Good evening, and welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Bible study in the book of Genesis. Tonight is study #1 of Genesis, chapter 27, and we will start by reading Genesis 27:1-5:
And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esau his eldest son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, Behold, here am I. And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death: Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die. And Rebekah heard when Isaac spake to Esau his son. And Esau went to the field to hunt for venison, and to bring it.
I will stop reading there. We know that in this chapter, it is the time that Isaac has determined to bless his eldest son Esau. That is his full intention, and that is why he spoke to Esau, and not to Jacob, because Esau was the eldest. He tells him to go find him some venison: “And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.”
First, we are interested to try to discover how old Isaac is at this time. We know from the previous chapter that it says in Genesis 26:34-35:
And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah.
We know that when Esau and Jacob were 40, Isaac was 100, and that can easily be proven from the Bible. We have already covered that. Isaac was 60 when they were born in the year 2007 B. C., and forty years later was 1967 B. C., and the twins were 40 years old, which would mean that Isaac was 100 years old. He was 100 years old when Esau married these two daughters of Heth the Hittite. So we could understand that since he was 100, in the next chapter, maybe he was 101 or 102, but we are given no indicator because it says in Genesis 27:1:
And it came to pass, that when Isaac was old…
The way we look at it, you are old if you are 100, but is that what God has in mind here? The word “old” does not help us because it is used of various people at various ages. It was used of Joshua when he was 110, and it was used of Abraham when he was 100. It was also used of David when he was about 70. So the word itself does not help us to pinpoint a particular age. It just has to do with being old, and there is a sort of widespread span, especially for those that were born closer to creation, compared to what would have been considered old for David or for those at a time when God had fixed (to a degree) the age of man to be 70, or by reason of strength, 80. So, to us, 100 seems “ancient.” We cannot determine how old Isaac was based on that, but we can get an idea from chapter 27 when Isaac had determined to bless Esau. He will actually bless Jacob who had supplanted his brother at his mother’s bidding. Rebekah hatched the plan to make venison quickly, and to clothe Jacob in Esau’s clothing and to have him imposter his brother. At the end of this chapter, it say sin Genesis 27:41-44:
And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob. And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away;
And we know that Jaco did flee to Haran to Laban’s house, and it can be shown he was there for 40 years, and he left there at age 100. So it means that he was 60 years old at the time he fled, so that is a help to us in determining Isaac’s age because when Jacob is 60, Esau is also 60. Then Isaac is 120. Based on Esau’s statement in verse 1, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob,” this is telling us the events that took place with Jacob deceiving his father to receive the blessing in Esau’s stead is “fresh,” because Isaac had said that the time of his death was at hand. And, apparently, based on Esau’s reaction, the family thought Isaac was going to die, and Esau was still thinking that because he referred to the days of mourning for his father. The only problem was that Isaac did not actually die until the age of 180. We can see this if we turn to Genesis 35:28-29:
And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
Isaac died at 180 years, and Jacob and Esau buried him, so no matter where you put his age, it does not fit. If you though Isaac was 100, then he would live for 80 more years. If you thought he was 120, then he would live for 60 more years. So that is one curious thing that Isaac was nowhere near close to death. In reality, he would live 60 to 80 more years before he would physically die. This must have been due to his physical condition. Perhaps it was the loss of his eyesight. His eyes were dim by reason of age, so he could not see well, and we would call that being blind. Things tended to happen in Isaac’s life at around 60 years. When Jacob and Esau were born, he was 60, and then 60 years later, he gave the blessing; and 60 years after that, he died.
It is similar to things that happened in Moses’ life at 40-year intervals. When Moses was 40, he sought to be the deliverer, but it was not the time. He fled to the wilderness for another 40 years, and then he came back as the deliverer. Then he wandered in the wilderness with Israel for the next 40 years, and then he died at the age of 120. So there were three major happenings in Moses’ life that were broken up into 40-year intervals.
And in Isaac’s life, there were three major happenings that were, apparently, broken up into 60-year intervals. It is one thing we can see. But, again, based on our understanding (which we will show when we get into the later chapters of Jacob’s time in Haran, we will go over this more carefully, showing that he had to have been there for 40 years, from age 60 to age 100. And he left at the age of 100. That helps us to pinpoint Isaac’s age as 120.
Now I mentioned Moses, and the word “dim” that was used of Isaac was also used in relationship to Moses in Deuteronomy 34:7:
And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.
What is interesting is his age of 120 and the reference to his eye that was “not dim.” In Isaac’s case, he was 120, and his eyes are “dim.” But this is just an interesting tidbit of information that connects this assessment of one’s eyesight at the age of 120, and that is the age we are thinking that Isaac may have been as we are starting Genesis 27.
