His name in Hebrew is: יעקב Ya’ăqôb (yah-ak-obe’) Strongs #: 3290; heel-catcher.
His name in Greek: Ίακώβ Iakōb (ee-ak-obe’) Strongs #: 2384.
Isreal in Hebrew is: ישראל Yisrâ’êl (yis-raw-ale’) Strongs #: 3478; he will rule
as Elohim. Israel in Greek: Ίσραηλ Israēl (is-rah-ale’) Strongs #: 2474.
Before his birth, Jacob had sibling rivalries with his brother, Esau (1), and upon
birth Jacob had a hold of Esau’s heel, which might have been easy with Esau being
so hairy. (2)
Just before Abraham’s death, Abraham called in Jacob’s mother Rebekah and commanded
her to watch after Jacob and make sure Jacob would get the blessing instead of Esau.
Jacob was a plain man; more apt to dwell in tents. (4)
At the age of 15, after the death of Abraham, Jacob made himself some red lintel
soup. As he sat stirring, he spotted Esau staggering toward him and out of breath.
“Give me some of that pottage,” Esau said, “for I am faint.”
Jacob gathered his wits together and said: “Sell me your birthright.” Jacob possibly
thought that Esau wouldn’t fall for it, since all he had to do was ignore the request
and grab the ladle from the pottage pot.
Esau may have pondered the request for a while and then exclaimed, “I am going to
die anyway. What profit will I get from the birthright when I’m dead?” Therefore,
Esau sold his birthright and his portion of the Cave of Machpelah, and Jacob had
this written down in a book and sealed with witnesses. (5)
When Isaac and Rebekah went into Gerar because of the famine, it is not mentioned
if Jacob and Esau went along in Genesis or Jasher.
At the age of 18, Jacob was sent by his father to the house of Shem and Eber to learn
instructions of Yahvah and he was there for 32 years until the age of 50. Which
was the year Shem died. (6)
At the age of 63, Jacob’s mother Rebekah told Jacob of what Isaac planned to do by
giving the Abrahamic Covenant blessing to Esau. With Isaac being blind, Rebekah
suspected that she could pull the wool over her husband’s eyes.
With Esau gone to hunt deer to appease Isaac’s appetite, so his father could bless
him, Rebekah instructed Jacob to get two goat kids and she would make a replacement
meal for Isaac. (7)
Jacob was a little apprehensive of this plot for Esau was an extremely hairy man
and he wouldn’t be able to fool his father that he was Esau. If his father should
touch him and find out who he was, then he would get a curse instead of a blessing.
However, Jacob’s fearfulness didn’t hinder his mother.
“If he gives you a curse,” she said, “then let it be on me.” (8)
They worked fast, for it could be considered that while Jacob went after the two
kids, Rebekah rummaged through Esau’s clothing.
While the savory “venison” dish was roasting, Rebekah took the goat hides (which
were possibly still slimy) and put them on Jacob’s neck and hands after dressing
Jacob with Esau’s jacket.
The voice. How was Jacob going to pull that one off? He couldn’t try to imitate
Esau’s voice or it may sound a little ridiculous.
Was Jacob nervous? Maybe, but Yahvah possibly gave him the strength to carry on
with the deceitful deed.
Using his normal voice as he entered the tent he called out to his father.
“Which son are you?” Isaac asked, and Jacob knew that it wouldn’t be long before
the whole thing would be foiled, but Jacob couldn’t back out now, he needed to carry
“I am Esau,” he lied, “and I have brought the venison so you can bless me.”
“How did you find it so quickly?” Isaac asked, possibly suspicious of the situation.
“Yahvah brought it to me.” At least that comment was more truthful than the previous
since the kids were rather easy to catch.
“Come here, son, so I can feel you to see if you are actually Esau.”
Isaac felt Jacob’s goat-skin covered hands which probably put the old man into a
state of confusion.
“You have Jacob’s voice, but the hands of Esau. Are you Esau?”
“Yes, Father, I am,” Jacob lied again.
“Bring me the venison so that I may give you the blessing.”
Jacob brought the “venison” as well as some wine for his father to eat and drink.
“Come near and kiss me, son,” Isaac commanded.
After Jacob kissed his father, Isaac remarked, “My son smells of the field which
Yahvah has blessed!”
Then Isaac continued and blessed Jacob thinking he was blessing Esau.
