A Biography Of Jacob Essay, Research Paper
A Biography of Jacob
-For purposes of simplicity, I will refer to Jacob and Israel both as Jacob.
-For purposes of point of view, nearly all of this paper is from Jacob?s point of view, only bringing in other events necessary for this to make sense that happened without Jacob seeing.
Jacob is the father of Israel, for his twelve children each gave life to an entire tribe of Israelites. He wasn?t always pious, sometimes being even blasphemous, but apparently, he always walked with god, and all who came in his way either prospered or were conquered.
Jacob and Esau were born to Rebekah and Isaac. Esau came out first and thus was the eldest, all red and hairy. Jacob came out second, gripping his brother?s heel to be pulled out by him. He was named Jacob because of that. This symbolic moment when Jacob was born was but a glimpse of the events to come between Jacob and his brother, Esau. His mother, Rebekah, had a special place in her heart for Jacob, while his father loved Esau. In all probability the name Jacob was originally theophorous, the divine element of which–commonly el?is now missing (like Isaac, Joseph, Jephthah). The restored form would then be Ya?agobh-el. (61)
As they get older, they develop personalities. Esau was a hunter who spent most of his time out in the field. Jacob was a quiet man who lived among the tents.
One day, when Jacob was cooking a stew, Esau came in from the field very so hungry. He asked Jacob for some stew. Jacob was willing to sell him some for his birthright. Since Esau thought he was dying of hunger, he didn?t think he had much use for a birthright if he died, so he gave Jacob his birthright for some stew.
Some time later, Isaac was in his last days, and his vision was bad. He called Esau to him. He said ?See, I am old; I do not know the day of my death. Now then, take your weapons, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field, and hunt game for me. Then prepare for me savory food, such as I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may bless you before I die.?(Gen27:2-4)(52) Rebekah was listening to the conversation between Isaac and Esau, and after Esau left to get some game, Rebekah went to her son Jacob and told him what she heard. She then said, ?Now therefore, my son, obey my word as I command you.?(Gen 27:8)(53) She directed him to go pick out two select kids so she can cook them for Jacob to bring to Isaac to get the fatherly blessing. Jacob complains, saying that if his father feels him, he will know it?s not Esau because Esau is hairy and he is not. He?s afraid his father will curse him for it. His mother says to not be afraid of curses because she will take responsibility, and to do what she says, and he does. She cooked the food the way Isaac liked it, dressed Jacob in his brother?s best clothes, and put the skin of the kids she cooked on Jacob?s hands and neck. She then gave him the food and sent him in to his father. Isaac had a hard time believing it was Esau, but when he felt his son?s hands (feeling the skins), he was convinced it was Esau, even though it was the voice of Jacob. He asked how he got the food so quickly, and Jacob answered, ?Because the Lord your god granted me success.?(Gen 27:20)(54) Jacob gave his father the food and some wine, and then Isaac asked him to come close and kiss him. Jacob did so, and his father smelled the skins, believing them to be the aroma of the field. Isaac said his blessing: ?Ah, the smell of my son is like the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed. May god give you the dew of heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may your mother?s sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you, and blessed be everyone who blesses you!?(Gen 27:29)(55) So Jacob took his brother?s blessing, relying on his mother?s and his own cleverness to excel, revealing his lack of piety in doing so. (16) Jacob left after that. Almost right after, Esau came in with what his father told him to bring, and asked for his father?s blessing. His father asked who he was, and Esau told him. Then Isaac trembled violently, and told his eldest son that whoever came in before him, he blessed, ?and blessed he shall be!?(Gen 27:33)(57) Esau let out a bitter cry of desperateness and resentment, and kept asking his father to bless him also. Though, like many at that time of humanity, they believed what was said had power, power which u couldn?t simply take back. Isaac knew what was done was done, and he made this clear to Esau. Esau asked again for a blessing, then cried, and his father answered him ?See, away from the fatness of the earth shall your home be, and away from the dew of heaven on high. By your sword you shall live, and you shall serve your brother; but when you break loose, you shall break his yoke from your neck.?(Gen 27:39-40)(58) A brother who did not want to accept the fate of seeing the elder son get everything without having to make the slightest effort cheated Esau. (29) Frequently, the bible presents characters whose personalities and roles confront those of other characters in order to make its point.(410) In essence, what we have here is the climax of a struggle between natural man (Esau) and covenantal (or, in sixteenth-and seventeenth-century terminology, federal) man (Jacob). (411)
Esau hated his brother for what he did, so he plotted his death for after his father died. Rebekah knew this and told Jacob to flee to her brother Laban in Haran, and that when Esau?s rage calms, she will send for Jacob to come back. She doesn?t want to lose Jacob. As a cover story for Jacob?s fleeing, Rebekah tells Isaac that she doesn?t want Jacob to marry a Hittite woman, that she wants him to search elsewhere for a mate, because the Hittite women have made her life miserable. Isaac tells his son to take a wife from one of Laban?s daughters. The bible conveys the sense of Isaac as a not-very-strong person, much influenced by his wife, attempting to play a role of strength by issuing commands, something which even god does not ordinarily do. (412)When Esau heard how Isaac didn?t like local girls, he took Mahalath, daughter of Ishmael, as wife. When Jacob fled, he came to a certain place and lay down to sleep for the night. This was a dangerous mission, for who could tell if the local gods would protect one across the border? (913) For a pillow, he took a stone. That night when he slept he dreamed. He dreamt of a ladder to heaven from the earth, on which the angels were climbing and descending, and god said to him that he was the god of Abraham, and how this land shall be Jacob?s as promised, and how he shall have great posterity. Jacob awoke surprised at the holiness of the place, and thought it was a gate to heaven. Jacob sees through the dream to the presence of the absent god, and he is filled with awe, the fundamental religious passion. (114)In the morning Jacob made a pillar with the stone, poured oil on it, and called the place Bethel, even though it was originally called Luz. Then Jacob made a vow saying, ?If god will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father?s house in peace, then the lord shall be my god, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be god?s house; and of all that you give me I will surely give you one-tenth to you.?(Gen 28:20-22)(515) Jacob?s response is equally in character. He is awed by god?s presence but still tries to make a deal with him by vowing that if god keeps his promise in four specifically personal ways (protection on his way, food, clothing, and a safe return home), he will acknowledge him and even reward him by tithing?to ?sweeten the pot? for god, as it were?a sure sign of Jacob?s contractual approach to the matter. (416)
Now Jacob came upon the land of the people of the east. There was a well in the field with flocks around it and shepherds. The well watered the sheep. There was a large stone on the mouth of the well, and when it was watering time, the shepherds would roll the stone of the mouth of the well to give the sheep access to water, and when they were done they would roll the stone back over the well. He asked them where they were from and they said they were from Haran, and then Jacob asked if they knew Laban son of Nahor, and they said that they did, and his daughter was coming with the sheep. Jacob told the men that there was still much time in the day for the sheep to graze. The men said they couldn?t do this until the flocks were together and the stone is rolled from the mouth of the water hole. When Jacob saw Rachel, was a symbolic moment in Jacob?s life and in the pages of the bible. He rolled the stone off the well and watered the flock of Rachel, then kissed Rachel, then wept and told Rachel that he was a relative, and Rebekah?s son, and she ran to tell her father. Laban came to meet Jacob, and Jacob told him he was a kinsman, and Laban said he was sure Jacob was a strong relative, and Jacob stayed there a month.
