Parashat Toldot (Offspring)
Beresheet (Genesis) 25:19–28:9
In our weekly portion we read of the story in which Jacob twice deceived his older brother Esau by taking his birthright (Genesis 25:27–34) and then receiving the blessing from Isaac (Genesis 27:1–29). While this may seem harsh and unrighteous, it was all part of God’s perfect plan (as I wrote about in a previous blog about this portion “But, It’s Not Fair!”).
This week, I would like to focus on the specific blessing that Isaac gave to Jacob:
And may God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness (oil) of the earth, and an abundance of grain and new wine; peoples serve (work for or worship) you, and nations bow down to you; be master of your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you and blessed be those who bless you.
The passage above is rich in meaning, especially when we read the Hebrew text. The first and most important point here is that the biblical blessings are not temporary blessings, but rather are continual and prophetic; they point to what will be in future generations.
“And may God give you of the dew of heaven…” The word “dew” is always directly connected to God’s blessings, the fertility of the Land, and God’s provision of food, as is the case of the children of Israel during their time in the desert. However, a lack of dew can also signal a curse (see Haggai 1:10).
In Isaiah 26:19–21, we find another interesting connection and understanding of dew:
Your dead will live; their corpses will rise. You who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn, and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits. Come, my people, enter into your rooms, and close your doors behind you; hide for a little while, until indignation runs its course. For behold, the LORD is about to come out from His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; and the earth will reveal her bloodshed and will no longer cover her slain.
A common thread of meaning in these verses that speak about dew is that of the Messiah. His Word points us to the Messiah, in that He is the dew of life, the fresh cleansing water that comes in the morning and brings us divine provision. Also, as we see in the passage from Isaiah, we see the connection to the end times in that He will bring judgment on this earth as well as the resurrection of the dead.
Returning to our Scripture portion from Genesis, “…and of the fatness (oil) of the earth,” most Bible translations will translate the Hebrew word “וּמִשְׁמַנֵּ֖י” oo-MEE-shma-NAI as the “fatness, or richness”, of the earth. However, there is another possible translation of this word, which is the “oil” of the earth. This specific word directly refers to the Anointed One, which is literally the translation of the word “Moshiach” or Messiah. Our Messiah provides everything for our lives (the dew of the earth) and continues to “fertilize” i.e. to anoint our heads with oil (Psalm 23:5b).
“…and an abundance of grain and new wine;” Yet another amazing connection that points to Yeshua as the Bread of life (grain) and the giver of the New Covenant (new wine).
“Peoples serve (work for or worship) you, and nations bow down to you; be master of your brothers and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.” This verse echoes that which is also written in Genesis 49:8, “Judah, your brothers shall praise (acknowledge) you; your hand shall be on the nape of your enemies; Your father’s sons shall bow down to you.”
This speaks to the fact that Judah will inherit the place of the older brother, and that all the brothers will look up to him and bow down to him. Many commentaries also speak about the fact that Judah will inherit the role of the leader of the children of Israel, which is something that happened from the time of King David. As I was reading this verse, I immediately thought about Yeshua our Messiah and the fact that one day Israel will acknowledge and recognize Him as the promised One:
And I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him, like the bitter weeping over a first-born.
…that at the name of Yeshua EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Yeshua the Messiah is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
“Cursed be those who curse you and blessed be those who bless you.” This also echoes a previous promise, which was made to Abraham in Genesis 12! This, too, points to the future work of the Messiah, and the blessing that Israel will be to the nations.
Dear reader, I never cease to be amazed at the way the Scripture points to the work and the person of Yeshua as the Messiah. We are indeed partakers in the incredible legacy of Messiah!