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Jacob

Jacob

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Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel ' onMouseout='HidePop("93193")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Tiberian_vocalization">Tiberian
Tiberian vocalization
The Tiberian vocalization is a system of diacritics devised by the Masoretes to add to the consonantal Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible; this system soon became used to vocalize other texts as well...

 ; Septuagint  ; ; "persevere with God"), as described in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, the Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

, the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 and the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 was the third patriarch
Patriarchs (Bible)
The Patriarchs of the Bible, when narrowly defined, are Abraham, the ancestor of all the Abrahamic nations; his son Isaac, the ancestor of the nations surrounding Israel/Judah; and Isaac's son Jacob, also named Israel, the ancestor of the Israelites...

 of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.

In the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
The Hebrew Bible is a term used by biblical scholars outside of Judaism to refer to the Tanakh , a canonical collection of Jewish texts, and the common textual antecedent of the several canonical editions of the Christian Old Testament...

, he is the son of Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

 and Rebekah, the grandson of Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 and Sarah
Sarah
Sarah or Sara was the wife of Abraham and the mother of Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible and the Quran. Her name was originally Sarai...

 and of Bethuel
Bethuel
Bethuel , in the Hebrew Bible, was an Aramean man, the youngest son of Nahor and Milcah, the nephew of Abraham, and the father of Laban and Rebekah....

, and the younger twin brother of Esau
Esau
Esau , in the Hebrew Bible, is the oldest son of Isaac. He is mentioned in the Book of Genesis, and by the minor prophets, Obadiah and Malachi. The New Testament later references him in the Book of Romans and the Book of Hebrews....

. He had twelve sons and at least one daughter, by his two wives, Leah
Leah
Leah , as described in the Hebrew Bible, is the first of the two concurrent wives of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob and mother of six of sons whose descendants became the Twelve Tribes of Israel, along with at least one daughter, Dinah. She is the daughter of Laban and the older sister of Rachel, whom...

 and Rachel
Rachel
Rachel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, is a prophet and the favorite wife of Jacob, one of the three Biblical Patriarchs, and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. She was the daughter of Laban and the younger sister of Leah, Jacob's first wife...

, and by their maidservants Bilhah
Bilhah
In the Book of Genesis, Bilhah is Rachel's handmaid who becomes a wife of Jacob and bears him two sons, Dan and Naphtali....

 and Zilpah
Zilpah
In the Book of Genesis, Zilpah is Leah's handmaid who becomes a wife of Jacob and bears him two sons Gad and Asher....

. The children named in Genesis were Reuben
Reuben (Bible)
According to the Book of Genesis, Reuben or Re'uven was the first and eldest son of Jacob with Leah. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Reuben.-Etymology:...

, Simeon
Simeon (Hebrew Bible)
According to the Book of Genesis, Simeon was, the second son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Simeon. However, some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an etiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite...

, Levi
Levi
Levi/Levy was, according to the Book of Genesis, the third son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Levi ; however Peake's commentary suggests this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite...

, Judah, Dan
Dan (Biblical figure)
According to the Book of Genesis, Dan was the fifth son of Jacob with Bilhah. He was Bilhah's first son. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Dan. In the biblical account, Dan's mother is described as Rachel's handmaid, who becomes one of Jacob's wives...

, Naphtali
Naphtali
According to the Book of Genesis, Naphtali was the second son of Jacob with Bilhah. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Naphtali. However, some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the...

, Gad, Asher
Asher
Asher , in the Book of Genesis, is the second son of Jacob and Zilpah, and the founder of the Tribe of Asher.-Name:The text of the Torah argues that the name of Asher means happy/blessing, implying a derivation from the Hebrew term osher ; the Torah actually presents this in two variations—beoshri...

, Issachar
Issachar
Issachar/Yissachar was, according to the Book of Genesis, a son of Jacob and Leah , and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Issachar; however some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite...

, Zebulun
Zebulun
Zebulun was, according to the Books of Genesis and Numbers, the sixth son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Zebulun...

, daughter Dinah
Dinah
According to the Hebrew Bible, Dinah was the daughter of Jacob, one of the patriarchs of the Israelites and Leah, his first wife. The episode of her abduction and violation by a Canaanite prince, and the subsequent vengeance of her brothers Simeon and Levi, commonly referred to as "The Rape of...

, Joseph
Joseph (Hebrew Bible)
Joseph is an important character in the Hebrew bible, where he connects the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Canaan to the subsequent story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt....

, and Benjamin
Benjamin
Benjamin was the last-born of Jacob's twelve sons, and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Benjamin. In the Biblical account, unlike Rachel's first son, Joseph, Benjamin was born in Canaan. He died in Egypt on...

.

Before the birth of Benjamin, Jacob is renamed "Israel" by an angel ( and ). The name "Israel" can be translated as "God contended", but other meanings have also been suggested. Some commentators say the name comes from the verb śœarar ("to rule, be strong, have authority over"), thereby making the name mean "God rules" or "God judges". Other possible meanings include "the prince of God" (from the King James Version) or "El
El (god)
is a Northwest Semitic word meaning "deity", cognate to Akkadian and then to Hebrew : Eli and Arabic )....

 fights/struggles".

As a result of a severe drought in Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

, Jacob moved to Egypt
Ancient Egypt
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt. Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh...

 at the time when his son Joseph was viceroy. Jacob died there 17 years later, and Joseph carried Jacob's remains to the land of Canaan, where he gave them stately burial in the same Cave of Machpelah as were buried Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah and Jacob's wife Leah .

Jacob in Genesis


The biblical account of the life of Jacob is found in the Book of Genesis, chapters 25-50.

Jacob and Esau's birth


Jacob and his twin brother, Esau, were born to Isaac and Rebekah after 20 years of marriage, when Isaac was 60 . Rebekah was uncomfortable during her double pregnancy and went to inquire of God why she was suffering. She received the prophecy that twin
Twin
A twin is one of two offspring produced in the same pregnancy. Twins can either be monozygotic , meaning that they develop from one zygote that splits and forms two embryos, or dizygotic because they develop from two separate eggs that are fertilized by two separate sperm.In contrast, a fetus...

s were fighting in her womb and would continue to fight all their lives, even after they became two separate nations. The prophecy also said that the older would serve the younger; its statement "one people will be stronger than the other" has been taken to mean that the two nations would never gain power simultaneously: when one fell, the other would rise, and vice versa. According to traditional accounts, Rebekah did not share the prophecy with her husband.

When the time came for Rebekah to give birth, the first to come out emerged red and hairy all over, with his heel grasped by the hand of the second to come out. According to Genesis 25:25, Abraham and Rebekah named the first עשו, Esau (`Esav or `Esaw, meaning "hairy" or "rough", from , `asah, "do" or "make"; or "completely developed", from , `assui). The second is named יעקב, Jacob (Ya`aqob or Ya`aqov, meaning "heel-catcher", "supplanter", "leg-puller", "he who follows upon the heels of one", from , `aqab or `aqav, "seize by the heel", "circumvent", "restrain", a wordplay upon , `iqqebah or `iqqbah, "heel").

The boys displayed very different natures as they matured. "...and Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; but Jacob was a simple man, dwelling in tents" . Moreover, the attitudes of their parents toward them also differed: "And Isaac loved Esau because he did eat of his venison: but Rebekah loved Jacob."

Sale of the birthright


The Hebrew Bible, in , tells the account of Esau selling his birthright
Birthright
Birthright is a term that refers to something that is acquired or inherited at birth. It may further refer to:- Ancient and modern Law :* primogeniture, rights of the firstborn* birthright citizenship- Literature :...

 to Jacob. This passage states that Esau, returning famished from the fields, begged Jacob to give him some of the stew that Jacob had just made. (Esau referred to the dish as, "that same red pottage", giving rise to his nickname, (`Edom, meaning "Red").) Jacob offered to give Esau a bowl of stew in exchange for his birthright, and Esau agreed.

Jacob's deception of Isaac


As Isaac aged, he became blind, and was uncertain when he would die, so he decided to bestow Esau's birthright
Birthright
Birthright is a term that refers to something that is acquired or inherited at birth. It may further refer to:- Ancient and modern Law :* primogeniture, rights of the firstborn* birthright citizenship- Literature :...

 upon him. He requested that Esau go out to the fields with his weapons (quiver and bow) to kill some venison. Isaac went on to request that Esau make "savory meat" for him out of the venison, according to the way he enjoyed it the most, so that he could eat it and bless Esau.

Rebekah overheard this conversation. It is suggested that she realized prophetically that Isaac's blessings would go to Jacob, since she was told before the twins' birth that the older son would serve the younger. She quickly ordered Jacob to bring her two kid goats from their flock, so that he could take Esau's place in serving Isaac and receiving his blessing. Jacob protested that his father would recognize their deception, since Esau was hairy and he himself was smooth-skinned. He feared his father would curse him as soon as he felt him, but Rebekah offered to take the curse herself, then insisted that Jacob obey her. Jacob did as his mother instructed, and when he returned with the kids, Rebekah made the savory meat that Isaac loved. Before she sent Jacob to his father, she dressed him in Esau's garments and laid goatskins on his arms and neck to simulate hairy skin.

Disguised as Esau, Jacob entered Isaac's room. Surprised that Esau was supposedly back so soon, Isaac asked how it could be that the hunt went so quickly. Jacob responded, "Because the LORD your God brought it to me." Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

, on says Isaac's suspicions were aroused even more, because Esau never used the personal name of God. Isaac demanded that Jacob come close so he could feel him, but the goatskins felt just like Esau's hairy skin. Confused, Isaac exclaimed, "The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau!" . Still trying to get at the truth, Isaac asked him directly, "Art thou my very son Esau?" and Jacob answered simply, "I am." Isaac proceeded to eat the food and to drink the wine that Jacob gave him, and then told him to come close and kiss him. As Jacob kissed his father, Isaac smelled the clothes which belonged to Esau, and finally accepted that the person in front of him was Esau. Isaac then blessed Jacob with the blessing that was meant for Esau. states 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."

Jacob had scarcely left the room when Esau returned from the hunt to prepare his game and receive the blessing. The realization that he had been deceived shocked Isaac, yet he acknowledged that Jacob had received the blessings as sworn, by adding, "Indeed, he will be [or remain] blessed!" (27:33).

Esau was heartbroken by the deception, and begged for his own blessing. Having made Jacob a ruler over his brothers, Isaac could only promise, "By your sword you shall live, but your brother you shall serve; yet it shall be that when you are aggrieved, you may cast off his yoke from upon your neck" (27:39-40).

Esau was filled with hatred toward Jacob for taking away both his birthright and his blessing. He vowed to himself to kill Jacob as soon as Isaac died. When Rebekah heard about his murderous intentions, she ordered Jacob to travel to her brother Laban
Laban (Bible)
Laban is the son of Bethuel, brother of Rebekah and the father of Leah and Rachel and Bilhah and Zilpah as described in the Book of Genesis. As such he is brother-in-law to Isaac and both father-in-law and uncle to Jacob...

's house in Haran, until Esau's anger subsided. She convinced Isaac to send Jacob away by telling him that she despaired of him marrying a local girl from the idol-worshipping families of Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 (as Esau had done). After Isaac sent Jacob away to find a wife, Esau realized his own Canaanite wives were evil in his father's eyes, and he took a daughter of Isaac's half-brother Ishmael
Ishmael
Ishmael is a figure in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, and was Abraham's first born child according to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Ishmael was born of Abraham's marriage to Sarah's handmaiden Hagar...

 as another wife.

Jacob's ladder


Nearby Luz en route to Haran, Jacob experienced a vision of a ladder or staircase reaching into heaven with angels going up and down it, commonly referred to as "Jacob's ladder
Jacob's Ladder
Jacob's Ladder is a "ladder to heaven", described by biblical Jacob in the Book of GenesisJacob's Ladder may also refer to:* Ladder of Jacob, a pseudepigraphic text of the Old Testament...

". From the top of the ladder he heard the voice of God, who repeated many of the blessings upon him.

According to Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

, this ladder signified the exiles that the Jewish people would suffer before the coming of the Jewish Messiah: the angels that represented the exiles of Babylonia, Persia, and Greece each climbed up a certain number of steps, paralleling the years of the exile, before they "fell down"; but the angel representing the last exile, that of Rome or Edom, kept climbing higher and higher into the clouds. Jacob feared that his children would never be free of Esau's domination, but God assured him that at the End of Days, Edom too would come falling down.

Jacob awakened, and continued on his way to Haran in the morning, naming the place "Bethel
Bethel
Bethel was a border city described in the Hebrew Bible as being located between Benjamin and Ephraim...

", "God's house".

Jacob's marriages


Arriving in Haran, Jacob saw a well where the shepherds were gathering their flocks to water them, and met Laban's younger daughter Rachel, Jacob's first cousin
Cousin
In kinship terminology, a cousin is a relative with whom one shares one or more common ancestors. The term is rarely used when referring to a relative in one's immediate family where there is a more specific term . The term "blood relative" can be used synonymously and establishes the existence of...

; she was working as a shepherdess. He loved her immediately, and after spending a month with his relatives, asked for her hand in marriage in return for working seven years for Laban. Laban agreed to the arrangement. These seven years seemed to Jacob "but a few days, for the love he had for her"; but when they were complete and he asked for his wife, Laban deceived Jacob by switching Rachel's older sister, Leah, as the veiled bride.
In the morning, when the truth became known, Laban justified himself, saying that in his country it was unheard of to give the younger daughter before the older. However, he agreed to give Rachel in marriage as well if Jacob would work another seven years for her. After the week of wedding celebrations with Leah, Jacob married Rachel, and he continued to work for Laban for another seven years.

Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah, and Leah felt hated. God opened Leah's womb and she gave birth to four sons rapidly: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, and Judah. Rachel, however, remained barren. Following the example of Sarah, who gave her handmaid to Abraham after years of infertility, Rachel gave Jacob her handmaid, Bilhah, in marriage, so that Rachel could raise children through her. Bilhah gave birth to Dan and Naphtali. Seeing that she had left off childbearing temporarily, Leah then gave her handmaid Zilpah to Jacob in marriage so that Leah could raise more children through her. Zilpah gave birth to Gad and Asher. (According to some commentators, Bilhah and Zilpah were younger daughters of Laban.) Afterwards, Leah became fertile again and gave birth to Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah. God remembered Rachel, who gave birth to Joseph. If pregnancies of different marriages overlapped, the twelve births could have occurred within seven years (the first eleven births occur within six years - Genesis 31:38).

After Joseph was born, Jacob decided to return home to his parents. Laban was reluctant to release him, as God had blessed his flock on account of Jacob. Laban asked what he could pay Jacob, and Jacob proposed that all the spotted, speckled, and brown goats and sheep of Laban's flock, at any given moment, would be his wages. Jacob placed peeled rods of poplar, hazel, and chestnut within the flocks' watering holes or troughs, an action he later attributes to a dream. The text suggests that Jacob performed breeding experiments over the years to make his own flocks both more abundant and stronger than Laban's, that Laban responded by repeatedly reinterpreting the terms of Jacob's wages, and that the breeding favored Jacob regardless of Laban's pronouncements. Thus Jacob's herds increased and he became very wealthy.

As time passed, Laban's sons noticed that Jacob was taking the better part of their flocks, and Laban's friendly attitude towards Jacob began to change. God told Jacob that he should leave, and he and his wives and children did so without informing Laban. Before they left, Rachel stole the teraphim
Teraphim
Teraphim is a Hebrew word from the Bible, found only in the plural, of uncertain etymology. Despite being plural, Teraphim may refer to singular objects, using the Hebrew plural of excellence...

,
considered to be household idols, from Laban's house.

In a rage, Laban pursued Jacob for seven days. The night before he caught up to him, God appeared to Laban in a dream and warned him not to say anything good or bad to Jacob. When the two met, Laban played the part of the injured father-in-law and also demanded his teraphim back. Knowing nothing about Rachel's theft, Jacob told Laban that whoever stole them should die, and stood aside to let him search. When Laban reached Rachel's tent, she hid the teraphim by sitting on them and stating she could not get up because she was menstruating
Menstruation
Menstruation is the shedding of the uterine lining . It occurs on a regular basis in sexually reproductive-age females of certain mammal species. This article focuses on human menstruation.-Overview:...

; this event was considered by the Biblical audience as conveying significant defilement upon the teraphim. Jacob and Laban then parted from each other with a pact to preserve the peace between them. Laban returned to his home and Jacob continued on his way.

Journey back to Canaan


As Jacob neared the land of Canaan, he sent messengers ahead to his brother Esau. They returned with the news that Esau was coming to meet Jacob with an army of 400 men. With great apprehension, Jacob prepared for the worst. He engaged in earnest prayer to God, then sent on before him a tribute of flocks and herds to Esau, "a present to my lord Esau from thy servant Jacob".

Jacob then transported his family and flocks across the ford Jabbok by night, then recrossed back to send over his possessions, being left alone in communion with God. There, a mysterious being appeared ("man", Genesis 32:24, 28; or "God", Genesis 32:28, 30, Hosea 12:3, 5; or "angel", Hosea 12:4), and the two wrestled until daybreak. When the being saw that he did not overpower Jacob, he touched Jacob on the sinew of his thigh (the gid hanasheh, גיד הנשה), and as a result, Jacob developed a limp (Genesis 32:31). Because of this, "to this day the people of Israel do not eat the sinew of the thigh that is on the hip socket" . This incident is the source of the mitzvah
Mitzvah
The primary meaning of the Hebrew word refers to precepts and commandments as commanded by God...

 of porging.

Jacob then demanded a blessing, and the being declared that from then on, Jacob would be
called יִשְׂרָאֵל, Israel (Yisra`el, meaning "one that struggled with the divine angel" (Josephus), "one who has prevailed with God" (Rashi), "a man seeing God" (Whiston), "he will rule as God" (Strong), or "a prince with God" (Morris), from , "prevail", "have power as a prince"). Jacob asked the being's name, but he refused to answer. Afterwards Jacob named the place Penuel
Penuel
Penuel , also known as the "face of God", is a place not far from Succoth, on the east of the Jordan and north of the river Jabbok. It is also called "Peniel" by Jacob, meaning 'face of God', "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared." Here Jacob wrestled "with a man"...

 (Penuw`el, Peniy`el, meaning "face of God"), saying "I have seen God face to face and lived."

Because the terminology is ambiguous ("el" in Yisra`el) and inconsistent, and because this being refused to reveal his name, there are varying views as to whether he was a man, an angel, or God. Josephus uses only the terms "angel", "divine angel", and "angel of God", describing the struggle as no small victory. According to Rashi, the being was the guardian angel of Esau himself, sent to destroy Jacob before he could return to the land of Canaan. Trachtenberg theorized that the being refused to identify itself for fear that, if its secret name was known, it would be conjurable by incantations. Literal Christian interpreters like Henry M. Morris
Henry M. Morris
Henry Madison Morris was an American young earth creationist and Christian apologist. He was one of the founders of the Creation Research Society and the Institute for Creation Research...

 say that the stranger was "God Himself and, therefore, Christ in His preincarnate state", citing Jacob's own evaluation and the name he assumed thereafter, "one who fights victoriously with God", and adding that God had appeared in the human form of the Angel of the LORD
Angel of the Lord
The Angel of the Lord is one of many terms in the Hebrew Bible used for an angel. The Biblical name for angel, מלאך mal'ach, which translates simply as "messenger," obtained the further signification of "angel" only through the addition of God's name, as The Angel of the Lord (or the Angel of...

 to eat a meal with Abraham in Genesis 18.

In the morning, Jacob assembled his 4 wives and 11 sons, placing the maidservants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. Some commentators cite this placement as proof that Jacob continued to favor Joseph over Leah's children, as presumably the rear position would have been safer from a frontal assault by Esau, which Jacob feared. Jacob himself took the foremost position. Esau's spirit of revenge, however, was apparently appeased by Jacob's bounteous gifts of camels, goats and flocks. Their reunion was an emotional one.
Esau offered to accompany them on their way back to Israel, but Jacob protested that his children were still young and tender (born 6 to 13 years prior in the narrative); Jacob suggested eventually catching up with Esau at Mount Seir
Mount Seir
Mount Seir formed the south-east border of Edom and Judah, it may also echo the older historical border of Egypt and Canaan.-Tanakh:Mount Seir is specifically noted as the place that Esau made his home . It was named for Seir, the Horite, whose sons inhabited the land...

. According to the Sages, this was a prophetic reference to the End of Days, when Jacob's descendants will come to Mount Seir, the home of Edom, to deliver judgment against Esau's descendants for persecuting them throughout the millennia (see Obadiah 1:21). Jacob actually diverted himself to Succoth and was not recorded as rejoining Esau until, at Machpelah, the two bury their father Isaac, who lived to 180 and was 60 years older than them.

Jacob then arrived in Shechem
Shechem
Shechem was a Canaanite city mentioned in the Amarna letters, and is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as an Israelite city of the tribe of Manasseh and the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel...

, where he bought a parcel of land, now identified as Joseph's Tomb
Joseph's Tomb
Joseph's Tomb is a funerary monument located at the eastern entrance to the valley that separates Mounts Gerizim and Ebal, 325 yards northwest of Jacob's Well, on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus, near Tell Balāṭa, the site of biblical Shechem...

. In Shechem, Jacob's daughter Dinah was kidnapped and raped by the ruler's son, who desired to marry the girl. Dinah's brothers, Simeon and Levi, agreed in Jacob's name to permit the marriage as long as all the men of Shechem first circumcised
Circumcision
Male circumcision is the surgical removal of some or all of the foreskin from the penis. The word "circumcision" comes from Latin and ....

 themselves, ostensibly to unite the children of Jacob in Abraham's covenant
Covenant (biblical)
A biblical covenant is an agreement found in the Bible between God and His people in which God makes specific promises and demands. It is the customary word used to translate the Hebrew word berith. It it is used in the Tanakh 286 times . All Abrahamic religions consider the Biblical covenant...

 of familial harmony. On the third day after the circumcisions, when all the men of Shechem were still in pain, Simeon and Levi put them all to death by the sword and rescued their sister Dinah, and their brothers plundered the property, women, and children. Jacob condemned this act, saying "You have brought trouble on me by making me a stench to the Canaanites and Perizzites
Perizzites
Perizzites - villagers; dwellers in the open country, the Girgashite Canaanite nation inhabiting the fertile regions south and south-west of Carmel."They were the graziers, farmers, and peasants of the time."...

, the people living in this land." He later rebuked his two sons for their anger in his deathbed blessing (Genesis 49:5-7).

Jacob returned to Bethel, where he had another vision of blessing. Although the death of Rebecca, Jacob's mother, is not explicitly recorded in the Bible, Deborah
Deborah
Deborah was a prophetess of Yahweh the God of the Israelites, the fourth Judge of pre-monarchic Israel, counselor, warrior, and the wife of Lapidoth according to the Book of Judges chapters 4 and 5....

, Rebecca's nurse, died and was buried at Bethel, at a place that Jacob calls Allon Bachuth (אלון בכות), "Oak of Weepings" (Genesis 35:8). According to the Midrash, the plural form of the word "weeping" indicates the double sorrow that Rebecca also died at this time.

Jacob then made a further move while Rachel was pregnant; near Bethlehem
Bethlehem
Bethlehem is a Palestinian city in the central West Bank of the Jordan River, near Israel and approximately south of Jerusalem, with a population of about 30,000 people. It is the capital of the Bethlehem Governorate of the Palestinian National Authority and a hub of Palestinian culture and tourism...

, Rachel went into labor and died as she gave birth to her second son, Benjamin
Benjamin
Benjamin was the last-born of Jacob's twelve sons, and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Benjamin. In the Biblical account, unlike Rachel's first son, Joseph, Benjamin was born in Canaan. He died in Egypt on...

 (Jacob's twelfth son). Jacob buried her and erected a monument over her grave. Rachel's Tomb
Rachel's Tomb
Rachel's Tomb , also known as the Dome of Rachel, , is an ancient structure believed to be the burial place of the biblical matriarch Rachel. It is located on the outskirts of Bethlehem, a Palestinian city just south of Jerusalem, in the West Bank...

, just outside Bethlehem, remains a popular site for pilgrimages and prayers to this day. Jacob then settled in Migdal Eder, where his firstborn, Reuben, slept with Rachel's servant Bilhah; Jacob's response was not given at the time, but he did condemn Reuben for it later, in his deathbed blessing. Jacob was finally reunited with his father Isaac in Mamre
Mamre
Mamre , full Hebrew name Elonei Mamre , refers to a Canaanite cultic shrine dedicated to the supreme, sky god of the Canaanite pantheon, El. Talmudic sources refer to the site as Beth Ilanim or Botnah. it was one of the three most important "fairs", market place or caravanserai, in Palestine...

 (outside Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

).

When Isaac died at the age of 180, Jacob and Esau buried him in the Cave of the Patriarchs
Cave of the Patriarchs
The Cave of the Patriarchs or the Cave of Machpelah , is known by Muslims as the Sanctuary of Abraham or Ibrahimi Mosque ....

, which Abraham had purchased as a family burial plot
Grave (burial)
A grave is a location where a dead body is buried. Graves are usually located in special areas set aside for the purpose of burial, such as graveyards or cemeteries....

. At this point in the Biblical narrative, two genealogies of Esau's family appear under the headings "the generations of Esau". A conservative interpretation is that, at Isaac's burial, Jacob obtained the records of Esau, who had been married 80 years prior, and incorporated them into his own family records, and that Moses augmented and published them.

Jacob in Hebron


The house of Jacob dwelt in Hebron
Hebron
Hebron , is located in the southern West Bank, south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians, and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter...

, in the land of Canaan. His flocks were often fed in the pastures of Shechem
Shechem
Shechem was a Canaanite city mentioned in the Amarna letters, and is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as an Israelite city of the tribe of Manasseh and the first capital of the Kingdom of Israel...

  as well as Dothan
Dothan (ancient city)
Dothan was a city located at north of Shechem, and about 100 km north of Hebron. Eusebius places it 12 miles to the north of Sebaste...

. Of all the children in his household, he loved Rachel’s firstborn son, Joseph, the most. Thus Joseph’s half brothers were jealous of him and they ridiculed him often. Joseph even told his father about all of his half brothers’ misdeeds. When Joseph was seventeen years old, Jacob made a long coat or tunic of many colors
Coat of many colors
In the Hebrew Bible, the coat of many colours is the name for the garment that Joseph owned. It may be a mistranslation, and the actual nature of the garment is subject to dispute...

 for him. Seeing this, the half brothers began to hate Joseph. Then Joseph began to have dreams that implied that his family would bow down to him. When he told his brothers about these dreams, it drove them to conspire against him. When Jacob heard of these dreams, he rebuked his son for proposing the idea that the house of Jacob would even bow down to Joseph. Yet, he contemplated his son’s words about these dreams.
Sometime afterward, the sons of Jacob by Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah, were feeding his flocks in Shechem. Jacob wanted to know how things were doing, so he asked Joseph to go down there and return with a report. This was the last time he would ever see his son in Hebron. Later that day, the report that Jacob ended up receiving came from Joseph's brothers who brought before him a coat laden with blood. Jacob identified the coat as the one he made for Joseph. At that moment he cried “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.” He rent his clothes and put sackcloth around his waist mourning for days. No one from the house of Jacob could comfort him during this time of bereavement.

The truth was, Jacob’s son Joseph, was turned on by his brothers and ultimately sold into slavery on a caravan headed for Egypt.

Seven year famine


Twenty years later, throughout the Middle East a severe famine occurred like none other that lasted seven years. It crippled nations. The word was that the only kingdom prospering was Egypt. In the second year of this great famine, when Israel (Jacob) was about 130 years old, he told his ten sons of Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah, to go to Egypt and buy grain. Israel’s youngest son Benjamin, born from Rachel, stayed behind by his father’s order to keep him safe.

When the ten sons returned to their father Israel, from Egypt, they were stockpiled with grain on their donkeys. They relayed to their father all that had happened in Egypt. They spoke of being accused of as spies and that their brother Simeon
Simeon (Hebrew Bible)
According to the Book of Genesis, Simeon was, the second son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Simeon. However, some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an etiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite...

, had been taken prisoner. When Reuben, the eldest, mentioned that they needed to bring Benjamin to Egypt to prove their word as honest men, their father became furious with them. He couldn’t understand how they were put in a position to tell the Egyptians all about their family. When the sons of Israel opened their sacks, they saw their money that they used to pay for the grain. It was still in their possession, and so they all became afraid. Israel then became angry with the loss of Joseph, Simeon, and now possibly Benjamin.
It turned out that Joseph, who identified his brothers in Egypt, was able to secretly return that money that they used to pay for the grain, back to them. When the house of Israel consumed all the grain that they brought from Egypt, Israel told his sons to go back and buy more. This time, Judah spoke to his father in order to persuade him about having Benjamin accompany them, so as to prevent Egyptian retribution. In hopes of retrieving Simeon and ensuring Benjamin’s return, Israel told them to bring the best fruits of their land, including: balm
Balm
Balm can refer to:*Liniment, a topical medical preparation*Melissa , a plant genus, particularly the species commonly known as Lemon balm*Balm of Gilead, a medicinal resin from the North American species Populus candicans...

, honey
Honey
Honey is a sweet food made by bees using nectar from flowers. The variety produced by honey bees is the one most commonly referred to and is the type of honey collected by beekeepers and consumed by humans...

, spices, myrrh
Myrrh
Myrrh is the aromatic oleoresin of a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora, which grow in dry, stony soil. An oleoresin is a natural blend of an essential oil and a resin. Myrrh resin is a natural gum....

, pistachio
Pistachio
The pistachio, Pistacia vera in the Anacardiaceae family, is a small tree originally from Persia , which now can also be found in regions of Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Sicily and possibly Afghanistan , as well as in the United States,...

 nuts and almonds. Israel also mentioned that the money that was returned to their money sacks was probably a mistake or an oversight on their part. So, he told them to bring that money back and use double that amount to pay for the new grain. Lastly, he let Benjamin go with them and said “may God Almighty give you mercy… If I am bereaved, I am bereaved!”

Jacob in Egypt


When the sons of Israel (Jacob) returned to Hebron from their second trip, they came back with twenty additional donkeys carrying all kinds of goods and supplies as well as Egyptian transport wagons. When their father came out to meet them, his sons told him that Joseph was still alive, that he was the governor over all of Egypt and that he wanted the house of Israel to move to Egypt. Israel’s heart “stood still” and just couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Looking upon the wagons he declared “Joseph my son is still alive. I will go and see him before I die.”
Israel and his entire house of seventy, gathered up with all their livestock and began their journey to Egypt. En route, Israel stopped at Beersheba
Beersheba
Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the seventh-largest city in Israel with a population of 194,300....

 for the night to make a sacrificial offering to his god, Yahweh. Apparently he had some reservations about leaving the land of his forefathers, but God reassured him not to fear that he would rise again. God also assured that he would be with him, he would prosper, and he would also see his son Joseph who would lay him to rest. Continuing their journey to Egypt, when they approached in proximity, Israel sent his son Judah ahead to find out where the caravans were to stop. They were directed to disembark at Goshen
Land of Goshen
The Land of Goshen is named in the bible as the place in Egypt given to the Hebrews by the pharaoh of Joseph, and the land from which they later left Egypt at the time of the Exodus...

. It was here, after twenty-two years, that Jacob saw his son Joseph once again. They embraced each other and wept together for quite a while. Israel then said, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face, because you are still alive.”

