Jacob Hartman Jr
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Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb; gr, Ἰακώβ, Iakṓb), later given the name
Israel Israel (; he, יִשְׂרָאֵל, translit=Yīsrāʾēl; ar, إِسْرَائِيل, translit=ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel ( he, מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל, label=none, translit=Medīnat Yīsrāʾēl; ), is a ...
, is regarded as a
patriarch The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Or ...
of the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic perio ...

Israelites
and is an important figure in
Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic Semitic most commonly refers to the Semitic languages, a name used since the 1770s to refer to the language family ...

Abrahamic religions
, such as
Judaism Judaism is an Abrahamic The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic-originated religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of de ...
,
Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth. It is the Major religious groups, world's la ...

Christianity
, and
Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first syllable) ( ...
. Jacob first appears in the
Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the ...

Book of Genesis
, where he is described as the son of
Isaac Isaac, ''Isaák''; ar, إسحٰق/إسحاق, ; am, ይስሐቅ is one of the three patriarchs The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is gener ...

Isaac
and
Rebecca Rebecca, ; SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, ...

Rebecca
, and the grandson of
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic ...

Abraham
,
Sarah SAR-Lupe is Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , languages_type = Official language , languages = German language, German , demonym = Germans, ...

Sarah
and
Bethuel Bethuel ( – ''Bəṯūʾēl'', “house of God”), in the Hebrew Bible, was an Arameans, Aramean man, the youngest son of Nahor, son of Terah, Nahor and Milcah, the nephew of Abraham, and the father of Laban (Bible), Laban and Rebecca. Bethuel ...
. According to the biblical account, he was the second-born of Isaac's children, the elder being Jacob's
fraternal twin Twins are two offspring In biology, offspring are the young born of living organism, organisms, produced either by a single organism or, in the case of sexual reproduction, two organisms. Collective offspring may be known as a brood or progeny ...
brother,
Esau Esau ''Ēsaû''; la, Hesau, Esau; ar, عِيسَوْ ''‘Īsaw''; meaning "hairy"Easton, M. ''Illustrated Bible Dictionary'', (, , 2006, p. 236 or "rough".Mandel, D. ''The Ultimate Who's Who in the Bible'', (.), 2007, p. 175 is the elder son of ...

Esau
. Jacob is said to have bought Esau's birthright and, with his mother's help, deceived his aging father to bless him instead of Esau. Later in the narrative, following a severe drought in his homeland of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
, Jacob and his descendants, with the help of his son
Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef. The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongside "Josef") countries. This spelling is also found as a variant in the Nordic coun ...
(who had become a confidante of the
pharaoh Pharaoh ( , ; cop, , Pǝrro) is the vernacular, common title now used for the monarchs of ancient Egypt from the First Dynasty of Egypt, First Dynasty (c. 3150 BCE) until the annexation of Egypt by the Roman Empire in 30 BCE, although the t ...

pharaoh
), moved to
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identif ...
where Jacob died at the age of 147. He is supposed to have been buried in the
Cave of Machpelah , alternate_name = Tomb of the Patriarchs, Cave of Machpelah, Sanctuary of Abraham , image = Palestine Hebron Cave of the Patriarchs.jpg , alt = , caption = Southern view of the complex, 2009 , map_type = West Bank#Palestine , map_alt ...
. Jacob is said to have had twelve sons by four women, his wives,
Leah Leah ''La'ya;'' from () is an important, albeit minor, character in Judeo-Christian literature, the unloved wife of the Biblical patriarch Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب '' Yaʿqūb'', gr, Ἰακώβ, ''Iakṓb''), later given ...
and
Rachel Rachel () was a Bible, Biblical figure, the favorite of Jacob's two wives, and the mother of Joseph (Genesis), Joseph and Benjamin, two of the twelve progenitors of the tribes of Israel. Rachel's father was Laban (Bible), Laban. Her older sister ...

Rachel
, and his concubines,
BilhahBilhah ( "unworried", Standard Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Jud ...

Bilhah
and
ZilpahIn the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scr ...
, who were, in order of their birth,
Reuben Reuben is a Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. It appears in the form of a ...
,
Simeon Simeon is a given name, from the Hebrew (Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others ...
,
Levi Levi (; ) was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection o ...

Levi
,
Judah Judah may refer to: Historical ethnic, political and geographic terms The name was passed on, successively, from the biblical figure of Judah, to the Israelite tribe; its territorial allotment and the Israelite kingdom emerging from it, with the ...
, Dan,
Naphtali According to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew languag ...
, Gad,
Asher Asher ( he, אָשֵׁר ''’Āšēr''), in the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canon ...

Asher
,
Issachar Issachar () was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection ...
,
Zebulun Zebulun (; also ''Zebulon'', ''Zabulon'', or ''Zaboules'') was, according to the Books of Book of Genesis, Genesis and Book of Numbers, Numbers,Genesis 46:14 the sixth and last son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelites, Israelite Tr ...
, Joseph, and
Benjamin Benjamin () was the last-born of Jacob's thirteen children (12 sons and one daughter), and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the progenitor of the Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ...

Benjamin
, all of whom became the heads of their own family groups, later known as the
Twelve Tribes of Israel The Twelve Tribes of Israel ( he, שבטי ישראל, translit=Shivtei Yisrael, lit=Tribes of Israel) are, according to Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic religious texts, the descendants of the biblical Patriarchs (Bible), patriarch Jacob, also kno ...
, and it is also known that he had a daughter,
Dinah In the Book of Genesis, Dinah (; ) was the daughter of Jacob, one of the patriarchs of the Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic- ...

Dinah
. According to Genesis, Jacob displayed favoritism among his wives and children, preferring Rachel and her sons, Joseph and Benjamin, causing tension within the family—culminating in Joseph's older brothers selling him into slavery. Scholars have taken a mixed view as to Jacob's historicity, with archaeology so far producing no evidence for his existence.


Etymology

According to the
folk etymology Folk etymology (also known as popular etymology, analogical reformation, reanalysis, morphological reanalysis or etymological reinterpretation) is a change in a word or phrase resulting from the replacement of an unfamiliar form by a more familia ...
found in
Genesis Genesis may refer to: Literature and comics * Genesis (DC Comics), a 1997 DC Comics crossover * Genesis (Marvel Comics), a Marvel Comics villain * Genesis, a fictional character from the ''Preacher (comics), Preacher'' comic-book series * ''Genes ...

Genesis
25:26, the name is derived from "heel", as Jacob was born grasping the heel of his twin brother
Esau Esau ''Ēsaû''; la, Hesau, Esau; ar, عِيسَوْ ''‘Īsaw''; meaning "hairy"Easton, M. ''Illustrated Bible Dictionary'', (, , 2006, p. 236 or "rough".Mandel, D. ''The Ultimate Who's Who in the Bible'', (.), 2007, p. 175 is the elder son of ...

Esau
. The historical origin of the name is uncertain, although similar names have been recorded. is recorded as a place name in a list by
Thutmose III Thutmose III (variously also spelt Tuthmosis or Thothmes) was the sixth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Egypt, Eighteenth Dynasty. Officially, Thutmose III ruled Egypt for almost 54 years and his reign is usually dated from 28 April 1479 ...

Thutmose III
(15th century BC), and later as the ''nomen'' of a
Hyksos Hyksos (; Egyptian language, Egyptian ''wikt:ḥqꜣ, ḥqꜣ(w)-wikt:ḫꜣst, ḫꜣswt'', Egyptological pronunciation: ''hekau khasut'', "ruler(s) of foreign lands"; grc, Ὑκσώς, ) is a term which, in modern Egyptology, designates the kin ...
pharaoh. The hieroglyphs are ambiguous, and can be read as "Yaqub-Har", "Yaqubaal", or "Yaqub El". The same name is recorded earlier still, in c. 1800 BC, in cuneiform inscriptions (spelled ''ya-ah-qu-ub-el'', ''ya-qu-ub-el''). The suggestion that the personal name may be shortened from this compound name, which would translate to "may El protect", originates with Bright (1960). The
Septuagint The Greek Old Testament, or Septuagint (, ; from the la, septuaginta, lit=seventy; often abbreviated ''70''; in Roman numerals, LXX), is the earliest extant Koine Greek translation of books from the Hebrew Bible and deuterocanonical books. The ...
renders the name , whence Latin , English ''Jacob''. The name ''Israel'' given to Jacob following the episode of his wrestling with the angel (Genesis 32:22–32) is etymologized as composition of '' el'' "god" and the root ''śarah'' "to rule, contend, have power, prevail over":  (
KJV The King James Version (KJV), also known as the King James Bible (KJB), sometimes as the English version of 1611, or simply the Version (AV), is an English translation of the Christian Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβ ...
: "a prince hast thou power with
God God, in monotheistic thought, is conceived of as the supreme being, creator, and principal object of faith Faith, derived from Latin ''fides'' and Old French ''feid'', is confidence or trust in a person, thing, or In the context of religio ...

God
"); alternatively, the ''el'' can be read as the subject, for a translation of "El rules/contends/struggles".


Genesis narrative

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


Birth

Jacob and his twin brother, Esau, were born to
Isaac Isaac, ''Isaák''; ar, إسحٰق/إسحاق, ; am, ይስሐቅ is one of the three patriarchs The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is gener ...

Isaac
and
Rebecca Rebecca, ; SyriacSyriac may refer to: *Syriac language, a dialect of Middle Aramaic * Syriac alphabet ** Syriac (Unicode block) ** Syriac Supplement * Neo-Aramaic languages also known as Syriac in most native vernaculars * Syriac Christianity, ...

Rebecca
after 20 years of marriage, when Isaac was 60 years of age. Rebecca was uncomfortable during her pregnancy and went to inquire of God why she was suffering. She received the prophecy that
twin Twins are two offspring In biology, offspring are the young born of living organism, organisms, produced either by a single organism or, in the case of sexual reproduction, two organisms. Collective offspring may be known as a brood or progeny ...

twin
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 one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger"
(Genesis 25:25 KJV)
When the time came for Rebecca to give birth, the firstborn, Esau, came out covered with red hair, as if he were wearing a hairy garment, and his heel was grasped by the hand of Jacob, the secondborn. According to Genesis 25, Isaac and Rebecca named the first son he, עשו, Esau. The second son they named יעקב, Jacob (Ya'aqob or Ya'aqov, meaning "heel-catcher", "supplanter", "leg-puller", "he who follows upon the heels of one", from he, link=no, עקב, ''aqab'' or ''aqav'', "seize by the heel", "circumvent", "restrain", a wordplay upon he, עקבה, link=no, ''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 Rebecca loved Jacob."


Acquiring birthright

Genesis 25:29–34 tells the account of Esau selling his birthright to Jacob. This passage tells 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, he, link=no, אדום (Edom'', meaning "Red").) Jacob offered to give Esau a bowl of stew in exchange for his birthright, to which Esau agreed.


Blessing of Isaac

As Isaac aged, he became blind and was uncertain when he would die, so he decided to bestow Esau's birthright upon him. He requested that Esau go out to the fields with his weapons (quiver and bow) to kill some venison. Isaac then requested 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. Rebecca 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. Rebecca blessed Jacob and 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 Rebecca 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, Rebecca 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 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 Shlomo Yitzchaki ( he, רבי שלמה יצחקי; la, Salomon Isaacides; french: Salomon de Troyes, 22 February 1040 – 13 July 1105), today generally known by the acronym Rashi (see below), was a medieval French rabbi A rabbi is a spi ...
, 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. Genesis 27:28–29 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 by adding, "Indeed, he will be r remainblessed!" (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). Although Esau sold Jacob his own birthright, which was his blessing, for "red pottage," Esau still hated Jacob for receiving his blessing that their father Isaac unknowingly had given to him. He vowed to kill Jacob as soon as Isaac died. When Rebecca heard about his murderous intentions, she ordered Jacob to travel to her brother
LabanLaban is a French language, French surname. It may refer to: Places * Laban-e Olya, a village in Iran * Laban-e Sofla, a village in Iran * Laban, Virginia, an unincorporated community in the United States * 8539 Laban, main-belt asteroid People S ...
's house in Haran, until Esau's anger subsided. She convinced Isaac to send Jacob away by telling him that she despaired of his marrying a local girl from the idol-worshipping families of
Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic Northwest Semitic, known as Syro-Palestinian in dialect geography, is a division of the Semitic languages comprising the indigenous languages of the Levant. It would have ...

Canaan
(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 so he took a daughter of Isaac's half-brother,
Ishmael Ishmael ''Ismaḗl''; Classical/Qur'anic Arabic: إِسْمَٰعِيْل; Modern Standard Arabic: إِسْمَاعِيْل ''ʾIsmāʿīl''; la, Ismael was the first son of Abraham, the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions, and the Anci ...
, as another wife.


Jacob's ladder

Near
Luz Luz ( ''Lūz'') is the name of two places in the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and othe ...

Luz
en route to
Haran Haran or Aran ( he, הָרָן – ''Hārān'') is a man in the Book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible. He died in Ur of Chaldia, Chaldees (Ur Kaśdim), was a son of Terah, and brother of Abraham. Through his son Lot (biblical person), Lot, Haran wa ...
, 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#REDIRECT Jacob's Ladder Jacob's Ladder ( he, סֻלָּם יַעֲקֹב ) is a ladder leading to heaven that was featured in a dream the Patriarchs (Bible), biblical Patriarch Jacob had during his flight from his brother Esau in the Book of Ge ...

Jacob's ladder
." He heard the voice of God, who repeated many of the blessings upon him, coming from the top of the ladder. According to Midrash Genesis Rabbah, the ladder signified the exiles that the Jewish people would suffer before the coming of the
Jewish Messiah The Messiah in Judaism () is the savior and liberator figure in Jewish eschatology, whose role is to restore Judaism Judaism ( he, יהדות, ''Yahadut''; originally from Hebrew , ''Yehudah'', "Kingdom of Judah, Judah", via Ancient Greek ...
: 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
Edom Edom (; Edomite language, Edomite: ; he, Wiktionary:אדום, אֱדוֹם , lit.: "red"; Akkadian language, Akkadian: , ; Egyptian language, Ancient Egyptian: ) was an ancient kingdom in Transjordan (region), Transjordan located between Mo ...

Edom
, kept climbing higher and higher into the clouds. Jacob feared that his descendants would never be free of Esau's domination, but God assured him that at the End of Days, Edom too would come falling down. In the morning, Jacob awakened and continued on his way to Haran, after naming the place where he had spent the night "
Bethel Bethel (Ugaritic language, Ugaritic: ''bt il'', meaning "House of El (deity), El" or "House of God",Bleeker and Widegren, 1988, p. 257. he, בֵּית אֵל ''ḇêṯ’êl'', also transliteration, transliterated ''Beth El'', ''Beth-El'', ''B ...

Bethel
," "God's house."


