Twice does Avimelech, the king of Gerar, use success as an indicator that God is with Abraham and Isaac. Both arrived as refugees – Avraham seemingly due to Sodom carnage spillover, and Isaac due to hunger. Once the two become enormously successful, the King concludes that God is with them and hence asks for a covenant.

When Rivka is pregnant, God tells her privately that Jacob is the chosen one. But Isaac is not privy to that, and hence has to resort to the Avimelech “success test” to determine which one of his sons God is with. After all, Isaac was raised in Gerar and likely observed Avimelech’s governance practices.Esau is a successful hunter.

It specifically stated that this is the reason Isaac likes him. Therefore when the “pretend Esau” explains the surprisingly fast delivery of prey as an act of “your God,” it only reaffirms Isaac’s original conclusion that Esau is the one to be blessed. But when the real Esau shows up later, delivering the prey in a slower “normal” time frame, it inevitably triggers a doubt – maybe God is not with Esau?

Somewhere around then Isaac changes his mind. It is possible that Rebecca then discloses to him her earlier prophecy or that he reaches the conclusion through the above logic. Isaac then doubles down on his blessing to Jacob, before sending him off. Once bestowed with the blessing, Jacob, for the first known time, acknowledges God.

The writer is the author of the upcoming book Judaism 3.0 – Judaism’s transformation to Zionism. For details and information on launch events visit: For his parasha commentary:, and geopolitical articles:

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 Judaism 3.0: Judaism’s Transformation to Zionism (credit: Courtesy)
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For more of Gol Kalev's parasha commentary: Parasha & Herzl