And he said, your brother came with subtlety, and has taken away your blessing.
Read Chapter 27
Augustine of Hippo
What then is guile? Guile is when one thing is done and another pretended. When there is one thing in intention and another in deeds, it is called guile. So guile in the proper sense is reprehensible, just like rock in the proper sense. If you said Christ was a rock in the proper sense, it would be a blasphemy, just as if you said Christ was a calf in the proper sense it would be blasphemy. In the proper sense a calf is a beast; in the figurative sense it is a victim in a sacrifice. In the proper sense a stone is compacted earth; in the figurative sense it is firmness. Guile in the proper sense is deceit; in the figurative sense …. Every figurative and allegorical text or utterance seems to mean one thing materially and to suggest another thing spiritually. So he called this figurative sense by the name of guile. At long last then, what does it mean, “He came with guile and stole your blessing”? The reason it says “He came with guile” is that what was being done had a figurative sense....
So what can it mean when it says, “Your brother came with guile and stole the blessing”? … So what can it mean when it says, “He came along with guile and stole the blessing”? First of all, let us note what guile means, and so see what Jacob ought to do. He is bearing the sins of others, and he is bearing them patiently although they are other people’s. That is what it means to have the skins of the kids on him; he is bearing the sins of others, not clinging to his own. In this way all those who put up with the sins of others for the sake of unity in the church are imitating Jacob. Because Jacob too is in Christ, inasmuch as Christ is in the seed of Abraham; as it was said, “In your seed shall all the nations be blessed.” So our Lord Jesus Christ, who committed no sin, bore the sins of others. And will those whose sins have been forgiven disdain to bear the sins of others? So if Jacob turns into Christ, he bears the sins of others—that, is the skins of the kids. And where is the guile ...
The fact that he says to him, “Your brother came by trickery and took away your blessing” means, in a way that implies a mystery, that the Word of God, after his incarnation, had to take the form of a slave. [Thus] thanks to him who was unknown in his generation, he might receive the blessing of the Father and transmit it to us, who believe in him.