“Let Elohim give thee the dew of heaven, the fatness of the earth and plenty of corn
and wine. Let people serve you, and nations bow down to you, and you will be lord
over your kin. Your brother will bow down to you. Anyone that curses you shall
be cursed, and anyone that blesses you will also be blessed,” and thus did Isaac
bless Jacob with the Abrahamic Covenant. (10)
With the blessing over with, Jacob left his father but was barely gone when Esau
arrived with a dish of venison for his father. (11)
Assuredly, Jacob was making a mad dash to shed off the goat skins, change jackets
and clean up before he should see Esau.
Jacob overheard Esau’s desperate wail and was afraid that his brother would soon
murder him because of stealing the blessing. Therefore, Jacob fled to Eber’s house
to hide and he remained there for 14 years until the age of 77. (12)
At the end of hiding at Eber’s house, Jacob returned home, for he was sure that Esau
would have forgotten about the stolen blessing, but it was not to be so. (13)
Rebekah heard of Esau’s plot against Jacob and instructed Jacob to flee to her brother’s
place in Haran for a few days until Esau’s anger be cooled down. (14)
Before Jacob left for his long journey north, Isaac instructed him not to take wives
from the children of Canaan, and then he blessed him a second time, and had him depart
with many gifts and with gold and silver. (15)
Jacob traveled until he was near the city of Shechem and he met with his nephew Eliphaz
and ten men. Jacob had no idea what his nephew was up to since Eliphaz was only
13, but when Eliphaz drew his sword and advanced to attack, Jacob asked what the
reason for the attack.
“My father commanded that I should kill you, and I will not deviate from his orders.”
That was Eliphaz’s response.
“Look,” Jacob returned, “why not take these things that my mother and father gave
me? Then, you don’t have to slay me.”
Therefore, Eliphaz took all the gold, silver and gifts that Isaac and Rebekah had
given to Jacob and then he left for home leaving Jacob with only the shirt on his
back but at least he was still alive. (16)
After traveling for a while, Jacob came to a certain place to sleep, and he used
a large stone for his pillows (or a mattress). While sleeping on this stone he dreamt
of a ladder and seeing angels going up and down it. Then Yahvah promised Jacob that
He would give him all the land in that area and in Jacob all the families of the
earth would be blessed. (17)
Upon awakening, Jacob was fearful and erected his stone mattress as a pillar and
anointed it and called the place Bethel. (18)
This stone, (according to legend) was to be passed down from generation to generation
and is used for the coronation of the Kings and Queens of England and Scotland known
as the Stone of Scone. (19)
(According to Wikipedia, the Scots made an imitation stone before King Edward I came
to capture it in 1296 AD and the imitation stone remained in England for 700 years
until 1996 AD.)
Upon arriving in Haran, he met with his cousin Rachel as she brought the flock of
sheep to water at the well, but in order for water to be drawn, a stone had to be
moved at which Jacob was more than happy to do for his cousin, Rachel.
After being at his Uncle Laban’s house for one month, Jacob announced to Laban that
he would work for him for seven years for the hand of Rachel for Jacob loved her
The years only seemed like a few days because of the love he had for Rachel, but
at the end of the seven years (when Jacob was 84) he demanded Rachel’s hand in marriage.
(Rachel was only 29.) (22)
After Jacob worked for seven years for Laban, he asked for the hand of Rachel, so
Laban prepared a feast for Jacob and his daughter.
With all the guests gathered for the feast, the wedding began, but during the festivities
Laban extinguished all the lights.
“Why are you doing that for?” Jacob asked.
“It is the wedding custom here,” Laban answered.
Jacob could hardly see the bride with the room being so dark. It possibly was the
first time he had ever heard of anyone getting married in the dark.
The neighbors who came to the reception danced and played instruments before the
bride and goom saying, “Heleah, heleah.” Of course, Jacob didn’t understand what
they were saying but took it as another custom of the land. (23)
In the morning after the wedding, Jacob saw that he had actually married Rachel’s
sister, Leah and this infuriated him, and he went to his uncle/father-in-law with
“Why have you done this to me?” Jacob fumed, “you knew I wanted to marry Rachel,
and I served you for seven years for her hand! Why did you give me Leah?”
“I can’t let the youngest be married before the elder,” Laban replied coolly, “if
you really want Rachel, then we can have another wedding next week and you can serve
me for another seven years.”
There was nothing Jacob could do about it, so he agreed to his uncle’s proposal and
he married Rachel seven days later. (24)
Jacob loved his new wife Rachel a lot more than the first, but Rachel remained barren,
whereas Leah bore Jacob four children.
Since Rachel couldn’t have children, she suggested that Jacob could have her children
through her handmaid Bilhah in which she bore two children.
When Leah saw that she had left off baring children while only having four boys,
she had Jacob have children through her handmaid Zilpah in which she had two children.
After this Leah had three more children. (25)
At the age of 91, Jacob’s beloved wife bore Joseph, and Jacob then wanted to return
to his father’s house in Beersheba (since his fourteen years of servitude were expired)
and he put in his request to his father-in-law/uncle to leave with his wives. Laban,
of course, wouldn’t hear of it.
“Stay, please,” Laban pleaded, “if I am favorable to you, do not leave. Tell me
what you want for wages, and I will give them to you, I want you to stay.”
“You don’t have to give me any wages,” Jacob replied, “you go through your flock
and take for my wages those that are speckled, brown and spotted. I will feed your
flock like I have always done in the past.”
To this Laban agreed. (26)
A controversy arises between Genesis and Jasher; Genesis explains that Laban went
through his flock removing those that were colored and spotted and put them into
the hands of his sons and then moved three days journey away leaving Jacob with the
white sheep and goats. Therefore, Jacob had to use alternative means to get his
Jasher explains that Laban went through his flock and gave Jacob all the sheep and
goats that were speckled and spotted, and when Jacob bred these animals, the offspring
had a comely appearance and many of the neighbors wanted to buy Jacob’s animals,
and this made Laban jealous. (28)
According to Genesis, Jacob only had white sheep and goats to deal with, since his
uncle intended that Jacob would be able to work for him for free, but Jacob was going
to make the best of a bad situation. He took rods of green poplar, (or the storax
tree), hazel and chestnut and peeled the bark in such a way that the rods were striped.
These rods he placed in the drinking areas for the sheep and goats. When the animals
conceived in front of these rods, the offspring would be spotted or speckled. Jacob
also made it so that he would end up with the stronger offspring, and Laban would
get the weaker. This, of course, made Laban jealous. (29)
(Note from the author: Much study and thought has gone into what Jacob did to get
the spotted sheep from Laban’s flock, but the understanding is still an issue. Is
there some medicinal value in poplar (storax), hazel and chestnut for this to happen
when in water? If a white colored animal sees something striped when in the conceiving
stage, will it produce spotted offspring? Or, did Jacob have a spotted buck? Or,
did Jacob use the rods to become the first artificial inseminator? Let me know.)
Jacob worked at obtaining his wages for six years and this action of breeding for
spotted sheep and goats made him a very wealthy man, much to Laban’s dismay. (30)
On cue to Laban’s known displeasure, Yahvah told Jacob to return home.
Jacob saw that Laban’s countenance toward him wasn’t as before and he feared that
Laban would force him to leave without his wives. Therefore, he left Laban’s house
while Laban was sheep shearing, and told him nothing of his departure. (31)
Jacob headed south and camped in the mount of Gilead 300 miles from his uncle, and
it was there that Laban caught up with him.
“Why did you sneak away without me knowing, taking my daughters away as captives?”
Laban announced with aggravation, “I would have thrown a fine farewell party with
songs.” Laban continued to complain, but the question that surprised Jacob the most
was Laban asking, “Where are my gods?”
“As for your gods, Laban,” Jacob returned, “whoever has your gods will not live,
for I have no intention of taking any belongings of yours with me.”
Laban did his search and could find nothing of his gods, but he must have found it
rather odd that his daughter made the statement of a custom of not dismounting from
her camel. (32)
Jacob was furious with Laban’s false accusation, “What have I done against you?!
What is my sin?! You pursue after me accusing me of theft, and search all my stuff!
So, where is the stolen gods?! If you found them, set them here before us all so
there can be a judgment between us both!”
Jacob’s frustrations continued complaining of his changed wages on ten different
Laban possibly was surprised at Jacob’s anger and suggested to make a covenant between
the two of them which was a heap of stones and they both ate a meal upon the summit
of the stone pile, then Laban departed for home on the morrow. (33)
Jacob continued his journey south but only made it about 95 miles to the brook Jabuk
when he met up with messengers from Canaan. These seventy-two messengers were sent
by Rebekah and they bore terrible news, for they told of an upcoming war that would
be with Esau. (34)
Being greatly distressed with the thought of war with his brother, Jacob sent messengers
in hopes to divert Esau’s plans of an attack. However, Jacob’s messengers failed
in their attempt to change Esau’s mind. War was inevitable! Jacob needed to plan
for it. To begin with, he prayed to Yahvah reminding Him of the blessings that were
promised to him. Needless to say, Jacob was greatly afraid of his brother and what
he would do. (35)
After Jacob’s prayer to Yahvah, Jacob divided the camp into two parts in hopes that
one camp should survive if the other was attacked.
