Hebrews 11:20-22


The references to Isaac, Jacob and Joseph are focused on their vision of “Things yet to Come.”


11:20 - Isaac

blessed Jacob and Esau in regard to their future


Nothing is said about Isaac being bound on the altar.

Nothing is said about Isaac being deceived by Jacob.


Isaac had received the promise of God through Abraham and God had confirmed it after Abraham’s death in Genesis 26:2-6


Isaac was deceived when he gave the blessing but the blessing he gave indicated that he did believe the promise.

See Genesis 27:28-29 and Genesis 28:3-4.


Isaac blessed Jacob while he was deceived but then confirmed that blessing in Gen. 27:33 even when he found out.


Jacob also spoke to Esau about his future. 

  • Esau would not have the rich produce of the land but will live as a predator by maintaining his existence by war and plunder. 
  • Yet, Esau will never conquer his brother Jacob.
  •  Esau (Edom) will first revolt against Jacob (Israel) during the days of Solomon (1 KIings 11:14-22)
  • and will finally separate in the days of Jehoram (2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Chr. 21:8-20)


The birthright was given to Jacob in Genesis 25:27-34.  The birthright included the inheritance rights of the firstborn.

The blessing was given to Jacob in Genesis 27.  The blessing included the promises given to Abraham.


11:21 - Jacob

when he was dying

  1. blessed each of Joseph’s sons
    1. Genesis 48
  2. worshipped as he leaned on the top of his staff” (Genesis 47:31)
    1. The Masoretic text says “Israel bowed down at the head of his bed (mittah”).”
    2. The Septuagint says, “Israel worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff (matteh”).”
    3. Notice the consonants are the same for “bed” and “staff” in Hebrew.  When the Masorectic text added vowels between 500-800 AD they interpreted it as “bed” and added the vowel points to match it.  The Septuagint had already interpreted it around 200 BC as “staff”.
  3. The important thing here is Jacob was dying in Egypt and had not received the promise yet at his death he still believed and passed that promise down.
  4. Jacob blessed or spoke of the future of all of his sons in Genesis 49
  5. Joseph’s sons Ephriam and Manasseh are singled out because they were born of an Egyptian mother.  Jacob says, “Ephriam and Manasseh will be mine.” (Gen. 48:5)


11:22 – Joseph

when his end was near” (Genesis 50:24)

  1. spoke about the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt
    1. Joseph had lived in Egypt from the age of 17 until he died at the age of 110.
  2. gave instructions about his bones

a.     Like Jacob, Joseph wanted to be buried in the Promised Land.

b.     Exodus 13:19

c.     Joshua 24:32

  1. Jacob wanted to be buried in the land of Canaan (Gen. 49:29-50:14)
  2. Joseph followed his father’s example in Gen. 50:22

Much could be said of Joseph’s faith and character but the focus here remains on the continuation of the promise that was not received.