Saturday, September 25, 2010


Jacob (Hebrew: יעקב Ya`aqob) (יַעֲקֹב "Holder of the heel"), later known as Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל "Prince of God") is the third Biblical Patriarch. His father was Isaac and his grandfather was Abraham. His story is told in the Book of Genesis, beginning at Gen 25:19 which describes Jacob's father Isaac, the son of Abraham.

Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah, sixty years old when Esau and Jacob were born, and Abraham was 160 years old. He and his twin brother, Esau, were markedly different in appearance and behavior. Esau was a ruddy hunter, while Jacob was a gentle man who "dwelled in tents," interpreted by most biblical scholars as a mark of his studiousness in the "tents" of Torah.

During Rebekah's pregnancy, "the children struggled together within her" (Genesis 25:22).

According to Rashi, whenever Rebekah passed a house of learning, Jacob would struggle to get out; whenever she passed a house of idolatry, Esau would struggle to get out.

Fearing that she was carrying one tenacious child, Rebekah questioned God about the tumult and learned that two children were in her womb, who would become two very different nations.

They would always be in competition, and eventually, the elder would serve the younger. She did not tell her husband Isaac about this prophecy, but remembered it later when she told Jacob to go to his father in place of Esau to receive the paternal blessing.

Esau was born first. Right behind was his brother Jacob, who was grasping onto Esau's heel. Thus he was named Ya`aqob - יעקב, from the Hebrew root עקב, "heel." The commentators explain that Jacob was trying to hold Esau back from being the firstborn and claiming the Abrahamic legacy for himself.


No comments:




Blog Archive

Desiring God Blog

Youth for Christ International