Jacob served Laban, and Laban said, that since he was kin, he shouldn?t serve for nothing, so he asked him what he wanted, and Jacob said he will serve for seven years for Rachel, and Laban agreed. The time went by fast, for Jacob was in love with Rachel. Then Jacob?s time was up, and he asked Laban for Rachel?s hand in marriage. So Laban made a great feast to celebrate, but at the end of the feast, presuming Jacob was more than a little drunk, and it was dark, Laban sent Leah, his eldest daughter, to sleep with Jacob, instead of Rachel. Jacob was surprised in the morning, and asked Laban why he deceived him. Laban explained that it is custom in this land not to marry the younger daughter before the elder. (917) Laban said that in another seven years of servitude Jacob could have Rachel. So he served for that time, and got Rachel finally. The lord saw that Leah was unloved, so he made her conceive. Leah bore Jacob three sons, Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, which she hoped would get her attention from her husband. Religiously, (through Levi) and politically (through Judah), the leadership of Israel will belong to the sons of Leah, the unloved, because she was an unbeautiful wife to Jacob. (118) Jacob?s hatred for Leah is not explained. One is led to deduce that her very presence is a constant reminder to Jacob of how he, the deceiver, was deceived in turn, forced into an unwanted marriage and seven years? additional free service to his uncle, in order to claim his beloved Rachel. (419) Leah wouldn?t bear any more children. Rachel was barren, like Rebekah was at first, and she was envious of Leah, so she begged Jacob for a child, but Jacob was angry, telling her it wasn?t his fault but god was responsible, and not to put him in the place of god. Rachel then told Jacob to have a child with her maid Bilhah who will bear it over her so it would be hers. Rachel?s maid bore two children like this, first Dan, then Naphtali. Leah was again jealous of Rachel, so she gave her maid Zilpah to Jacob to have children with, of which he had two: first Gad then Asher. One day in the field, Rachel ?bought? mandrakes from Leah, the price being a night with Jacob. Jacob lay with her, and she bore two sons, Issachar then Zebulun, and then a daughter named Dinah. Rachel bore one more son, whom she named Joseph. Now it was time for Jacob to go back to his own family. He asked Laban for his wives and his children. Laban said he has learned that Jacob is blessed by the lord and Laban has profited from this blessing from having Jacob around, so Laban says to Jacob to ?name your wages, and I will give it.? Jacob says he will need food for his household, so he will go among Laban?s flocks and take every speckled and spotted sheep and goat and every black lamb, and that he will take with him. Jacob says that if any other animals are found with him, they shall be counted as stolen. Laban agrees, but that very day, Laban goes through his flock and takes out all the animals that are to go to Jacob, the spotted, the speckled and the black sheep, and sends them with his sons about 3 days distance away, while Jacob was with the rest of the flock in the pasture. Jacob, intending to cheat a bit of his own accord, took rods of poplar, almond, and plane, and peeled white streaks in them, exposing the white of the rods, and put them around the flocks? watering area, where they were believed to breed. It was believed, that the coloring of the young, would be similar to what the parent sheep saw when they bred. So many young were produced that were speckled, striped, or black sheep, which were to go to Jacob. Jacob arranged it so, using the rods, and determining whether strong or weak sheep were breeding, that his new flock would be much stronger and Laban?s young would be weaker. The family of Laban didn?t like that Jacob was getting rich off them, neither did Laban himself. God told Jacob it was time to return home, so Jacob fetched Rachel and Leah, told them he was not welcome at Laban?s anymore, and showed them the coloring of his flocks, telling them the arrangement he had with Laban, and he told them that it was god who made the flocks striped and speckled and such, and not himself (who it really was). His wives encouraged him to do as god bids, and leave with the advantage he has gotten over Laban. So he set out with all his crew, to go back to his father?s house. Unbeknownst to all, Rachel took her father?s household gods with her when they fled. Laban did not know Jacob had fled, so he chased after him, but god told him not to say any good or bad words to Jacob. Laban caught up to them, and asked why Jacob did this. Jacob admitted he was afraid if he did not flee in secret that he wouldn?t be able to flee at all, not without leaving his family behind. So Jacob told Laban to take what is his that is among Jacob?s crew. Laban searched for his household gods in his family?s tents, but did not find them. Rachel had hidden them in the saddle of the camel upon which she sits. Laban went to meet her, and she said, ?Let not my lord be angry that I cannot rise before you, for the way of the women is upon me.?(Gen 31:35)(520) So Laban could not find his gods. Jacob grew angry with Laban, over why he has hotly pursued him and searches through his stuff, and how Laban has screwed him over many times. Laban said that all Jacob has is his, but what can he do about it? He wants to make a covenant with Jacob. They set up a pillar of stones, as a witness, that ?I will not pass beyond this heap and this pillar to me for harm. May the god of Abraham and the god of Nahor judge between us.? (Gen 31:52)(521) So Jacob swore on this too, and they celebrated all night. In the morning, Laban returned home.
Jacob set on his way home. Angels met him in a certain place, so he called that place Mahanaim. He sent messengers ahead to Esau, and he told the messengers that he has lived with his father?s brother until now, and is coming back with wealth. The messengers returned to say that Esau was coming to meet Jacob, with 400 men. Jacob feared for his life. He broke his group into two parts, the flocks and shepherds, and the rest. He thought that if one party encountered Esau, that the other might escape. He then prayed to god to come out of this encounter with Esau alive. It is apparent that, amid all the tragic tangles in human relations, Jacob realized that ultimately it was god with whom he dealt. (622) He spent the night there, and the next day he prepared gifts to send to his brother Esau. From what he had, he took 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, 30 milch camels and their colts, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys and 10 female donkeys. He told his servants that were taking them to Esau to put some space between them, and when his brother questions him about who these are from, what your destination is, and who is ahead of you, to say ?they belong to your servant Jacob, and are presented to you as a gift, and he is coming up after us.? He told this to each one. That night he took his family and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. He sent them ahead and he was alone. He met a man on the shore, and he began to grapple with him. They wrestled until dawn, and when the man saw he couldn?t win, he struck Jacob on the hip, disjointing his socket. The man wanted to leave, but Jacob refused to let him go until he blessed him. The man asked his name, and Jacob told him, and the man said, ?You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with god and humans, and have prevailed.? (Gen 32:27)(523) Jacob asked his name, but he asked why, and then he blessed Jacob, so Jacob called the place Peniel, saying ?For I have seen god face to face, and yet my life is preserved.? (Gen 32:30)(524) Jacob limped after this day. God?s blessing as an expression of divine power exclusively affirms and nurtures like, bringing it somehow from the underworld of the fear of death to light, as Jacob was brought through the darkness of the night to daylight, and awarded a blessing after having gone through the experience of a fight. (225) Some think, that the fight was actually a dream of Jacob?s, and that his opponent was really Esau himself. Who else would Jacob dream of than his brother that he would meet the next day and probably come to blows with. (326) It is thought by some that the injury may have been closer to the genital area. Castration, back then, was the ultimate humiliation. Could his injury have been the result of the man trying to castrate Jacob? (327)
Jacob came close to meeting Esau and his 400 men. Jacob wishes to shun death, which is lurking in his brother?s four hundred men, but not by inflicting death himself. (228) He saw them coming, so he split up the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two maids. He put the maids? group in front, then Leah and hers, and then Rachel and hers. He went out in front to meet Esau, bowing seven times, but his brother ran to him, embraced him, fell on his neck and wept. Esau asked who these people were with him, and he said these are ?the children whom god has graciously given your servant.? (Gen 33:4)(529) Then all of his group came by and bowed. Esau asked what Jacob meant by all this company for Esau, and Jacob answered that he wanted to please Esau, but Esau said that what he had was enough, and that what was Jacob?s could stay Jacob?s. But Jacob pleaded with Esau to take the gift from his hands, that seeing Esau is like seeing god, since he is still not angry about what happened before Jacob left, so Esau took the gift. Esau beckoned Jacob to walk with him, but Jacob said that his family and herds have had a long trip, and that he will walk with them slowly, at their pace, until they get to Esau?s house in Seir. Jacob then traveled to Succoth and built a house with areas for his herds.
Jacob got to Shechem, from Paddan-aram, and he camped before the city. From the sons of Hamor, he bought some land where he pitched his tent. He also created an altar to god there, and called it El-Elohe-Israel. Leah and Jacob?s daughter, Dinah, explored the city and met with the girls of Shechem, and the son of Hamor, also called Shechem, prince of the region, raped her. Shechem loved her, and was nice to her afterwards, and asked his father to get her this girl in marriage. Hamor went to speak with Jacob about the topic, and when Jacob?s sons heard, they were not happy. Hamor spoke on behalf of his son, offering Jacob?s group the land to live and trade in for Dinah to be Shechem?s. Shechem also said to Jacob that he could set the marriage present and gift as high as he liked, as long as he could marry Dinah. Jacob?s sons answered them, saying that they could only let this happen if all the men in Shechem were to be circumcised, because it would be a disgrace otherwise. It was a lie, in order for Jacob?s slighted sons to get revenge on Shechem and his family. Shechem was fine with it, and he and Hamor spoke with the men of the city, saying that they could have many of the daughters of Jacob?s large group. So all the men of the city including Hamor and Shechem circumcised themselves. Three days later, when the men of Shechem were still in pain, Simeon and Levi took their weapons and went into the city. The other sons of Jacob joined in. They plundered the city and killed everyone in it. Jacob was disturbed by this, and told Simeon and Levi, the leaders of the attack, that it was unwise to do what they did, offending these peoples, that if they should go up in arms against Jacob?s small group, he shall be destroyed. But they said, ?Should our sister be treated like a whore?? (Gen 34:31)(530)
God told Jacob to go back to the place where he dreamt of heaven and the ladder, what he called Bethel. He told Jacob to make an altar there to god. Jacob told his household to get rid of their old gods, to purify themselves and change their clothes. Everyone gave Jacob their old gods, and removed their earrings, and Jacob hid them under an oak that was near Shechem. On Jacob?s journey to Bethel, god made calamites befall the cities around them, so that they would not be pursued. Jacob arrived at Bethel and built an altar to god and called the place El-Bethel, because it was there when he saw god in his time of trouble.
