Isaac knew he was nearing death and wanted to give his oldest son the blessing of the firstborn. However, Rebekah saw an opportunity for her son to receive the greater blessing. She devised a plan for Jacob to deceive his father and get the blessing. He took game and cooked it like Esau, put on goat’s hair to be hairy like Esau, and put on Esau’s clothes to smell like him. While Isaac seemed to know something was not quite right, he eventually was convinced and blessed Jacob with the blessing of the firstborn.
Esau came in and was distraught at the fact that the blessing was not his. This created the deepest enmity between two brothers. This was the point at which Jacob’s name seemed to carry the most meaning. He was Jacob, which translated as supplanter or deceiver.
Genesis 27:36 (NKJV)
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?”
The deceit and trickery of Jacob caused him to be separated from his family and to live as a sojourner for several years. Although God did have a plan and a purpose for Jacob, who would later be called Israel, this deception was an example of how humans can trip along the path to God’s perfect will. In our efforts to “help God out” we can create a world of trouble. Hear from God, not your own foolish, selfish ambition.