Marriages

Arriving in Haran, Jacob saw a well where shepherds were gathering their flocks to water them and met
LabanLaban is a French language, French surname. It may refer to: Places * Laban-e Olya, a village in Iran * Laban-e Sofla, a village in Iran * Laban, Virginia, an unincorporated community in the United States * 8539 Laban, main-belt asteroid People S ...
's younger daughter,
Rachel Rachel () was a Bible, Biblical figure, the favorite of Jacob's two wives, and the mother of Joseph (Genesis), Joseph and Benjamin, two of the twelve progenitors of the tribes of Israel. Rachel's father was Laban (Bible), Laban. Her older sister ...

Rachel
, Jacob's
first cousin Commonly, "cousin" refers to a "first cousin", a relative whose most recent common ancestor with the subject is a grandparent. More generally, in the lineal kinshipLineal is a geometric term of location which may refer to: * pertaining to a ...

first cousin
; she was working as a shepherdess. Jacob was 77 years old,Craig Olson, "How Old was Father Abraham? Re-examining the Patriarchal Lifespans in Light of Archaeology", p.13 and he loved Rachel immediately. After spending a month with his relatives he asked for her hand in marriage in return for working seven years for Laban the Aramean. Laban agreed to the arrangement. These seven years seemed to Jacob "but a few days, for the love he had for her." When they were complete and he was 84 years old he asked for his wife, but Laban deceived him by switching Rachel for her older sister,
Leah Leah ''La'ya;'' from () is an important, albeit minor, character in Judeo-Christian literature, the unloved wife of the Biblical patriarch Jacob Jacob (; ; ar, يَعْقُوب '' Yaʿqūb'', gr, Ἰακώβ, ''Iakṓb''), later given ...
, as the veiled bride. In the morning, when the truth became known, Laban justified his action, saying that in his country it was unheard of to give a younger daughter before the older. However, he agreed to give Rachel in marriage as well if Jacob would work another seven years. After the week of wedding celebrations with Leah, Jacob married Rachel, and he continued to work for Laban for another seven years. Jacob, having been celibate until the age of 84, fathered twelve children in the next seven years. He loved Rachel more than Leah, and Leah felt hated. God opened Leah's womb and she gave birth to four sons rapidly:
Reuben Reuben is a Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. It appears in the form of a ...
,
Simeon Simeon is a given name, from the Hebrew (Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others ...
,
Levi Levi (; ) was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection o ...

Levi
, and
Judah Judah may refer to: Historical ethnic, political and geographic terms The name was passed on, successively, from the biblical figure of Judah, to the Israelite tribe; its territorial allotment and the Israelite kingdom emerging from it, with the ...
. Rachel, however, remained barren. Following the example of Sarah, who gave her handmaid to
Abraham Abraham, ''Ibrāhīm''; el, Ἀβραάμ, translit=Abraám, name=, group= (originally Abram) is the common patriarch of the Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic ...

Abraham
after years of infertility, Rachel gave her handmaid
BilhahBilhah ( "unworried", Standard Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Jud ...

Bilhah
to Jacob so that Rachel could raise children through her. Bilhah gave birth to Dan and
Naphtali According to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew languag ...
. Seeing that she had left off childbearing temporarily, Leah then gave her handmaid
ZilpahIn the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scr ...
to Jacob so that Leah could raise more children through her. Zilpah gave birth to Gad and
Asher Asher ( he, אָשֵׁר ''’Āšēr''), in the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canon ...

Asher
. Afterwards, Leah became fertile again and gave birth to
Issachar Issachar () was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection ...
,
Zebulun Zebulun (; also ''Zebulon'', ''Zabulon'', or ''Zaboules'') was, according to the Books of Book of Genesis, Genesis and Book of Numbers, Numbers,Genesis 46:14 the sixth and last son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelites, Israelite Tr ...
, and
Dinah In the Book of Genesis, Dinah (; ) was the daughter of Jacob, one of the patriarchs of the Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic- ...

Dinah
, Jacob's first and only daughter. God remembered Rachel, who gave birth to
Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef. The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongside "Josef") countries. This spelling is also found as a variant in the Nordic coun ...
and
Benjamin Benjamin () was the last-born of Jacob's thirteen children (12 sons and one daughter), and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the progenitor of the Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ...

Benjamin
. After Joseph was born, Jacob decided to return home to his parents. Laban the Aramean was reluctant to release him, as God had blessed his flock on account of Jacob. Laban asked what he could pay Jacob. Jacob suggested that all the spotted, speckled, and brown goats and sheep of Laban's flock, at any given moment, would be his wages. Jacob placed rods of poplar, hazel, and chestnut, all of which he peeled "white streaks upon them," within the flocks' watering holes or troughs, associating the stripes of the rods with the growth of stripes on the livestock. Despite this practicing of magic, later on Jacob says to his wives that it was God who made the livestock give birth to the convenient offspring, in order to turn the tide against the deceptive Laban. As time passed, Laban's sons noticed that Jacob was taking the better part of their flocks, and so Laban's friendly attitude towards Jacob began to change. The
angel of the Lord The (or an) angel of the ( he, מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה '' malakh YHWH'' "messenger of Yahweh") is an entity appearing repeatedly in the Tanakh (Old Testament) on behalf of the Yahweh, God of Israel. The term ''malakh YHWH'', which occurs ...
, in a dream back during the breeding season, told Jacob "Now lift your eyes and see
hat A collection of 18th and 19th century men's beaver felt hats A hat is a head covering which is worn for various reasons, including protection against weather conditions, ceremonial reasons such as university graduation, religious reasons, safet ...

