JACOB (/ˈdʒeɪkəb/ ;
Hebrew : יַעֲקֹב, Modern Yaʿakov
(help ·info ), Tiberian Jaʕăqob; "heel"; Arabic :
يَعْقُوب Yaʿqūb), later given the name ISRAEL, is
regarded as a
Patriarch of the
Israelites . According to the Book of
Jacob was the third
Hebrew progenitor with whom
God made a
covenant . He is the son of
Rebecca , the grandson of
Bethuel , the nephew of
Ishmael , and the younger
twin brother of
Jacob had twelve sons and at least one
daughter, by his two wives,
Rachel , and by their handmaidens
Jacob's twelve sons, named in Genesis, were
Reuben , Simeon ,
Judah , Dan ,
Naphtali , Gad ,
Zebulun , Joseph ,
Benjamin . His only daughter mentioned in Genesis is
Dinah . The
twelve sons became the progenitors of the "
Tribes of Israel ".
Jacob's Dream statue and display on the campus of Abilene Christian
University . The artwork is based on Genesis 28:10–22 and
graphically represents the scenes alluded to in the hymn "Nearer, My
God, to Thee " and the spiritual "We Are Climbing Jacob\'s Ladder " as
well as other musical works.
As a result of a severe drought in
Jacob and his sons moved
Egypt at the time when his son Joseph was viceroy . After 17 years
Jacob died, and the length of Jacob's life was 147 years.
Joseph carried Jacob's remains to the land of Canaan, and gave him a
stately burial in the same
Cave of Machpelah as were buried Abraham,
Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, and Jacob's first wife, Leah.
Jacob is mentioned in a number of sacred scriptures, including the
Hebrew Bible , the
Talmud , the
New Testament , the
Quran , hadith ,
Bahá\'í scripture , and the
Book of Mormon
Book of Mormon .
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Genesis narrative
Jacob and Esau\'s birth
* 2.2 Acquiring birthright
* 2.3 Blessing of
* 2.4 Jacob\'s ladder
* 2.5 Jacob\'s marriages
* 2.6 Journey back to
* 2.8 Seven year famine
* 2.10 Final days
* 2.11 Children of
* 2.12 Family tree
* 3 Religious perspectives
* 3.1 Jewish tradition
* 3.3 Islamic tradition
* 4 Historicity
* 5 References
* 6 Further reading
* 7 External links
According to the folk etymology found in Genesis 25:26, the name
Jacob is related to the
Hebrew word for "heel." According to Jan
Fokkelman, the name is a shortened version of Yaaqob-el, meaning "God
Hebrew Bible says at Genesis 32:28–29 and 35:10, that God
changed Jacob's name to Israel. Etymologically, it has been suggested
that the name "Israel" comes from the
Hebrew words לִשְׂרות
(lisrot, "wrestle") and אֵל (El, "God"). Popular English
translations typically reference the face off with God, ranging from
"wrestles with God" to "
God contends", but various other meanings have
also been suggested. Some commentators say the name comes from the
verb śārar ("to rule, be strong, have authority over"), thereby
making the name mean "
God rules" or "
God judges"; or "the prince of
God" (from the King James Version ) or "El (God) fights/struggles".
The biblical account of the life of
Jacob is found in the Book of
Genesis , chapters 25–50.
JACOB AND ESAU\'S BIRTH
Jacob and his twin brother,
Esau , were born to
Isaac and Rebecca
after 20 years of marriage, when
Isaac was 60 years of age (Genesis
25:20, 25:26). Rebekah was uncomfortable during her pregnancy and went
to inquire of
God why she was suffering. She received the prophecy
that twins were fighting in her womb and would continue to fight all
their lives, even after they became two separate nations. The prophecy
also said that "the one people shall be stronger than the other
people; and the elder shall serve the younger;" (Genesis 25:25 KJV)
When the time came for
Rebecca to give birth, the firstborn, Esau,
came out covered with red hair, as if he were wearing a hairy garment,
and his heel was grasped by the hand of Jacob, the secondborn.
According to Genesis 25:25,
Rebecca named the first son
Hebrew : עשו,
Esau (`Esav or `Esaw, meaning "hairy" or
Hebrew : עשה, `asah, "do" or "make"; or
"completely developed", from
Hebrew : עשוי, `assui). The
second son they named יעקב,
Jacob (Ya`aqob or Ya`aqov, meaning
"heel-catcher", "supplanter", "leg-puller", "he who follows upon the
heels of one", from
Hebrew : עקב, `aqab or `aqav, "seize by
the heel", "circumvent", "restrain", a wordplay upon
עקבה, `iqqebah or `iqqbah, "heel").
The boys displayed very different natures as they matured. "...and
Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; but
Jacob was a simple
man, dwelling in tents" (Genesis 25:27). Moreover, the attitudes of
their parents toward them also differed: "And
he did eat of his venison: but
Rebecca loved Jacob." (Genesis 25:28)
Jacob offering a dish of lentils to
Esau for his birthright,
18th-century painting by
Zacarias Gonzalez Velazquez .
Genesis 25:29–34 tells the account of
Esau selling his birthright
to Jacob. This passage tells that Esau, returning famished from the
Jacob to give him some of the stew that
Jacob had just
Esau referred to the dish as "that same red pottage", giving
rise to his nickname,
Hebrew : אדום (`Edom, meaning "Red").)
