In the Biblical account of the story of Jacob and Esau, we often hear of how Jacob deceived Isaac and robbed Esau of his blessings, but seldom hear of the blessing of Esau itself. But wait a minute, was Esau blessed at all? Genesis 27:39-40 records the response the Isaac gives to Esau, upon his pleading for at least one blessing. This is what Isaac answered and said unto Esau “Behold, thy dwelling place shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above; And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.” Let’s dissect this blessing and learn the hidden truths in it.
Esau dwelling place would be the same as that of Jacob for even Jacob was blessed the same (fatness of the earth and dew of heaven from above – Genesis 27:28), but Esau and his descendant would have to fight to live (live by the sword) for they would be servants of Jacob (as was the oracle of God to Rebekah – Genesis 25:23). God knew that if this was all of Esau’s blessings, then Esau would have no hope but be subject to be under the yoke of his brother perpetually, so God in his infinite wisdom and mercy on Esau goes on to add, that in due course of time (it shalt come to pass), Esau would have the dominion and shall break his (brother’s) yoke from off his neck. What does that mean?
There are two ways to look at this blessing. First it was fulfilled historically during the time of King Joram, the king of Judah, when the Edomites (descendants of Esau) revolted against Joram (descendant of Jacob) and won, establishing their own dominion and kingdom (2 Kings 8:20; 2 Chronicles 21:8-10). But an even more deeper perspective to look at this blessing is that in the account where Jacob and Esau meet after many years, Jacob is distressed with fear, thinking that Esau would avenge himself (Genesis 32:6-7). He even refers to himself as the servant of Esau, implying the Esau had dominion (authority) over him at that time (Genesis 33:5), but when Esau comes to meet him, Esau runs toward him, not with a sword in his hand but instead with open arms of forgiveness, for Esau embraces him, falling on his neck (wherein the yoke of bitterness and unforgiveness had been for several years) and kissed (accepted) him with affection. This demonstrates that God in his Sovereign wisdom had given a way out for Esau from being subject perpetually to a state of bondage.
Points to ponder:
The blessing of Esau was that he would have an opportunity to not just reclaim some authority and win some land over from his brother’s descendants but that he would have the choice to forgive and win his brother’s heart. The blessing of Esau is applicable to each one of us event today, from the vantage point of forgiving those who have hurt us, and seeking the forgiveness of those whom we have caused to have bitterness and hatred. The blessing of Esau is akin to one that can break bondage and everyone who believes in Jesus Christ has liberty and freedom from the bondage of the noose of death around their necks.
Jesus taught us, in the disciple’s prayer, that we ought to forgive those who sinned against us, just as he has forgiven us. In other words, Jesus has broken off the yoke of our slavery to sin from our necks (Jeremiah 30:8) by forgiving us and expect the same from us, by taking on his yoke (of forgiving) which is easy and gives rest for the soul (Matthew 11:29). This is the blessing of Jesus for all who believe (Ephesians 1:3)
Have you broken off the yoke off your neck?
Genesis 27:39-40 (KJV)
39 And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, thy dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;
40 And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck.