I'm trying to reconcile a verse with the actual event timeline.

Genesis 27:41:

וַיִּשְׂטֹ֤ם עֵשָׂו֙ אֶֽת־יַעֲקֹ֔ב עַל־הַ֨בְּרָכָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר בֵּרֲכ֖וֹ אָבִ֑יו וַיֹּ֨אמֶר עֵשָׂ֜ו בְּלִבּ֗וֹ יִקְרְבוּ֙ יְמֵי֙ אֵ֣בֶל אָבִ֔י וְאַֽהַרְגָ֖ה אֶת־יַעֲקֹ֥ב אָחִֽי׃

We see from the above, that Esav was willing to wait until his father died until he would kill Ya'akov.

Ya'akov was in Lavan's home 20 years, as it says:

Genesis 31:41 (from Sefaria):

זֶה־לִּ֞י עֶשְׂרִ֣ים שָׁנָה֮ בְּבֵיתֶךָ֒ עֲבַדְתִּ֜יךָ אַרְבַּֽע־עֶשְׂרֵ֤ה שָׁנָה֙ בִּשְׁתֵּ֣י בְנֹתֶ֔יךָ וְשֵׁ֥שׁ שָׁנִ֖ים בְּצֹאנֶ֑ךָ וַתַּחֲלֵ֥ף אֶת־מַשְׂכֻּרְתִּ֖י עֲשֶׂ֥רֶת מֹנִֽים׃

These twenty years have I been in thy house: I served thee fourteen years for thy two daughters, and six years for thy flock; and thou hast changed my wages ten times.

Did Yitchak die during this period? If not, at what point did he die? If he did, since Esav knew that Ya'akov was in Lavan's home (see Breishit 28:6), why didn't he go after Ya'akov, there?


2 Answers 2

  1. Yitzchak was still alive long after the events in Vyishshlach so Eisav would not have gone to Lavan's house to kill Yaakov. Yitzchak was still alive when Yosef was sent to Mitzraim. Yitzchak died at 180 years, when Yaakov was 120. Ya'akov told Par'o that he was 130 years old when he met him. Thus Yitzchak died 10 years before Yaakov met Par'o. Since Yosef was missing for 22 years, Yitzchak died after Yosef had been missing for 12 years. Yosef was sold at age 17 and appointed at age 30 (13 years). Thus Yitzchak died the year before Yosef was appointed. Note that the meforshim say that the famine ended (early) when Yaakov came and blessed Par'o and Mitzrayim. That is why the count works out (as the Medrash says, 7 years of plenty and 2 years of famine). See the Art Scroll commentary on Vayigash 47:10.


So Jacob blessed: According to the custom of all those who leave the presence of princes, that they bless them and take their leave. Now what blessing did he bless him? That the Nile should rise at his approach, because Egypt does not drink rain water, but the Nile rises and waters it, and since Jacob’s blessing, Pharaoh would come to the Nile, and it would rise to greet him and water the land. [From Tanchuma, Nasso 26]

  1. Eisav said he would wait until Yitzchak died to kill Yaakov

  2. Eisav was based at Har Seir so it was too far to send his forces after Yaakov. Note that the two did not meet until Ya'akov was just outside Canaan.

  • Even without the Medrash, we have at least into the first year of famine when Yaakov came down, so Yosef was missing between 20-27 years which means Yitzchak dies after 10-17 years of being missing and hence certainly after Yosef was sold which means Yaakov was back in Kena'an and out of Lavan's house, as the question sought to know.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 3:12
  • @DoubleAA That was the point that I was trying to make. Do I need to explain it more explicitly? BTW as I recall the medrash it says 22 years to be like the 22 years that Yaakov stayed away from home. Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 4:06
  • I'm just adding that even without the Medrash about only 2 years of famine, the OP's answer is still achieved.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 5:06

Yitzchak died later. See 35:27–29 and Rashi to verse 29.

(Even if we were, for some reason, to accept only such parts of Rashi's chronology as are based on the explicit p'sukim rather than the Bavli M'gila — who knows, perhaps some Chumash commentators argue on Rashi in this regard — the remaining parts of it nonetheless prove that Yitzchak died years after Yaakov left Lavan and therefore presumably years after Yaakov after met Esav. A tip of my hat to Double AA for pointing this out.)

  • Note that the meforshim say that Yitzchak knew what had happened to Yosef (when he was 17) and was forbidden to tell Yaakov. Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 0:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .