By Mary Jane Chaignot

Categories: Patriarchs

  • Isaac lived a semi-nomadic life in Canaan.8
  • Isaac relied on his father to select a bride for him when he was 40 years old.
  • Isaac and Rebekah maintained a monogamous relationship.
  • Even when Rebekah was barren, Isaac stayed with her and prayed for her. (Gen 25:21) She then conceived twins.
  • The birthright included the primary headship of the family, that is, rights as the eldest son, a double portion of the inheritance, priestly rights, and, in Abraham's family, heir to the covenant privileges.12
  • Isaac chose to avoid conflict with the Canaanites over the wells Abraham had dug. God told him not to be afraid.13 (Gen 26:15-24) This appears to be a turning point in Isaac's life. Up to this point he passively accepted what happened in his life; being used as the potential object of sacrifice; waiting for the selection of a bride; walking away from the strife over the first two wells; being heartsick over Esau's foreign wives. God tells him not to be afraid. Not to be afraid to make decisions? Not to be afraid of what others might think? Not to be afraid to live?
  • Isaac assumed a quiet role of maintaining Abraham's work rather than pursuing heroic paths of adventure, discovery, and leadership.14
  • Isaac contributed to the growth of Hebrew thought by maintaining a relationship with one God.15
  • Isaac was a man of peace, who praised God when peace prevailed. (Gen 26:19-32)16
  • Isaac was 120 years old and blind when he asked Esau to prepare the meal of venison for the blessing.
  • Isaac thought he was ready to die, yet he lived another sixty years after blessing Jacob.
  • The blessing of Isaac certainly appears unalterable. "Acts of blessing in the OT rest on accepted conventions. If the blessing could not be revoked by Isaac, it was because no convention was available for its revocation. If there is such a convention, Isaac chooses not to make use of it. Esau, in asking for another blessing, appears to believe that no such convention exists."18
  • "One basic reason cited by Isaac for not retracting the blessing involves the consumption of a meal. (Gen 27:33) The meal was an integral part of a conventional blessing ritual, without which it would not have been valid."19
  • It was unnecessary for Jacob and his mother to conspire to steal the blessing. God had spoken to Rebekah when she was pregnant, and predicted that Esau would serve Jacob. (Gen. 25:23) Their trickery and deceit obtained something God would have provided freely had they behaved morally.20 A great lesson in yielding all to God!
  • The great deception produces suffering: "Isaac suffers for his preference for Esau, which was not determined by the will of God but by his weak affection: Esau suffers for despising the blessing of the firstborn:" Rebekah suffers in never seeing Jacob again: Jacob suffered a strain of hardship and deception at the hand of Laban.21


8 Lawrence O. Richards. Richards Complete Bible Dictionary. Iowa Falls: World Bible Publishers, 2002, p. 522.

12 J.R. Dummelow, ed. A Commentary on the Holy Bible. New York: Macmillan Co., 1908, p. 32.

13 Lawrence O. Richards. Richards Complete Bible Dictionary. Iowa Falls: World Bible Publishers, 2002, p. 522.

14 Thomas L. Leishman. The Continuity of the Bible - The Patriarchs. Boston: CSPS, 1968, p. 19

15 Ibid. p. 19.

16 Richards, p. 523.

18 NIB, pp. 538-539.

19 Ibid, p. 539.

20 Richards, p. 538.

21 Dummelow, p. 33.

Bible Characters