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Theological Analysis: The Role of Jacob in the Book of Genesis - Essay Example

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Theological Analysis: The Role of Jacob in the Book of Genesis

One theological commentator notes that “the change of name from Jacob to Israel signifies divine approval of Jacob's inheritance of the birthright1.” As Jacob ripens in his experience, one traces growth and strength.. DECEIVER AND USURPER True to his name, Jacob, along with Rebecca, plots and manoeuvres to get his will accomplished in seizing the birthright from Esau. Jacob takes advantage of this situation, arranging a deceitful contract. Jacob knows that he is destined for greatness because of his mother’s transmission of that knowledge of his mysterious tendencies in the prenatal stages. Like his forefather Abraham, he takes matters into his own hands when already there was an immutable promise ratified by Yahweh himself. The culmination of Jacob’s strategizing is witnessed when he feigns that he is Esau in a classic impersonation stunt. At t his point of Jacob’s life, he shows that the end justifies the means. COMPLICITY WITH HIS MOTHER It is worthy to note that Jacob’s deception is not totally inherent within himself for his chief abetting accomplice was his mother. His mother understands clearly that although Jacob and Esau are twins they are completely separate from one another in thought, in disposition and in destiny. There could be no peace between them. The prophetic message stated that “the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger (Gen. 25:23). Knowing this, “because of the birth oracle, Rebekah knows that Jacob is Yahweh’s chosen one…so it is her job to make sure Jacob is the one who carries on the promise. It is not known why she uses deception …(but) deception is a very present theme in Genesis2.” Rebekah seeks to fulfill the prophecy on her own terms via deception. However, Jacob’s mother becomes the highest influence of his life. LIFE IS A STRUGGLE One understands that these names are divinely chosen since before birth he struggles with his twin brother in the womb to gain the ascendancy (Gen. 25:22). Even from his childbirth, Jacob commenced fighting with his twin brother and this attitude would forever characterize their relationship. Using sly means, Jacob struggles against his elder brother to whom the primogeniture belonged hence, “the oracle of the struggle between Esau and Jacob reverberate throughout Israelite history… It is worthwhile to note the history of enmity between the nations of Edom and Israel3” These tokens prefigure Jacob’s life before him which would consist of extraordinary struggle for the mastery. He strives to gain the coveted birthright from his elder twin, Esau then he struggles with his Uncle Laban who was twice as conniving as he was. The climax of his struggles is represented when he has to confront an enraged Esau and encounters the Angel of the Lord with whom he “wrestled” for an entire night season (Gen. 32:24). However, at the end of the combat, he emerges victorious. Yahweh proclaims that Jacob’s “name shall be called no more Jacob but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with Yahweh and with men and hast prevailed (Gen. 32:28). It is at that night of tribulation that Jacob “was what we call converted; he was a changed character, and, to indicate that great change, Yahweh altered his name: he was to be henceforth called Israel”4 which is a new beginning. CRITICAL TURNING POINT The major ...Show more


Theological Analysis: The Role of Jacob in the Book of Genesis Jacob stands as a predominant figure in Genesis, as beneficiary of the Abrahamic covenant and forefather to the nation of Israel. In the competition between himself and Esau, although he is prophesied as “the greater,” he does not obtain the promise lodged in his destiny easily…
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Theological Analysis: The Role of Jacob in the Book of Genesis essay example
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