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Do blessings in the Bible determine someone’s fate?

After Isaac finished blessing him, and Jacob had scarcely left his father’s presence, his brother Esau came in from hunting. He too prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Then he said to him, “My father, please sit up and eat some of my game, so that you may give me your blessing.”. . .Esau said, “Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!” Then he asked, “Haven’t you reserved any blessing for me?” Genesis 30, 36-37

In the Old Testament, fathers blessed their children.  Sometimes the blessing was good and sometimes it was bad.  Each time we see blessings happening, they are important to the blesser and the blessee.  The children wanted the father’s blessing and a bad blessing seemed to greatly impact their lives.

Did the father really have the power to change the course of his child’s life with a blessing?

There are four ways to look at a blessing in the Bible and how it impacted a person.
  1. PROMISE: Blessings were considered to be promises and a person’s word in that day carried a lot of weight. One did not break their promise. A blessing was a promise between two parties. Jacob promised his sons a particular future inheritance.
  2. PROPHECY: Blessings came from God, whose words the “blesser” was communicating. In that sense it’s a prophecy, God’s promise of what someone’s fate will be.
  3. CONTRACT: Jacob obviously received the financial and business inheritance because of his birthright, so this blessing was a contract or an early reading of the will. Esau received no inheritance, so he would be stuck with nothing and forced to live in the mountains.
  4. SELF-ESTEEM: Certainly Esau walked away from a blessing with a certain attitude and self-perspective. In that way a blessing influenced a child because of the way he thought his father loved or didn’t love him.  Or, it may have pointed out something that was lying dormant underneath the surface and Esau didn’t like it. 
The blessing certainly effected all aspects of the child’s life, from the relational to the economic, so it impacted one’s fate while it changed the dynamics of the relationships around him.

But fathers didn’t have all power to “curse” someone, making their life turn out terribly.  He could certainly impact his child’s life within the parameters of what he could control. 

Also, God wasn’t listening to the man then blessing or cursing as the guy said.  The person should have been listening to God and communicating to his son what God was saying.