Jacob Steals Esau’s Blessing 1One day when Isaac was old and turning blind, he called for Esau, his older son, and said, “My son.” “Yes, Father?” Esau replied. 2“I am an old man now,” Isaac said, “and I don’t know when I may die. 3Take your bow and a quiver full of arrows, and go out into the open country to hunt some wild game for me. 4Prepare my favorite dish, and bring it here for me to eat. Then I will pronounce the blessing that belongs to you, my firstborn son, before I die.” 5But Rebekah overheard what Isaac had said to his son Esau. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game, 6she said to her son Jacob, “Listen. I overheard your father say to Esau, 7‘Bring me some wild game and prepare me a delicious meal. Then I will bless you in the LORD’s presence before I die.’ 8Now, my son, listen to me. Do exactly as I tell you. 9Go out to the flocks, and bring me two fine young goats. I’ll use them to prepare your father’s favorite dish. 10Then take the food to your father so he can eat it and bless you before he dies.” 11“But look,” Jacob replied to Rebekah, “my brother, Esau, is a hairy man, and my skin is smooth. 12What if my father touches me? He’ll see that I’m trying to trick him, and then he’ll curse me instead of blessing me.” 13But his mother replied, “Then let the curse fall on me, my son! Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats for me!” 14So Jacob went out and got the young goats for his mother. Rebekah took them and prepared a delicious meal, just the way Isaac liked it. 15Then she took Esau’s favorite clothes, which were there in the house, and gave them to her younger son, Jacob. 16She covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of the young goats.17Then she gave Jacob the delicious meal, including freshly baked bread. 18So Jacob took the food to his father. “My father?” he said. “Yes, my son,” Isaac answered. “Who are you—Esau or Jacob?” 19Jacob replied, “It’s Esau, your firstborn son. I’ve done as you told me. Here is the wild game. Now sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing.” 20Isaac asked, “How did you find it so quickly, my son?” “The LORD your God put it in my path!” Jacob replied. 21Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau.” 22So Jacob went closer to his father, and Isaac touched him. “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s,” Isaac said. 23But he did not recognize Jacob, because Jacob’s hands felt hairy just like Esau’s. So Isaac prepared to bless Jacob. 24“But are you really my son Esau?” he asked. “Yes, I am,” Jacob replied. 25Then Isaac said, “Now, my son, bring me the wild game. Let me eat it, and then I will give you my blessing.” So Jacob took the food to his father, and Isaac ate it. He also drank the wine that Jacob served him. 26Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come a little closer and kiss me, my son.” 27So Jacob went over and kissed him. And when Isaac caught the smell of his clothes, he was finally convinced, and he blessed his son. He said, “Ah! The smell of my son is like the smell of the outdoors, which the LORD has blessed! 28“From the dew of heaven and the richness of the earth, may God always give you abundant harvests of grain and bountiful new wine. 29May many nations become your servants, and may they bow down to you. May you be the master over your brothers, and may your mother’s sons bow down to you. All who curse you will be cursed, and all who bless you will be blessed.” 30As soon as Isaac had finished blessing Jacob, and almost before Jacob had left his father, Esau returned from his hunt. 31Esau prepared a delicious meal and brought it to his father. Then he said, “Sit up, my father, and eat my wild game so you can give me your blessing.” 32But Isaac asked him, “Who are you?” Esau replied, “It’s your son, your firstborn son, Esau.” 33Isaac began to tremble uncontrollably and said, “Then who just served me wild game? I have already eaten it, and I blessed him just before you came. And yes, that blessing must stand!” 34When Esau heard his father’s words, he let out a loud and bitter cry. “Oh my father, what about me? Bless me, too!” he begged. 35But Isaac said, “Your brother was here, and he tricked me. He has taken away your blessing.” 36Esau exclaimed, “No wonder his name is Jacob, for now he has cheated me twice. First he took my rights as the firstborn, and now he has stolen my blessing. Oh, haven’t you saved even one blessing for me?” 37Isaac said to Esau, “I have made Jacob your master and have declared that all his brothers will be his servants. I have guaranteed him an abundance of grain and wine—what is left for me to give you, my son?” 38Esau pleaded, “But do you have only one blessing? Oh my father, bless me, too!” Then Esau broke down and wept. 39Finally, his father, Isaac, said to him, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above. 40You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother. But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck.” Jacob Flees to Paddan-Aram 41From that time on, Esau hated Jacob because their father had given Jacob the blessing. And Esau began to scheme: “I will soon be mourning my father’s death. Then I will kill my brother, Jacob.” 42But Rebekah heard about Esau’s plans. So she sent for Jacob and told him, “Listen, Esau is consoling himself by plotting to kill you. 43So listen carefully, my son. Get ready and flee to my brother, Laban, in Haran. 44Stay there with him until your brother cools off. 45When he calms down and forgets what you have done to him, I will send for you to come back. Why should I lose both of you in one day?” 46Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I’m sick and tired of these local Hittite women! I would rather die than see Jacob marry one of them.”
1So Isaac called for Jacob, blessed him, and said, “You must not marry any of these Canaanite women. 2Instead, go at once to Paddan-aram, to the house of your grandfather Bethuel, and marry one of your uncle Laban’s daughters. 3May God Almighty bless you and give you many children. And may your descendants multiply and become many nations! 4May God pass on to you and your descendants the blessings he promised to Abraham. May you own this land where you are now living as a foreigner, for God gave this land to Abraham.” 5So Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to stay with his uncle Laban, his mother’s brother, the son of Bethuel the Aramean. 6Esau knew that his father, Isaac, had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-aram to find a wife, and that he had warned Jacob, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman.” 7He also knew that Jacob had obeyed his parents and gone to Paddan-aram. 8It was now very clear to Esau that his father did not like the local Canaanite women. 9So Esau visited his uncle Ishmael’s family and married one of Ishmael’s daughters, in addition to the wives he already had. His new wife’s name was Mahalath. She was the sister of Nebaioth and the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son. Jacob’s Dream at Bethel 10Meanwhile, Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran. 11At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone to rest his head against and lay down to sleep. 12As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway. 13At the top of the stairway stood the LORD, and he said, “I am the LORD, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants.14Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. 15What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.” 16Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely theLORD is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” 17But he was also afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God, the very gateway to heaven!” 18The next morning Jacob got up very early. He took the stone he had rested his head against, and he set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it. 19He named that place Bethel (which means “house of God”), although it was previously called Luz. 20Then Jacob made this vow: “If God will indeed be with me and protect me on this journey, and if he will provide me with food and clothing, 21and if I return safely to my father’s home, then the LORD will certainly be my God.22And this memorial pillar I have set up will become a place for worshiping God, and I will present to God a tenth of everything he gives me.”
For the choir director: A psalm of David, to be accompanied by stringed instruments. 1Answer me when I call to you, O God who declares me innocent. Free me from my troubles. Have mercy on me and hear my prayer. 2How long will you people ruin my reputation How long will you make groundless accusations? How long will you continue your lies? Interlude 3You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for himself. The LORD will answer when I call to him. 4Don’t sin by letting anger control you. Think about it overnight and remain silent. Interlude 5Offer sacrifices in the right spirit, and trust the LORD. 6Many people say, “Who will show us better times?” Let your face smile on us, LORD. 7You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine. 8In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O LORD, will keep me safe.
Teaching about Prayer 1Once Jesus was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of his disciples came to him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2Jesus said, “This is how you should pray: “Father, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. 3Give us each day the food we need, 4and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation.” 5Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him,6‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ 7And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’8But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence. 9“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. 11“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” Jesus and the Prince of Demons 14One day Jesus cast out a demon from a man who couldn’t speak, and when the demon was gone, the man began to speak. The crowds were amazed, 15but some of them said, “No wonder he can cast out demons. He gets his power from Satan, the prince of demons.” 16Others, trying to test Jesus, demanded that he show them a miraculous sign from heaven to prove his authority. 17He knew their thoughts, so he said, “Any kingdom divided by civil war is doomed. A family splintered by feuding will fall apart. 18You say I am empowered by Satan. But if Satan is divided and fighting against himself, how can his kingdom survive? 19And if I am empowered by Satan, what about your own exorcists? They cast out demons, too, so they will condemn you for what you have said. 20But if I am casting out demons by the power of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.21For when a strong man like Satan is fully armed and guards his palace, his possessions are safe—22until someone even stronger attacks and overpowers him, strips him of his weapons, and carries off his belongings. 23“Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me. 24“When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.” 27As he was speaking, a woman in the crowd called out, “God bless your mother—the womb from which you came, and the breasts that nursed you!” 28Jesus replied, “But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.” The Sign of Jonah 29As the crowd pressed in on Jesus, he said, “This evil generation keeps asking me to show them a miraculous sign. But the only sign I will give them is the sign of Jonah.30What happened to him was a sign to the people of Nineveh that God had sent him. What happens to the Son of Man will be a sign to these people that he was sent by God. 31“The queen of Sheba will stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for she came from a distant land to hear the wisdom of Solomon. Now someone greater than Solomon is here—but you refuse to listen. 32The people of Nineveh will also stand up against this generation on judgment day and condemn it, for they repented of their sins at the preaching of Jonah. Now someone greater than Jonah is here—but you refuse to repent. Receiving the Light 33“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house. 34“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness.35Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. 36If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.” Jesus Criticizes the Religious Leaders 37As Jesus was speaking, one of the Pharisees invited him home for a meal. So he went in and took his place at the table. 38His host was amazed to see that he sat down to eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony required by Jewish custom. 39Then the Lord said to him,“You Pharisees are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and wickedness! 40Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside? 41So clean the inside by giving gifts to the poor, and you will be clean all over. 42“What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things. 43“What sorrow awaits you Pharisees! For you love to sit in the seats of honor in the synagogues and receive respectful greetings as you walk in the marketplaces.44Yes, what sorrow awaits you! For you are like hidden graves in a field. People walk over them without knowing the corruption they are stepping on.” 45“Teacher,” said an expert in religious law, “you have insulted us, too, in what you just said.” 46“Yes,” said Jesus, “what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden. 47What sorrow awaits you! For you build monuments for the prophets your own ancestors killed long ago. 48But in fact, you stand as witnesses who agree with what your ancestors did. They killed the prophets, and you join in their crime by building the monuments! 49This is what God in his wisdom said about you: ‘I will send prophets and apostles to them, but they will kill some and persecute the others.’ 50“As a result, this generation will be held responsible for the murder of all God’s prophets from the creation of the world—51from the murder of Abel to the murder of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, it will certainly be charged against this generation. 52“What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.” 53As Jesus was leaving, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees became hostile and tried to provoke him with many questions. 54They wanted to trap him into saying something they could use against him.