Blessing and Birthright – Events in the life of Ya’aqov
After discussing the life of Ya’aqov (Jacob) during the Torah parshah one Shabbat, I wanted to understand his origin, how he received the blessing and birthright, when and by whom his children were born, and any special significance to his subsequent blessing on his children.
– Very quickly, we begin to get a sense that there is a distinct difference between the first born of man and the first born of Elohim. By all rights in biblical times, the first born son received the birthright and a double blessing from his father. And Yet we see, especially in the patriarchs, that it is the second born that received the blessing and birthright. Nahor, Yishma’el (Ishmael), and Esau were the first born of their respective fathers (Terah, Avraham (Abraham), & Yitshaq (Issac)), but Avraham, Yitshaq, and Ya’aqov were the “firstborn of Elohim.”
– Ya’aqov (Jacob) was a twin, born to Yitshaq and Ribqah (Issac and Rebecca)– second born. Esau was his brother – the first born:
Beresheit (Genesis) 25:21-26:
(21) And Yitshaq prayed to יהוה for his wife, because she was barren. And יהוה answered his prayer, and Ribqah his wife conceived.
(22) And within her the children struggled together, and she said, “If all is right, why am I this way?” So she went to ask יהוה.
(23) And יהוה said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall be separated from your body. And one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older serve the younger.” (Yahweh gives the direct indication that Ya’aqob will get all the blessings and birth right before even being born!)
(24) And when the days were filled for her to give birth, and see, twins were in her womb!
(25) And the first came out red all over, like a hairy garment, so they called his name Ěsau.
(26) And afterward his brother came out, with his hand holding on to Ěsau’s heel, so his name was called Yaʽaqov (Jacob). And Yitshaq was sixty years old when she bore them.
-Ya’aqov gets Esau to sell his birthright for bread and a stew of lentils, thus clearing the first part of Yahweh’s promise to Ribqah (Rebecca).
Beresheit (Genesis) 25:29-34
(29) And Yaʽaqov cooked a stew, and Ěsau came in from the field, and he was weary.
(30) And Ěsau said to Yaʽaqov, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” That is why his name was called Edom.
(31) But Yaʽaqov said, “Sell me your birthright today.”
(32) And Ěsau said, “Look, I am going to die, so why should I have birthright?”
(33) Then Yaʽaqov said, “Swear to me today.” And he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Yaʽaqov.
(34) Yaʽaqov then gave Ěsau bread and stew of lentils. And he ate and drank, and rose up and left. Thus Ěsau despised his birthright.
– Here we see the difference between the 2 seeds – Esau representing the seed of man who only cares for satisfaction of the fleshly and carnal, and Ya’aqov representing the seed of Elohim who desires the spiritual. Esau had no care or concern for his birthright because it was not before his face, or not nearly as important as satisfying His failing strength and hunger. Ya’aqov knew the importance of the birthright, for it did not “rightfully” belong to him and he would have to wait in order to attain it.
-Next to complete the promise, the blessing of his father:
-Ribqah, who loved her son Ya’aqov most, overheard Isaac tell Esau to go kill wild game in prepare it so as to receive the blessing. She sought out Ya’aqov, told him, and arranged to make him like Esau to get Yitshaq’s blessing. She dressed him in Esau’s best garments and put the skins of young goats on his arms and the smooth part of his neck (for Esau was hairy and Ya’aqov was not). (Note, Isaac’s Eyesight was failing, so touch was everything). She prepared a tasty meal and gave it to Ya’aqov to give to his father.
Beresheit (Genesis) 27:18-30
(18) And he went to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?”
(19) And Yaʽaqov said to his father, “I am Ěsau your first-born, I have done as you said to me. Please rise, sit and eat of my wild game, so that your being might bless me.”
(20) But Yitshaq said to his son, “How is it that you have found it so quickly, my son?” And he said, “Because יהוה your Elohim brought it to me.”
(21) Then Yitshaq said to Yaʽaqov, “Please come near, so that I feel you, my son, whether you truly are my son Ěsau or not.”
(22) And Yaʽaqov went near to Yitshaq his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is the voice of Yaʽaqov, but the hands are the hands of Ěsau.”
(23) And he did not recognize him, for his hands were hairy like his brother Ěsau’s hands, and he blessed him.
(24) And he said, “Are you truly my son Ěsau?” And he said, “I am.”
(25) And he said, “Bring it near to me, and let me eat of my son’s wild game, so that my being might bless you.” So he brought it near to him, and he ate. And he brought him wine, and he drank.
(26) And his father Yitshaq said to him, “Please come near and kiss me, my son.”
(27) And he came near and kissed him. And he smelled the smell of his garments, and blessed him and said, “See, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field which יהוה has blessed.
(28) And Elohim give you of the dew of the heavens, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine.
(29) Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brothers, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those cursing you, and blessed be those blessing you!”
(30) And it came to be, as soon as Yitshaq had finished blessing Yaʽaqov, and Yaʽaqov had hardly left the presence of Yitshaq his father, that Ěsau his brother came in from his hunting.
– Accordingly when Esau goes to give his dish of wild game to Issac, it is too late, the Blessing has already been given. All Yitshaq can do is say the blessing is Ya’aqov’s and Esau will serve him, for Ya’aqov is master over all of Yitshaq’s possessions. This made Esau want to kill Jacob. But after a time of separation, this passes.
Yitshaq tells Ya’aqov not to marry a Kena’anite and blesses him again:
Beresheit (Genesis) 28:1-4:
(1) And Yitshaq called Yaʽaqov and blessed him, and commanded him, and said to him, “Do not take a wife from the daughters of Kenaʽan.
(2) “Arise, go to Paddan Aram, to the house of Bethu’ĕl your mother’s father. And take a wife for yourself from there, from the daughters of Laban your mother’s brother.
(3) “And Ěl Shaddai bless you, and make you bear fruit and increase you, and you shall become an assembly of peoples,
(4) and give you the blessing of Avraham, to you and your seed with you, so that you inherit the land of your sojournings, which Elohim gave to Avraham.”
Yahweh gives Ya’aqob a blessing in a dream (Commonly known as Ya’aqov’s/Jacob’s Ladder):
Beresheit (Genesis) 28:10-22:
(10) And Yaʽaqov went out from Be’ĕrsheva and went toward Haran.
(11) And he came upon a place and stopped over for the night, for the sun had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in that place to sleep.
(12) And he dreamed and saw a ladder set up on the earth, and its top reached to the heavens, and saw messengers of Elohim going up and coming down on it.
(13) And see, יהוה stood above it and said, “I am יהוה Elohim of Avraham your father and the Elohim of Yitshaq. The land on which you are lying, I give it to you and your seed.
(14) “And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall break forth to the west and to the east, to the north and the south. And all the clans of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your seed.
(15) “And see, I am with you and shall guard you wherever you go, and shall bring you back to this land. For I am not going to leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
(16) And Yaʽaqov awoke from his sleep and said, “Truly, יהוה is in this place, and I did not know it.”
(17) And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of Elohim, and this is the gate of the heavens!”
(18) And Yaʽaqov rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a standing column, and poured oil on top of it.
(19) And he called the name of that place Bĕyth Ěl, however, the name of that city had been Luz previously.
(20) And Yaʽaqov made a vow, saying, “Seeing Elohim is with me, and has kept me in this way that I am going, and has given me bread to eat and a garment to put on –
(21) when I have returned to my father’s house in peace, and יהוה has been my Elohim,
(22) then this stone which I have set as a standing column shall be Elohim’s house, and of all that You give me, I shall certainly give a tenth to You.”
– We have the picture of Ya’aqov’s grandfather Avraham giving a tenth/tithe to the king of Shalem Melektzadik repeated in Ya’aqov, and yet his tithe goes to Yahweh.
Ya’aqob gets to Laban’s house, falls in love with Rachel the youngest, and works 14 years for her hand
Beresheit (Genesis) 29-21-30:
(21) Then Yaʽaqov said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my days are completed, and let me go in to her.”
(22) And Laban gathered all the men of the place and made a feast.