Jacob offered to give
Esau a bowl of stew in exchange for his
birthright, to which
BLESSING OF ISAAC
Isaac aged, he became blind and was uncertain when he would die,
so he decided to bestow Esau's birthright upon him. He requested that
Esau go out to the fields with his weapons (quiver and bow) to kill
Isaac then requested that
Esau make "savory meat" for
him out of the venison, according to the way he enjoyed it the most,
so that he could eat it and bless Esau.
Rebecca overheard this conversation. It is suggested that she
realized prophetically that Isaac's blessings would go to Jacob, since
she was told before the twins' birth that the older son would serve
Jacob and she quickly ordered
bring her two kid goats from their flock so that he could take Esau's
place in serving
Isaac and receiving his blessing.
that his father would recognize their deception since
Esau was hairy
and he himself was smooth-skinned. He feared his father would curse
him as soon as he felt him, but
Rebecca offered to take the curse
herself, then insisted that
Jacob obey her.
Jacob did as his mother
instructed and, when he returned with the kids, Rebekah made the
savory meat that
Isaac loved. Before she sent
Jacob to his father, she
dressed him in Esau's garments and laid goatskins on his arms and neck
to simulate hairy skin.
Disguised as Esau,
Jacob entered Isaac's room. Surprised that Esau
was back so soon,
Isaac asked how it could be that the hunt went so
Jacob responded, "Because the LORD your
God brought it to
Rashi , on Genesis 27:21 says Isaac's suspicions were aroused
even more, because
Esau never used the personal name of God. Isaac
Jacob come close so he could feel him, but the goatskins
felt just like Esau's hairy skin. Confused,
Isaac exclaimed, "The
voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau!" Genesis
27:22. Still trying to get at the truth,
Isaac asked him directly,
"Art thou my very son Esau?" and
Jacob answered simply, "I am." Isaac
proceeded to eat the food and to drink the wine that
Jacob gave him,
and then told him to come close and kiss him. As
Jacob kissed his
Isaac smelled the clothes which belonged to
Esau and finally
accepted that the person in front of him was Esau.
Isaac then blessed
Jacob with the blessing that was meant for Esau. Genesis 27:28–29
states Isaac's blessing: "Therefore
God give thee of the dew of
heavens, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of corn and wine:
Let people serve thee: be lord over thy brethren, and let thy mother's
sons bow down to thee: cursed be every one that curseth thee, and
blessed be he that blesseth thee."
Jacob had scarcely left the room when
Esau returned from the hunt to
prepare his game and receive the blessing. The realization that he had
been deceived shocked Isaac, yet he acknowledged that
received the blessings by adding, "Indeed, he will be blessed!"
Esau was heartbroken by the deception and begged for his own
blessing. Having made
Jacob a ruler over his brothers,
only promise, "By your sword you shall live, but your brother you
shall serve; yet it shall be that when you are aggrieved, you may cast
off his yoke from upon your neck" (27:39–40).
Jacob his own birthright, which was his blessing,
for "red pottage",
Esau still hated
Jacob for receiving his blessing
that their father
Isaac unknowingly had given to him. He vowed to kill
Jacob as soon as
Isaac died. When
Rebecca heard about his murderous
intentions, she ordered
Jacob to travel to her brother Laban 's house
in Haran, until Esau's anger subsided. She convinced
Isaac to send
Jacob away by telling him that she despaired of his marrying a local
girl from the idol-worshipping families of
Esau had done).
Jacob away to find a wife,
Esau realized his own
Canaanite wives were evil in his father's eyes and so he took a
daughter of Isaac's half-brother,
Ishmael , as another wife.
Main article: Jacob\'s Ladder Jacob's Dream by William Blake
(c. 1800, British Museum, London)
Luz en route to
Jacob experienced a vision of a ladder,
or staircase, reaching into heaven with angels going up and down it,
commonly referred to as "Jacob\'s ladder ". He heard the voice of God,
who repeated many of the blessings upon him, coming from the top of
Rashi , the ladder signified the exiles that the Jewish
people would suffer before the coming of the Jewish Messiah : the
angels that represented the exiles of Babylonia, Persia, and Greece
each climbed up a certain number of steps, paralleling the years of
the exile, before they "fell down"; but the angel representing the
last exile, that of
Edom , kept climbing higher and higher into the
Jacob feared that his descendants would never be free of
Esau's domination, but
God assured him that at the End of Days, Edom
too would come falling down.
In the morning,
Jacob awakened and continued on his way to Haran,
after naming the place where he had spent the night "
Bethel ", "God's
Arriving in Haran,
Jacob saw a well where shepherds were gathering
their flocks to water them and met Laban 's younger daughter,
Jacob's first cousin ; she was working as a shepherdess. He loved her
immediately, and after spending a month with his relatives, asked for
her hand in marriage in return for working seven years for Laban the
Aramean . Laban agreed to the arrangement. These seven years seemed to
Jacob "but a few days, for the love he had for her", but when they
were complete and he asked for his wife, Laban deceived
Rachel for her older sister,
Leah , as the veiled bride.
In the morning, when the truth became known, Laban justified his
action, saying that in his country it was unheard of to give a younger
daughter before the older. However, he agreed to give
marriage as well if
Jacob would work another seven years. After the
week of wedding celebrations with
Jacob married Rachel, and he
continued to work for Laban for another seven years.
Rachel more than Leah, and
Leah felt hated.
Leah's womb and she gave birth to four sons rapidly:
Reuben , Simeon ,
Levi , and Judah . Rachel, however, remained barren. Following the
example of Sarah, who gave her handmaid to
Abraham after years of
Jacob her handmaid,
Bilhah , in marriage so
Rachel could raise children through her.
Bilhah gave birth to Dan
and Naphtali. Seeing that she had left off childbearing temporarily,
Leah then gave her handmaid
Jacob in marriage so that Leah
could raise more children through her.
Zilpah gave birth to Gad and
Asher. (According to The Testaments of the Patriarchs, Testament of
Naphtali, Chapter 1, lines 9–12,
Zilpah were daughters of
Euna , servants of Laban.) Afterwards,
Leah became fertile
again and gave birth to
Zebulun , and
Dinah , Jacob's first
and only daughter.
God remembered Rachel, who gave birth to Joseph and
Benjamin . If pregnancies of different marriages overlapped, the first
twelve births (all the sons except Benjamin, and the daughter Dinah)
could have occurred within seven years. That is one obvious, but not
universally held, interpretation of Genesis 29:27–30:25.
After Joseph was born,
Jacob decided to return home to his parents.
Aramean was reluctant to release him, as
God had blessed his
flock on account of Jacob. Laban asked what he could pay Jacob. Jacob
suggested that all the spotted, speckled, and brown goats and sheep of
Laban's flock, at any given moment, would be his wages.
peeled rods of poplar, hazel, and chestnut within the flocks' watering
holes or troughs, an action he later attributes to a dream.
As time passed, Laban's sons noticed that
Jacob was taking the better
part of their flocks, and so Laban's friendly attitude towards Jacob
began to change.
Jacob that he should leave, which he and his
wives and children did without informing Laban. Before they left,
Rachel stole the teraphim , considered to be household idols, from
In a rage, Laban pursued
Jacob for seven days. The night before he
caught up to him,
God appeared to Laban in a dream and warned him not
to say anything good or bad to Jacob. When the two met, Laban played
the part of the injured father-in-law, demanding his teraphim back.
Knowing nothing about Rachel's theft,
Jacob told Laban that whoever
stole them should die and stood aside to let him search. When Laban
reached Rachel's tent, she hid the teraphim by sitting on them and
stating she could not get up because she was menstruating .
Laban then parted from each other with a pact to preserve the peace
between them. Laban returned to his home and
Jacob continued on his
JOURNEY BACK TO CANAAN
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel by
Eugène Delacroix . Main
Jacob wrestling with the angel
Jacob wrestling with the angel
Jacob neared the land of Canaan, he sent messengers ahead to his
brother Esau. They returned with the news that
Esau was coming to meet
Jacob with an army of 400 men. With great apprehension,
for the worst. He engaged in earnest prayer to God, then sent on
before him a tribute of flocks and herds to Esau, "a present to my
Esau from thy servant Jacob".
Jacob then transported his family and flocks across the ford Jabbok
by night, then recrossed back to send over his possessions, being left
alone in communion with God. There, a mysterious being appeared
("man", Genesis 32:24, 28; or "God", Genesis 32:28, 30,
Hosea 12:3, 5;
Hosea 12:4), and the two wrestled until daybreak. When the
being saw that he did not overpower Jacob, he touched
Jacob on the
sinew of his thigh (the gid hanasheh , גיד הנשה), and, as a
Jacob developed a limp (Genesis 32:31). Because of this, "to
this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that
is on the hip socket" (Genesis 32:32). This incident is the source of
the mitzvah of porging.
Jacob then demanded a blessing, and the being declared in Genesis
32:28 that, from then on,
Jacob would be called יִשְׂרָאֵל,
Israel (Yisra`el, meaning "one that struggled with the divine angel"
(Josephus), "one who has prevailed with God" (Rashi), "a man seeing
God" (Whiston), "he will rule as God" (Strong), or "a prince with God"
Hebrew : שרה, "prevail", "have power as a
prince"). While he is still called
Jacob in later texts, his name
Israel makes some consider him the eponymous ancestor of the
Jacob asked the being's name, but he refused to answer. Afterwards,
Jacob named the place
Penuel (Penuw`el, Peniy`el, meaning "face of
God"), saying: "I have seen
God face to face and lived."
Because the terminology is ambiguous ("el" in Yisra`el) and
inconsistent, and because this being refused to reveal his name, there
are varying views as to whether he was a man, an angel, or God.
Josephus uses only the terms "angel", "divine angel", and "angel of
God", describing the struggle as no small victory. According to Rashi,
the being was the guardian angel of
Esau himself, sent to destroy
Jacob before he could return to the land of Canaan. Trachtenberg
theorized that the being refused to identify itself for fear that, if
its secret name was known, it would be conjurable by incantations.
Christian interpreters like
Henry M. Morris
Henry M. Morris say that the
stranger was "
God Himself and, therefore, Christ in His preincarnate
state", citing Jacob's own evaluation and the name he assumed
thereafter, "one who fights victoriously with God", and adding that
God had appeared in the human form of the
Angel of the Lord to eat a
Abraham in Genesis 18. Geller wrote that, "in the context
of the wrestling bout, the name implies that
Jacob won this supremacy,
linked to that of God's, by a kind of theomachy ."
In the morning,
Jacob assembled his 4 wives and 11 sons, placing the
maidservants and their children in front,
Leah and her children next,
Rachel and Joseph in the rear. Some commentators cite this
placement as proof that
Jacob continued to favor Joseph over Leah's
children, as presumably the rear position would have been safer from a
frontal assault by Esau, which
Jacob himself took the
foremost position. Esau's spirit of revenge, however, was apparently
appeased by Jacob's bounteous gifts of camels, goats and flocks. Their
reunion was an emotional one.
Peter Paul Rubens
Peter Paul Rubens , The
Jacob and Esau, 1624.
Esau offered to accompany them on their way back to Israel, but Jacob
protested that his children were still young and tender (born 6 to 13
years prior in the narrative);
Jacob suggested eventually catching up
Mount Seir . According to the Sages, this was a prophetic
reference to the End of Days, when Jacob's descendants will come to
Mount Seir, the home of Edom, to deliver judgment against Esau's
descendants for persecuting them throughout the millennia (see Obadiah
Jacob actually diverted himself to Succoth and was not recorded
Esau until, at
Machpelah , the two bury their father
Isaac, who lived to be 180, and was 60 years older than they were.
Jacob then arrived in
Shechem , where he bought a parcel of land, now
identified as Joseph\'s Tomb . In Shechem, Jacob's daughter
kidnapped and raped by the ruler's son, who desired to marry the girl.
Dinah's brothers, Simeon and Levi, agreed in Jacob's name to permit
the marriage as long as all the men of
Shechem first circumcised
themselves, ostensibly to unite the children of
Jacob in Abraham's
covenant of familial harmony. On the third day after the
circumcisions, when all the men of
Shechem were still in pain, Simeon
Levi put them all to death by the sword and rescued their sister
Dinah, and their brothers plundered the property, women, and children.
Jacob condemned this act, saying: "You have brought trouble on me by
making me a stench to the
Perizzites , the people
living in this land." He later rebuked his two sons for their anger
in his deathbed blessing (Genesis 49:5–7).
Jacob struggles with
Gutenberg Bible , 1558.
Jacob returned to Bethel, where he had another vision of blessing.
Although the death of Rebecca, Jacob's mother, is not explicitly
recorded in the Bible,
Deborah , Rebecca's nurse, died and was buried
at Bethel, at a place that
Jacob calls Allon Bachuth (אלון
בכות), "Oak of Weepings" (Genesis 35:8). According to the Midrash,
the plural form of the word "weeping" indicates the double sorrow
Rebecca also died at this time.
Jacob then made a further move while
Rachel was pregnant; near
Rachel went into labor and died as she gave birth to her
Benjamin (Jacob's twelfth son).
Jacob buried her and
erected a monument over her grave. Rachel\'s Tomb , just outside
Bethlehem, remains a popular site for pilgrimages and prayers to this
Jacob then settled in Migdal Eder , where his firstborn, Reuben,
slept with Rachel's servant Bilhah; Jacob's response was not given at
the time, but he did condemn
Reuben for it later, in his deathbed
Jacob was finally reunited with his father
Isaac in Mamre
Isaac died at the age of 180,
Esau buried him in the
Cave of the Patriarchs
Cave of the Patriarchs , which
Abraham had purchased as a family
burial plot . At this point in the biblical narrative, two genealogies
of Esau's family appear under the headings "the generations of Esau".
A conservative interpretation is that, at Isaac's burial, Jacob
obtained the records of Esau, who had been married 80 years prior, and
incorporated them into his own family records, and that Moses
augmented and published them.
JACOB IN HEBRON
Main article: Plot against Joseph
The house of
Jacob dwelt in
Hebron , in the land of Canaan. His
flocks were often fed in the pastures of
Shechem as well as Dothan
. Of all the children in his household, he loved Rachel’s firstborn
son, Joseph, the most. Thus Joseph’s half brothers were jealous of
him and they ridiculed him often. Joseph even told his father about
all of his half brothers’ misdeeds. When Joseph was seventeen years
Jacob made a long coat or tunic of many colors for him. Seeing
this, the half brothers began to hate Joseph. Then Joseph began to
have dreams that implied that his family would bow down to him. When
he told his brothers about these dreams, it drove them to conspire
against him. When
Jacob heard of these dreams, he rebuked his son for
proposing the idea that the house of
Jacob would even bow down to
Joseph. Yet, he contemplated his son’s words about these dreams.
(Genesis 37:1–11) Joseph's Coat Brought to Jacob
Giovanni Andrea de Ferrari
Giovanni Andrea de Ferrari , c. 1640.
Sometime afterward, the sons of
Jacob by Leah,
Bilhah and Zilpah,
were feeding his flocks in Shechem.
Jacob wanted to know how things
were doing, so he asked Joseph to go down there and return with a
report. This was the last time he would ever see his son in Hebron.
Later that day, the report that
Jacob ended up receiving came from
Joseph's brothers who brought before him a coat laden with blood.
Jacob identified the coat as the one he made for Joseph. At that
moment he cried “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured
him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.” He rent his clothes
and put sackcloth around his waist mourning for days. No one from the
Jacob could comfort him during this time of bereavement.
The truth was, Joseph's older brothers had turned on him, apprehended
him and ultimately sold into slavery on a caravan headed for Egypt.
SEVEN YEAR FAMINE
See also: Joseph\'s brothers sent to
Twenty years later, throughout the Middle East a severe famine
occurred like none other that lasted seven years. It crippled
nations. The word was that the only kingdom prospering was Egypt. In
the second year of this great famine, when Israel (Jacob) was about
130 years old, he told his ten sons of Leah,
Bilhah and Zilpah, to go
Egypt and buy grain. Israel’s youngest son Benjamin, born from
Rachel, stayed behind by his father’s order to keep him safe.
Nine of the sons returned to their father Israel from Egypt,
stockpiled with grain on their donkeys. They relayed to their father
all that had happened in Egypt. They spoke of being accused of as
spies and that their brother Simeon, had been taken prisoner. When
Reuben, the eldest, mentioned that they needed to bring
Egypt to prove their word as honest men, their father became furious
with them. He couldn't understand how they were put in a position to
tell the Egyptians all about their family. When the sons of Israel
opened their sacks, they saw their money that they used to pay for the
grain. It was still in their possession, and so they all became
afraid. Israel then became angry with the loss of Joseph, Simeon, and
now possibly Benjamin. (Genesis 42:26–38)
It turned out that Joseph, who identified his brothers in Egypt, was
able to secretly return that money that they used to pay for the
grain, back to them. When the house of Israel consumed all the grain
that they brought from Egypt, Israel told his sons to go back and buy
more. This time, Judah spoke to his father in order to persuade him
Benjamin accompany them, so as to prevent Egyptian
retribution. In hopes of retrieving Simeon and ensuring Benjamin's
return, Israel told them to bring the best fruits of their land,
including: balm , honey , spices, myrrh , pistachio nuts and almonds .
Israel also mentioned that the money that was returned to their money
sacks was probably a mistake or an oversight on their part. So, he
told them to bring that money back and use double that amount to pay
for the new grain. Lastly, he let
Benjamin go with them and said
God Almighty give you mercy… If I am bereaved, I am
bereaved!” (Genesis 43:1–14)
JACOB IN EGYPT
House of Israel welcomed by
Pharaoh , watercolor by James Tissot
(c. 1900) Joseph with his father
Jacob and brothers in
See also: Joseph\'s family reunited
When the sons of Israel (Jacob) returned to
Hebron from their second
trip, they came back with twenty additional donkeys carrying all kinds
of goods and supplies as well as Egyptian transport wagons. When their
father came out to meet them, his sons told him that Joseph was still
alive, that he was the governor over all of
Egypt and that he wanted
the house of Israel to move to Egypt. Israel’s heart “stood
still” and just couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Looking upon
the wagons he declared “Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and
see him before I die.” (Genesis 45:16–28)
Israel and his entire house of seventy, gathered up with all their
livestock and began their journey to Egypt. En route, Israel stopped
Beersheba for the night to make a sacrificial offering to his God,
Yahweh. Apparently he had some reservations about leaving the land of
his forefathers, but
God reassured him not to fear that he would rise
God also assured that he would be with him, he would prosper,
and he would also see his son Joseph who would lay him to rest.
Continuing their journey to Egypt, when they approached in proximity,
Israel sent his son Judah ahead to find out where the caravans were to
stop. They were directed to disembark at Goshen . It was here, after
twenty-two years, that
Jacob saw his son Joseph once again. They
embraced each other and wept together for quite a while. Israel then
said, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because you are
still alive.” (Genesis 46:1–30)
The time had come for Joseph’s family to personally meet the
Pharaoh of Egypt. After Joseph prepared his family for the meeting,
the brothers came before the
Pharaoh first, formally requesting to
pasture in Egyptian lands. The
Pharaoh honored their stay and even
made the notion that if there were any competent men in their house,
then they may elect a chief herdsman to oversee Egyptian livestock.
Finally, Joseph’s father was brought out to meet the Pharaoh.
Pharaoh had such a high regard for Joseph, practically
making him his equal, it was an honor to meet his father. Thus,
Israel was able to bless the Pharaoh. The two chatted for a bit, the
Pharaoh even inquiring of Israel’s age which happened to be 130
years old at that time. After the meeting, the families were directed
to pasture in the land of Ramses where they lived in the province of
Goshen. The house of Israel acquired many possessions and multiplied
exceedingly during the course of seventeen years, even through the
worst of the seven-year famine. (Genesis 46:31–47:28)
Blessing of Jacob
Blessing of Jacob
Manasseh Jacob's funeral procession
Israel (Jacob) was 147 years old when he called to his favorite son
Joseph and pleaded that he not be buried in Egypt. Rather, he
requested to be carried to the land of
Canaan to be buried with his
forefathers. Joseph swore to do as his father asked of him. Not too
long afterward, Israel had fallen ill, losing much of his vision. When
Joseph came to visit his father, he brought with him his two sons,
Ephraim and Manasseh. Israel declared that they would be heirs to the
inheritance of the house of Israel, as if they were his own children,
Reuben and Simeon were. Then Israel laid his right hand on the
younger Ephraim’s head and his left hand on the eldest Manasseh’s
head and blessed Joseph. However, Joseph was displeased that his
father’s right hand was not on the head of his firstborn, so he
switched his father’s hands. But Israel refused saying, “but truly
his younger brother shall be greater than he.” A declaration he
made, just as Israel himself was to his firstborn brother Esau. Then
Israel called all of his sons in and prophesied their blessings or
curses to all twelve of them in order of their ages. (Genesis
Afterward, Israel died and the family, including the Egyptians,
mourned him seventy days. Israel was embalmed and a great ceremonial
Canaan was prepared by Joseph. He led the servants of
Pharaoh, and the elders of the houses Israel and
Egypt beyond the
Jordan River to
Atad where they observed seven days of mourning. Their
lamentation was so great that it caught the attention of surrounding
Canaanites who remarked “This is a deep mourning of the
Egyptians.” This spot was then named
Abel Mizraim . Then they buried
him in the cave of
Machpelah , the property of
Abraham when he bought
it from the Hittites. (Genesis 49:33–50:14)
CHILDREN OF JACOB
Jacob, through his two wives and his two concubines had twelve
Reuben (Genesis 29:32), Simeon (Genesis 29:33), Levi
(Genesis 29:34), Judah (Genesis 29:35), Dan (Genesis 30:5), Naphtali
(Genesis 30:7), Gad (Genesis 30:10),
Asher (Genesis 30:12), Issachar
Zebulun (Genesis 30:19), Joseph (Genesis 30:23) and
Benjamin (Genesis 35:18) and at least one daughter,
Dinah (if there
were other daughters, they are not mentioned in the Genesis
story)(Genesis 30:21). In addition,
Jacob also adopted the two sons of
Ephraim .(Genesis 48:5)
Jacob by wife in order of birth
* Simeon (2)
* Judah (4)
* Joseph (12)
BILHAH (RACHEL\\'S SERVANT)
* Dan (5)
ZILPAH (LEAH\\'S SERVANT)
* Gad (7)
The offspring of Jacob's sons became the tribes of Israel following
the Exodus , when the
Israelites conquered and settled in the Land of
Icon of St. Jacob, 18th century (
Iconostasis ) of
Kizhi monastery ,
Cave of the Patriarchs
Cave of the Patriarchs ,
There are two opinions in the
Midrash as to how old Rebekah was at
the time of her marriage and, consequently, at the twins' birth.
According to the traditional counting cited by
Isaac was 37
years old at the time of the Binding of
Isaac , and news of Rebekah's
Abraham immediately after that event. In that case,
Isaac was 60 when
Jacob and Essau were born and they had been
married for 20 years, then
Isaac was 40 years old when he married
Rebekah (Gen. 25:20), making Rebekah 3 years old at the time of her
marriage, and 23 years old at the birth of
Jacob and Essau. According
to the second opinion, Rebekah was 14 years old at the time of their
marriage, and 34 years old at the birth of
Jacob and Essau. In either
Isaac and Rebekah were married for 20 years before
Esau were born. The
Midrash says that during Rebekah's pregnancy
whenever she would pass a house of
Jacob would struggle
to come out; whenever she would pass a house of idolatry ,
agitate to come out.
Rashi explained that Isaac, when blessing
Jacob instead of Esau,
smelled the heavenly scent of Gan Eden (Paradise) when
his room and, in contrast, perceived
Gehenna opening beneath
the latter entered the room, showing him that he had been deceived all
along by Esau's show of piety.
When Laban planned to deceive
Jacob into marrying
Leah instead of
Midrash recounts that both
Rachel suspected that
Laban would pull such a trick; Laban was known as the "Aramean"
(deceiver), and changed Jacob's wages ten times during his employ
(Genesis 31:7). The couple therefore devised a series of signs by
Jacob could identify the veiled bride on his wedding night. But
Rachel saw her sister being taken out to the wedding canopy, her
heart went out to her for the public shame
Leah would suffer if she
Rachel therefore gave
Leah the signs so that
not realize the switch.
Apocalyptic literature of the Hellenistic period includes many
ancient texts with narratives about Jacob, many times with details
different from Genesis. The more important are the book of Jubilees
Book of Biblical Antiquities .
Jacob is also the protagonist
Testament of Jacob , of the
Ladder of Jacob and of the Prayer
of Joseph , which interpret the experience of this
Patriarch in the
context of merkabah mysticism .
Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church and those
Eastern Catholic Churches
Eastern Catholic Churches which
Byzantine Rite see Jacob's dream as a prophecy of the
Incarnation of the Logos , whereby Jacob\'s ladder is understood as a
symbol of the
Theotokos (Virgin Mary), who, according to Orthodox
theology , united heaven and earth in her womb. The biblical account
of this vision (Genesis 28:10–17) is one of the standard Old
Testament readings at
Great Feasts of the Theotokos.
The Catholic church considers
Jacob as a Saint along with other
biblical patriarchs . Along with other patriarchs his feast day is
celebrated in the Byzantine rite of the Catholic Church on the Second
Sunday before the Advent (December 11–17), under the title the
Sunday of the Forefathers.
Islam Cenotaph of Jacob, Cave of the
Yaqub (Arabic: يَعْقُوب, translit. Yaʿqūb; also later
Isra'il, Arabic: إِسْرَآئِیل ; Classical/ Qur'anic Arabic:
إِسْرَآءِیْل ), also known as
Jacob in the
Old Testament ,
is recognized in
Islam as a prophet who received inspiration from God.
He is acknowledged as a patriarch of
Islam . Muslims believe that he
preached the same monotheistic faith as his forefathers ʾIbrāhīm ,
ʾIsḥāq and Ismā\'īl .
Jacob is mentioned 16 times in the Qur\'an
. In the majority of these references,
Jacob is mentioned alongside
fellow prophets and patriarchs as an ancient and pious prophet.
According to the Qur'an,
Jacob remained in the company of the elect
throughout his life. (38:47) The
Qur'an specifically mentions that
Jacob was guided (6:84) and inspired (4:163) and was chosen to enforce
the awareness of the Hereafter. (38:46)
Jacob is described as a
good-doer (21:72) and the
Qur'an further makes it clear that God
Jacob to contribute towards purification and hold the contact
Jacob is further described as being resourceful and a
possessor of great vision (38:45) and is further spoken of as being
granted a "tongue of truthfulness to be heard". (19:50)
Of the life of Jacob, the
Qur'an narrates two especially important
events. The first is the role he plays in the story of his son Joseph
Qur'an narrates the story of Joseph in detail, and Jacob, being
Joseph's father, is mentioned thrice and is referenced another 25
times. In the narrative,
Jacob does not trust some of his older sons
(12: 11, 18, 23) because they do not respect him. (12: 8, 16–17)
Jacob's prophetic nature is evident from his foreknowledge of Joseph's
future greatness (12:6), his foreboding and response to the supposed
death of Joseph (12: 13, 18) and in his response to the sons' plight
Egypt . (12: 83, 86–87, 96) Islamic literature fleshes out the
narrative of Jacob, and mentions that his wives included
Jacob is later mentioned in the
Qur'an in the context of the promise
bestowed to Zechariah , regarding the birth of
John the Baptist
John the Baptist .
(19:6) Jacob’s second mention is in the Qur'an’s second chapter.
Jacob lay on his deathbed, he asked his twelve sons to testify
their faith to him before he departed from this world to the next.
(2:132) Each son testified in front of
Jacob that they would promise
Muslim (in submission to God) until the day of their death,
that is they would surrender their wholeselves to
God alone and would
worship only Him.
In contrast to the
Judeo-Christian view of Jacob, one main difference
is that the story of Jacob's blessing, in which he deceives
Isaac , is
not accepted in Islam. The
Qur'an makes it clear that
God as a prophet and, therefore, Muslims believe that his
father, being a prophet as well, also knew of his son's greatness.
Jacob is also cited in the
Hadith as an example of one who was patient
and trusting in
God in the face of suffering.
The story of
Islam also draws many parallels with the
Islamic traditions of Job , In that both had lost many things, and
still upheld patience. In Islamic tradition,
Jacob had lost his
Isaac as well as his wife
Rachel in the same year, followed by
his loss of his favorite son, Joseph . Similarly Job lost everything,
and stayed patient and kept faith in God, and eventually everything
was returned to him and some things were multiplied for him.
According to Steven Feldman of the Center for Online Judaic Studies,
most scholars would date the stories of the patriarchs to the period
of the monarchy. Recent excavations in the
Timna Valley dating copper
mining to the 10th century BCE also discovered what may be the
earliest camel bones found in Israel or even outside the Arabian
peninsula, dating to around 930 BCE. This is seen as evidence that the
Abraham , Joseph , Jacob, and
Esau were written after this
N. M. Sarna indicates that an inability to precisely date the
patriarchs, according to the present state of knowledge does not
necessarily invalidate the historicity of the narratives. William F.
Albright maintained that the narratives contained accurate details of
an earlier period.
Scholars such as Thomas L. Thompson view the patriarchical
narratives, including the life of Jacob, as late (6th and 5th
centuries BCE) literary compositions that have ideological and
theological purposes but are unreliable for historical reconstruction
of the presettlement period of Israel’s past. In Thompson's The
Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives, he suggests that the
patriarchal narratives arose in a response to some present situation,
expressed as an imaginative picture of the past to embody present
Gerhard von Rad, in his
Old Testament Theology, seems to take a
middle view, explaining that the patriarch "saga" describes actual
events subsequently interpreted by the community through its own
experience. It is neither entirely mythical, nor strictly
"historical", according to the present understanding of the term.
Goldingay cites R.J Coggins' analogy of looking to Genesis for the
history of ancient
Canaan as similar to reading Hamlet in order to
learn Danish history.
* ^ Enumerations of the twelve tribes vary. Because Jacob
effectively adopted two of his grandsons by Joseph and
Manasseh , the two grandsons were often substituted
Tribe of Joseph , yielding thirteen tribes, or twelve if Levi
is set apart.
* ^ May, Dann J (December 1993). "The Bahá\'í Principle of
Religious Unity and the Challenge of Radical Pluralism". University of
North Texas, Denton, Texas: 102. Retrieved 2010-01-02. contribution=
ignored (help )
David Noel Freedman; Allen C. Myers (31 December 2000).
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. Amsterdam University Press. p. 666.
ISBN 978-90-5356-503-2 .
* ^ Jan Fokkelman (14 May 2004). Narrative Art in Genesis:
Specimens of Stylistic and Structural Analysis. Wipf and Stock
Publishers. p. 91. ISBN 978-1-59244-691-9 .
* ^ Hamilton 1995 , p. 334
* ^ Wenham 1994 , pp. 296–97
* ^ Strong\'s Concordance 6215, 6213.
Strong's Concordance 3290, 6117.
* ^ Scherman,
Rabbi Nosson (1993). The Chumash. Brooklyn, New York
: Mesorah Publications, p. 135.
* ^ Ginzberg, Louis (1909). The Legends of the
Jews Vol I : Isaac
Jacob (Translated by Henrietta Szold) Philadelphia: Jewish
* ^ Genesis 27:42
* ^ Zimmerman, Charles L (1972), "The chronology and birth of
Jacob\'s children by
Leah and her handmaid" (PDF), Grace Journal,
Grace Theological Seminary (13.1 (Winter 1972)): 3–12
* ^ Eisenstein, Judah
David (1901–1906). "Porging". Jewish
New York City
New York City . LCCN:16014703. Retrieved 2008-11-19.
Strong's Concordance 3478, 8280.
Strong's Concordance 6439.
* ^ Trachtenberg 1939, p. 80.
* ^ Morris, Henry M. (1976). The Genesis Record: A Scientific and
Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings. Grand Rapids,
Baker Book House . pp. 337, 499–502.
* ^ Geller, Stephen A. (1982). "The Struggle at the Jabbok: the
Uses of Enigma in a Biblical Narrative". Journal of the Ancient Near
Eastern Society (JANES). New Jork:
Columbia University . 14: 37–60.
Archived from the original on August 14, 2014. Retrieved June 27,
2013. CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link ) Also in:
Geller, Stephen A. (1996). "2 – The Struggle at the Jabbok. The uses
of enigma in biblical religion (pp. 9ff.)". Sacred Enigmas. Literary
Religion in the
Hebrew Bible. London:
Routledge . p. 22. ISBN
0-415-12771-8 ; ISBN 978-04-1512-771-4 .
* ^ Genesis 34:30
* ^ Bereshit Rabbah 81:5.
* ^ Morris, Henry M. (1976). The Genesis Record: A Scientific and
Devotional Commentary on the Book of Beginnings. Grand Rapids,
Baker Book House . pp. 524–25.
* ^ Genesis 37:14
* ^ Genesis 37:12
* ^ Josephus. The Antiquities of the Jews, Book II, 2.4.18
* ^ Genesis 37:16,17
* ^ Genesis 37:12–14
* ^ Compare Genesis 37:2,41:46
* ^ Genesis 41:53
* ^ Genesis 41:54–57,47:13
* ^ Genesis 45:9–11
* ^ Compare Genesis 47:9
* ^ Genesis 42:25
* ^ Genesis 46:27
* ^ Genesis 44:18
* ^ Genesis 20:12:
Sarah was the half–sister of Abraham.
* ^ Genesis 22:21-22: Uz, Buz, Kemuel, Chesed, Hazo, Pildash, and
Rashi writes, "The Holy One, blessed be He, announced to him
that Rebekah, his mate, had been born." Commentary on Gen. 22:20.
* ^ Bereshit Rabbah 63:6.
* ^ Pirkei d'Rav Kahana, quoted in Scherman, p. 139.
* ^ The patriarchs, prophets and certain other Old Testament
figures have been and always will be honored as saints in all the
Church's liturgical traditions. – Catechism of the Catholic Church
* ^ Liturgy > Liturgical year >The Christmas Fast – Byzantine
Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh
* ^ A B C "Jacob", Encyclopedia of
Islam Vol. XI, p. 254.
* ^ Kathir, Ibn. "Jacob", Stories of the Prophets
* ^ Azzam, Leila. "
Isaac and Jacob", Lives of the Prophets
* ^ Feldman, Steven. "Biblical History: From
Abraham to Moses, c.
1850–1200 BCE", COJS
* ^ Hasson, Nir (Jan 17, 2014). "Hump stump solved: Camels arrived
in region much later than biblicalreference". Haaretz. Retrieved 30
* ^ Bimson, John J. "Archaeological Data and the Dating of the
Patriarchs", Essays on the Patriarchal Narratives, pp. 59–92, (A.R.
Millard & D.J. Wiseman, eds., Leicester: IVP, 1980. Hbk. ISBN
* ^ Megan Bishop Moore, Brad E. Kelle, Biblical History and
Israel\'s Past: The Changing Study of the
Bible and History, Wm. B.
Eerdmans Publishing, 2011, pp. 57–74.
* ^ Rainer Albertz, Israel in exile: the history and literature of
the sixth century B.C.E., Society of Biblical Literature, 2003, p. 246
* ^ A B Goldingay, John. "The Patriarchs in Scripture and History",
Essays on the Patriarchal Narratives, pp. 11–42, (A.R. Millard &
D.J. Wiseman, eds., Leicester: IVP, 1980. Hbk. ISBN 0851117430
* ^ von Rad, Gerhard.
Old Testament Theology, vol. 1, pp. 106–08,
New York: Harper, 1962
Joshua (1939), Jewish Magic and Superstition: A
Study in Folk Religion, New York: Behrman's Jewish Book house
Wikimedia Commons has media related to JACOB .
* Texts on Wikisource:
* “Jacob,” a poem by
Arthur Hugh Clough
* Cook, Stanley Arthur (1911). "Jacob". Encyclopædia Britannica
* "Jacob". The New Student\'s Reference Work. 1914.
* "Jacob". Collier\'s New Encyclopedia . 1921.