Isaac and Jacob

Genesis (Chapter 25 – 50) – Be Authentic
Isaac & Jacob (Gen 25-36)


  • Means ‘he laughs’, Sarah laughed within herself when she heard the angel say she shall have a son (18:12)
  • Lived 180 years (the longest among the 4 patriarchs)
  • Quiet, contemplative person, choose to avoid conflicts
  • Offsprings: Two sons = Two Nations
Sons Esau Jacob
Nations Edom Israel
  • Highlights of Isaac’s life:
The Promised Child

Isaac was borne when Abraham was 100yrs & Rebekah was 90 yrs

Abraham instructed by God to sacrifice Isaac

God instructed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, but God intervene and provided a ram as a substitute.

Married Rebekah & Blessed by God after Abraham’s death

When Isaac was 40yrs & still did not have a wife, how can the divine promises be fulfilled?
It was through God’s ordering of events that Rebekah was brought to Isaac.

Abraham gave “all that he had to Isaac”
Isaac alone was the heir to the inheritance.

Pleaded with God as Rebekah was barren & God answered his plea.

Isaac waited 20yrs before Rebekah gave birth to children, twins Esau & Jacob

He did not make the same mistake of his parents.


Lied to Abimelech in Philistine about Rebekah (26:1:35)

Due to famine, Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, in Gerar. The Lord appeared to Isaac.
God revealed to Isaac his covenant with Abraham and told him to dwell in Gerar and not to go to Egypt.

Isaac lied that Rebekah was his sister.

Isaac dug 2 wells but got into disputes with the Philistines. Moved and dug another well and there were no more disputes.

Isaac went up to Beersheba where God appeared to him again.

Made a peace treaty with Abimelech.

Isaac favoured Esau, the firstborn while Rebekah favoured Jacob,

Eldest son, Esau, married 2 Canaanite women.

Isaac, on his deathbed, wanted Esau to hunt game for him to eat so that after eating, he will bless Esau.
Was tricked by Rebekah into giving the blessing to Jacob. Isaac’s also blessed Esau.

Isaac charged Jacob not to take a Canaanite wife and sent him to Laban, in Padan Aram. Isaac also blessed Jacob with the blessings of Abraham.

Esau married Ishmael’s daughter.

Isaac lived 180 years and died. He was buried by Esau and Jacob.

  • Place visited by Isaac:

Isaac's Journey

  • God’s Presence & Involvement in Life of Isaac:
    • God’s Purpose
      • Isaac – the instrument used by God
        – To test Abraham’s faith
        – To continue the chosen line
        – To fulfill God’s promise to Abraham
        – To exhibit God’s grace and generosity towards his people
      • God’s Revelation
To Rebekah
“Two nations are in your womb, … and the older will serve younger” Gen 25:23
To Isaac (Reiteration)
– Promised the land of Canaan
– Descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky
– Blessings on all nations through his offspring
    • God’s Power, Providence & Preservation
      • God protected Isaac despite his failures
        – Lied to Abimelech, but he did not kill Isaac
        – Rebekah was not violated
      • Isaac became very wealthy through God’s generous providence
        – Harvest for crops was a hundredfold
        – Envious Philistines covered his wells, but God still provided wells & Isaac continued to prosper
    • God’s Sovereignty
      • Important link in chain of redemption through the promised Messiah
      • od worked out his sovereign plan in blessing Isaac despite :
        – Isaac favoring Esau
        – Rebekah & Jacob’s deceit
    • God’s Election
      • God elected Isaac to replace Ishmael, Abraham’s firstborn. While Ishmael moved east, Isaac remained in the place of blessings.
        By blessing Ishmael, through the fulfillment of the prophecy = assured us that if the lord was faithful to those not from the chosen line, He will certainly make sure that His greater promises through Issac are realised.
  • Spiritual Lessons
    • Keep digging wells!
      – Need to keep working through adversity. Every time Isaac drew water from the well, continually reminded of God, the fountain of life, who lives and provides.
    • We do not have to be the “center of attention” to be of use to God
      – “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” Prov 16:7
    • Unwise parents
      – Favoritism, bad examples shown: Isaac – placing physical likings (e.g. taste of wild game) over spiritual pursuits; Rebekah – show example of deceit to achieve purpose
    • Spiritual Decline of Isaac
      – Strong start:

      • When used as the “sacrifice”, he never show sign of fear
      • Did not force God’s hand although they are childless for 20 yrs
      • Did not follow parents example
      • Pleaded with the Lord for his wife

      – Weak ending:

      • When near death, he could only think of his own pleasure delights of Esau’s tasty dishes clouded Isaac’s mind and caused him to forget what was right
    • Reminder for Christians to Persevere
    • Children of Christian Families
  • Type of Christ
    • Life of Isaac gives clear types of what would be fulfilled through Jesus’ life & death
      – The miraculous birth
      – The sacrifice of the promised son
      – The servant sent to prepare the bride
      – The marriage of the son


  • Hebrew : Yaaqob = may God protect
    – But sound like aqeb (“heel”) or aqab (“watch from behind/overtake”)
  • Twin brother of Esau
  • Younger son of Isaac & Rebekah
  • Lived 147 years
  • His offspring became the 12 tribes of Israel
  • Jacob’s Wives & Children

Jacob's Wives & Children

NOTE: Benjamin was born in the Land of Cannaan; Numbers refer to order of birth in the family. However, our lord Jesus Christ will be from the tribe of Judah

  • Highlights of Jacob’s life:
Birth of Esau and Jacob

Esau & Jacob was borned to Isaac & Rebekah after they were married for 20 yrs

Esau sold his birthright

Eldest son, Esau, sold his birthright to Jacob for a stew of lentils.

Jacob defrauded Esau of his blessings

Want to bless Esau, his firstborn; but Rebekah & Jacob “cheated”.
Jacob gained what he wanted, but at a price = exile from his “land”








Jacob's  dream at Bethel

This is the 1st unusual experiences of God. He was fleeing from Esau on his way out of Canaan to go thru to his uncle Laban. This is the place, between Luz & Ai, where Abraham had built the first altar.

The word passed down from Abraham and Isaac, now re-affirmed to Jacob. Jacob no longer received the promises 2nd hand.

1) Promise of Land
2) Promise of decendants
3) Promise of nations

Also, God dealt with Jacob’s immediate needs:
1) God’s presence – “I am with you”
2) God’s protection – “… and will keep you wherever you go”
3) God’s promise to “… bring you back to this land.”

Jacob's marriage to Leah and Rachel.

Jacob “the cheater” was cheated by Laban

Jacob entered into an agrement with Laban:
– To work for Laban for 7yrs for Rachel
– Laban cheated by giving Jacob – Leah, his elder daughter.

Worked 20 years to get his wealth





Return to Canaan & Preparation to meet Esau

God ask Jacob “to go to his father Isaac in the land of Canaan”
Fled from Laban – outwit his father-in-law

Vision of 2 camps of “angels of lord”
Prepare to meet Esau – divided his family into 2 camps – thinking if Esau attacked, one of the camps can escape.

Strategize by sending his servant & flock in batches, then his family, last himself

Jacob wrestled with God - Name change to Israel

At Penuel, a man appeared & attacked Jacob – forced Jacob to fight for his life

The man saw that he was not winning, he touched Jacob’s thigh, the hip socket & put it out of joint

Jacob now “limped on his hip”

This is the 2nd unusual experience with God.

  • Life Events – Jacob
    • Jacob meets Esau (33:1-20)
      • He was worry that Esau may not forgive him for cheating him of his blessing.
      • Even after his wrestle with God, he still address Esau “Lord”, himself “your servant”
        – No confidence, not trusting in God fully
      • Then moved to Shechem
  • Highlights of Jacob’s Life:
    • At Shechem, 2nd piece of land was bought (from the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father)
      – Jacob built an alter, named it “El Elohe Israel”
      – fulfilled part of his vow made at Bethel (28:20-21)
    • At Shechem, Dinah (daughter of Leah) was raped by Shechem
      – Simeon & Levi spoke deceitfully to Shechem
      – Over-reacted & gave God a bad name among their neighbours
    • To return to Bethel
      – only occasion in Genesis where God directs someone to build an alter
      – reconfirmed at Bethel of God’s blessing – mention “name change” again
      – Strongest statement of God’s covenant promise
  • Journeys of Jacob & Rachel

Journeys of Jacob & Rachel

  • Life of Jacob

The Life of JACOB

  • God’s Presence & Involvement in Life of Jacob:
    • God’s Purpose
      • Jacob – instrument used by God
        – To continue the chosen line
        – To affirm God’s promises to Abraham
        – To exhibit God’s sovereign election
    • God’s Revelation
      • God’s several revelation to Jacob: Blessing of his sons and grandsons in Egypt – prophecies from God
        – Dream at Bethel (ladder)
        – God’s reiteration of the Covenant with Abraham
        – Reaffirmed promises to Jacob, first given to Abraham & later to Isaac
      • Asked to return to Canaan
      • Wrestled with God
        – Jacob’s spiritual transformation
        – Name changed from Jacob to Israel
      • El-Bethel
        – God repeated his blessings to Jacob & repeated name change to Israel
      • Vision at Beersheba
        – God reassured Jacob & told him to go to Egypt
    • God’s Power, Providence & Preservation
      • God’s material blessings to Jacob in a foreign land (Haran) – strange & hostile surroundings
      • Jacob’s 12 sons – rapid increase in the population of Israelite nation
    • God’s Sovereignty
      • Important link in chain of redemption through the promised Messiah
      • God worked out his sovereign plan in the blessings of Jacob despite :
        – Isaac favoring Esau
        – Rebekah and Jacob’s deceit
        – Jacob’s inconsistent spiritual life
    • God’s Election
      • God takes the initiative. Jacob was called even before he was born (Genesis 25:23)
      • God elected Jacob to replace Esau, Isaac’s firstborn
      • God’s choice, was not an accident
      • Why did God bless the deceptive & cunning Jacob?
        – God’s salvation is by grace only, not by merit
  • Spiritual Lessons from Jacob:
    • Jacob’s Scheming
      – Trust God’s promises rather than our wits
    • Jacob’s Flights instead of Facing Consequences
      • Jacob’s repeated flights:
        • Canann to Haran – escape from Esau
        • From Laban’s household to Canann (31:20)
        • Canaan – away from Esau to Shechem (that’s why his sons murdered Shechemites
    • God’s working to lead Jacob to a full consciousness of his sinfulness
    • Jacob’s wrestling with God
      – To be spiritually transformed, God needs to “break” us
      – Conversion experience of all Christians
      – From a supplanter (Jacob) to one who lets God rule (Israel)