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Jacob

The son of Isaac and Rebekah, renamed Israel, became the father of the twelve tribal families.

Background

Jacob was the son of Isaac and Rebekah, the brother of Esau, and the grandson of Abraham and Sarah. The stories about Jacob are in the book of Genesis and take place during the Ancestrial Period. Jacob was known for trickery.  He came out of the womb grasping his brother Esau's heal.  Later he persuaded Esau to sell him his birthright and tricked Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau.  Fearing his brother's anger he fled to live with his uncle Laban. On the way he had a dream in which he saw a ladder extending to heaven with angels ascending and descending on it. Jacob married two sisters, Rachel and Leah, and also had two concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah. These four women bore him twelve sons.  Jacob became wealthy while working for his uncle Laban.  Eventually jealousy among Laban's sons forced Jacob to flee back to Canaan in spite of his fear of Esau. On the way he wrestled an angel all night. In the morning the angel changed Jacob's name to Israel and he became the father of the nation that bears his name.  His sons gave their names to the twelve tribes of Israel. Jacob eventually migrated to Egypt to be with his son Joseph, who had been sold there as a slave but later rose to prominence in Pharaoh's court.

AUTHOR: Robert Brusic, Seminary Pastor Emeritus

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