Father of a Nation
Where in the Bible?
The Book of Genesis
Did You Know
While Jacob had very human flaws, God never turn his back on him.
Bio – Jacob
1836 BC–1689 BC; Or c. 21st century BC or 19th century BC; ie anywhere from 2006 BC to 1689 BC
Jacob—a name which has been interpreted as “to follow” or “to supplant”—was the son of Isaac, and the grandson of Abraham. He was born a twin, but his brother Esau came into the world first, and therefore had all the rights of the firstborn son. When pregnant, his mother Rebekah had been told that she would give birth to twins who would each found a great nation, and that the elder twin would serve his younger brother.
While Esau grew up to be a hunter, Jacob preferred to stay close to home, and was his mother’s favourite, while Isaac was particularly fond of Esau. One day, Jacob sold a bowl of stew to his brother in exchange for his birthright, and then, in an elaborate deception, he and his mother tricked his blind father Isaac out of the blessing which should rightfully have gone to Esau.
Fearing Esau’s wrath, Rebekah sent Jacob away to stay with his uncle Laban. On the way, Jacob had a strange dream in which God spoke to him and promised him—as he had his father and grandfather before him—land, many descendants, and his blessing.
In Laban Jacob found a greater trickster than himself. He fell in love with his uncle’s younger daughter, Rachel, but Laban tricked him into marrying his elder daughter, Leah, first. He worked for Laban for many years, and Laban continued to exploit him.
Finally, he took his family and returned homewards. On the journey home, he learned that his brother was coming towards him with 400 men. He sent men with gifts to Esau to placate him, and that night he remained alone on the other side of the river. Suddenly a stranger appeared and wrestled with him through the night. At dawn, the stranger struck Jacob’s hip and injured him, but still Jacob would not let go unless the stranger blessed him. Then the stranger—who was God himself—blessed him and told him that from now on his name would no longer be Jacob, but would be “Israel”, telling him that he had fought with God and man and had prevailed.
When Jacob met his brother the next day, he bowed down before him. Esau embraced him, and the two brothers were happily reunited. Jacob and his family settled in Canaan. He had one daughter and twelve sons who would go on to found the twelve tribes of Israel.
While Jacob had very human flaws, God did not turn his back on him. While deceitful and cunning in his youth, Jacob changed over the years and became a new man. God sometimes chooses the most unlikely of individuals to carry out his tasks.
Copyright ©2020 International Publishing Services (IPS) Sydney Australia
Bible Verses About Esther
“‘I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.’”
“If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God.”
Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the “love he had for her.”
“And God said to him, ‘Your name is Jacob; your name shall not be called Jacob anymore, but Israel shall be your name.’”