hat
all the he goats mounting the animals are ringed, speckled, and striped, for I have seen all that Laban is doing to you", that he is the God whom Jacob met at Bethel,Genesis 31:13 and that Jacob should leave and go back to the land where he was born, which he and his wives and children did without informing Laban. Before they left, Rachel stole the ''
teraphimTeraphim ( he, תרף ''teraph''; plural: he, תרפים ''teraphim'') is a Hebrew language, Hebrew word from the Bible, found only in the plural, of uncertain etymology. Despite being plural, ''Teraphim'' may refer to singular objects, using the He ...
,'' considered to be household idols, from Laban's house. 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 said to Jacob, "What have you done, that you have tricked me and driven away my daughters like captives of the sword?" He also asked for his stolen ''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 The menstrual cycle is a series of natural changes in hormone A hormone (from the Greek participle , "setting in motion") is any member of a class of signaling molecules in multicellular organisms, that are transported to distant organs to r ...
. Jacob and Laban then parted from each other with a pact to preserve the peace between them near
Gilead Gilead or Gilad (; he , גִּלְעָד, ar, جلعاد – Ǧalʻād, Jalaad) is the name of three persons and two geographic places in the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a coll ...
. Laban returned to his home and Jacob continued on his way.


Journey back to Canaan

As Jacob neared the land of Canaan as he passed
Mahanaim Mahanaim ( he, מַחֲניִם meaning ''two camps'' in Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the la ...
, 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 The Zarqa River ( ar, نهر الزرقاء, ''Nahr az-Zarqāʾ'', lit. "the River of Zarqa, the Blue ity) is the second largest tributary of the lower Jordan River, after the Yarmouk River. It is the third largest river in the region by annual ...

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 Gid Hanasheh ( he, גִּיד הַנָּשֶׁה), often translated as "displaced tendon," is the term for sciatic nerve The sciatic nerve, also called the ischiadic nerve, is a large nerve A nerve is an enclosed, cable-like bundle of nerve fi ...
'', 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 In its primary meaning, the Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Jud ...
of porging. Jacob then demanded a blessing, and the being declared in Genesis 32:28 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 he, שרה, link=no, "prevail," "have power as a prince"). While he is still called Jacob in later texts, his name Israel makes some consider him the
eponym An eponym is a person, place, or thing after whom or which someone or something is, or is believed to be, named. The adjectives derived from eponym include ''eponymous'' and ''eponymic''. Word usage The word is used in different ways. In the ...
ous ancestor of the
Israelites The Israelites (; ) were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic-speaking tribes of the ancient Near East, who inhabited a part of Canaan during the history of ancient Israel and Judah, tribal and monarchic perio ...

Israelites
. Jacob asked the being's name, but he refused to answer. Afterwards, Jacob named the place
Penuel In the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew language, Hebrew scriptures, including the Torah, the Nevi'im, and the Ketuvim. These texts are almost exclusively in Biblic ...
(''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 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 The (or an) angel of the ( he, מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה '' malakh YHWH'' "messenger of Yahweh") is an entity appearing repeatedly in the Tanakh (Old Testament) on behalf of the Yahweh, God of Israel. The term ''malakh YHWH'', which occurs ...
to eat a meal with Abraham in Genesis 18. Geller wrote that, "in the context of the wrestling bout, the name implies that Jacob won this supremacy, linked to that of God's, by a kind of theomachy." In the morning, Jacob assembled his four 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 six to 13 years prior in the narrative); Jacob suggested eventually catching up with Esau at
Mount Seir Mount Seir ( he, הַר-שֵׂעִיר, ''Har Se'ir''; ar, جبال الشراة, ''Jibāl ash-Sharāh'') is the ancient and biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religio ...
. 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. 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 be 180, and was 60 years older than they were. Jacob then arrived in
Shechem Shechem , also spelled Sichem (; he, שְׁכָם / Standard ''Šəḵem'' Tiberian ''Šeḵem'', "shoulder"; grc, Συχέμ LXX), was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic: ; Phoenician lang ...

Shechem
, where he bought a parcel of land, now identified as . 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 is the removal of the foreskin from the human penis. In the most common procedure, the foreskin is opened, adhesions are removed, and the foreskin is separated from the glans. After that, a circumcision device may be placed, and ...

circumcised
themselves, ostensibly to unite the children of Jacob in Abraham's
covenant Covenant may refer to: Religion * Covenant (religion) In religion, a covenant is a formal alliance or agreement made by God with a religious community or with humanity in general. The concept, central to the Abrahamic religions The Abraha ...
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 File:A map of Canaan (8343807206).jpg, A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic: ; Phoenician language, Phoenician: 𐤊𐤍𐤏𐤍 – ; he, כְּנַעַן – , in pausa – ; grc-bib, Χανααν – ;The c ...
and
PerizzitesThe Perizzites ( ''Pərizzî'') are a group of people mentioned many times in the Bible The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews ...
, 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, 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 (; ar, بيت لحم , "House of Meat"; he, בֵּית לֶחֶם ', , "House of Bread"; ; la, Bethleem; initially named after Canaanite fertility god Laḫmu) is a city in the central West Bank, State of Palestine, Palestine, a ...

