When Isaac was old and almost blind, he called for Esau, his older son, and said, "My son?""Yes, Father?" Esau replied.
"I am an old man now," Isaac said, "and I expect every day to be my last.
Take your bow and a quiver full of arrows out into the open country, and hunt some wild game for me.
Prepare it just the way I like it so it's savory and good, and bring it here for me to eat. Then I will pronounce the blessing that belongs to you, my firstborn son, before I die."
But Rebekah overheard the conversation. So when Esau left to hunt for the wild game,
she said to her son Jacob, "I overheard your father asking Esau
to prepare him a delicious meal of wild game. He wants to bless Esau in the LORD's presence before he dies.
Now, my son, do exactly as I tell you.
Go out to the flocks and bring me two fine young goats. I'll prepare your father's favorite dish from them.
Take the food to your father; then he can eat it and bless you instead of Esau before he dies."
"But Mother!" Jacob replied. "He won't be fooled that easily. Think how hairy Esau is and how smooth my skin is!
What 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."
"Let the curse fall on me, dear son," said Rebekah. "Just do what I tell you. Go out and get the goats."
So Jacob followed his mother's instructions, bringing her the two goats. She took them and cooked a delicious meat dish, just the way Isaac liked it.
Then she took Esau's best clothes, which were there in the house, and dressed Jacob with them.
She made him a pair of gloves from the hairy skin of the young goats, and she fastened a strip of the goat's skin around his neck.
Then she gave him the meat dish, with its rich aroma, and some freshly baked bread.
Jacob carried the platter of food to his father and said, "My father?""Yes, my son," he answered. "Who is it -- Esau or Jacob?"
Jacob replied, "It's Esau, your older son. I've done as you told me. Here is the wild game, cooked the way you like it. Sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing."
Isaac asked, "How were you able to find it so quickly, my son?""Because the LORD your God put it in my path!" Jacob replied.
Then Isaac said to Jacob, "Come over here. I want to touch you to make sure you really are Esau."
So Jacob went over to his father, and Isaac touched him. "The voice is Jacob's, but the hands are Esau's," Isaac said to himself.
But he did not recognize Jacob because Jacob's hands felt hairy just like Esau's. So Isaac pronounced his blessing on Jacob.
"Are you really my son Esau?" he asked."Yes, of course," Jacob replied.
Then Isaac said, "Now, my son, bring me the meat. I will eat it, and then I will give you my blessing." So Jacob took the food over to his father, and Isaac ate it. He also drank the wine that Jacob served him. Then Isaac said,
"Come here and kiss me, my son."
So 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, "The smell of my son is the good smell of the open fields that the LORD has blessed.
May God always give you plenty of dew for healthy crops and good harvests of grain and wine.
May many nations become your servants. May you be the master of your brothers. May all your mother's sons bow low before you. All who curse you are cursed, and all who bless you are blessed."
As soon as Isaac had blessed Jacob, and almost before Jacob had left his father, Esau returned from his hunting trip.
Esau prepared his father's favorite meat dish and brought it to him. Then he said, "I'm back, Father, and I have the wild game. Sit up and eat it so you can give me your blessing."
But Isaac asked him, "Who are you?""Why, it's me, of course!" he replied. "It's Esau, your older son."
Isaac began to tremble uncontrollably and said, "Then who was it that just served me wild game? I have already eaten it, and I blessed him with an irrevocable blessing before you came."
When Esau understood, he let out a loud and bitter cry. "O my father, bless me, too!" he begged.
But Isaac said, "Your brother was here, and he tricked me. He has carried away your blessing."
Esau said bitterly, "No wonder his name is Jacob, for he has deceived me twice, first taking my birthright and now stealing my blessing. Oh, haven't you saved even one blessing for me?"
Isaac 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 there left to give?"
Esau pleaded, "Not one blessing left for me? O my father, bless me, too!" Then Esau broke down and wept.
