The text we’re studying for Sunday, November 11 is Genesis 27 (focus on vv 5-10, 18-19, and 21-29). Here are a few questions we might want to consider:
What are our impressions of the four characters involved in this story, and what gives us those impressions? For instance, how do we picture Isaac, Rebekah, Esau and Jacob in our minds? How old do we think they are? How do we “hear” them saying their lines? Etc. How do we imagine an ordinary day in the life of this family? How do we see that informing the events of this particular day?
Compare Isaac’s speech in vv2-4 to Rebekah’s report of it in v6. What does Rebekah leave out, and what does she add? Are her changes significant? How, do we think? What do they tell us about her, what she is thinking and doing, or about the situation?
What seems to be the role of the game and the savory food in this story? Why has Isaac made it the precondition for giving the blessing, do we think? What does this tell us about Isaac’s relationship with Esau? With Jacob? What does this tell us about Isaac? How does the device of the savory food figure in the plot of the story – what does it make possible, what does it prevent? What light does this shed on the situation, do we think? Does it make any difference in how we read the story, or how we feel about the story? Why, do we think?
Do we judge any of the characters, as morally praiseworthy or blameworthy? Which characters do we judge, and how do we judge them? Why do we judge them in this way? Is there any understanding of the story that would change this judgment? What reading would that have to be? Why would that change things for us?
What role does love play in this story? Who gives love? Who receives love? Would the story change, do we think, if there were more love, or a different kind of love, operating in the story? How? Are there any implications for us in this? What are they, do we think?
What role does truth play in this story? (For instance, who knows the truth, who tells the truth, who seeks the truth, who acts in accordance with truth, how is truth known and told and sought and honored, … ?) Are there any implications for us in this? What are they, do we think?
Overall, we might want to consider the various perspectives that are present in the story, how they are or are not communicated to the other actors in the story, and how each of those perspectives relates to God. (Notice that God is mentioned in vv7, 20, and 28, but God’s direct action is not reported. It may also be helpful to look at Genesis 28:3-4 in this regard.) We might want to think about the similarity and difference between “doing God’s will” and “God’s will being done.”