When Jacob was coming from Paddan-aram, god told him his name was no longer to be Jacob, but Israel. God also renewed his covenant he made with Abraham, to Jacob, saying ?I am god almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you. The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.? (Gen 35:10)(531) Jacob made a pillar of stone, pouring a drink offering and oil on it, and called the place Bethel once again. Jacob and his company left Bethel and were close to Ephrath when Rachel went into a hard labor. She died after giving birth to whom she named Ben-oni, but Jacob called him Benjamin. Rachel was buried on the way to Ephrath, and Jacob put a pillar at her grave. Jacob continued his journey, and made camp beyond the tower of Eder. During Jacob?s stay in that area, he heard that Reuben had sex with his concubine.
Jacob now had twelve sons: those who were from Leah, Reuben (the eldest), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; those who were from Rachel, Joseph and Benjamin; those who were from Rachel?s maid, Dan and Naphtali; and those of Leah?s maid, Gad and Asher. Jacob returned to his father at Mamre, or Kiriath-arba (Hebron), and Isaac died. His sons buried him. Esau moved away from Jacob to Seir because the land couldn?t support both their herds and all.
Jacob settled in Canaan, the land that was promised to him by god. Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his children. He made Joseph a colored robe with long sleeves, which might have been implying that Joseph wasn?t expected to do work. One day some of Jacob?s children came back with Joseph?s robe, torn and bloody, Jacob realized that a wild animal must have eaten Joseph. He grieved for many days, and after having his family trying to console him, he said he would go down to Sheol to his son. Jacob grew older, and eventually, famine spread to Canaan, from Egypt, but now there was grain in Egypt. Jacob told his sons to go to Egypt (they looked at each other suspiciously) and buy some grain for their family. Jacob neglected to send his youngest son, Benjamin, to Egypt, for fear that harm may come to him. When his sons came back, they told Jacob that in Egypt, the ?lord of the land? accused them of being spies. They denied it, but he didn?t believe them. He had Simeon bound and held captive there, and to bring the youngest of their brothers to him, so that he may collaborate their story. Once that is done he said he would release Simeon and they will be free of penalty. When they emptied their grain sacks that the ?lord of the land? in Egypt let them take back with them, they saw the money they paid for them at the top of each sack. They were all distressed from this. Jacob then said, ?I am the one you have bereaved of children: Joseph is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has happened to me!? (Gen 42:36)(532) Reuben then agreed to Jacob to get Simeon back or his father could kill his two sons. But Jacob disagreed, saying that Benjamin would not go with them, because if he loses all of them on the journey they want to make, they would bring sorrow to Jacob, with no end.
When they had eaten all of the grain they bough in Egypt, Jacob asked them to go buy some more. But Judah said that the man in Egypt told them they wouldn?t get anything unless they brought their youngest son Benjamin. Jacob asked them why they caused him pain by telling the man in Egypt that they had another brother. Their defense was that the man questioned them thoroughly, and they told the truth, and that they couldn?t have known the man would ask them this. Judah asked that Jacob send Benjamin down with them, so they may be able to buy food and survive, and that he would be held accountable to Benjamin?s safety. Jacob agreed, on the conditions that they bring fruits of the land of Canaan as gifts to the man in Egypt, and double the money to pay for more grain as well as the money that was brought back with them last time, perhaps it being a mistake. So all of Jacob?s children in Canaan left to go to Egypt.
