1 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.
2 And he said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death: 3 Now therefore take, I pray you, your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field, and take me some venison; 4 And make me savoury food, such as I love, and bring it to me, that I may eat; that my soul may bless you before I die.
This chapter begins with an older Isaac trying to set his house in order. He is old, blind, sickly, and probably working under the notion that he doesn’t have very long left on this earth. According to the “Legends of the Jews,” he was around 123 years old and he would have had his half-brothers death at 137 as a catalyst of urgency. He actually lives for another 40 years or so, making his urgent need to finalize things premature.
Another important thing to notice here is the difference between the old Sunday school pictures that we always see when this episode is taught and what actually was. We always see two very young men who are dealing with their elderly father, but that is not the age of these two brothers at all.
We are told that these boys were born when Isaac was about 60 years of age. Most scholars believe that he was somewhere between 123 and 137 years old when this comes to pass which would make Esau and Jacob around their late 60’s to early 70’s. For me this puts a whole new spin on their actions.
The issue of the birthright had already been settled and Jacob was to receive the birthright but that meant that he received a double portion of everything, not literally everything. The double portion was the decision of the father and what we witness here is the blessing or dividing up of wealth after the double portion had been designated.
Isaac tells Esau to go and hunt some food to make him a nice meal so that he could bless his son.
It seems that Esau was his favorite and that he wanted to bless him in spite of what the Lord had told him and in the next few verses we learn that he tries to give Esau some of the blessings that were reserved for the firstborn which causes all kind of trouble for each family member.