Hebrews 11:20 (DRB):

By faith also of things to come, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau.

Did Isaac bless Esau?

Is there contradiction between this verse ( Hebrews 11:20) and Genesis 27, Hebrews 12:16,17?

Hebrews 12:16,17 (DRB):

16Lest there be any fornicator or profane person, as Esau who for one mess sold his first birthright. 17For know ye that afterwards, when he desired to inherit the benediction, he was rejected. For he found no place of repentance, although with tears he had sought it.

  • Note that Jacob comes first in the sentence. While Esau did get a blessing, he got the "leftovers". May 13, 2020 at 21:46

2 Answers 2


According to Genesis 27:39-40, Isaac did extend to Esau the following blessing.

Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; And it shall come to pass, when you become restless, that you shall break his yoke from your neck.

The natural world would be made to respond to this man's status before the Lord.

These blessings are immediate and temporal.

  1. The blessing was to be affected meteorologically – “God give you the dew of heaven” – Literally speaking, dew assures agricultural productivity thus representing material prosperity. This is used many times in scripture as representing a source of blessing.

  2. Agriculturally – He would enjoy “The fatness of the earth,” i.e. the choicest parts of the earth. The best the earth could produce.

  3. He would enjoy abundance – Plenty of corn and wine – abundance of the bounty of the earth.

But, unlike the blessings to Jacob, Esau's blessing had no Messianic implications and his descendents would be subordinate to those of Jacob.

  • hmmm, a couple of versions at least (NIV & Good News) indicate the opposite: "39 His father Isaac answered him, // “Your dwelling will be away from the earth’s richness, away from the dew of heaven above. // 40 You will live by the sword and you will serve your brother." (NIV) "39 Then Isaac said to him, “No dew from heaven for you, No fertile fields for you. // 40 You will live by your sword, But be your brother's slave." (NWT)
    – mcalex
    May 14, 2020 at 9:12
  • One need only follow the history of the Edomite nation to see which of these two reasons is correct.
    – oldhermit
    May 14, 2020 at 13:35

In https://biblehub.com/genesis/27-39.htm, 12 versions translate it as "away from" fatness of the land and 7 versions say Esau would dwell in the fatness of the land.

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges https://biblehub.com/commentaries/hebrews/11-20.htm

  1. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau] It is true that the blessing of Esau when rightly translated, “Behold thy dwelling shall be away from the fatness of the earth and away from the dew of blessing” (Genesis 27:39) reads more like a curse; but the next verse (40) involves a promise of ultimate freedom, and Esau obtained the blessings of that lower and less spiritual life for which he was alone fitted by his character and tastes.

Genesis 27 New International Version

39 His father Isaac answered him,
“Your dwelling will be
away from the earth’s richness,
away from the dew of heaven above.
40You will live by the sword
and you will serve your brother.
But when you grow restless,
you will throw his yoke
from off your neck

According to this translation, there are good and bad items in Isaac's blessing.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.