A strong hero of the Bible, Jacob is usually considered one of its most intricate figures. Bible tales recounting his existence usually disclose his deception, lies, and greed—then, puzzlingly, try to justify them. during this e-book, eminent biblical pupil Yair Zakovitch provides a whole view of the patriarch, first interpreting Jacob and his existence tale as offered within the Bible, then additionally reconstructing the tales that the Bible writers suppressed—tales that have been recognized, probably, yet incompatible with a dead ringer for Jacob they desired to advertise. via a piece of amazing “literary archaeology,” Zakovitch explores the recesses of literary background, achieving again even to the degree of oral storytelling, to spot resources of Jacob's tale that preceded the paintings of the Genesis writers.
The biblical writers have been expert mosaic-makers, Zakovitch exhibits, and their fulfillment was once to reshape various pre-biblical representations of Jacob in help in their rising new faith and identification. because the writer follows Jacob in his wanderings and revelations, his successes, disgraces, and disappointments, he additionally considers the non secular and political setting within which the Bible used to be written, supplying a robust explication of early Judaism.
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Additional info for Jacob: Unexpected Patriarch (Jewish Lives)
Rebekah, who cried out in the course of the pains of being pregnant, “ … if that is so, why am I? ” (25:22), now cries dramatically, “why do I reside? ” those phrases, too, will end up to be a bit of prophetic, as we'll see. meanwhile, Isaac takes heed of his wife’s lament. He calls Jacob “and he blessed him and urged him” (28:1). Isaac’s readiness, his hope, relatively, to bless Jacob, now, exhibits that the blessing he meant for Esau—which used to be taken via Jacob— used to be now not his basically blessing. It seems that, all alongside, he had stored a blessing for his different son, Jacob. After giving the blessing, Isaac sends Jacob to Haran: “He urged him, asserting, ‘You shall now not take a spouse from one of the Canaanite girls. Up, visit Paddan-Aram, to the home of Bethuel, your mother’s father, and take a spouse there from one of the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother’” (28:1-2). The command contains another blessing: “May El Shaddai bless you, make you fertile and diverse, so you turn into an meeting of peoples. could He provide the blessing of Abraham to you and your offspring, that you could be own the land the place you're sojourning, which God assigned to Abraham” (vv 3-4). 3 times does a few type of the observe “bless” seem in those 4 verses, demonstrating not just that Isaac selected freely to bless Jacob yet that to Jacob he gave the main useful of all benefits, “the blessing of Abraham” for inheriting the land. Jacob’s dispatch to Haran makes seen Esau’s blunder in marrying the Hittite ladies: “And Esau observed that Isaac had blessed Jacob and despatched him off to Paddan-Aram to take for himself a spouse from there, blessing him, and that he had commanded him, asserting, ‘You shall now not take a spouse from one of the Canaanite women,’ and that Jacob had obeyed his parents and long past to Paddan-Aram” (vv 6-7; verse 6 comprises one other double visual appeal of the foundation “to bless”! ). Jacob obeyed either his father and mother, his father’s command having reworked his break out into an orderly departure for the aim of discovering a spouse. Esau attracts the most obvious end: “Esau learned that the Canaanite ladies displeased his father Isaac. So Esau went to Ishmael and took to spouse, as well as the better halves he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, sister of Nebaioth” (vv 8-9). Esau’s rage turns out to have calmed, and his marriage to Mahalath seals the story that all started along with his marriage to the Hittite girls. We be aware that Esau’s taking a spouse from Ishmael’s daughters isn't any twist of fate: he's the elder, rejected son, and he marries a girl from the home of one other elder, rejected son: Ishmael, Isaac’s older brother. furthermore, Esau’s determination to marry, geared toward discovering want along with his father, fails to accomplish its aim—especially considering the fact that Esau by no means divorces his Hittite other halves. Esau’s disgrace is undiminished and his shame endures. Jacob’s deceit, his having disguised himself in his brother’s outfits, is alluded to—if obliquely—in the later prophecies. prior to last this bankruptcy of Jacob’s existence, let’s examine of those prophecies, in view that they reveal the profound impression the tale of Jacob’s deception had for the biblical writers.