Jacob: A Failed Patriarch Essay

957 Words 4 Pages

Jacob, the second and more prominent son of Isaac, is one of three aptly named Patriarchs of the Hebrew Bible. Much like his father and grandfather, Jacob earns the right to be known as one of God’s chosen men by being one whose “descendants shall be as the dust of the earth“ (Gen 28:14). Despite this, Jacob is a truly a flawed human being. While he is able to overcome these flaws to become the patriarch of the Israelite people, and receive a portion of the covenant God had promised to his grandfather, Abraham, his sins in life negatively affected future generations of Israelites in the form of slavery in Egypt. When examining the original text, it becomes clear that Jacob’s flaws are a very important part of his overall
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This is clearly not entirely the case for two distinct reasons. First, Esau is apparently dying from his hunger pangs, as shown in Gen. 25:32, when he tells Jacob, “I am at the point of death, so of what use is my birthright to me?” In order to be as bold as to tell Esau to swear off his birthright (Gen. 25:33), Jacob’s demeanor obviously has a cold, calculating, and particularly ruthless facet. A continuation of this ruthless streak can be found in the butting of heads between Jacob and his father in-law, Laban, which Tullock aptly titles “Jacob and Laban: An Amateur versus a Professional” (Tullock 58). This references the level of subterfuge Laban proves he is capable of by conning Jacob into fourteen years of hard labor in exchange for marriage to his daughters Leah and Rachael. However, Jacob is able to come out a winner from this situation by tricking Laban into giving him livestock that would not normally belong to him through “a mixture of folk medicine and shrewd observation” (Tullock 59, Gen. 30:31-43). In this way, Jacob becomes very wealthy, and comes to “own large flocks, maidservants, menservants, camels, and asses” (Gen. 30:43). This is elaborated on when Jacob prepares to meet Esau and selected gifts for his estranged brother: “200 she-goats and 20 he-goats; 200 ewes and 20 rams; 30 milch camels with their colts; 40 cows and 10 bulls;

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