Bethlehem
, Rachel went into labor and died as she gave birth to her second son,
Benjamin Benjamin () was the last-born of Jacob's thirteen children (12 sons and one daughter), and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the progenitor of the Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ...

Benjamin
(Jacob's twelfth son). Jacob buried her and erected a monument over her grave. Rachel's Tomb, just outside Bethlehem, remains a popular site for pilgrimages and prayers to this day. Jacob then settled in Migdal Eder (biblical location), Migdal Eder, where his firstborn,
Reuben Reuben is a Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. It appears in the form of a ...
, 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 (outside Hebron). When Isaac died at the age of 180, Jacob and Esau buried him in the Cave of the Patriarchs, which Abraham had purchased as a family Grave (burial), burial plot. 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.


In Hebron

The house of Jacob dwelt in Hebron, in the land of Canaan. His flocks were often fed in the pastures of
Shechem Shechem , also spelled Sichem (; he, שְׁכָם / Standard ''Šəḵem'' Tiberian ''Šeḵem'', "shoulder"; grc, Συχέμ LXX), was a Canaan A 1692 map of Canaan, by Philip Lea Canaan (; Northwest Semitic: ; Phoenician lang ...

Shechem
as well as Dothan (ancient city), Dothan. 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 17 years old, Jacob made a long coat or coat of many colors, tunic of many colors 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 such 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 that Joseph's older brothers had turned on him, apprehended him and ultimately sold him 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 10 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. Nine of the sons returned to their father Israel from Egypt, 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, 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: Melissa (plant), balm, honey, spices, myrrh, pistachio 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!"


In Egypt

When the sons of Israel (Jacob) returned to Hebron from their second trip, they came back with 20 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 70, gathered up with all their livestock and began their journey to Egypt. En route, Israel stopped at Beersheba 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 Land of Goshen, Goshen. It was here, after 22 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 List of Pharaohs, 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 17 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 70 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 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.


Children of Jacob

Jacob, through his two wives and his two concubines had 12 biological sons;
Reuben Reuben is a Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others. It appears in the form of a ...
,
Simeon Simeon is a given name, from the Hebrew (Biblical The Bible (from Koine Greek τὰ βιβλία, ''tà biblía'', "the books") is a collection of religious texts or scriptures sacred to Christians, Jews, Samaritans, Rastafari and others ...
,
Levi Levi (; ) was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection o ...

Levi
,
Judah Judah may refer to: Historical ethnic, political and geographic terms The name was passed on, successively, from the biblical figure of Judah, to the Israelite tribe; its territorial allotment and the Israelite kingdom emerging from it, with the ...
, Dan,
Naphtali According to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection of Hebrew languag ...
, Gad,
Asher Asher ( he, אָשֵׁר ''’Āšēr''), in the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canon ...

Asher
,
Issachar Issachar () was, according to the Book of Genesis The Book of Genesis,, "''Bərēšīṯ''", "In hebeginning" the first book of the Hebrew Bible The Hebrew Bible or Tanakh (; Hebrew: , or ), is the Biblical canon, canonical collection ...
,
Zebulun Zebulun (; also ''Zebulon'', ''Zabulon'', or ''Zaboules'') was, according to the Books of Book of Genesis, Genesis and Book of Numbers, Numbers,Genesis 46:14 the sixth and last son of Jacob and Leah, and the founder of the Israelites, Israelite Tr ...
,
Joseph Joseph is a common masculine given name, derived from the Hebrew Yosef. The form "Joseph" is used mostly in English, French and partially German-speaking (alongside "Josef") countries. This spelling is also found as a variant in the Nordic coun ...
and
Benjamin Benjamin () was the last-born of Jacob's thirteen children (12 sons and one daughter), and the second and last son of Rachel in Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition. He was the progenitor of the Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ...

Benjamin
and at least one daughter,
Dinah In the Book of Genesis, Dinah (; ) was the daughter of Jacob, one of the patriarchs of the Israelite The Israelites (; he, בני ישראל ''Bnei Yisra'el'') were a confederation of Iron Age ancient Semitic-speaking peoples, Semitic- ...

Dinah
(if there were other daughters, they are not mentioned in the Genesis story). In addition, Jacob also adopted the two sons of Joseph, Manasseh (tribal patriarch), Manasseh and Ephraim. The offspring of Jacob's sons became the tribes of Israel following the Exodus, when the Israelites conquered and settled in the Land of Israel.