(23) And it came to be in the evening, that he took Lĕ’ah his daughter and brought her to Yaʽaqov. And he went in to her.
(24) And Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Lĕ’ah as a female servant.
(25) And in the morning it came to be, that see, it was Lĕ’ah. So he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachĕl that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?”
(26) And Laban said, “It is not done this way in our place, to give the younger before the first-born.
(27) “Complete the week of this one, then we give you this one too, for the service which you shall serve with me still another seven years.”
(28) And Yaʽaqov did so and completed her week. Then he gave him his daughter Rachĕl too, as wife.
(29) And Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachĕl as a female servant.
(30) And he also went in to Rachĕl, and he also loved Rachĕl more than Lĕ’ah. And he served with Laban still another seven years.
– Here, a little turnabout is fair play! Ya’aqov name in Hebrew means “to catch the heel” which is a Hebrew idiom meaning to “take advantage of or deceive.” Just as a side note, extra-biblical sources and some non-canonical sources surmise that like Ya’aqov was from twins, Lĕ’ah and Rachel were twins as well (Lĕ’ah being minutes older that Rachel).
Children of Ya’aqob in order of Birth and by WHOM:
Beresheit (Genesis) 29:32 -30:1
1) Reuben – by Lĕ’ah -“For יהוה has looked on my affliction, because now my husband is going to love me.” (Free woman)
2) Shim’on (Simeon) – by Lĕ’ah – “Because יהוה has heard that I am unloved, He gave me this son too.” (Free woman)
3) Lĕwi (Levi) – by Lĕ’ah – “Now this time my husband is joined to me, because I have borne him three sons.” (Free woman)
4) Yehudah (Judah) – by Lĕ’ah – “Now I praise יהוה.” And she ceased bearing. (Free woman)
5) Dan – by Rachĕl’s servant Bilhah -And Rachĕl said, “Elohim has rightly ruled my case, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” (Bond woman)
6) Naphtali -by Rachĕl’s servant Bilhah -And Rachĕl said, “With great wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister, and I have overcome.” (Bond woman)
7) Gad – by Lĕ’ah’s servant Zilpah (Bond woman)
8) Ashĕr – by Lĕ’ah’s servant Zilpah – “I am blessed, for the daughters shall call me blessed.” (bond woman)
9) Yissakar (Issachar) – by Lĕ’ah – “Elohim has given me my hire, because I have given my female servant to my husband.” (Free woman)
10) Zevulun (Zebulun) – by Lĕ’ah – “Elohim has presented me with a good present. Now my husband is going to dwell with me, because I have borne him six sons.” (Free woman)
11) Dinah – by Lĕ’ah – Ya’aqob’s first daughter
12) Yosĕph – by Rachĕl – “Elohim has taken away my reproach.” Gen 30:24 So she called his name Yosĕph, and said, “יהוה has added to me another son.” (Free woman)
13) Binyamin (Benjamin) – by Rachĕl – And it came to be, as her life was going out – for she died – that she called his name Ben-Oni. But his father called him Binyamin. (Free woman)
Naming of Yisra’el
Beresheit (Genesis) 32:24-32:
(24) And Yaʽaqov was left alone. And a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day.
(25) And when He saw that He did not overcome him, He touched the socket of his hip. And the socket of Yaʽaqov’s hip was dislocated as He wrestled with him.
(26) And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I am not letting You go until You have blessed me!”
(27) So He asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Yaʽaqov.”
(28) And He said, “Your name is no longer called Yaʽaqov, but Yisra’ĕl, because you have striven with Elohim and with men, and have overcome.” Footnote: Yisra’ĕl means “to strive with Ěl, to overcome with Ěl, (then) to rule with Ěl”
(29) And Yaʽaqov asked Him, saying, “Please let me know Your Name.” And He said, “Why do you ask about My Name?” And He blessed him there.
(30) And Yaʽaqov called the name of the place Peni’ĕl, “For I have seen Elohim face to face, and my life is preserved.”
(31) And the sun rose on him as he passed over Penu’ĕl, and he limped on his hip.
