Jacob was a Hebrew patriarch. He was the grandson of Abraham, the son of Isaac and Rebekah, and the traditional ancestor of the people of Israel. The story about Jacob can be found in the Bible and it begins at Genesis 25:19. Let us know more about Jacob and the major events that happened in his life.
Name: Jacob, which means “holder of the heel”
Family: Rebekah (Mother), Isaac (Father), Esau (Brother)
- Devious (early on)
Major Events in Jacob’s Life
Based on the Old Testament, Jacob was the younger brother of Esau, the ancestor of Edom and the Edomites. Both of them were the representatives of two different grades of social order. Jacob was a pastoralist while Esau was a nomadic hunter. During their mother Rebekah’s pregnancy, she was told by God that she would give birth to twins and each of them would find a great nation and the older one would serve his younger brother.
Jacob was deceived by his brother and his father Isaac into giving him the birthright of the first born. Esau was apoplectic at Jacob and he had to flee. He went to the Aramaean tribe of his ancestors at Haran.
Along Jacob’s journey, he received a special revelation from God, promising Jacob lands and a lot of offspring that would prove to be the blessing of the entire Earth. Jacob called the place where he received this vision Bethel which means “House of God”.
When Jacob arrived in his uncle Laban’s home in Haran, he fell in love with his cousin Rachel. Jacob worked for Laban for seven years to be able to get Rachel’s hand in marriage. However, Laban substituted Leah, his older daughter, for Rachel at the wedding ceremony. With this, Jacob was compelled to serve Laban for another seven years for him to take his beloved Rachel as his wife as well.
Jacob served Laban for another six years where he amassed a large amount of property. After that, he set out with his wives and children, returning to Palestine. While on the way, Jacob wrestled with a strange Man all night long. The Man could not overpower him and Jacob would not let him go until He blessed him. The Man, who was probably God, said his name was now Israel, for he had struggled with God and with man and have overcome.
He called the place Peniel saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.” – Genesis 32:30
After that, Jacob met and was reconciled with Esau and they settled in Canaan. Jacob had 13 children. His only daughter was Dina and his sons were Reuben, Simon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Gad, Asher, Dan, Naphtali, Benjamin, and Joseph.
The rest of Jacob’s story is taken up by Joseph, who eventually brought his family to Egypt where they spread and multiplied forming the Israelite people.
Jacob died of natural causes when he was 147 years old. Before he died, he requested Joseph for him to be buried in Canaan with his forefathers.
Jacob’s life was indeed full of struggles but his story showed how God confirmed the Abrahamic covenant to him. Jacob’s story teaches us that God certainly has a plan for each of us.