His father, Isaac, said to him, "You will live off the land and what it yields,
and you will live by your sword. You will serve your brother for a time, but then you will shake loose from him and be free."
Esau hated Jacob because he had stolen his blessing, and he said to himself, "My father will soon be dead and gone. Then I will kill Jacob."
But someone got wind of what Esau was planning and reported it to Rebekah. She sent for Jacob and told him, "Esau is threatening to kill you.
This is what you should do. Flee to your uncle Laban in Haran.
Stay there with him until your brother's fury is spent.
When he forgets what you have done, I will send for you. Why should I lose both of you in one day?"
Then Rebekah said to Isaac, "I'm sick and tired of these local Hittite women. I'd rather die than see Jacob marry one of them."
So Isaac called for Jacob, blessed him, and said, "Do not marry any of these Canaanite women.
Instead, go at once to Paddan-aram, to the house of your grandfather Bethuel, and marry one of your uncle Laban's daughters.
May God Almighty bless you and give you many children. And may your descendants become a great assembly of nations!
May God pass on to you and your descendants the blessings he promised to Abraham. May you own this land where we now are foreigners, for God gave it to Abraham."
So 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.
Esau heard that his father had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-aram to find a wife, and that he had warned Jacob not to marry a Canaanite woman.
He also knew that Jacob had obeyed his parents and gone to Paddan-aram.
It was now very clear to Esau that his father despised the local Canaanite women.
So he 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.
Meanwhile, Jacob left Beersheba and traveled toward Haran.
At sundown he arrived at a good place to set up camp and stopped there for the night. Jacob found a stone for a pillow and lay down to sleep.
As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from earth to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down on it.
At 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 will give it to you and your descendants.
Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will cover the land from east to west and from north to south. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.
What's more, I will be with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. I will someday bring you safely back to this land. I will be with you constantly until I have finished giving you everything I have promised."
Then Jacob woke up and said, "Surely the LORD is in this place, and I wasn't even aware of it."
He was afraid and said, "What an awesome place this is! It is none other than the house of God -- the gateway to heaven!"
The next morning he got up very early. He took the stone he had used as a pillow and set it upright as a memorial pillar. Then he poured olive oil over it.
He named the place Bethel -- "house of God" -- though the name of the nearby village was Luz.
Then Jacob made this vow: "If God will be with me and protect me on this journey and give me food and clothing,
and if he will bring me back safely to my father, then I will make the LORD my God.
This memorial pillar will become a place for worshiping God, and I will give God a tenth of everything he gives me."
When Jesus noticed how large the crowd was growing, he instructed his disciples to cross to the other side of the lake.
Then one of the teachers of religious law said to him, "Teacher, I will follow you no matter where you go!"
But Jesus said, "Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but I, the Son of Man, have no home of my own, not even a place to lay my head."21
Another of his disciples said, "Lord, first let me return home and bury my father."
But Jesus told him, "Follow me now! Let those who are spiritually dead care for their own dead." 23
Then Jesus got into the boat and started across the lake with his disciples.
Suddenly, a terrible storm came up, with waves breaking into the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.
The disciples went to him and woke him up, shouting, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"
And Jesus answered, "Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!" Then he stood up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly all was calm.
The disciples just sat there in awe. "Who is this?" they asked themselves. "Even the wind and waves obey him!"
When Jesus arrived on the other side of the lake in the land of the Gadarenes, two men who were possessed by demons met him. They lived in a cemetery and were so dangerous that no one could go through that area.
They began screaming at him, "Why are you bothering us, Son of God? You have no right to torture us before God's appointed time!"
A large herd of pigs was feeding in the distance,
so the demons begged, "If you cast us out, send us into that herd of pigs."
32"All right, go!" Jesus commanded them. So the demons came out of the men and entered the pigs, and the whole herd plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.
The herdsmen fled to the nearby city, telling everyone what happened to the demon-possessed men.
The entire town came out to meet Jesus, but they begged him to go away and leave them alone.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)