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Updated on February 6, 2010

Isaac is the second Old Testament patriarch and the only son of Abraham and Sarah. Abraham called his son Isaac, implying laughter, because Sarah had laughed when God promised her a son in her old age. As a youth, Isaac was about to be sacrificed by Abra­ham at God's command, but God rescued him at the last moment. When he was 40, Isaac married his kins­woman Rebecca, a beautiful maiden from Abraham's old home in Mesopotamia. Abraham's servant, sent to find a wife for Isaac, had chosen Rebecca because she offered water for him and his camels. Rebecca bore Isaac twin sons, Esau and Jacob.

Some time later, famine caused Isaac to go to the land of the Philistine king, where God renewed His covenant with Abraham by promising Isaac prosperity and many offspring. Isaac grew rich but quarreled with the Philistines over water rights and went to near­by Beersheba. When he was old and blind, he called his favorite son, Esau, to give him his blessing. By mistake he gave it instead to Rebecca's favorite, Jacob, whom she had helped impersonate Esau to deceive his father. Isaac died a very old man. He was buried with his ancestors in the Cave of Machpelah.


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