Chapter VIII: The Mental Supplants the Physical
Genesis 27 Spiritually Interpreted
Gen. 27:1-17. 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 elder son, and said unto him, My son: and he said unto him, 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 venison; and make me savory food, 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. And Rebekah spake unto Jacob her son, saying, Behold, I heard thy father speak unto Esau thy brother, saying, Bring me venison, and make me savory food, that I may eat, and bless thee before Jehovah before my death. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice according to that which I command thee. Go now to the flock, and fetch me from thence two good kids of the goats; and I will make them savory food for thy father, such as he loveth: and thou shalt bring it to thy father, that he may eat, so that he may bless thee before his death. And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man. My father peradventure will feel me, and I shall seem to him as a deceiver; and I shall bring a curse upon me, and not a blessing. And his mother said unto him, Upon me be thy curse, my son; only obey my voice, and go fetch me them. And he went, and fetched, and brought them to his mother: and his mother made savory food, such as his father loved. And Rebekah took the goodly garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them upon Jacob her younger son; and she put the skins of the kids of goats upon his hands, and upon the smooth of his neck: and she gave the savory food and the bread, which she had prepared, into the hand of her son Jacob.
Why must spiritual understanding determine whether we should follow our dreams and visions or not?
Jacob was very dear to the heart of his mother. Rebekah symbolizes the beautiful and esthetic side of man's nature, the divine-natural. In keeping with the mother principle, in which these twin states of mind gestated and grew, she desires that the mental take precedence over the animal. The seeming trickery on the part of Rebekah and Jacob is an illustration of how we are moved by emotional states of consciousness and how, in our half-blind understanding, we accept their suggestions. The fact is that the soul (woman, Rebekah) is constantly making suggestions to us in dreams, visions, and intuitive flashes. These suggestions may sometimes be for our highest good and sometimes
they may not be. Spiritual understanding must determine this point and decide whether we should follow them or not. Rebekah represents the love of the ideal, and it is only through Jacob, the mental, that the ideal can be realized.
Does the physical body have equal rights with the intellect to the benefits of Spirit?
The mind feels that its claim to the control of life should come before the claims of physical sense. By its superior quickness, aided by the soul's (Rebekah's) love of mental acumen, the mental tricks the physical and secures the blessing of substance and the acknowledged authority in the organism. Then the head rules the heart in us until the touch of Spirit (Jacob's wrestling with the angel) arouses the soul to action and there is another supplanting, this time of the intellect's sterile claims, which are taken over by the soul. In reality the physical body has an equal right with the intellect to the uplifting and refining influence of Spirit. Being twins, they should be treated as equals, the law of the first-born should not be allowed to operate, but should be blessed and established in the substance of all good things.
The difference between Esau and Jacob is given to us in Jacob's own words: "Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man." The Semitic word for "hairy," translators tell us, has a connotation of intemperance or licentiousness. In the Epistle to the Hebrews Paul calls Esau a "fornicator, or profane person." This may be taken in a literal sense or in the sense of one who commits spiritual adultery; that is, who is unfaithful to God, divine love. The name Esau also signifies "one swept away" or "one who rushes forward wildly and impulsively." He is the very antipode of Jacob, "the smooth," clean, reliable man. The
word smooth is used in the story of David's victory over Goliath: David took "five smooth stones out of the brook."
Esau is unfortunately no uncommon type. As for "smooth" men, very few are smooth to start with. It is the constant rubbing, cutting, and reshaping that makes them at last "the polished corners of the temple," good and beautiful after the pattern of heaven.
Against whom or what were the denunciations of the prophets directed?
The denunciations of Esau by the prophets Jeremiah, Obadiah, and Malachi were not directed against a man of that name but against the course of conduct exemplified by him. Therefore it might well appear to Malachi, interpreting the name metaphorically, that God loved Jacob and hated Esau because Jacob symbolized the mental man and Esau the physical or animal man.
