The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Genesis
And now Isaac was old, and his eyes had grown so dim that he saw nothing. One day he called to his elder son Esau, My son! and when he answered, I am here, at thy command,
See, his father said, how old a man I have grown; there is no telling how soon I may be overtaken by death.
Come, fetch that armoury of thine, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out hunting; when thou hast slain thy quarry,
make me a roast dish, such as I love well, and bring it me to eat. And so thou shalt have my blessing, against the time of my death.
To all this, Rebecca listened; and when Esau had gone out hunting, to do as his father had bidden him,
she said to her son Jacob, I heard thy father talking to thy brother Esau, and thus he spoke to him;
Bring my venison from the chase, and make me a dish of meat; so thou shalt have my blessing, with the Lord to witness it, against the time of my death.
Nothing remains for thee, my son, but to fall in with this plan of mine.
Make thy way to the herd, and bring me two choice kids; of these I will make such a dish as thy father loves to eat,
and thou shalt take it in to him; so, when he has eaten it, his dying benediction shall be thine instead.
Bethink thee, answered Jacob, how hairy my brother Esau’s skin is, and mine how smooth!
What if my father should feel it? He will think that I have been trying to make game of him, and it is a curse, not a blessing, I shall win.
A curse, my son? said his mother. Let it fall on me; do but attend to my bidding, and fetch me what I ask for.
So he went and brought them to his mother, and she made a dish of meat, such as she knew his father loved.
She had fine clothes of Esau’s by her in the house, and she dressed Jacob in these;
enclosed his hands, too in skin he had taken from the kids, and covered his bare neck with it;
then she gave him the dish, and some loaves which she had cooked, to carry with him.
So he brought them in, and said, Father. Yes, my son, he said; who is it?
I am Esau, said Jacob, Esau, thy first-born; I have done thy bidding. Rise up, I pray thee, sit at table, and eat this venison of mine, and give me a father’s blessing.
Why, answered Isaac, how didst thou come to find thy quarry in so short a time, my son? It was God’s pleasure, said he, to send it in my way.
Then Isaac said, Come near, and let me feel thee, to make sure whether thou art my son Esau or not.
So he went close to his father; and he, upon feeling the touch of him, said, The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
There was no recognizing Jacob, since his hands were hairy like Esau’s hands, and he must needs give his blessing.
Thou art my son, he said, my son Esau? Yes, he answered, I am.
Why then, said he, bring it here; let me eat my son’s venison, and give him a father’s blessing. So he ate what was brought him, and Jacob offered him wine too, and he drank.
Then he said to Jacob, Come here, my son, and kiss me.
And when he came near, and kissed him, all at once Isaac caught the smell of his garments, and this was the blessing he gave him: How it breathes about this son of mine, the fragrance of earth when the Lord’s blessing is on it!
God give thee dew from heaven and fruitful soil, corn and wine in plenty.
Let nations serve thee, and peoples bow before thee; mayst thou be lord over thy brethren, receive obeisance from thy own mother’s sons; a curse on those who curse, a blessing on those who bless thee!
Scarcely had Isaac finished speaking, and Jacob gone out, when Esau returned.
And now he brought his father a dish of venison; Rise up, father, he said, eat thy son’s venison, and give me a father’s blessing.
Why, who art thou? Isaac asked. I am thy son, he answered, thy first-born son Esau.
At this, quite overcome with dread, astonished past belief, Isaac cried out, Why then, who is it that has already brought me venison from the chase? Before ever thou camest back to me, I have eaten my fill and to him given my blessing; on him the blessing will come.
Esau, on hearing his father’s words, broke out into a loud cry of anguish; Thy blessing, father, for me also thy blessing!
Thy brother, it seems, Isaac answered, came in disguised; he has snatched thy blessing from thee.
Why, said Esau, he is well named Jacob, the Supplanter; first he took away my birthright, and now he has stolen my blessing. And then, turning to his father, he asked, Hast thou no blessing left, then, a blessing for me too?
Nay, answered Isaac, I have designated him thy master; I have condemned all his brethren to do him service; I have assured him of corn and wine; what claim have I left myself to make for thee, my son?
But Esau pleaded still, Hast thou only one blessing to give, father? I pray thee, bless me too. And he could not control his voice, but wept aloud.
Then Isaac said, greatly moved, All thy blessing shall come from earth’s fruitfulness, and from the dew of heaven.✻
Thy sword shall be the breath of life to thee, but thou shalt be subject to thy brother, until the day comes when thou wilt rebel, and wilt shake off his yoke from thy neck.
But ever Esau bore Jacob a grudge over the blessing he had won from their father. Soon, he thought, the days will come when we shall be mourning for my father’s death; that is the time to kill my brother.
News of this reached Rebecca; so she sent for her son Jacob, and told him, Thy brother Esau is threatening thy life.
Thou must needs do what I bid thee, my son; bestir thyself, and take refuge in Haran with thy uncle, Laban.
There thou must dwell for a short while, till thy brother’s anger dies down.
Soon his rage will cool, and he will forget the wrong thou hast done him; then I will send there, and bring thee back home; only begone; shall I let one day’s work rob me of both my sons?✻
And to Isaac Rebecca said, I am weary of life, with these Hethite women about me; if Jacob weds a bride of this native stock, may I not live to see it!
The Holy Bible