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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Genesis

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26.1–33 : Interlude on Isaac.

Whereas the surrounding sections focus primarily on Isaac's descendants, this chapter focuses on Isaac apart from his children. Although relatively little is told about Isaac, it is significant that each element makes him parallel to his father Abraham: the initial note linking his trip to Gerar with Abraham's initial journey to Egypt (v. 1; cf. 12.10 ), the travel command and promise (vv. 2–5; see 12.1–3n.; 22.18n. ), the story of endangerment of the matriarch (vv. 6–11; cf. 12.10–13.1 and 20.1–18 ), the manifestation of blessing on Isaac (vv. 12–14; cf. 12.16; 20.14 ), the recognition of that blessing by Abimelech (v. 28; cf. 21.22 ), and the well stories (vv. 17–33 ; see 21.22–34n.). By the end of the chapter it is clear that Isaac has successfully inherited Abraham's blessing and is thus prepared to pass it on to one of his sons (see ch 27 ).

8 :

Fondling, Heb “metsaheq,” another reference to Isaac's name; see 18.12n.

33 :

Another explanation of the name “Beer‐sheba”; see 21.22–34n.

26.34–28.4 : The transfer of blessing to Jacob and not Esau.

26.34–35 (cf. 28.8–9 and 36.2–3):

This Priestly note on Esau's difficult marriages was originally connected with 27.46–28.9 (P). Now, however, it helps legitimate the following story about how he was tricked out of his father's blessing.

27.1–45 :

This non‐Priestly (J) story of Rebekah and Jacob's cunning resembles “trickster” traditions in other cultures, where a culture hero flourishes through underhanded tactics (cf. 29.23–25; 31.19–35; 34.1–31; 38.1–30 ).

4 :

Death‐bed blessings (and curses) were important in the life and literature of ancient peoples ( 48.8–20; 49.1–28 ; etc.). It was believed that such blessings irrevocably released a tangible power that determined the character and destiny of the recipient. Ch 27 itself focuses exclusively on Isaac's blessing, but the preceding chapter (ch 26 ) makes clear that this is Isaac's transfer of a divine blessing first given to Abraham ( 12.1–3 , etc.).

11 :

See 25.25n.

34–35 :

The blessing was believed to release a power that could not be retracted (see v. 4n. ).

36 :

See 25.26n.; 25.29–34 . There is a word play in the Heb words for my birthright (“bekorati”) and my blessing (“birkati”).

39 :

An inversion of the same words in v. 28 .

40 :

See 25.31–34n. Edom repeatedly revolted from subjection by Judah (1 Kings 11.14–22; 2 Kings 8.20–22 ).

43 :

See 24.4,29 .

46 :

See 26.34–35n.

27.46–28.1 :

On foreign intermarriage, see 24.3n.

28.1–4 :

A Priestly parallel to the preceding story ( 27.27–29 ). Compare with P in 17.1–8; 35.11–12; 48.3–4 .

3 :

God Almighty, see 17.1n.

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