The Subterfuge of Jacob as a Prototype
Esau and Jacob
Isaac begat the twins Esau and Jacob. Esau was the firstborn and therefore should have had the re-eminence. Jacob however bought the birthright from Esau (Genesis 25:33-34). Later Jacob also took the Death-bed Blessings of Isaac by subterfuge.
The Bible (Genesis chapter 27) tells us how Isaac became old and blind. Isaac called Esau, his older son, and told him that since he was old and liable to die at any time that he wished to give him a departing death-bed blessing then and there. First however Esau was to take his bow and quiver and go out and hunt game and prepare food for Isaac. After that Isaac intended to bless him. Rebecca the wife of Isaac and mother of Esau and Jacob overheard the instructions of Isaac to Esau. She told Jacob, her other son, what was happening. Rebecca instructed Jacob to take two choice young goats from the flock. Rebecca would prepare them as a meal for Isaac. Jacob was to present this dish to Isaac and pretend to be Esau, and so receive the death-bed blessing. Jacob protested that Esau was hairy whereas he was not. Isaac might feel him and discover the trick. This could result in a curse from Isaac instead of a blessing. Rebecca replied that she would take responsibility. Jacob did as Rebecca said. Rebecca prepared the meal and also dressed the arms and neck of Jacob with the skins of goats so that he would seem like Esau. Jacob then presented himself to Isaac pretending to be Esau. Isaac commented, "The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau"? (Genesis 27:22). Nevertheless, Isaac was taken in by the deception and blessed Jacob, believing him to be Esau. The blessing entailed enjoyment of salubrious beneficial climates, agricultural plenty, ruling over other peoples and nations being his subjects. He was to be master over his brethren meaning Ishmael and the others. This also meant that Esau would be subservient to Jacob instead of Jacob to Esau. Isaac himself was not fully aware of the implications of his own blessing being a conduit of the will of heaven. The blessing ended with the expression, "Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you" (Genesis 27:28).
Jacob went out from the presence of Isaac. Isaac told Esau that Jacob had been blessed with material plenty and been made the master of his brethren. [Legally in Biblical law, anything owned by a slave becomes the property of the master. Anything given to Esau would therefore ultimately accrue to Jacob.] Esau pleaded for at least one blessing for himself and wept.
Isaac then blessed Esau that he would possess the fatness [fertility] of the land, and blessing from the dew of heaven. He would live by his sword. Esau was to serve his brother. When Esau would go down, i.e. move away, from Jacob he would break free from him. As a result of this incident Esau bore a grudge against Jacob made plans to kill him (Genesis 27:41). Jacob is also known as Israel. Of Esau it was foretold, "By your sword shalt you live, and shall serve your brother" (Genesis 27:40). Esau became ancestor to the founder settlers of early Rome and to part of the German people (Talmud Megilla 6), as well as to elements of the ruling elites in Continental Europe, and to similar groups in Japan and China and elsewhere. Esau was also known as Edom.
The Disguise as Esau
The blessings to Jacob were acquired by him after disguising himself as Esau. These blessings were to some degree fulfilled through the Ten Tribes especially Joseph. They came to fruition after the Ten Tribes had lost consciousness of their Israelite ancestry and accepted the dress of Esau.
The blessing to Jacob taken from Esau entailed enjoyment of salubrious beneficial climates, agricultural plenty, ruling over other peoples and nations being his subjects. He was to be master over his brethren meaning Ishmael and Esau. The blessing ended with the expression, "Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you" (Genesis 27:28). Jacob was to receive the Blessings of the Forefathers:
The Blessings to Jacob:
Genesis 28: 3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples. 4 May He also give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your descendants with you, that you may possess the land of your sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.
The Blessings to Joseph:
Joseph received the Blessings of Jacob:
"The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of JOSEPH, and on the crown of him that was separated from his brethren" (Genesis 49:6).
Ephraim and Manasseh the two sons of Jacob also were blessed with the same blessings and promised to become a great multitude and rule over other peoples (Genesis 48:15-20).
The blessings to Joseph were confirmed and re-iterated with even greater emphasis and intensity (Genesis 49:22-26). Joseph and most of the other tribes did not keep the Torah at the time they were in the Land (2-Kings 17:7-16, 2-Kings 18:12). They separated from Judah and were Exiled. The Assyrians and Edomites (Amos ch.1) took them away and resettled them elsewhere. They were to forget their ancestry and no longer be recognizable as Hebrews. They were to be separate from Judah almost to the end (Isaiah 11:12). During their Period of Exile they will not have been recognizable as Israelites,
Isaiah 49: 21
Then you will say in your heart,
Who has begotten these for me,
Since I have been bereaved of my children
And am barren, an exile and a wanderer?
And who has reared these?
Behold, I was left alone;
From where did these come?
One of the purposes of the Exile was in order that the Israelites should go down to the level of the Gentiles. Technically they would be like the Gentiles though still physically connected. After that they were to evolve upwards and draw the non-Israelite peoples up with them.
The Blessings would be fulfilled in them as a means to enable them to fulfill their task, as well as fulfillment by the Almighty of HIS promise. This may be seen from the blessing to Abraham:
"Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him. For I know him that he will command his children and his house after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him" (Genesis 18:18-19).
Abraham was to become great and mighty IN ORDER to enable him to do justice and judgment. So too, with the other blessings: One of the purposes of the promises was that through the blessings the descendants of Abraham would be enabled to do justice and judgment (Genesis 18:19). God chose Abraham to be blessed and to bring a blessing upon all the peoples of the earth (Genesis 12:2-3, 18:18-19, 22:18 cf. 24:4). Abraham was promised that his seed would be extremely numerous (15:5, 22:17). The Blessings are an obligation to be both received and striven towards. The Israelites were to rule over other nations and all nations would be subject to them, see Genesis 27: 29, 48: 19, Numbers 24: 8, Psalms 47: 1, Jeremiah 51: 20, Micah 5: 8, This would be for the good of the peoples concerned.
The Ten Tribes were exiled by Edom. In their Places of Exile they were at first ruled over by Edomites. They learned the same language and adopted the same culture and religion. It was as if they had disguise themselves as Edomites in order to receive the blessings that otherwise were intended for Esau. This is the same as the case of Jacob. The intention of Isaac had been to bless Esau. Jacob took the blessings by disguising himself as Esau. The Ten Tribes had to do the same.
In the End Times the Jews (Judah) and the Ten Tribes will re-unite (Isaiah 11:12, Ezekiel 37:16-24).
The Tasks of Joseph
The Task of Joseph and the Ten Tribes was to descend to the level of the non-Israelite nations and then evolve upwards drawing the other peoples up with them. This is what they have done to some degree. The Ten Tribes are to be identified with certain Western Peoples especially the English-speaking ones.
Another aspect of the blessings was to take the role originally designated for Esau. Rabbinical commentators opine that one of the reasons Isaac wished to bless Esau with physical wealth and might was in order that Esau assist Jacob in spiritual matters. Rebecca realized that both the spiritual and physical blessings should go to Jacob. Joseph received from Jacob that which had been taken from Esau. he also has the task originally intended for Esau. Joseph should therefore assist Judah who in some ways is a continuation of Jacob. This is what is meant by the Midrash when it says that in order to return Israel needs to accept God, accept the Kingdom of David, and to rebuild the Temple.