Notably, this blessing includes wealth and power. Israel would be served by peoples and nations, and Israel's posterity would have a preeminent place among the nations.
However, there is something else. Jacob's mother had only two sons, Jacob himself, of course, and Esau. Yet, Isaac, speaking to Jacob, uses the word "sons," plural, as if Jacob had more than one brother. In fact, God's Word says nothing of Rebekah having three or more sons. This perplexes us as much as it must have perplexed Jacob when he heard these words. Why does Isaac use the language he does?
Clearly, Isaac is speaking of Abraham's extended family. The word "brethren," which is an old form of the plural of "brother," refers to all the descendants of Abraham, those through Hagar and Keturah, as well as the descendants of Esau himself. Jacob's "mother's sons" refers to all the progeny of Rebekah, falling through Jacob himself and Esau. "The blessing here raises to the idea of universal domination" (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: The Pentateuch, p. 177).
Therefore, the blessing points to future generations, not just to the lifetime of Jacob himself. Its thrust is for the Israel of a future time.
Searching for Israel (Part Two): Blessings in Faith
These promises either imply or clearly state large populations, large land surfaces, good geographical locations, good weather patterns, rich soil, and mineral wealth. Do not these promises indicate that Israel is to become a major force in the world?
In the prophecies of the Old Testament pertaining to the end-time and beyond, Israel is almost always the subject, and other nations, regardless of how populous and powerful, are mentioned only as they come in contact with Israel. His revelation is devoted almost exclusively to the end time, yet evidence of Israel's existence at that time is very sparse and vague. But as the time of the end has approached, what has God done? He has revealed to His church where Israel is. The rest of the world does not give a hoot, but to the church it means something. It has been revealed so that we can make a proper use of this truth. Indeed, Israel is large, and it is important. Its combined population is somewhere around 500 million people.
The promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are given in the sense of the entire completion of God's purpose, when all of mankind will be included within the sons of Abraham—all converted, all part of the Family of God as well. We are in an important juncture today, but from the time Genesis 12 took place up until now—throughout all of history—God has been following through on all of His prophecies and promises regarding this.
We have reached a critical point at the time of the end when He has revealed where Israel is right now, and we know that Israel's combined population—the United States, Britain, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, France, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, and so forth—is over 500 million people. Its combined economic, military, educational, religious, political, and geographic influence is unrivaled in the world. It is lopsided in almost any area one could research. For instance, 70% of the world's fresh water is in Israel, and most of that 70% is in the United States.
God has blessed the Israelitish people to such an extent there has never been a power on earth that can even begin to rival them. One can make any kind of comparison, whether it be the Roman Empire, or China at its greatest, despite its hundreds of millions of people, nobody can hold a candle to Israel. That is why the United States and Britain just blew Europe off in the lead-up to the recent Gulf War. There is nothing that they could do about it except yell at us and complain. So does God just write Israel off in the most significant end-time book of all, Revelation? Hardly. It is there, but it is prophetically hidden.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part 3)
"Dew of heaven" indicates rain in due season in the right amount. "Fatness of the earth" indicates rich soil, as well as mineral wealth.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Where Is the Beast? (Part Three)
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Genesis 27:29: