Notes on verse 27:19a

LII “firstborn” = bekor. From bakar (to bear fruit, be firstborn, firstling, that which opens the womb, give the birthright to). This is firstborn or chief.
LIII “done” = asah. Same as “prepare” in v27:4. See note XXVI above.
LIV “told” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.

 nowLV sit upLVI and eat of my game,LVII so that youLVIII may bless me.” 

Notes on verse 27:19b

LV “now” = na. Same as {untranslated} in v27:2. See note XIII above.
LVI “sit up” = qumyashab. Qum is to arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense. Yashab is to sit and so to remain and so to dwell. It is sitting for any reason – as a judge, in order to ambush, or just sitting quietly. Causatively, this can mean settling or marrying. This can also mean continue, endure, or establish.
LVII “game” = tsayid. Related to “hunt” and “game” in v27:3. 17x in OT. See note XXIV above.
LVIII “you” = nephesh. Same as “I” in v27:4. See note XXXII above.

20 But Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have foundLIX it so quickly,LX my son?”

He answered, “Because the LordLXI your GodLXII granted meLXIII success.”LXIV 

Notes on verse 27:20

LIX “found” = matsa. This is to find, catch or acquire. It can also mean to come forth or appear. Figuratively, this can mean to meet or be together with.
LX “have…so quickly” = mahar. This is being liquid, which implies flowing. So, this word implies hurrying forward, whether in a positive or negative sense.
LXI “Lord” = YHVH. Related to {untranslated} in v27:1. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note I above). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
LXII “God” = Elohim.
LXIII “me” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
LXIV “granted…success” = qarah. This is to encounter, usually unintentionally. It can also mean to happen or to lay wood for a floor or roof.

21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come near,LXV, LXVI that I may feelLXVII you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 

22 So Jacob went upLXVIII to his father Isaac, who feltLXIX him and said, “The voiceLXX is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 

Notes on verses 27:21-22

LXV “come near” = nagash. This is to draw, bring, or come near. It is approaching for any reason – as an attack on an enemy, in order to worship, to make an argument. It can also be used as a euphemism for sex.
LXVI {untranslated} = na. Same as {untranslated} in v27:2. See note XIII above.
LXVII “feel” = mush. 2x in OT. This is to touch or handle.
LXVIII “went up” = nagash. Same as “come near” in v27:21. See note LXV above.
LXIX “felt” = mashash. 9x in OT. This is to feel or to search around by feeling, to grope. It is often used of people groping about in the dark.
LXX “voice” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.

23 He did not recognizeLXXI him, because his hands wereLXXII hairyLXXIII like his brotherLXXIV Esau’s hands; so he blessed him. 

Notes on verse 27:23

LXXI “recognize” = nakar. This is to recognize, examine, take notice, show, scrutinize. It is looking at something in a fixed way, showing perhaps respect or reverence. Alternately, it can show gazing with suspicion. Also, it can mean being strange towards someone or something and rejecting or ignoring it.
LXXII “were” = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v27:1. See note I above.
LXXIII “hairy” = sa’iyr. From sa’ar (to storm, scattered by a storm, blow away, rage, fear, storm tossed; to toss in a literal or figurative sense). This is hairy, rough, male goat, shaggy. It could also refer to a devil.
LXXIV “brother” = ach. This is brother, kindred, another, other, like. It is literally brother, but it can also be someone who is similar, resembling, or related to.

28:10 Jacob leftLXXV Beer-shebaLXXVI and wentLXXVII toward Haran.LXXVIII 

Notes on verse 28:10

LXXV “left” = yatsa. Same as “go out” in v27:3. See note XXII above.
LXXVI “Beer-sheba” = Beerah shaba. From beer (a well or pit); {from baar (to make plain; to dig; can also mean to engrave or figuratively to explain)} + perhaps from shaba (to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant; properly, to be complete; this is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times) {perhaps from sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness)}. This is Beersheba – meaning either “well of seven” or “well of an oath.”
LXXVII “went” = halak. This is go, come, walk. It is walk literally and figuratively and includes people and animals. It can be used figuratively for one’s moral life – how we walk according to God’s way or against it. It can also refer to the walk of life as in the course one’s life takes, the choices we make, etc.
LXXVIII “Haran” = Charan. 12x in OT. From Assyrian arranu (road, crossroads, junction of trade routes) OR from charar (to be scorched, burn, glow, dry up; figuratively, to show passion). This is Haran, meaning crossroads. It is also a proper name meaning parched.

11 He cameLXXIX to a certain placeLXXX and stayed there for the night,LXXXI because the sunLXXXII had set.LXXXIII

Notes on verse 28:11a

LXXIX “came” = paga. This is to meet or happen, whether unintentionally or of violence. It can also be plead, spare, reach, or intercede.
LXXX “certain place” = maqom. Related to “sit up” in v27:19. From qum (see note LVI above). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.
LXXXI “stayed…for the night” = lun. This is to stop – usually to lodge for the night. It can imply dwelling, enduring, or staying permanently. Figuratively, it can mean being obstinate, particularly with one’s words – to complain.
LXXXII “sun” = shemesh. This is sun or toward the east. Its root may mean being brilliant. Figuratively, this could be a ray or an arch.
LXXXIII “set” = bo. Same as “bring” in v27:4. See note XXIX above.

Taking one of the stonesLXXXIV of the place, he putLXXXV it under his headLXXXVI and lay downLXXXVII in that place.