(32) That is why the children of Yisra’ĕl to this day do not eat the sinew of the hip, which is on the socket of the thigh, because He touched the socket of the thigh of Yaʽaqov, in the sinew of the hip.
– Interesting to note is the interaction between Ya’aqov and the Messenger of Elohim, later Ya’aqov goes on to say that he saw Elohim “face to face” and did not die. See the Messenger of Elohim for more scripture quotations like this one.
Final Blessings of Ya’aqob:
Beresheit (Genesis) 49:1-28:
(1) And Yaʽaqov called his sons and said, “Gather together, so that I declare to you what is to befall you in the last days:
(2) “Gather together and hear, you sons of Yaʽaqov, and listen to Yisra’ĕl your father.
(3) “Re’uvĕn, you are my first-born, my power and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of exaltation and the excellency of power.
(4) “Boiling like water, you do not excel, because you went up to your father’s bed, then you defiled it – he went up to my couch.
(5) “Shimʽon and Lĕwi are brothers, their weapons are implements of violence.
(6) “Let my being not enter their council, let my esteem not be united to their assembly; because they slew a man in their displeasure, and they lamed an ox in pleasure.
(7) “Cursed be their displeasure for it is fierce, and their wrath for it is cruel! I divide them in Yaʽaqov and scatter them in Yisra’ĕl.
(8) “You, Yehudah, your brothers praise you; your hand is on the neck of your enemies; your father’s children bow down before you.
(9) “Yehudah is a lion’s cub; from the prey you have gone up, my son! He bowed down, he crouched like a lion. And like a lion, who does rouse him?
(10) “The sceptre shall not turn aside from Yehudah, nor a Lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, and to Him is the obedience of peoples.
(11) “Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he washed his garments in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes.
(12) “His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.
(13) “Zevulun dwells at the seashore, he is for a haven for ships, and his border is unto Tsidon.
(14) “Yissaskar is a strong donkey lying down between two burdens,
(15) and he saw that a resting place was good, and that the land was pleasant, and he inclined his shoulder to bear a burden, and became a subject to slave labour.
(16) “Dan rightly rules his people as one of the tribes of Yisra’ĕl.
(17) “Dan is a serpent by the way, an adder by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider falls backward.
(18) “I have waited for your deliverance, O יהוה!
(19) “Gad, a raiding band raids him, but he raids its heel.
(20) “Bread from Ashĕr is rich, and he gives delicacies of a sovereign.
(21) “Naphtali is a deer let loose, he gives words of elegance.
(22) “Yosĕph is an offshoot of a fruit-bearing tree, an offshoot of a fruit-bearing tree by a fountain, his branches run over a wall.
(23) “And the archers have bitterly grieved him, shot at him and hated him.
(24) “But his bow remained in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty One of Yaʽaqov – from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Yisra’ĕl –
(25) from the Ěl of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
(26) “The blessings of your father have excelled the blessings of my ancestors, up to the limit of the everlasting hills. They are on the head of Yosĕph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separated from his brothers.
(27) “Binyamin is a wolf that tears, in the morning he eats prey, and at night he divides the spoil.”
(28) All these are the twelve tribes of Yisra’ĕl, and this is what their father spoke to them. And he blessed them, he blessed each one according to his own blessing.
Blessings to Yoseph’s sons
Beresheit (Genesis) 48:13-20:
(13) And Yosĕph took them both, Ephrayim with his right hand toward Yisra’ĕl’s left hand, and Menashsheh with his left hand toward Yisra’ĕl’s right hand, and brought them near him.
(14) And Yisra’ĕl stretched out his right hand and laid it on Ephrayim’s head, who was the younger, and his left hand on Menashsheh’s head, consciously directing his hands, for Menashsheh was the first-born.
(15) And he blessed Yosĕph, and said, “The Elohim before whom my fathers Avraham and Yitshaq walked, the Elohim who has fed me all my life long to this day,
(16) the Messenger who has redeemed me from all evil – bless the youths! And let my name be called upon them, and the name of my fathers Avraham and Yitshaq. And let them increase to a multitude in the midst of the earth.”
(17) And when Yosĕph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephrayim, it was evil in his eyes; and he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from the head of Ephrayim to the head of Menashsheh.