But that still does not answer the question when we go back to our verse. Yes – Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim that he could not see, but why was he thinking he was going to die? Why did he have that in mind? People can live quite a while with blindness, and, apparently, Isaac would go on to live another 60 years, and it is very doubtful that his eyesight got any better. And that would have been obvious, and it would have been known. But what was in his mind? What was he thinking? Or, more importantly, why would God lead him to this understanding or feeling and mindset that he was going to die? Again, if we read Genesis 27:2-4:
…Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death: Now therefore take, I pray thee, thy weapons, thy quiver and thy bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; And make me savoury meat, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless thee before I die.
Now lest you think that he is just saying what is true of everyone, and none of us know the day of our death, and he was not thinking he was terminally ill and at the point of death, then you were not listening when we read earlier in Genesis 27:41:
And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.
There is no question that Isaac was convinced he was going to die, and the rest of the family believed him. Maybe he had some other physical ailments in addition to the blindness. We do not know, as God does not mention that, as far as I can see. But, more than that, when we search the Bible, we find a very important reference to the age of “120” as it relates to death, in Genesis 6. Since we are going through Genesis, we have covered it, but let us read it again. It says in Genesis 6:2-3:
That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And JEHOVAH said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
By saying that, God is indicating that man will die, and his days will be 120 years, and no more. We went over this and looked at this in a spiritual way, because the truth is that God was not “putting a cap” on the age of man, as He has done in Psalm 90. I mentioned earlier that man’s days would be 70, or by reason of strength, 80 years. But this has to do with the judgment of God which would show itself with the flood in 120 years, historically, as well as the spiritual understanding of the flood, which was to paint a picture that would apply to the final judgment of the world in our time. So the 120 years had the dual meaning of being the time during which Noah would build the ark when the flood did limit the lifespan of all the unsaved living humans to a maximum of 120 years for those living at that time, from the time that Noah was 480 years old until he would be 600 years old when the flood would come.
But, additionally, the 120 years was to be understood in a spiritual way to represent the complete fulness of the final judgment, as the number “120” breaks down to “10 x 12.” The number “10” is the number of “completeness,” and “12” is the number of “fulness.” We have talked about how that relates to the year 1988 and to the whole history of the world, because when we look at the Biblical calendar of history, it indicates that the Messiah would enter into the world after 11,000 years. That is why certain key figures in the Bible identify with the number “11,” like Joseph and Joshua, who were both great types of Christ. Both of them died at the age of 110, or “10 x 11,” the completeness of fulness, and then they died. And Christ came after 11,000 years of history, and He went to the cross and died. One of the major focuses of the Bible was the first coming of the Lord at that point in time, and when He would go to the cross, then Satan would be “bound” for a “thousand years.” Then after that (figurative) thousand years of binding, he would be loosed out of the bottomless pit to begin the end stage of the end of the world in 1988. And that is where we are in history, since the year 1988. But, you see, when you add that together, Christ comes after 11,000 years of history, and then Satan is bound 1,000 years, and that comes up to 12,000, the “fulness of time.” However, the 1000-year time period of Satan’s binding was figurative, and it was actually 1,955 years, or almost 2,000 years, which is why 1988 can be considered the 13,000th year of earth’s history and not the 12,000th year of earth’s history. However, God can use the number “12” and it can carry the same understanding as the number “13.” We see this with the 12 tribes of Israel. How many actual tribes were there? There were 13. There were 12 apostles. How many actual apostles? There were 13. It is 12/13, and that is significant in helping us to understand Genesis 27 where Isaac is 120 years old, and he thinks he is at his earthly end, and this was it. While it was true that his father Abraham lived longer than 120, and other men he may have known lived longer than 120, in his case, he was convinced, “This is it for me.” Perhaps it was the blindness. You know, blindness can make one feel very weak and dependent, especially at that time. Whatever it was, God impressed this upon him.
You know, we should not think that these patriarchs were ignorant of these great truths that we have recorded in the Bible. They had them “handed down,” so they would have known these things. Isaac was fully aware of this, and he became convinced that this was it for him. “I am going to die.” God could have impressed that upon him because God wanted to draw a spiritual picture of what would come at the “complete fulness” of time (10 x 12) at the end of the world, at the point of the 13,000th actual year of earth’s history when Satan was loosed. And not long after, the Bible revealed to us the end of the church age, and God also opened up the Scriptures to reveal His command to His people to “depart out of the midst” of Jerusalem, and flee to the mountains, which was a mechanism designed by God to bring to pass the separation of the wheat and the tares. In separating the wheat from the tares…which, by the way, could never be separated previously, “Let both grow together until the harvest,” but at that time of separation, God was making it known: “These are the my wheat, those that I had predestinated – my elect and chosen ones – and those that I love. These others that remain behind are the tares. They were not chosen to salvation. They were not predestinated to receive my grace. They are the hated ones.” And they are typified by Esau, and in Genesis 27, it is the time of the blessing to Jacob and Esau, and we cannot miss in Romans 9 where God set these two up to be great types and figures of those that He loves and those that He hates. And now is finally the time for one to receive the blessing. But the original intention was for Esau to receive it, but he does not receive the blessing. Jacob receives the blessing.
Lord willing, we will look more at this when we get together in our next Bible study.