20. By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
This is a thought provoking verse because of the events surrounding Isaac’s blessing of his two sons. The circumstances were as follows: Esau and Jacob were twins born to Isaac and Rebekah. Esau was the first born and would have normally received the greater blessings because of this. But before the birth of these two boys God had told Rebekah the following:
“…Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people
shall be separated from thy bowels;
and the one people shall be stronger than the other people;
and the elder shall serve the younger”
At the time of the blessings, “Isaac was old, and his eyes were dim” (Genesis 27:1). Rebekah and Jacob took advantage of this and tricked him into bestowing the greater blessings upon Jacob rather than Esau. Elderly people should never be treated this way. On the other hand, Isaac’s intentions were contrary to God’s words. Why would God include Isaac’s actions here as an example of faith? It can be said that the blessings that Isaac bestowed upon his sons did require faith in God’s ultimate plans (regardless of Isaac’s misguided intentions) because he could not have known the specifics about these blessings unless God had revealed them to him. We see here that God will always fulfill his promises regardless of the failings of those whom he chooses to bring his promises through.
21. By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
Once again, in this case, the younger was blessed above the older. This required faith on the part of Jacob because God had revealed to him that this was to be so.
22. By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
Joseph’s faith rested upon God’s earlier promises and so he spoke of them. God has given his children his promises and they must speak of them also.