The story of Jacob takes place in Genesis 25-36 detailing the events of his life; however, the background setting starts with Abraham and Sarah, in Genesis 12. Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah, the grandson of Sarah and Abraham. Throughout the bible Jacob is known for his trickery; however it is not until towards the end is the fulfillment of Abraham’s promise. The name Jacob actually means trickster. But in the end Jacob makes a full turn He was a very manipulative character and tricked his brother out of his birth right and final blessing.
However he then is tricked by Laban. Many would call this karma. Jacob’s character and actions maybe the blame of his parents. The bible shows that his parent were quite different the Abraham and Sarah. Abraham and Sarah for the majority of the story displays them as supportive, working together relationships; however much is not told about the relationship of Isaac and Rebekah. Better yet, not much is mentioned about Isaac at all, this maybe lead to believe that he did not have a significant role in the story.
Rebekah is displayed as the more aggressive one while Isaac is considered more passive. Isaac did not go out and find his own wife, his father’s servant went and found one for him; all suggesting that Isaac was passive when it came to taking initiative. During this timeframe, Jacob may have been characterized as a “momma boy”. Genesis 25:27 says that Jacob stayed in camp while his brother became a skillful hunter. This in turns causes Rebekah to favor Jacob.
The relationship between Rebekah and Jacob is similar to that of Joseph and his father. Jacob was much weaker than his brother Esau. The relationship of Jacob and Esau goes beyond traditional sibling jealously; but, it is a story of deceit and robbery. This is evident at birth when Jacob is born holding on to the heel of Esau. By order of birth Esau was entitled to the birthright; however, the promise of blessings was on the life of Jacob. Jacob and Esau had two different personalities. Esau was a hairy man, while Jacob was hairless.
Esau was favored by Isaac because “he had a taste for game” (Genesis 25: 28), meaning Jacob was something Isaac was not or could not have been. Esau had a more carefree personality; he did not take much serious; including his birth right. Many stories of the birthright would say that Jacob stole the birthright; however, it seems as if Esau freely gave his birthright in exchange for food. Esau did not understand the importance of his birthright, but Jacob did. Jacob realized the significance of being born first and the bible even says in verse 34 Esau despised his birthright.
Jacob stole the blessing from Esau during his father’s death. Esau felt that his father favored him. He may have even felt that God favored Jacob, because Jacob got his birthright and now got the final blessing from his father. Esau eventually has enough and tried to kill him. Jacob’s relationship with God was impatient in the beginning. In the 26th chapter is when Abraham’s promise begins to be fulfilled. One might question as to why Jacob still received the promises of Abraham after all of the manipulating and deceiving he did.
Even though Jacob proved himself to be unfaithful, by tricking Esau, lying to Abimelch, he still received the promises that were promised to Abraham. A famine hit the land and Jacob was still able to prosper, his crops produced one hundred fold, he was rich and even found favor with the Philistines. All these fulfill the promises of Abraham. One might say Jacob’s manipulation finally caught up with. Jacob fell in love with the daughter of Laban who in the end tricks him into marrying his eldest daughter. Laban got 7 years of work from him and then an additional seven years.
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