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A Study on Isaac’s $rb (Gen 27:27-29, 39-40; 28:3-4): In Comparison with His Abrahamic Covenant in Gen 17:1b-8

모창조 1

1서울기독대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study is a comparative analysis of Isaac’s $rb (Gen 27:27-29, 39-40; 28:3-4), with reference to $rb’s forms and connotations in the Abrahamic covenant (Gen 17:1-22), in order to offer a refreshing perspective on these in Isaac’s $rb. The term $rb in the Abrahamic blessing has its own particular form and content. Specifically, it is used with ‘El Shaddai,’ one of the divine names, as a subject who transmits blessings, and also with verbs in a Hiphil form with ‘life-giving and life-enhancing’ connotations in the context of ‘descendants’ and ‘ownership of the land.’ They appear as typical elements when the Divine promises blessings to the chosen patriarchs. In Gen 27:1-28:4, Isaac also gives $rb to his sons in three cases (27:27-29, 39-40; 28:3-4). However, the first two do not employ the typical elements with which the Divine transfers blessings to the patriarchs. For example, ‘El Shaddai,’ the fundamental subject of blessings, doesn't appear, nor are the ‘Hiphil verbs’ used with the life-giving and life-enhancing connotations, still less in the context of ‘descendants.’ Concerning the ‘land,’ Isaac wants his land to become fertile and fruitful, but he never refers to ownership. In contrast, the third blessing (28:3-4) of Isaac shows the typical elements, just as in the Abrahamic covenant. Firstly, the divine name, ‘El Shaddai,’ and the Hiphil verbs are adopted. Secondly, ‘descendants’ and ‘ownership of the land’ are mentioned as well. Therefore, his last blessing(28:3-4) is not the least similar to the first two (27:27-29; 27:39-40) in form and content. In other words, Isaac as a head of household gives normal blessings to his sons in the first and second occasions. Yet to Jacob, the divinely-elected patriarch, Isaac conveys the Abrahamic blessings in the last $rb. This study invites us to reconsider the decisions and actions of Isaac. Isaac cannot be considered passive because he is well aware of the role he plays and makes every effort to do so. As one of the patriarchs of Israel chosen by God, he has to transmit $rb corresponding to that of Abraham over to Jacob who will be in the same status. Meanwhile, Isaac intends to bless Esau because he deserves the firstborn’s share, even though he cannot enjoy the Abrahamic blessings. On the other hand, Isaac intends to transmits to Jacob not just Abraham’s $rb but also the lot of the second son. On the face of it, this plan seems to be frustrated by Rebecca, but there is more than meets the eye. In fact, his initiative comes to fruition by transferring Abraham’s blessing to God’s predetermined son when Jacob flees to Haran until his brother’s fury lessens. So it is not likely that Isaac denies God’s will in intending to convey the divinely determined blessing to Esau. Rather, he tries his best not only to play his role as an agent of the divine covenant but also to maintain the peace of his home.

Citation status

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