How did the prophecy of Isaac to his sons get fulfilled?


By BibleAsk Team

The Prophecy of Isaac

The prophecy of Isaac to his sons, Jacob and Esau, as recorded in the book of Genesis, holds profound significance in the narrative of the Hebrew patriarchs. Isaac’s words, uttered in his old age as he blessed his sons, foreshadowed the destinies and roles that Jacob and Esau would fulfill in the unfolding drama of Israel’s history. In this exploration, we will delve into the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible to examine Isaac’s prophecy, the historical context surrounding Jacob and Esau, and how their lives unfolded in accordance with their father’s words.

Genesis 27:1-40 – Isaac’s Blessing to His Sons

The prophecy of Isaac to his sons is encapsulated in the blessing he bestowed upon them in Genesis 27. In this passage, Isaac, now advanced in age and nearly blind, calls his elder son Esau to him, intending to bless him before his death. However, Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, overhears his plans and devises a scheme to ensure that Jacob, her favorite son, receives the blessing instead.

Rebekah instructs Jacob to disguise himself as Esau by covering his hands and neck with goat skins and presenting a savory dish to Isaac, as Esau would have done. Jacob hesitates at first, but ultimately obeys his mother’s instructions and successfully deceives his father into bestowing the blessing intended for Esau upon him instead.

Isaac’s blessing to Jacob is profound and carries significant implications for both sons. He speaks words of prosperity, dominion, and leadership over Jacob, declaring in Genesis 27:28-29: “Therefore may God give you of the dew of heaven, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be master over your brethren, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you.”

Genesis 27:41-46 – Esau’s Reaction and Jacob’s Flight

Esau’s reaction to Jacob’s deception and the subsequent bestowal of the blessing is one of anguish and bitterness. When Esau discovers that Jacob has received the blessing, he cries out in distress, pleading with his father for a blessing of his own. However, Isaac reaffirms the blessing given to Jacob and predicts that Esau will serve his brother.

Fearing Esau’s wrath, Rebekah advises Jacob to flee to her brother Laban’s house in Haran until Esau’s anger subsides. Jacob heeds his mother’s counsel and embarks on a journey to Haran, thus setting in motion the next chapter in the fulfillment of Isaac’s prophecy.

Genesis 28:10-22 – Jacob’s Vision at Bethel

As Jacob travels to Haran, he stops for the night at a certain place, using a stone as a pillow. It is here that he experiences a profound vision from God, in which he sees a ladder set up on the earth, reaching to heaven, with angels ascending and descending upon it. In this vision, God reaffirms the covenant promises made to Jacob’s forefathers, Abraham and Isaac, and declares His intention to bless and protect Jacob wherever he goes.

Overwhelmed by this encounter, Jacob awakens from his sleep and exclaims in Genesis 28:16-17: “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it. How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”

Genesis 29:1-30 – Jacob’s Sojourn with Laban

Upon arriving in Haran, Jacob encounters Laban, his mother’s brother, and begins working for him as a shepherd. He falls in love with Laban’s younger daughter, Rachel, and agrees to serve Laban for seven years in exchange for her hand in marriage. However, Laban deceives Jacob by giving him his elder daughter, Leah, in marriage instead.

Undeterred, Jacob agrees to work another seven years for Laban in order to marry Rachel as well. Despite the challenges and deceptions he faces, Jacob perseveres and eventually becomes prosperous, acquiring flocks, herds, and servants.

Genesis 30:22-24 – The Birth of Jacob’s Children

During his time with Laban, Jacob fathers twelve sons, who would later become the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel. His wives, Leah and Rachel, along with their handmaidens, bear him children, fulfilling the promise of numerous offspring given to Abraham and Isaac.

In Genesis 30:22-24, we read of Rachel’s joy at finally conceiving a child after years of barrenness. She names her son Joseph, meaning “may he add,” expressing her hope for further children in the future.

Genesis 32:22-32 – Jacob Wrestles with God

As Jacob prepares to return to his homeland after twenty years in Haran, he wrestles with God in a profound encounter recorded in Genesis 32:22-32. During the night, a man wrestles with Jacob until daybreak, ultimately dislocating his hip. Jacob refuses to let go until he receives a blessing from his opponent, who is revealed to be God Himself.

God blesses Jacob, renaming him Israel, meaning “one who struggles with God and prevails.” This encounter marks a pivotal moment in Jacob’s life, symbolizing his transformation from a deceitful and conniving individual to a man of faith and integrity.

Genesis 33:1-16 – Jacob’s Reconciliation with Esau

As Jacob prepares to meet his brother Esau, whom he has not seen since their confrontation years earlier, he is filled with fear and apprehension. However, Esau’s response is one of unexpected grace and forgiveness. He embraces Jacob warmly and welcomes him back, declaring in Genesis 33:10: “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”

Jacob is deeply moved by Esau’s kindness and insists on giving him gifts as a token of reconciliation. In this moment, the enmity and bitterness that once existed between the brothers are replaced by genuine reconciliation and peace.

Genesis 35:9-15 – Jacob’s Renewed Covenant with God

Upon returning to Bethel, the place of his earlier vision, Jacob experiences another encounter with God. God reaffirms the covenant promises made to Abraham and Isaac and instructs Jacob to change his name to Israel once again.

In Genesis 35:11-12, God declares: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land.”

Esau’s Descendants

While Esau’s descendants do not play as prominent a role in the biblical narrative as Jacob’s, they nevertheless contribute to Israel’s history. The Edomites were the blood decedents of Esau. The history of Edom is largely a repetition of slavery to Israel, rebellion against Israel, and acclaim by Israel.

The Edomites were first defeated by Saul (1 Samuel 14:47) and also conquered by David (2 Samuel 8:14). They tried to free themselves under Solomon but failed (1 Kings 11:14–22) and they remained under the rule of Judah till the time of Joram, when they rebelled (2 Kings 8:20–22). They were overruled again by Amaziah (2 Kings 14:7–10; 2 Chronicles 25:11–14) and remained in subjection under Uzziah and Jotham (2 Kings 14:22; 2 Chronicles 26:2).

It was not till the reign of Ahaz that the Edomites overcame the slavery of the kings of Judah (2 Kings 16:6; 2 Chronicles 28:16, 17). However, they were completely conquered by John Hyrcanus, about 126 B.C., forced to convert to Judaism, accept circumcision, and fused into the Jewish state (Josephus Antiquities xiii. 9. 1; xv. 7. 9).


In conclusion, the prophecy of Isaac to his sons, Jacob and Esau, finds its fulfillment in the unfolding narrative of their lives and the subsequent history of the nation of Israel. Despite the deception and conflict that initially characterized their relationship, Jacob and Esau ultimately find reconciliation and peace.

Jacob, who received the blessing intended for Esau through deception, goes on to fulfill the destiny outlined by his father’s words. He becomes the father of the twelve tribes of Israel, experiences profound encounters with God, and ultimately embraces his identity as Israel, the one who struggles with God and prevails.

In the end, the prophecy of Isaac to his sons serves as a testament to the sovereignty of God and His faithfulness to fulfill His promises. Through the lives of Jacob and Esau, we see how God works in unexpected ways to bring about His purposes and to reconcile estranged relationships.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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