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A Brief Overview of Jacob [Israel]

by Rik Charbonneaux  
7/20/2017 / Christian Living


If you have heard of and wondered about the God of the Jews and Christians, you might really enjoy hearing about Jacob, the third Old Testament Patriarch faithful to God. If you are just not very likely to read the Bible at all, please take the time to read the following brief topic about Jacob, God's Promises to him and about some of his life. If you might be interested in reading some more about Jacob [Israel] in the Book of Genesis Holy Bible.

 

Jacob - The Third Patriarch of The Old Testament - Chosen by God to continue the covenant line that would bring the Christ.

 

"He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to kahthe south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you" Genesis 28:12-15 NIV

 

Jacob was born the son of Isaac and Rebekah was the third of the Patriarchs of the Bible, his father and grandfather Abraham being the other two, He and his brother Esau were born at the same time with Jacob clutching the heel of Esau, hence the name Jacob: "heel grabber" or "deceiver". It was deception that would be the better known his personal traits.

 

Jacob and Esau were as different as day and night with Esau being the rugged hunter and outdoors man and Jacob being "a dweller of tents" who was much more mild manner than his brother. Jacob was clever enough to get a hungry Esau to to trade away his birthright for bread and a bowl of lintels. When it came to time for an old and almost blind Isaac to bestow the traditional birthright and blessing upon his favorite and firstborn son Esau, Jacob and Rebekah arranged a clever deception whereby Esau was cheated out of his birthright and blessing. This was 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." Genesis 27:28–29 NIV. Esau was broken hearted when he found out what had happened and vowed to kill Jacob after Isaac was dead. Jacob's mother feared greatly for Jacob and asked Isaac to tell Jacob to go to her brother Laban's house in Haran to find a wife, which Isaac so ordered.

 

On the way to Haran, Jacob had a vision of a ladder that reached from the earth to heaven, with that had angels going up and down on it. This is what the Bible sys about "Jacob's Ladder"

"He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to kahthe south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you" Genesis 28:12-15 NIV

 

This was the great promise given to Him by God as it had been given to Isaac and Abraham before him and that made him the third Patriarch. When Jacob woke up from his dream, he named the location Bethel [God's House] and on he went to Haran. When Jacob arrived in Haran he saw his future wife Rachel watering sheep and asked for her hand from Laban. An agreement was made that after Jacob would work for Laban for seven years, he would give Rachel to Jacob in marriage. When that time came, Laban deceived Jacob by substituting Rachel's older sister Leah as the bride with her face veiled. Laban then told Jacob that if he wanted Rachel for a bride also, he would have to work another seven years for Laban. One week later Jacob married Rachel and started working for Laban another seven years. Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah and that never changed. Rachel was barren at first and Jacob had several sons through Leah and handmaids. Rachel would eventually give birth to Joseph, the son that Jacob loved the most. Jacob's sons were named Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun and Joseph with final son Benjamin being born later along with a daughter Dinah. I mention them here as their own future families would become the Twelve Tribes of Israel. These sons were another affirmation of the Covenant Promise given to Jacob by God. Also, Jacob's son Joseph would later be sold into slavery by his brothers and Jacob would believe him to be dead until they would meet again in Egypt, where Joseph had risen to the rank of Viceroy. This was another instance of God's provision for Jacob's future that occurred throughout his life.

 

God allowed Jacob to prosper under service to Laban and after Joseph was born, Jacob wanted to return home. When Jacob gained possession to the larger share of the flocks, God told Jacob to leave with no warning, which he did. When Laban chased after Jacob, God told Laban in a dream not to say anything good or bad to Jacob when they would meet. When he did catch up with Jacob, all Laban could do was accuse Jacob and his family of stealing Laban's small statutes of idols. By an act of deception by Rachel, the idols were not found after a search of Jacob's camp and Laban left to preserve the peace between families.

 

When Jacob drew closer to Canaan, he sent scouts ahead to contact his brother Esau. They came back and told Jacob that Esau was coming with 400 men.messengers ahead to his brother Esau. They returned with the news that Esau was coming to meet Jacob with an army of 400 men. Following a prayer to God, Jacob sent them back out with a present to Esau of sheep and cattle to honor his brother to lessen the strife that had been between them. Jacob then secretly sent his family and livestock ahead. Staying behind alone with the rest of his possessions, a "man" or an "angel" appeared before him and wrestled with Jacob all that night until dawn. The "man" touched Jacob on the hip and this would cause Jacob to limp the rest of his life. Jacob wanted a blessing from the "man", who said: "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome." Genesis 32:28 (NIV). Jacob [Israel] named the place Penuel, meaning: "I have seen God face to face and lived." With this tremendous encouragement given to him, he rejoined and lead his family out to meet Esau and his brother welcomed him, no longer wanting to kill him. When they parted, he would not see his brother Esau again until the two would bury their father Isaac.

 

He did not get off to a good start when first he was back in Canaan. His daughter Dinah was defiled by a nobleman and Jacob's sons killed a great many of the nobleman's men through a deception and plundered their properties and people. Chastising his sons Jacob moved beyond these things. God allowed Jacob to prosper in Canaan until a drought forced Jacob to buy grain from Egypt, where his son Joseph re-entered the family's lives unbeknownst to his father and brothers. God had providentially placed Joseph into a chain of events that would put him in the position to assure that Jacobs family would survive. Upon arriving back from Egypt from another trip to buy grain, the his sons told Jacob [Israel] that Joseph was alive an the Governor over Egypt that wanted them to move to Egypt. Jacob prayed to God about moving to Egypt and away from the land of Canaan and was told by God that He would be with Jacob all of his days and that he would prosper. Jacob [Israel] wanted to see Joseph again before he died, so Israel and the seventy people of his household and all of their animals and possessions made the trip to Egypt.

 

When the party was close to Egypt, they were told to go to the land of Goshen. It was there that Israel once again saw his son Joseph after missing him for twenty-two years. When it was time for Israel to meet the Pharaoh of Egypt, the ruler extended recognition and honor to the father of his most trusted subject Joseph. Pharaoh gave direction that Israel was to appoint competent herdsmen from his household to oversee the cattle of providence of Goshen. For the next 17 years Israel's would prosper and increase as God had said he would. As Israel neared the time of his own death, he asked Joseph to carry his bones to Canaan to be buried with those of his father and grandfather. Before Israel died, he blessed [and cursed] all twelve of his sons and extended his blessings to Joesph's two sons which would symbolize a formal inclusion into the family heritage of Israel. When Israel died in Egypt, Joseph prepared a great funeral procession to Canaan as he had promised and buried Israel next to his forefathers in the cave of Machpelah that Abraham had bought as a family burial site forever, where it still exists in the old city of Hebron and is known as the Cave of the Patriarchs.

 

In conclusion, Jacob [Israel] was a lot like us today in that it took him a long time to totally surrender his will to God and become His good servant. When God touched Jacob's hip and forced him to limp from that day forth, and upon changing his name to Israel, he depended more and more upon God from that day forth as well. He was the last of the three great Patriarchs of the Old Testament and he was a lot like us, an imperfect person blessed by God to do and be a part of God's Great Work for the Ages.

Rik Charbonneaux is a retired NE Iowan who loves all of God's creatures.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com-CHRISTIAN WRITERS

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