Gen 27:18-29 NRSV
18 So he [Jacob] went in to his father, and said, "My father"; and he said, "Here I am; who are you, my son?" 19 Jacob said to his father, "I am Esau your firstborn. I have done as you told me; now sit up and eat of my game, so that you may bless me." 20 But Isaac said to his son, "How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?" He answered, "Because the LORD your God granted me success." 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Come near, that I may feel you, my son, to know whether you are really my son Esau or not." 22 So Jacob went up to his father Isaac, who felt him and said, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau." 23 He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau's hands; so he blessed him. 24 He said, "Are you really my son Esau?" He answered, "I am." 25 Then he said, "Bring it to me, that I may eat of my son's game and bless you." So he brought it to him, and he ate; and he brought him wine, and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, "Come near and kiss me, my son." 27 So he came near and kissed him; and he smelled the smell of his garments, and blessed him, and said,
"Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the LORD has blessed. 28 May God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. 29 Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!"
Isaac had a promising beginning. First there was his miraculous birth to Sarah. Then came his obedience in the face of death. Later was his marriage to Rebekah by divine guidance. Still later, came his trust in God to deliver Rebekah from her bareness. (Once again the God of the inconceivable brought about what barren humanity could not.) Finally, there was the transmission of Abraham’s blessing to Isaac. But something went wrong.
Genesis 27:1 says “When Isaac was old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, …” Apparently it wasn’t only his physical vision that had faded. As the oldest son, Esau it was assumed that it would be through him that God would fulfill his promise. Esau was a great hunter and Genesis 25:28 says, “Isaac loved Esau, because he was fond of game; but Rebekah loved Jacob.” But what of Esau’s character?
First, we know that Esau despised his birthright by selling to Jacob for a meal. Second, we know from Genesis 26:34-35, “When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite; and they made life bitter for Isaac and Rebekah.” The promised line was to come only through the parentage of Abraham’s tribe. Knowing all of this, Isaac still planned to bless Esau.
Isaac had deluded himself in to believing he could bless Esau. Isaac was confronted with an illusion of Jacob impersonating Esau that complemented Isaac’s delusion. If the blessing was meant for Esau, could God not have stopped the charade? Not only did Isaac loose his physical sight but he lost sight of God’s vision. Nevertheless God's plan prevailed.