Jacob still wanted to find Esau’s “good side” (if there was such a thing) and present
a large gift to him to appease Esau and this gift was taken from the vast flocks
of his animals.
That night Jacob had his family ford the Brook Jabbok which left Jacob remaining
on the north side of the river. It was there that Jacob met up with a man, and this
meeting soon turned into a wrestling match. The man was powerful, but he couldn’t
overpower Jacob. This wrestling match continued on into the rest of the night until
the twilight of morning. Since the powerful man could not prevail over Jacob, he
touched his opponent’s thigh, crippling him, but Jacob still wouldn’t let go of his
lock hold. “Let me go,” the man pleaded, “for the day is breaking.”
During this whole ordeal, Jacob had figured out who he may be wrestling will all
these hours, and if it was whom he thought it was, then he might get what he wanted
in order to win the battle over Esau.
Jacob ignored the man’s pleading. “No,” Jacob replied, “bless me first, for I won’t
let you go until you do.”
With the man still under Jacob’s lock hold on the ground, the man asked, “What is
“Jacob,” replied the wrestling match winner. The stranger still remained under a
powerful lock down.
“You shall no more be called Jacob,” the man began, “but Israel, for as a prince
you have power with Elohim and men, for you have prevailed over both.”
Jacob released his grip and allowed the stranger to rise to his feet.
“So,” Jacob began, “what is Your Name?”
“Why do you ask?” the stranger smiled, “don’t you know already?”
The stranger blessed Jacob and then departed and Jacob knew that he had seen Yahvah
face to face and wrestled with Him.
Needless to say, Yahvah let Jacob win the wrestling match for He wanted to bless
Jacob knew that he had an upcoming battle to contend with, but he knew that he would
be the victor.
It was near to noon when Esau’s men arrived in view of Jacob’s camp, and Jacob knew
that he would have to protect himself against his brother and the 400 men in his
army. However, the unthinkable happened, Esau dismounted and ran to Jacob in greeting.
This was a wonderful surprise, and a great relief to Jacob.
Now that Jacob and Esau were on friendly terms, Jacob tried to pass on the gift of
animals to Esau at which Esau refused until Jacob pressed him to accept.
“Come with me to Seir,” Esau offered, “and I will help you along the way.”
Seir wasn’t the direction Jacob wanted to go, so Jacob politely refused Esau’s help,
in which Esau soon left for home. (37)
Jacob’s journey eventually brought him to Shalem a city of Shechem where he bought
himself a field and he settled there.
A year and a half after Jacob settled near Shechem when Jacob was 98, his wives and
daughter went into the city for a celebration, but Jacob’s daughter Dinah was forcibly
detained from returning home. However, Jacob received word about the evil deed that
was done to his daughter, and now the man wanted permission to marry Dinah! What
nerve! With this news he remained silent until his sons returned home from feeding
When the sons of Jacob found out about the defilement of their sister, they were
angered and grieved. (38)
Plotting behind their father’s back, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi went and
destroyed every male in the city and left only the women and little ones alive as
well as the cattle. These Simeon and Levi took captive, after rescuing Dinah. (39)
Needless to say, Jacob was extremely upset with the acts of his two sons, and he
knew that he may have to deal in battle with the same people he wanted peace and
friendship. Simeon and Levi destroyed that peace, and he would never get it back.
Eventually, war did come to Jacob’s door, and Jacob had to meet it at the age of
Ten thousand men and seven kings of the Amorites came against Jacob and his sons
at Mount Sihon. These 10,000 would be against the 112 men (41) of Jacob and Isaac,
but these 112 men still struck fear into the 10,000 because of the knowledge of two
men destroying a whole city. If two can take a city, can you imagine what 112 can
do? Yikes! (42)
With this fear, the Amorites decided that it would not be a good idea to fight Jacob
so they returned home. (43)
At the age of 99, Jacob moved to Bethel where he remained six months.
At 100, Jacob received a vision (while in Bethel) from Yahvah which was a renewal
of the Abrahamic Covenant for Jacob. (44)
After leaving Bethel for Hebron, a short time thereafter they only made it a short
distance where Rachel travailed. This was at Ephrath.
Although Jacob gained another son, he lost his beloved wife through childbearing.
She died at the age of 45. (45)
After dwelling in Hebron for a while, Jacob soon moved at the age of 105 and pitched
his tent in the same place he had done previously, seven years earlier. His move
brought great concerns to the neighboring Canaanites for they did not forget what
had happened to the city of Shechem.