Family tree


Religious perspectives


Judaism

There are two opinions in the Midrash as to how old Rebecca was at the time of her marriage and, consequently, at the twins' birth. According to the traditional counting cited by
Rashi Shlomo Yitzchaki ( he, רבי שלמה יצחקי; la, Salomon Isaacides; french: Salomon de Troyes, 22 February 1040 – 13 July 1105), today generally known by the acronym Rashi (see below), was a medieval French rabbi A rabbi is a spi ...
, Isaac was 37 years old at the time of the Binding of Isaac, and news of Rebecca's birth reached Abraham 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 Rebecca (Gen. 25:20), making Rebecca three years old at the time of her marriage, and 23 years old at the birth of Jacob and Esau. According to the second opinion, Rebecca 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 Rebecca were married for 20 years before Jacob and Esau were born. The Midrash says that during Rebecca'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, Esau would agitate to come out. Rashi explained that Isaac, when blessing Jacob instead of Esau, smelled the heavenly scent of Paradise, Gan Eden (Paradise) when Jacob entered his room and, in contrast, perceived Gehenna 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 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. Jacob had still another reason for grieving the loss of Joseph. God had promised to him: "If none of your sons dies during your lifetime, you may look upon it as a token that you will not be put in (Hell of) Gehenna after your death."Ginzberg, Louis (1909). ''Legends of the Jews Vol I : Joseph's Coat Brought to His Father'' (Translated by Henrietta Szold) Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society Thinking Joseph to be dead, Jacob had his own destiny to lament because he considered that he was doomed to that Hell. Jewish apocalyptic literature 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 and the Book of Biblical Antiquities. Jacob is also the protagonist of the Testament of Jacob, of the Ladder of Jacob and of the Prayer of Joseph, which interpret the experience of this Patriarch in the context of merkabah mysticism.


Christianity

The Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite see Jacob's dream as a prophecy of the Incarnation (Christianity), incarnation of the Logos (Christianity), Logos, whereby
Jacob's ladder#REDIRECT Jacob's Ladder Jacob's Ladder ( he, סֻלָּם יַעֲקֹב ) is a ladder leading to heaven that was featured in a dream the Patriarchs (Bible), biblical Patriarch Jacob had during his flight from his brother Esau in the Book of Ge ...

Jacob's ladder
is understood as a symbol of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary), who, according to Eastern Orthodox theology, united heaven and earth in her womb. The biblical account of this vision is one of the standard Old Testament readings at Vespers on Great Feasts of the Theotokos. The Eastern and Western Churches consider Jacob as a saint along with other biblical patriarchs. Along with other patriarchs his feast day is celebrated in the Byzantine rite on the Second Sunday before the Advent (December 11–17), under the title ''the Sunday of the Forefathers''.


Islam

Two further references to Isra'il (Arabic: إِسْرَآئِیل [''ˈisraāˈiyl'']; Classical/ Quranic Arabic: إِسْرَآءِیْل [''ˈisraāãˈiyl'']) are believed to be mention of Jacob. The Arabic form Ya'qūb ( ar, يَعْقُوب, Yaʿqūb, links=no may be direct from the Hebrew or indirect through Syriac language, Syriac. He is recognized in
Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first syllable) ( ...
as a Prophets in Islam, prophet who received inspiration from God. He is acknowledged as a patriarch of
Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronounced , or (when the stress is on the first syllable) ( ...
. Muslims believe that he preached the same monotheistic faith as his forefathers Abraham in Islam, ʾIbrāhīm, Isaac in Islam, ʾIsḥāq and Ishmael in Islam, Ismā'īl. Jacob is mentioned 16 times in the Quran. In the majority of these references, Jacob is mentioned alongside fellow prophets and patriarchs as an ancient and pious prophet. According to the Quran, Jacob remained in the company of the elect throughout his life. (38:47) The Quran specifically mentions that Jacob was guided (6:84) and inspired (4:163) and was chosen to enforce the awareness of the Hereafter. (38:46) Jacob is described as a good-doer (21:72) and the Quran further makes it clear that God inspired Jacob to contribute towards purification and hold the contact prayer. (21:73) Jacob is further described as being resourceful and a possessor of great vision (38:45) and is further spoken of as being granted a "tongue [voice] of truthfulness to be heard." (19:50) Of the life of Jacob, the Quran narrates two especially important events. The first is the role he plays in the story of his son Islamic view of Joseph, Joseph. The Quran narrates the story of Joseph in detail, and Jacob, being Joseph's father, is mentioned thrice and is referenced another 25 times."Jacob", ''Encyclopedia of Islam'' Vol. XI, p. 254. In the narrative, Jacob does not trust some of his older sons (12: 11, 18, 23) because they do not respect him. (12: 8, 16–17) Jacob's prophetic nature is evident from his foreknowledge of Joseph's future greatness (12:6), his foreboding and response to the supposed death of Joseph (12: 13, 18) and in his response to the sons' plight in Egypt. (12: 83, 86–87, 96) Islamic literature fleshes out the narrative of Jacob, and mentions that his wives included
Rachel Rachel () was a Bible, Biblical figure, the favorite of Jacob's two wives, and the mother of Joseph (Genesis), Joseph and Benjamin, two of the twelve progenitors of the tribes of Israel. Rachel's father was Laban (Bible), Laban. Her older sister ...

