Isaac’s two blessings

Jeremiah Burroughs notes the switching of the order in heaven and earth between Jacob’s and Esau’s blessings:

Mark it, Isaac blessed them both with the dew of heaven and fatness of the earth (this could be disputed, LK). But in Jacob’s blessing the dew of heaven was first and the fatness of the earth was second; while in Esau’s blessing, the fatness of the earth was first and then the dew of heaven. Note that a godly man stands in need of earthly things. As Christ said, “Your Father knows you stand in need of these things.” But the great thing, in the first place, that a godly heart minds is the dew of heaven, and then second the blessing of the earth. Now a carnal heart thinks that it has some need of the things of heaven; it will acknowledge that. But it’s the fatness of the earth they desire, and then the dew of heaven (A Treatise on Earthly-Mindedness, SDG 1991, p. 8).

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5 Comments

  1. roberty bob said,

    February 9, 2019 at 8:11 am

    As you have said, what Isaac said to Esau can be disputed. Either Esau would be blessed with the same heavenly dew and earthly fatness as his brother Jacob [as expressed by translations that go with “of” or “from”] or Esau would be deprived of such heavenly dew and earthly fatness [as expressed by translations that go with “away from”].

    It does not make sense to me that Isaac would also bless Esau with the same blessing that he put upon Jacob; so, I believe that Esau would experience the curse and deprivation of being away from the heavenly dew and earthly fatness with which Jacob was blessed.

    The switching of order, of which Jeremiah Burroughs makes much, is therefore of no consequence; it is merely coincidental. I do not doubt that the puritan mind was wide open to pages and pages of this kind of pious admonition!

  2. roberty bob said,

    February 9, 2019 at 10:01 am

    I wonder if it was ever said of Jeremiah Burroughs that he was too heavenly minded to be of much earthly good?

    Just jesting, of course!

  3. greenbaggins said,

    February 9, 2019 at 10:38 am

    Bob, just because Esau might not have experienced a blessing doesn’t mean that the change of order is of no consequence. For instance, couldn’t it be part of the non-blessing that Esau would be more earthly minded?

    As to the heavenly minded bit, I daresay that most of the Puritans got that charge at one point or another! You’ll probably agree with me that the problem today is that most people are so earthly minded as to be of no heavenly good!

  4. roberty bob said,

    February 9, 2019 at 2:40 pm

    Have you and Burroughs established that “dew of heaven” means something like “saving grace from heaven?” Might it simply mean the dew that nourishes the soil so that it may yield much fruit?

    Isaac’s blessing to Jacob is that Jacob will live in a fertile land that will bring forth fruit [i.e. fatness] because it will be watered with the dew of heaven. Esau will not share in that blessing as he will live in dry and thirsty land away from the dew of heaven which would otherwise nourish the soil.

    I suppose you could put a pious spin on this, as Burroughs does, and interpret “dew of heaven” as spiritual blessings and “earth’s fatness” as carnal blessings. But why would you do that? Would you really preach the Genesis 27 text that way? I wouldn’t.

    I apologize for my wisecrack about heavenly mindedness. Burroughs was a beloved pastor to several congregations, including one in Holland. He was a good and godly man.

  5. greenbaggins said,

    February 12, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Bob, no, I haven’t established that Burroughs’ interpretation is a good one. I don’t have time at the moment. I merely thought it was interesting.

    As to your wisecrack, there is no need of apology. I didn’t find it offensive. :-)


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