It really takes Isaac a long time to die …

In Genesis 27.31, Esau seems to think his father will die soon so he can kill Jacob.  Then, Jacob is gone for a long time (20 years – Genesis 31.38) before Isaac dies (35.28-29).  I’ve never really noticed that before.  Has anyone seen any explanations for this (of course, I’m sure some of you may say sources … but anything else)?  I’m interested, but I thought it might be quicker and easier to ask you all than to reads books ;-).

Tags: ,


  • Besides sources? Sheesh, that’s like asking how to drive a nail without a hammer, isn’t it? 😉

    Maybe Isaac just looked, like, twenty years older than he really was.

    • I suppose, it’s a bit like that, Steve. But, sometimes sources get thrown around in OT studies like the word emphasis does in some linguistic circles. Sources are sometimes like a catch all explanation for anything we don’t have a better explanation for.

      Of course, this particular issue could be sources …

  • Good point, Jeremy, and I have noticed this as well. Sometimes we may need to consider that even a correct “sources” answer might not be fully adequate: what if the editors created some of the situations we see and write off as “just different sources” on purpose. I think of the recurring “passing off one’s wife as one’s sister” motif: it seems likely that they didn’t just fail to notice the similarities, but instead actually meant to imply that the son followed in his father’s footsteps.

    • Exactly.