And Isaac his father answered and said unto him, Behold, your dwelling shall be the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above;
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Augustine of Hippo
But why was it after being “roughly handled” that Isaac gave his blessing? For in the last resort what Isaac said to Esau was spoken under constraint and force: “Behold, your dwelling will be by the fruitfulness of the earth and by the dew of heaven.” And in case you should imagine yourself for that reason to be good— “You shall live by your sword and be servant to your brother.” But in order that you shouldn’t despair of yourself, since you can after all correct yourself—“But the time will come when you will put off and undo the yoke from your neck.” There you are, he will receive of the fruitfulness of the earth and of the dew of heaven. But when Isaac is roughly handled, he throws this blessing at him. He does not give it to him. Doesn’t it happen now in the church with evil people who want to cause trouble in the church that they are tolerated for the sake of peace, that they are admitted to share in the common sacraments? And sometimes it is public knowledge that they are evil, bu...
Moved; yet not so as to repent of what he had done; for Esau found no place of repentance in his father's breast, although with tears he had sought it, (Hebrews xii. 17.) desiring to obtain the blessing of the first-born. (Haydock)
In the fat Idumea was a barren country; and hence some would translate the Hebrew, "far from the fat. Shall thy dwelling be; but thou shalt live by the sword. "Thus min often means from, as well as for in: my flesh is changed on account of the want of oil, Psalm cviii. 24. Hebrew, a pinguedine. (Calmet)
But all the ancient versions agree with the Vulgate. So that we may say, the blessing of God made those barren regions supply the wants of the people abundantly; and as the Idumeans were to live by the sword, they would seize the rich habitations of their neighbours, (Haydock) and thus obtain a country rendered fertile without their labour. (Menochius)
Are the words spoken there by the blessed Isaac meant either as a blessing or as a prophecy? It is necessary to understand the previous statement. This is what he says: “By the fatness of the earth shall your dwelling be, and by the dew of heaven above.” In fact, it happens that the people settled down in the land of the Canaanites, which they shared with Joshua, son of Nun. And the words of Isaac “and by the dew of heaven above” signify that the prophets, like a cloud, left them soaked in dew after revealing to them the oracles of God.