Rachel
. Jacob is later mentioned in the Quran in the context of the promise bestowed to Zechariah (priest), Zechariah, regarding the birth of John the Baptist. (19:6) Jacob's second mention is in the Quran's second chapter. As Jacob lay on his deathbed, he asked his 12 sons to testify their faith to him before he departed from this world to the next. (2:132) Each son testified in front of Jacob that they would promise to remain Muslim (in submission to God) 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 view of Jacob, one main difference is that the story of Jacob's blessing, in which he deceives Isaac, is not accepted in Islam. The Quran makes it clear that Jacob was blessed by God as a prophet and, therefore, Muslims believe that his father, being a prophet as well, also knew of his son's greatness. Jacob is also cited in the ''Hadith'' as an example of one who was patient and trusting in God in the face of suffering.


Nation of Islam

According to the teachings of the Nation of Islam, the original inhabitants of the world were black (referred to as the "Asiatic Blackman"), while the white race are "devils" who were created 6,000 years ago on what is today the Greek island of Patmos by the biblical and quranic Jacob, whom the groups refer to as the "bigheaded scientist" Yakub. Though rejected by the vast majority of American Muslims, several NOI breakaway sects, including the Five-Percent Nation subscribe to this narrative. In contrast to both the Bible and Qu’ran, NOI theology teaches Yakub was born in Mecca.Michael Angelo Gomez, ''Black Crescent: The Experience and Legacy of African Muslims in the Americas'', Cambridge University Press, 2005, p. 311


Historicity

Although archaeologist and biblical scholar William F. Albright maintained (c. 1961) that the narratives of Abraham and Jacob could be dated to about the 19th century BCE;Bimson, John J. (1980)
"Archaeological Data and the Dating of the Patriarchs," ''Essays on the Patriarchal Narratives'', pp. 59–92, (A.R. Millard & D.J. Wiseman, eds., Leicester: IVP. Hbk.
, John J. Bimson wrote in 1980: "Since then ... there has been a strong reaction against the use of archaeological evidence in support of the biblical traditions, and Albright's comment could not be repeated with any truth today." Nahum M. Sarna (1978) noted that an inability to date the narratives of the patriarchs does not necessarily invalidate their historicity, a view supported by Bimson, who admitted that "Our knowledge of the centuries around 2000 BC is very small, and our ignorance very great." Gerhard von Rad, in his ''Old Testament Theology'' (1962) postulated that the patriarchal narratives describe actual events subsequently interpreted by the community through its own experience. Other scholars, such as Thomas L. Thompson, view the narratives as late literary compositions (6th and 5th centuries BCE) that have ideological and theological purposes but are unreliable for historical reconstruction of the pre-settlement period of the Israelites. In ''The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives'' (1974), Thompson suggested that the narratives arose in a response to some emergent situation, expressed as an imaginative picture of the past to embody hope.John Goldingay, Goldingray, John (1980)
"The Patriarchs in Scripture and History", ''Essays on the Patriarchal Narratives'', pp. 11–42, (A.R. Millard & D.J. Wiseman, eds., Leicester: IVP. Hbk.
In ''The Ascent of Man'' (1973), Jacob Bronowski pointed out similarities between Jacob and Bakhtyar, who lends his name to Iran's Bakhtiari people. Both were herdsmen who had two wives, and are regarded as the ancestral patriarch of their nomadic people. Archaeologist William G. Dever wrote in 2001: "After a century of exhaustive investigation, all respectable archaeologists have given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob 'historical figures.'" Excavations in the Timna Valley produced what may be the earliest camel bones found in Israel or even outside the Arabian Peninsula, dating to around 930 BCE. This is seen by some as evidence that the stories of Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph (said to have taken place a thousand years earlier) were written no earlier than the 10th century BCE.


Historicity of the Egyptian episode

According to researches on the historicity of the Old Testament, the descent of Abraham into Egypt as recorded in Genesis 12:10–20 should correspond to the early years of the 2nd millennium BCE, which is before the time the
Hyksos Hyksos (; Egyptian language, Egyptian ''wikt:ḥqꜣ, ḥqꜣ(w)-wikt:ḫꜣst, ḫꜣswt'', Egyptological pronunciation: ''hekau khasut'', "ruler(s) of foreign lands"; grc, Ὑκσώς, ) is a term which, in modern Egyptology, designates the kin ...
ruled in Egypt, but would coincide with the Semitic parties known to have visited the Egyptians circa 1900 BCE, as documented :File:Procession_of_the_Aamu,_Tomb_of_Khnumhotep_II_(composite).jpg, in the painting of a West-Asiatic procession of the tomb of Khnumhotep II at Beni Hasan. It might be possible to associate Abraham to such known Semitic visitors to Egypt, as they would have been ethnically connected. The period of Joseph and Jacob/Israel in Egypt (Genesis 39:50), where they were in favour at the Egyptian court and Joseph held high administrative positions next to the ruler of the land, would correspond to the time the Hyksos ruled in Egypt, during the Fifteenth Dynasty. The time of Moses and the expulsion to Palestine (region), Palestine related in The Exodus could also correspond to the explusion of the Hyksos from Egypt.


References


Further reading

* *Frederick Buechner, Buechner, Frederick (1993), ''The Son of Laughter (novel), The Son of Laughter'', New York: HarperSanFrancisco


External links

* {{Authority control Jacob, Book of Genesis people Angelic visionaries Biblical patriarchs Biblical twins Christian saints from the Old Testament Esau Gilead Book of Jubilees