Shechem had been rebuilt since then and the Canaanites didn’t want to loose it again
to Jacob’s sons. Therefore, a declaration was sent to Jacob for a battle, so ten
of Jacob’s sons girt on their swords and went to the heap of Shechem.
Jacob prayed unto Yahvah and when he finished, Yahvah answered his prayer. The earth
shook, and the sun darkened which in turn terrified the Canaanite kings. Yahvah
further terrified the kings by making them hear chariots, horse whinnies, and shoutings
of a vast heavily populated army.
When the Canaanite armies saw 112 Hebrew men advancing upon them, they were more
panic stricken, and inclined to flee. However, they took it that it would be a disgrace
to flee a second time from Jacob. (46)
With the Canaanites failing to retreat out of fear, the battle began. (47)
In the heat of battle, Jacob brought down with his bow, Ihuri king of Shiloh in which
caused the remaining four kings to flee for their lives. Jacob pursued after these
kings with his sons until they came to the city of Chazar where Jacob killed the
remaining four kings with his bow. Not bad for a 105-year-old man. (48)
The battle ensued in which Jacob’s sons did most of the damage, but the battle did
not end there for Jacob and his sons also slaughtered the cities of Sarton, Tapnach,
Arbelan, Machnaymah, Gaash, and Bethchorin for the next six days. (49)
After the death of Leah when Jacob was 106 (she was 51), Jacob began to show more
favoritism to his son Joseph which made the elder sons jealous. To make matters
worse, Jacob made Joseph a coat of multiple colors (it is also interpreted as a coat
of long sleeves). This coat portrayed Joseph as a higher rank than his older brothers;
this also showed that Joseph would get the birthright. The long sleeves signified
that he wouldn’t be doing any heavy labor. (50)
Jacob had the ability to interpret dreams for he was able to interpret Joseph’s dream
in which he gave Joseph a false rebuke, because of his elder sons’ anger. (51)
Not long after the colorful coat was made for Joseph, Jacob sent him out in search
of his older brothers to see how they were doing with the cattle. Needless to say,
Joseph never returned. (52)
Upon hearing of the death of his beloved son Joseph, Jacob mourned the death of Joseph
for many years thereafter. (53)
Isaac died when Jacob was 120, and Isaac left his possessions in the hands of his
sons, Jacob and Esau, but Esau ended up taking all the possessions leaving Jacob
only the land. However, Jacob also took the cave of Machpelah. (54)
Ten years later, a horrid famine began in which Jacob sent his sons into Egypt for
he heard there was corn, but Benjamin was not sent. (55)
It is not known on how long Jacob’s sons were gone in Egypt, but when they returned
Simeon was not with them, the brothers reported of their treatment of the strict
governor of Egypt. On top of all this, the brothers told Jacob that they couldn’t
return to Egypt unless they had Benjamin with them.
“Joseph is gone,” Jacob mourned, “and now Simeon is prisoner in Egypt, and you want
to take Benjamin away from me?”
“Slay my two sons if I don’t bring Benjamin back to you,” Reuben reasoned, “I will
make sure he comes back.”
Jacob refused. “You will bring the gray hairs of my head to the grave if mischief
happens to him. He will not go!” (56)
Fourteen months later, Jacob was forced to let Benjamin go with his older brothers
into Egypt for corn in order to convince the governor of Egypt that the sons of Jacob
were not spies. (57)
Just before his sons returned, Jacob’s granddaughter Serach came to him with her
harp and began singing, “Joseph my uncle is living, and he rules in Egypt, and is
not dead.” Serach repeated these words to Jacob, and the long lost joy returned
to Jacob’s heart, and he blessed her. While blessing his granddaughter, he saw a
great caravan of horses and chariots, and his sons were dressed in royal looking
“Joseph is alive!” the sons announced, “and it is he that is ruling as governor is
Jacob wouldn’t believe them at first until he saw all the things that Joseph sent.
Then Jacob resolved to see Joseph before he died. (58)
It can be sure that Jacob resolved to move to Egypt immediately for he had not seen
Joseph for 22 years. Jacob was 130 when he moved south. (59)
The reunion of Jacob and Joseph was a grand one, and Joseph had his father settle
in Goshen. (60)
Jacob spent the remainder of his days eating at Joseph’s table. (61)
Seventeen years passed and Jacob was 147, and it came to be about time to die, so
he called in all his sons unto him to bless them. At this time he adopted his grandchildren
Ephraim and Manasseh as his own children, by crossing his hands as his grandchildren
knelt at his bedside. After instructing his sons, and blessing them, he pulled up
his feet into his bed and gave up the ghost. (62)
More About Jacob:
Burial: 1646 BC in Cave of Machpelah