(18) And Yosĕph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the first-born, put your right hand on his head.”
(19) But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also becomes a people, and he also is great. And yet, his younger brother is greater than he, and his seed is to become the completeness of the nations.”
(20) And he blessed them on that day, saying, “In you Yisra’ĕl shall bless, saying, ‘Elohim make you as Ephrayim and as Menashsheh!’ ” Thus he put Ephrayim before Menashsheh.
– Again we see the continuance of the difference between the first born of man and the first born of Elohim. Much like Yahweh blessed Ya’aqov in the womb, so too is Ya’aqov blessing Yoseph’s children – 2nd born greater than the first!
Blessings given to the tribes by Mosheh
Re’uvĕn – (Deu 33:6) “Let Re’uvĕn live, and not die, and let his men be numbered.”
Yehudah -(Deu 33:7) And this of Yehudah, and he said, “Hear, יהוה, the voice of Yehudah, and bring him to his people. His hands shall fight for him, and You be a help against his enemies.”
Lĕwi – (Deu 33:10) “They teach Your right-rulings to Yaʽaqoḇ, and Your Torah to Yisra’ĕl. They put incense before You, and a complete burnt offering on Your altar.
(Deu 33:11) “O יהוה, bless his strength, and accept the work of his hands. Smite the loins of those who rise against him, and of those who hate him, that they rise no more.”
Zevulun and Yissaskar – (Deu 33:18) “Rejoice, O Zevulun, in your going out, and Yissaskar in your tents!
(Deu 33:19) “They call peoples to the mountain, there they bring offerings of righteousness, for they draw from the riches of the seas, and treasures hidden in the sand.”
Gad – (Deu 33:20) And of Gad he said, “Blessed is he who enlarges Gad. He dwells as a lion, and shall tear off the arm, also the crown.
Dan – (Deu 33:21) “And he chose the best for himself, for there the portion of the lawgiver was hidden. And he came with the heads of the people. The righteousness of יהוה he did, and His right-rulings with Yisra’ĕl.”
(Deu 33:22) And of Dan he said, “Dan is a lion’s cub, that leaps from Bashan.” (Bashan is a region East of the Jordan (Yarden)
Naphtali – (Deu 33:23) And of Naphtali he said, “O Naphtali, satisfied with pleasure, and filled with the blessing of יהוה, possess the west and the south.”
Ashĕr – (Deu 33:24) And of Ashĕr he said, “Ashĕr is most blessed of sons. Let him be accepted by his brothers, and dip his foot in oil.
(Deu 33:25) “Your sandals are iron and bronze, and your strength as your days.
Binyamin – (Deu 33:12) Of Binyamin he said, “Let the beloved of יהוה dwell in safety by Him, shielding him all the day, as he dwells between His shoulders.”
Yosĕph – (Deu 33:13) And of Yosĕph he said, “Blessed of יהוה is his land, with the choicest from the heavens, with the dew, and the deep lying beneath,
(Deu 33:14) with the choice fruits of the sun, with the choice yield of the months,
(Deu 33:15) with the finest of the ancient mountains, with the choicest of the everlasting hills,
(Deu 33:16) with the choicest of the earth and all that fills it, and the good pleasure of Him who dwelt in the bush. Let it come on the head of Yosĕph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers.
(Deu 33:17) “His splendour is like a first-born bull, and his horns are like the horns of the wild ox. With them he pushes the peoples to the ends of the earth. And they are the ten thousands of Ephrayim, and they are the thousands of Menashsheh.”
– Mosheh finishes what Ya’aqov started – the dividing of the blessing and birthright to 3 different tribes rather than just one – Yehudah received the birthright (kingship), Lĕwi received the priesthood, and Yosĕph (Menashsheh and Ephrayim) received the double portion! All these will be returned to one in Messiah Yahushua – Priest, Prophet and King.
I hope and pray that the events in the life of Ya’aqov, as well as the pattern of blessing and birthright , have brought light to the truth of the scriptures. I pray that this study enriches your walk in spirit and truth. May Yahweh bless and keep you.