Jacob?s sons finally came back from Egypt, and they had news. They also had with them many more provisions then they were asked to get, and many animals too. They said to Jacob ?Joseph is still alive!? He is even ruler over all the land of Egypt.? Jacob was beside himself with surprise and disbelief, but when his sons told him what Joseph said to them, and showed him what they were given to take back to Canaan, then Jacob was convinced. ?Enough!? He said. ?My son Joseph is still alive. I must go and see him before I die.? He set out on the journey with everything he had when he came to settle down, and he made sacrifices to the god of his father and grandfather. God appeared to Jacob in a vision, saying not to fear going to Egypt, and that he will make Jacob a great nation there, and bring it out again. God said that he himself will go with Jacob into Egypt, and that ?Joseph?s own hand shall close your eyes.? Jacob took his whole clan and all their possessions down to Egypt. They were to settle in Goshen. Jacob sent Judah ahead to Joseph to let them know they were arriving. Joseph went to Goshen to meet his father and his family. Joseph wept over Jacob for a time when they met. Jacob said to Joseph, ?I can die now, having seen for myself that you are still alive.? At this final stage Jacob is no longer the ?skilled shepherd? of the Esau and Laban narratives nor the ?fearless foeman? of the penile scene; he appears, rather, as the aged father who is reunited in Egypt with his favorite son, Joseph, and as the honorable patriarch who blesses the people that will bear his name. (633) Joseph said that he would inform the Pharaoh of Egypt that his family has arrived. He said to Jacob, that when Pharaoh asks him what his occupation is, they are to say that they are keepers of livestock from their youth, because ?shepherds? are unpleasing to the Egyptians. They said that when they were introduced to Pharaoh, and he asked what their occupation was. Pharaoh allowed them to settle in the best land of Egypt. When Pharaoh asked Jacob how old he was, Jacob answered, ?The years of my earthly sojourn are one hundred and thirty; few and hard have been the years of my life. They do not compare with the years of my life of my ancestors during their long sojourn.? (Gen 47:9)(534) Joseph made sure they settled nicely, and provided the household with food and supplies. Jacob lived in Egypt for seventeen more years, making him 147 years old.
The time of Jacob?s death was neigh. He called Joseph to him, and made him swear, by placing his hand under his thigh (testimony), to deal truthfully with him, and when he was dead, not to bury him in Egypt, but to do so in the burial place of his ancestors. Soon after, Joseph learned his father was ill. Joseph took his brothers Manasseh and Ephraim with him to see Jacob, and the sick, elderly man sat up in bed to see them. Jacob told Joseph that god came to him at Luz, and told him he would be fruitful and multiply, his numbers would be great, and he would get the land that was promised to him. Jacob said that Joseph?s two sons, who were born to him in Egypt, are now his, just as any other of his sons, but the children of Joseph?s children, shall belong to Joseph. Joseph brought Jacob his sons, and he blessed them. Joseph, Ephraim, and Manasseh, gathered around Jacob, and he blessed Joseph, and said, ?The god before whom my ancestors Abraham and Isaac walked, the god who has been my shepherd all my life to this day, the angel who has redeemed me from all harm, bless the boys; and in them let me name be perpetuated, and the name of my ancestors Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude on the earth.? (Gen 48:15)(535) Joseph saw something wrong in that, in their gathering, Jacob put on hand on Manasseh?s head and one hand on Ephraim?s. Joseph, placing the hand on Ephraim?s head to Manasseh?s, said, ?Not so, my father! Since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.? (Gen 48:18)(536) Jacob acknowledged Joseph, saying that Manasseh shall become great indeed through his offspring, but Ephraim shall become even greater through his, so he blessed them, ?By you Israel,? (Jacob) ?will invoke blessings, saying, ?god make you like Ephraim and like Manasseh.?? Jacob said he was about to die, but for god to remain with them and deliver them to the land of their ancestors. He then gave them a larger portion of what he took from the Amorites. Jacob then called all his sons and told them to gather around him so that he can tell them what will happen in days to come. For Reuben, being his firstborn, growing in power, shall no longer grow, because he lay with his father?s concubine, in the bed, defiling it, and even on the couch. He then addressed Simeon and Levi together, saying that they were ?weapons of violence?, and that they are to be cursed for their fierce anger, cruel it is, and they are to be scattered in Israel. For Judah he foresaw peace and prosperity, and compares him to a lion, and he shall hold the scepter with his hands and the ruler?s staff at his feet, until tribute comes to him. Zebulun, Jacob said, shall settle on the shores of the sea, and a haven for ships he will be, with his border at Sidon. Issachar, being compared to a strong donkey, shall become a slave at forced labor. Dan shall be a judge and a snake, biting at the horse?s heels so that the rider may fall backwards. Gad shall suffer raids from others, but shall do the same unto them. Asher shall provide royal delicacies, his food being very rich. Naphtali is compared to a doe that bears lovely fawns. For Joseph, Jacob foresaw that he shall remain strong, by righteousness, and shall have his father?s strong blessings upon him. Finally, Benjamin, being compared to a ravenous wolf, shall eat the prey in the morning, and divvy the spoils of it in the evening. After this, Jacob said that he was about to die, and to bury him in the cave of Ephron the Hittite, the cave of Machpelah, where his ancestors were buried, near Mamre, in Canaan, in Ephron?s field that Abraham bought from the Hittite for a burial site for his wife. That is where Abraham?s wife and his self were both buried, and where Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob?s parents, were buried. After telling them this, Jacob bundled into his bed, with his family around him, and died. Joseph threw himself over his father and wept sorrowfully. All of Egypt wept for Joseph?s father, Jacob, for several days.