The time had come for Joseph’s family to personally meet the Pharaoh of Egypt. After Joseph prepared his family for the meeting, the brothers came before the Pharaoh first, formally requesting to pasture in Egyptian lands. The Pharaoh honored their stay and even made the notion that if there were any competent men in their house, then they may elect a chief herdsman to oversee Egyptian livestock. Finally, Joseph’s father was brought out to meet the Pharaoh. Because the Pharaoh had such a high regard for Joseph, practically making him his equal, it was an honor to meet his father. Thus, Israel was able to bless the Pharaoh. The two chatted for a bit, the Pharaoh even inquiring of Israel’s age which happened to be 130 years old at that time. After the meeting, the families were directed to pasture in the land of Ramses where they lived in the province of Goshen. The house of Israel acquired many possessions and multiplied exceedingly during the course of seventeen years, even through the worst of the seven year famine.

Final days


Israel (Jacob) was 147 years old when he called to his favorite son Joseph and pleaded that he not be buried in Egypt. Rather, he requested to be carried to the land of Canaan to be buried with his forefathers. Joseph swore to do as his father asked of him. Not too long afterward, Israel had fallen ill losing much of his vision. When Joseph came to visit his father, he brought with him his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. Israel declared that they would be heirs to the inheritance of the house of Israel, as if they were his own children, just as Reuben and Simeon were. Then Israel laid his right hand on the younger Ephraim’s head and his left hand on the eldest Manasseh’s head and blessed Joseph. However, Joseph was displeased that his father’s right hand was not on the head of his firstborn, so he switched his father’s hands. But Israel refused saying, “but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he.” A declaration he made, just as Israel himself was to his firstborn brother Esau. Then Israel called all of his sons in and prophesied their blessings or curses to all twelve of them in order of their ages.

Afterward, Israel died and the family, including the Egyptians, mourned him seventy days. Israel was embalmed and a great ceremonial journey to Canaan was prepared by Joseph. He led the servants of Pharaoh, and the elders of the houses Israel and Egypt beyond the Jordan River to Atad
Atad
Atad, an Old Testament Hebrew name meaning buckthorn.It was the place where Joseph and his brothers, when on their way from Egypt to Hebron with the remains of their father Jacob, made for seven days a “great and very sore lamentation.” On this account the Canaanites called it “Abel-mizraim” . It...

 where they observed seven days of mourning. Their lamentation was so great that it caught the attention of surrounding Canaanites who remarked “This is a deep mourning of the Egyptians.” This spot was then named Abel Mizraim. Then they buried him in the cave of Machpelah, the property of Abraham when he bought it from the Hittites.

Sons of Jacob


Jacob's wives had twelve sons and one daughter:
Reuben
Reuben (Bible)
According to the Book of Genesis, Reuben or Re'uven was the first and eldest son of Jacob with Leah. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Reuben.-Etymology:...

  ,
Simeon
Simeon (Hebrew Bible)
According to the Book of Genesis, Simeon was, the second son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Simeon. However, some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an etiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite...

 ,
Levi
Levi
Levi/Levy was, according to the Book of Genesis, the third son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Levi ; however Peake's commentary suggests this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite...

  ,
Judah  ,
Dan  ,
Naphtali
Naphtali
According to the Book of Genesis, Naphtali was the second son of Jacob with Bilhah. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Naphtali. However, some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the...

  ,
Gad  ,
Asher
Asher
Asher , in the Book of Genesis, is the second son of Jacob and Zilpah, and the founder of the Tribe of Asher.-Name:The text of the Torah argues that the name of Asher means happy/blessing, implying a derivation from the Hebrew term osher ; the Torah actually presents this in two variations—beoshri...

  ,
Issachar
Issachar
Issachar/Yissachar was, according to the Book of Genesis, a son of Jacob and Leah , and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Issachar; however some Biblical scholars view this as postdiction, an eponymous metaphor providing an aetiology of the connectedness of the tribe to others in the Israelite...

  ,
Zebulun
Zebulun
Zebulun was, according to the Books of Genesis and Numbers, the sixth son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Zebulun...

  ,
Dinah
Dinah
According to the Hebrew Bible, Dinah was the daughter of Jacob, one of the patriarchs of the Israelites and Leah, his first wife. The episode of her abduction and violation by a Canaanite prince, and the subsequent vengeance of her brothers Simeon and Levi, commonly referred to as "The Rape of...

  ,
Joseph
Joseph (Hebrew Bible)
Joseph is an important character in the Hebrew bible, where he connects the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Canaan to the subsequent story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt....

 , and Benjamin
Benjamin
Benjamin was the last-born of Jacob's twelve sons, and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Benjamin. In the Biblical account, unlike Rachel's first son, Joseph, Benjamin was born in Canaan. He died in Egypt on...

  .
The offspring of Jacob's sons became the tribes of Israel following the Exodus
The Exodus
The Exodus is the story of the departure of the Israelites from ancient Egypt described in the Hebrew Bible.Narrowly defined, the term refers only to the departure from Egypt described in the Book of Exodus; more widely, it takes in the subsequent law-givings and wanderings in the wilderness...

, when the Israelites conquered and settled in the Land of Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

.

Jewish tradition


According to the classic Jewish texts, Jacob, as the third and last patriarch, lives a life that parallels the descent of his offspring, the Jewish people, into the darkness of exile. In contrast to Abraham — who illuminates the world with knowledge of God and earns the respect of the inhabitants of the land of Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 — and Isaac — who continues his father's teachings and also lives in relative harmony with his neighbors — Jacob experiences many personal struggles both in the land and out of it (including the hatred of his brother, Esau; the deception of his father-in-law, Laban; the rape of his daughter, Dinah; the death of his favorite wife, Rachel; and the sale of his son, Joseph). For this reason, the Jewish commentators interpret many elements of his story as being symbolic of the future difficulties and struggles the Jewish people would undergo.

There are two opinions in the Midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

 as to how old Rebekah was at the time of her marriage and, consequently, at the twins' birth. According to the traditional counting cited by Rashi
Rashi
Shlomo Yitzhaki , or in Latin Salomon Isaacides, and today generally known by the acronym Rashi , was a medieval French rabbi famed as the author of a comprehensive commentary on the Talmud, as well as a comprehensive commentary on the Tanakh...

, Isaac was 37 years old at the time of the Binding of Isaac
Binding of Isaac
The Binding of Isaac Akedah or Akeidat Yitzchak in Hebrew and Dhabih in Arabic, is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son, Isaac, on Mount Moriah...

, and news of Rebekah's birth reached Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

 immediately after that event. In that case, since Isaac was 60 when Jacob and Essau were born and they had been married for 20 years, then Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah (Gen. 25:20), making Rebekah 3 years old at the time of her marriage, and 23 years old at the birth of Jacob and Essau. According to the second opinion, Isaac was 29 years old and Rebekah was 14 years old at the time of their marriage, and 34 years old at the birth of Jacob and Essau. In either case, Isaac and Rebekah were married for 20 years before Jacob and Esau were born. The Midrash says that during Rebekah's pregnancy whenever she would pass a house of Torah study, Jacob would struggle to come out; whenever she would pass a house of idolatry
Idolatry
Idolatry is a pejorative term for the worship of an idol, a physical object such as a cult image, as a god, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honour and regard to created forms other than God. In all the Abrahamic religions idolatry is strongly forbidden, although...

, Esau would agitate to come out.

Rashi explained that Isaac, when blessing Jacob instead of Esau, smelled the heavenly scent of Gan Eden
Paradise
Paradise is a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter-image of the miseries of human civilization, and in paradise there is only peace, prosperity, and happiness. Paradise is a place of contentment, but it is not necessarily a land of luxury and...

 (Paradise) when Jacob entered his room and, in contrast, perceived Gehenna
Gehenna
Gehenna , Gehinnom and Yiddish Gehinnam, are terms derived from a place outside ancient Jerusalem known in the Hebrew Bible as the Valley of the Son of Hinnom ; one of the two principal valleys surrounding the Old City.In the Hebrew Bible, the site was initially where apostate Israelites and...

 opening beneath Esau when the latter entered the room, showing him that he had been deceived all along by Esau's show of piety.

When Laban planned to deceive Jacob into marrying Leah instead of Rachel, the Midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

 recounts that both Jacob and Rachel suspected that Laban would pull such a trick; Laban was known as the "Aramean" (deceiver), and changed Jacob's wages ten times during his employ (Genesis 31:7). The couple therefore devised a series of signs by which Jacob could identify the veiled bride on his wedding night. But when Rachel saw her sister being taken out to the wedding canopy, her heart went out to her for the public shame Leah would suffer if she were exposed. Rachel therefore gave Leah the signs so that Jacob would not realize the switch.

Jewish Apocalyptic literature
Apocalyptic literature
Apocalyptic literature is a genre of prophetical writing that developed in post-Exilic Jewish culture and was popular among millennialist early Christians....

 of the Hellenistic period includes many ancient texts with narratives about Jacob, many times with details different from Genesis. The more important are the book of Jubilees
Jubilees
The Book of Jubilees , sometimes called Lesser Genesis , is an ancient Jewish religious work, considered one of the pseudepigrapha by Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Churches...

 and the Book of Biblical Antiquities. Jacob is also the protagonist of the Testament of Jacob
Testament of Jacob
The Testament of Jacob is a work now regarded as part of the Old Testament apocrypha. It is often treated as one of a trio of very similar works, the other two of which are the Testament of Abraham and Testament of Isaac, though there is no reason to assume that they were originally a single work...

, of the Ladder of Jacob
Ladder of Jacob
The Ladder of Jacob is a pseudepigraphic writing of the Old Testament. It is usually considered to be part of the Apocalyptic literature. The text has been preserved only in Slavonic, and it is clearly a translation from a now lost Greek version...

 and of the Prayer of Joseph
Prayer of Joseph
The Prayer of Joseph is a pseudepigraphic writing of the Old Testament. It was composed either in Aramaic or in Greek in the 1st century AD...

, which interpret the experience of this Patriarch in the context of merkabah
Merkabah
Merkabah is the throne-chariot of God, the four-wheeled vehicle driven by four "chayot" , each of which has four wings and the four faces of a man, lion, ox, and eagle...

 mysticism
Mysticism
Mysticism is the knowledge of, and especially the personal experience of, states of consciousness, i.e. levels of being, beyond normal human perception, including experience and even communion with a supreme being.-Classical origins:...

.

Eastern Christianity


The Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite
Byzantine Rite
The Byzantine Rite, sometimes called the Rite of Constantinople or Constantinopolitan Rite is the liturgical rite used currently by all the Eastern Orthodox Churches, by the Greek Catholic Churches , and by the Protestant Ukrainian Lutheran Church...

 see Jacob's dream as a prophecy
Prophecy
Prophecy is a process in which one or more messages that have been communicated to a prophet are then communicated to others. Such messages typically involve divine inspiration, interpretation, or revelation of conditioned events to come as well as testimonies or repeated revelations that the...

 of the Incarnation
Incarnation (Christianity)
The Incarnation in traditional Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity, also known as God the Son or the Logos , "became flesh" by being conceived in the womb of a woman, the Virgin Mary, also known as the Theotokos .The Incarnation is a fundamental theological...

 of the Logos
Logos
' is an important term in philosophy, psychology, rhetoric and religion. Originally a word meaning "a ground", "a plea", "an opinion", "an expectation", "word," "speech," "account," "reason," it became a technical term in philosophy, beginning with Heraclitus ' is an important term in...

, whereby Jacob's ladder
Jacob's Ladder
Jacob's Ladder is a "ladder to heaven", described by biblical Jacob in the Book of GenesisJacob's Ladder may also refer to:* Ladder of Jacob, a pseudepigraphic text of the Old Testament...

 is understood as a symbol of the Theotokos
Theotokos
Theotokos is the Greek title of Mary, the mother of Jesus used especially in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Eastern Catholic Churches. Its literal English translations include God-bearer and the one who gives birth to God. Less literal translations include Mother of God...

 (Virgin Mary), who, according to Orthodox theology, united heaven and earth in her womb. The biblical account of this vision is one of the standard Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 readings at Vespers
Vespers
Vespers is the evening prayer service in the Western Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran liturgies of the canonical hours...

 on Great Feasts of the Theotokos.

The account of Jacob's blessing of Joseph's sons is also seen as prophetic: when he crosses his arms to bestow his patriarchal blessing
Patriarchal blessing
In the Latter Day Saint movement, a patriarchal blessing is a blessing or ordinance given by a patriarch to a church member. Patriarchal blessings are modeled after the blessing given by Jacob to each of his sons prior to his death...

 , this is seen as a foreshadowing of the blessings Christians believe resulted from Jesus' death on the cross
Death and Resurrection of Jesus
The Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus states that Jesus returned to bodily life on the third day following his death by crucifixion. It is a key element of Christian faith and theology and part of the Nicene Creed: "On the third day he rose again in fulfillment of the Scriptures"...

.

Islamic tradition



Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s revere Jacob (Arabic: يعقوب , Standard
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

: Ya'qub
Ya'qub
Yaʿqūb , also transliterated as Yaqoob, Yaghoub and Yaqoub, is the Arabic version of the name Jacob. Ya'qub is a common name in the Muslim world and may refer to the following:*Islamic view of Jacob-Historical persons:*Ya'qub-i Laith Saffari...

) as a Prophet of Islam who received inspiration from God. He is acknowledged as a patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

 of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. Muslims believe that he preached the same monotheistic faith as his forefathers Abraham
Abraham
Abraham , whose birth name was Abram, is the eponym of the Abrahamic religions, among which are Judaism, Christianity and Islam...

, Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

 and Ishmael
Ishmael
Ishmael is a figure in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur'an, and was Abraham's first born child according to Jews, Christians and Muslims. Ishmael was born of Abraham's marriage to Sarah's handmaiden Hagar...

. Jacob is mentioned 16 times in the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

. In the majority of these references, Jacob is mentioned alongside fellow prophet
Prophet
In religion, a prophet, from the Greek word προφήτης profitis meaning "foreteller", is an individual who is claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and serves as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people...

s and patriarch
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

s as an ancient and pious prophet. According to the Qur'an, Jacob remained in the company of the elect throughout his life. (XXXVIII: 47) The Qur'an specifically mentions that Jacob was guided (VI: 84) and inspired (IV: 163) and was chosen to enforce the awareness of the Hereafter. (XXXVIII: 46) Jacob is described as a good-doer (XXI: 72) and the Qur'an further makes it clear that God inspired Jacob to contribute towards purification and hold the contact prayer. (XXI: 73) Jacob is further described as being resourceful and a possessor of great vision (XXXVIII: 45) and is further spoken of as being granted a "tongue [voice] of truthfulness to be heard". (XIX: 50)

Of the life of Jacob, the Qur'an narrates two especially important events. The first is the role he plays in the story of his son Joseph. The Qur'an narrates the story of Joseph in detail, and Jacob, being Joseph's father, is mentioned thrice and is referenced another 25 times. In the narrative, Jacob does not trust some of his older sons (XII: 11, 18, 23) because they do not respect him. (XII: 8, 16-17) Jacob's prophetic nature is evident from his foreknowledge of Joseph's future greatness (XII: 6), his foreboding and response to the supposed death of Joseph (XII: 13, 18) and in his response to the sons' plight in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

. (XII: 83, 86-87, 96) Islamic literature fleshes out the narrative of Jacob, and mentions that his wives included Rachel
Rachel
Rachel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, is a prophet and the favorite wife of Jacob, one of the three Biblical Patriarchs, and mother of Joseph and Benjamin. She was the daughter of Laban and the younger sister of Leah, Jacob's first wife...

. Jacob is later mentioned in the Qur'an in the context of the promise bestowed to Zechariah
Zechariah (priest)
In the Bible, Zechariah , is the father of John the Baptist, a priest of the sons of Aaron, a prophet in , and the husband of Elisabeth who is the cousin of Mary the mother of Jesus.In the Qur'an, Zechariah plays a similar role as the father of John the Baptist and ranks him as a prophet alongside...

, regarding the birth of John the Baptist
John the Baptist
John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher and a major religious figure mentioned in the Canonical gospels. He is described in the Gospel of Luke as a relative of Jesus, who led a movement of baptism at the Jordan River...

. (XIX: 6) Jacob’s second mention is in the Qur'an’s second chapter. As Jacob lay on his deathbed, he asked his twelve sons to testify their faith to him before he departed from this world to the next. (II: 132) Each son testified in front of Jacob that they would promise to remain Muslim until the day of their death, that is they would surrender their wholeselves to God alone and would worship only Him.

In contrast to the Judeo-Christian
Judeo-Christian
Judeo-Christian is a term used in the United States since the 1940s to refer to standards of ethics said to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, for example the Ten Commandments...

 view of Jacob, one main difference is that the story of Jacob's blessing, in which he deceives Isaac
Isaac
Isaac as described in the Hebrew Bible, was the only son Abraham had with his wife Sarah, and was the father of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was one of the three patriarchs of the Israelites...

, is not accepted in Islam. The Qur'an makes it clear that Jacob was blessed by God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 as a prophet and, therefore, Muslims believe that his father, being a prophet as well, would too have known of his son's greatness. Jacob is also cited in the Hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

as an example of one who was patient and trusting in God in the face of suffering. Jacob is also important as his life drew numerous parallels with the life of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

. Jacob suffered great loss repeatedly, as did Muhammad in the Year of Sorrow
Year of Sorrow
The Year of Sorrow is an Islamic term for a Hijri year that coincided with 619 or 623 CE. It is called so since both Abu Talib and Khadijah—the Islamic prophet Muhammad's uncle and first wife, respectively—died that year....

, when both Khadija and Abu Talib
Abu Talib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib
Abi Tlib ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib also known as Abu Talib ibn al-Muttalib.Talib was in reality the elder son of Abd Munāf and elder brother to Ali Ibn Abd Munāf. He was an head of Bani Hashim clan of Quraysh tribe of Mecca in Arabia. He was married to Fatima bint Asad and was an uncle of the...

 died. Muhammad’s famous Night Journey, when the prophet travelled through the Heavens, has been seen by scholars as the obvious prophetic parallel to Jacob’s equally famous vision of Jacob's Ladder
Jacob's Ladder
Jacob's Ladder is a "ladder to heaven", described by biblical Jacob in the Book of GenesisJacob's Ladder may also refer to:* Ladder of Jacob, a pseudepigraphic text of the Old Testament...

 coming down from the Heavens. Muslim scholars have also linked both prophets through the fact that both prophets made at least one important journey in their lives; just as Jacob migrated from Canaan
Canaan
Canaan is a historical region roughly corresponding to modern-day Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan...

 to Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Muhammad migrated from Mecca
Mecca
Mecca is a city in the Hijaz and the capital of Makkah province in Saudi Arabia. The city is located inland from Jeddah in a narrow valley at a height of above sea level...

 to Medina
Medina
Medina , or ; also transliterated as Madinah, or madinat al-nabi "the city of the prophet") is a city in the Hejaz region of western Saudi Arabia, and serves as the capital of the Al Madinah Province. It is the second holiest city in Islam, and the burial place of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, and...

.

External links


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