Gen. 27:18-40. And he came unto his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I; who art thou, my son? And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy first-born; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because Jehovah thy God sent me good speed. And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my very son Esau or not. And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau. And he discerned him not, because his hands were hairy, as his brother Esau's hands: so he blessed him. And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And he said, I am. And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of my son's venison, that my soul may bless thee. And he
brought it near to him, and he did eat: and he brought him wine, and he drank. And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss me, my son. And he came near, and kissed him: and he smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him, and said,
See, the smell of my son
Is as the smell of a field which Jehovah hath blessed:
And God give thee of the dew of heaven,
And of the fatness of the earth,
And plenty of grain and new wine:
Let peoples serve thee,
And nations bow down to thee:
Be lord over thy brethren,
And let thy mother's sons bow down to thee:
Cursed be every one that curseth thee,
And blessed be every one that blesseth thee.
And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting. And he also made savory food, and brought it unto his father; and he said unto his father, Let my father arise, and eat of his son's venison, that thy soul may bless me. And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou? And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn, Esau. And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said, Who then is he that hath taken venison, and brought it me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest, and have blessed him? yea, and he shall be blessed. When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried with an exceeding great and bitter cry, and said unto his father, Bless me, even me also, O my father. And he said, Thy brother came with guile, and hath taken away thy blessing. And he said, Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing. And he said, Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?
And Isaac answered and said unto Esau, Behold, I have made him thy lord, and all his brethren have I given to him for servants; and with grain and new wine have I sustained him: and what then shall I do for thee, my son? And Esau said unto his father, Hast thou but one blessing, my father? bless me, even me also, O my father. And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept. And Isaac his father answered and said unto him,
Behold, of the fatness of the earth shall be thy dwelling,
And of the dew of heaven from above;
And by thy sword shalt thou live, and thou shalt serve thy brother;
And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt break loose,
That thou shalt shake his yoke from off thy neck.
Can Jacob be said to represent the spiritual man? Explain.
Jacob represents the man of spiritual insight: he is not exactly spiritual but is beginning to see the possibilities of mind and is going forward. In Truth Jacob represents the illumined intellect. Isaac was not a spiritual man, but he represents one of the stages in the evolution of spiritual man. When this evolution comes into manifestation and pours out its essence upon the natural man (Esau), the spiritual quality in the natural man is stimulated. It moves forward and outdistances the physical, but the physical is not destroyed.
What is signified, in the realm of individual unfoldment, by Isaac's blessing upon Jacob?
Isaac placed his blessing on Jacob. The real point is that the blessing imparts an inward impetus or an inspiration to the real, spiritual man. It stimulates the intellect (Jacob) first, which then supplants or takes precedence over the physical. This is the reason why intellectual people apparently get ahead; but "the last shall be first, and the first shall be last."
The body is entitled to an equal blessing, as given by Isaac to Esau.
"And it shall come to pass, when thou shalt break loose,
That thou shalt shake his yoke from off thy neck."
In other words, when the body begins to realize its innate capacity the yoke of the mind is broken. This phase of man's evolution may be said to be in evidence in the struggle between capital and labor, or mind and body. Also there is a recognition by the scientific world of a principle in the body that directs it in the matter of food, healing, and in a general instinctive knowing of all matters pertaining to its welfare.
Gen. 27:41-46. 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 the 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; until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him: then I will send, and fetch thee from thence: why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?
And Rebekah said to Isaac, I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these, of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?
Explain metaphysically the meaning of Esau's threat against the life of Jacob.
When cheated of its due the body rebels, as Esau
did, and the outraged cells react in a disorderly way on the mind. Insane asylums bear witness to the fact that a neglected body will destroy the channels through which the mind is meant to function perfectly in man. The threat of Esau against the life of Jacob represents the inward rebellion that we feel when we change our modes of thought. The physical cannot be ignored. It must have its place in the all-round, fully developed man. This truth is illustrated by Esau. He became rich. He had many possessions, and he was the head of a race.
To avoid an open conflict Rebekah (the soul) ordered Jacob to flee to her brother Laban at Haran. The name Laban means "white," "shining," and the name Haran "exalted," "mountaineer." This clearly indicates that the attention must be centered on exalted states of mind and united with spiritual wisdom and understanding.
Preceding Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 213-218: Genesis 26 Mysteries of Genesis
Following Entry: Mysteries of Genesis 226-230: Genesis 28 Mysteries of Genesis