That is the length of the tale of Jacob, father of Israel. Early in his life he was cunning, and not very faithful to god, but in the end, he died a legend, one that was as devoted to god as any priest later in the bible, and all the land grieved for him and felt his passing.
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8. Pearl, Chiam. Rashi: Commentaries on the Pentateuch. New York: W.W. Norton &Company, 1970
9. Beek, M.A.. A Journey Through the Old Testament. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1959.
1. Edited by Buttrick, George A.. The Interpreter?s Dictionary of the Bible. New York: Abingdon Press, 1962. p.782-786
2. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen27:2-4
3. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 27:8
4. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 27:20
5. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 27:29
6. Kass, Leon R..?Love of Woman and Love of God: The Case of Jacob.?Commentary vol#107 issue#3(1999):p46(1) -p3
7. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 27:33
8. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 27:39-40
9. Beek, M.A.. A Journey Through the Old Testament. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1959. ?p4
10. Elazar, Daniel J..?Jacob and Esau and the Emergence of the Jewish People?Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought vol#43 issue#3(1994):p294(8) ?p2
11. Elazar, Daniel J..?Jacob and Esau and the Emergence of the Jewish People?Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought vol#43 issue#3(1994):p294(8) ?p6
12. Elazar, Daniel J..?Jacob and Esau and the Emergence of the Jewish People?Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought vol#43 issue#3(1994):p294(8) ?p6
13. Beek, M.A.. A Journey Through the Old Testament. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1959. ?p47
14. Kass, Leon R..?Love of Woman and Love of God: The Case of Jacob.?Commentary vol#107 issue#3(1999):p46(1) ?p4
15. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 28:20-22
16. Elazar, Daniel J..?Jacob and Esau and the Emergence of the Jewish People?Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought vol#43 issue#3(1994):p294(8) ?p8
17. Beek, M.A.. A Journey Through the Old Testament. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1959.
18. Kass, Leon R..?Love of Woman and Love of God: The Case of Jacob.?Commentary vol#107 issue#3(1999):p46(1) ?p13
19. Elazar, Daniel J..?Jacob and Esau and the Emergence of the Jewish People?Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought vol#43 issue#3(1994):p294(8) ?p9
20. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 31:35
21. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 31:52
22. Edited by Buttrick, George A.. The Interpreter?s Dictionary of the Bible. New York: Abingdon Press, 1962. p.782-786
23. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 32:27
24. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 32:30
25. Hatzopoulos, Athanasios.?The Struggle for a Blessing: Relfections on Genesis 32:24-31?The Ecumenical Review vol#48 issue#4(1996):p507(6) ?p5
26. Levin, Schneir.?Jacob?s Limp?Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought vol#44 issue#3(summer1995): p325(3) ?p3
27. Levin, Schneir.?Jacob?s Limp?Judaism: A Quarterly Journal of Jewish Life and Thought vol#44 issue#3(summer1995): p325(3) ?p3
28. Hatzopoulos, Athanasios.?The Struggle for a Blessing: Relfections on Genesis 32:24-31?The Ecumenical Review vol#48 issue#4(1996):p507(6) ?p6
29. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 33:4
30. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 34:31
31. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 35:10
32. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 42:36
33. Edited by Buttrick, George A.. The Interpreter?s Dictionary of the Bible. New York: Abingdon Press, 1962. p.782-786
34. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 47:9
35. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 48:15
36. Edited by Metzger, Bruce M. and Murphy, Roland E.. The New Oxford Annotated Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994. Gen 48:18