When Isaac became old he could hardly see. He could, though, sense who was around. One day he sensed his son Esau was nearby.
“Esau!!” Isaac called out.
“Could you go out and kill a deer, make a savoury dish of it, and bring it to me to eat?”
“I’m in the middle of making a new bow and arrow, Father. Later perhaps?”
“No. Now. You see, Esau, I could die at any moment I’m so old. Before I do, though, I want to give you my blessing. But I’ll only have enough strength to do this if I have some meat inside me.”
“If you insist” said Esau before getting together his hunting gear and going out.
Unbeknownst to Isaac and Esau, Rebekah had overheard their exchange. She summoned Jacob and told him what his father had just said to his brother.
“So, Jacob” said Rebekah, “I’d like you now to go to our herd of goats, pick out two young ones and bring them back to me. I’ll make from them a savoury dish for you to take to your father so he can bless you before he dies. Your father can give this blessing to only one of his and my sons, and I want that son to be you, Jacob, who are beautiful and the apple of my eye, not that ugly and smelly ape Esau.”
“But Mother” said Jacob, “Father will surely know I’m not Esau because I’m not hairy like him. If Father feels my smooth skin he’ll smell a rat. I’ll be cursed, not blessed.”
“Let the curse fall upon me if anything goes amiss” said Rebekah. “Go now and find two young goats.”
After Jacob returned with the goats and his mother had made a savoury dish out of them, she dressed Jacob in some of Esau’s clothes and put the goatskins on his hands and neck.
“These should fool your father if he feels your hands or neck” said Rebekah. “Here, take this savoury dish and give it to your father.”
“Who is that?” said Isaac when Jacob approached his bedside.
“Esau” said Jacob. His heart was hammering so fast he thought he might have a heart-attack. “H….H…Here’s the savoury dish you asked for, Father. Could you now give me your blessing?”
“It didn’t take long for you to kill the deer, bring the body back, cut it up and cook it. This must be a world record.”
“God put the deer in my way. It made things a lot quicker.”
“I’ll say” said Isaac as he began on his repast.
After chewing a while, Isaac said, “This doesn’t taste much like deer. If I didn’t know better I’d swear it’s goat.”
“It must be your taste buds” said Jacob, “if your eyesight has nearly gone because you’re so old, then your taste buds must be nearly gone too.”
“You have a point. But, just to put my mind at rest that you’re Esau, let me feel you.”
Isaac, after feeling Jacob’s hands and neck, said, “Despite that your voice sounds like Jacob’s, not Esau’s, your hands and neck feel like Esau’s, not Jacob’s. Tell me now, and be honest, are you really Esau?”
Jacob, his knees shaking, his heart hammering, his body sweating, his throat dry, squeaked, “Y…Y…Y…Yes Father, I…I…I’m Esau.”
“Come closer that I may smell your clothes”
Isaac put his nose to Esau’s clothes that Jacob was wearing, and several times sniffed noisily.
“These are Esau’s clothes alright” said Isaac, “No one but Esau would have a pong like that which I’m smelling. I’m now convinced, yes, you are Esau. Let me bless you now, son.”
Whereupon Isaac blessed Jacob.
Source: Genesis 27, 1-29