Notes on verse 28:11b

LXXXIV “stones” = eben. This is a stone, weight, or mason. It is part of the word “Ebenezer.”
LXXXV “put” = sim. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.
LXXXVI “head” = meraashoth. 8x in OT. From rosh (head, captain, or chief; excellent or the forefront; first in position or in statue or in time). This is a place for one’s place so it could be a pillow, head rest, or other head piece.
LXXXVII “lay down” = shakab. This is to lie down, lodge. It is lying for sleep, sex, or other reasons.


12 And he dreamedLXXXVIII, LXXXIX that there was a ladderXC set upXCI on the earth,XCII

Notes on verse 28:12a

LXXXVIII “dreamed” = chalam. Properly, to bind solidly and so to be plump. This is to be healthy or strong, to recover; figuratively, to dream.
LXXXIX {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as “here I am” in v27:1. See note XI above.
XC “ladder” = sullam. 1x in OT. From salal (to lift up, build, pile, extol, exalt; can also be used for opposing as a dam holds back water). This is a ladder or a staircase.
XCI “set up” = natsab. This is to station, appoint, establish, take a stand.
XCII “earth” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.

the topXCIII of it reachingXCIV to heaven;XCV

Notes on verse 28:12b

XCIII “top” = rosh. Related to “head” in v28:11. See note LXXXVI above.
XCIV “reaching” = naga. This is touch, reach, arrive, come near, strike. This is touching for any reason including sexual or violent.
XCV “heaven” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.

andXCVI the angelsXCVII of God were ascendingXCVIII and descendingXCIX on it. 

Notes on verse 28:12c

XCVI {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as “here I am” in v27:1. See note XI above.
XCVII “angels” = malak. This is a messenger, an angel, or a deputy of some kind. Can be used for human messengers literally or for prophets, priests, or teachers as messengers of God. Also used for supernatural messengers i.e. angels.
XCVIII “ascending” = alah. This is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense.
XCIX “descending” = yarad. This is to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense. It can be going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy.

13 AndC the Lord stoodCI beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of AbrahamCII your father and the God of Isaac; the landCIII on which you lie I will giveCIV to you and to your offspring;CV 

Notes on verse 28:13

C {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as “here I am” in v27:1. See note XI above.
CI “stood” = natsab. Same as “set up” in v28:12. See note XCI above.
CII “Abraham” = Abraham. Related to “father” in v27:18. From the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (see note LI above) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
CIII “land” = erets. Same as “earth” in v28:12. See note XCII above.
CIV “give” = natan. Same as “handed” in v27:17. See note XLVIII above.
CV “offspring” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.

14 and your offspring shall be like the dustCVI of the earth, and you shall spread abroadCVII to the westCVIII

Notes on verse 28:14a

CVI “dust” = aphar. May be related to aphar (to throw dust, be dust). This is dust as powdered, perhaps gray colored. It could be ashes, powder, ground, dry earth, clay mud, or rubbish.
CVII “spread abroad” = parats. This is to make a breach, burst out, compel, disperse. It is to break out literally or figuratively.
CVIII “west” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.

and to the eastCIX and to the northCX and to the south;CXI and all the familiesCXII of the earthCXIII shall be blessed in you and in your offspring. 

Notes on verse 28:14b

CIX “east” = qedem. Perhaps from qadam (to come in front or be in front; to meet, anticipate, confront, receive, or rise; sometimes to meet for help). This is front, formerly, before, east, eternal, everlasting, antiquity.
CX “north” = tsaphon. From tsaphan (to hide, hoard, reserve; to cover over or figuratively to deny; also to lurk). This is properly hidden, dark, or gloomy. It can also be used to refer to the north.
CXI “south” = negeb. Root may mean to be parched. The Negeb is the south country – sometimes used to refer to Egypt. This is a land that suffers from a lot of drought.
CXII “families” = mishpachah. From the same as shiphcah (maid, maidservant); root means to spread out. This is one’s circle of relatives – clan, family, kindred.
CXIII “earth” = adamah. From the same as adam (man, humankind); perhaps from ‘adom (to be red). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.

15 KnowCXIV that I am with you and will keepCXV you wherever you go, and will bring you backCXVI to this land;CXVII for I will not leaveCXVIII you until I have done what I have promisedCXIX you.” 

Notes on verse 28:15

CXIV “know” = hinneh. Same as “here I am” in v27:1. See note XI above.
CXV “keep” = shamar. This is to keep, watch, or preserve. It means to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something.
CXVI “bring…back” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
CXVII “land” = adamah. Same as “earth” in v28:14. See note CXIII above.
CXVIII “leave” = azab. To loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, fail, leave destitute.
CXIX “promised” = dabar. Same as “told” in v27:19. See note LIV above.

16 Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not knowCXX it!” 17 And he was afraid,CXXI and said, “How awesome isCXXII this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gateCXXIII of heaven.”

Notes on verses 28:16-17

CXX “know” = yada. Same as “know” in v27:2. See note XIV above.
CXXI “was afraid” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.
CXXII “awesome is” = yare. Same as “was afraid” in v28:17. See note CXXI above.
CXXIII “gate” = shaar. May be related to sha’ar (to calculate or reckon; may come from a root that means to open up or split). This is a gate, door, or other opening like a port.

Image credit: “Jacob Deceives Isaac” by Richard Gunther.

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