life and character of Jacob

The grandson of Abraham and son of Isaac, who was chosen by God, despite his personal faults and shortcomings, to be the recipient of the promises made to Abraham. His name means “he grasps the heel”, an allusion to the circumstances of his birth (Ge 25:25-26).

Jacob’s birth
Ge 25:21-26

Jacob obtains the rights of the firstborn son
Ge 27:36 See also Ge 25:29-34; 27:1-29; Heb 12:16-17

Jacob inherits the promises made to Abraham
Ge 28:10-15 See also Ge 12:1-3; 15:5; 27:29; 28:3-4; 35:11-13

Jacob flees to Haran
As the result of Esau’s enmity Ge 27:41-45 See also Ge 28:5

He encounters God at Bethel Ge 28:10-22 The encounter with God at Bethel confirms that Jacob has received the promise made to Abraham, and that Jacob has accepted his role of bearer of that promise to future generations.

He marries Leah and Rachel Ge 28:1-2 See also Ge 29:16-30 Jacob is deceived by Laban into marrying Leah before Rachel.

He accumulates wealth Ge 30:29-43 See also Ge 31:4-9,14-16,36-42

Jacob returns to Canaan
His flight from Haran Ge 31:1-3 See also Ge 31:10-13,17-24,44-55

His encounter with God Ge 32:24-30 The change of his name from “Jacob” (meaning “he grasps the heel”, figuratively, “he deceives”) to “Israel” (meaning “he struggles with God”) confirms Jacob as the recipient of the Abrahamic blessings. See also Ge 35:1-5,9-15

His reunion with Esau Ge 33:1-17

Jacob’s children
His twelve sons Ge 35:22-26 See also Ge 29:32-35; 30:3-13; 35:16-18

The rape of his daughter Ge 34:1-2 See also Ge 34:5,7,13-31

His favouritism towards Joseph and Benjamin Ge 37:3-4 See also Ge 37:31-35; 42:1-4; 44:20,22,27-31

His reunion with Joseph Ge 46:29-30 See also Ge 45:27-28; 46:1-4; 47:11

Jacob blesses his descendants Heb 11:21 See also Ge 48:15-20; 49:1-28

Jacob’s death and burial
Ge 47:28-30 See also Ge 49:29-33; 50:2-3,12-13

Martin H. Manser, Dictionary of Bible Themes: The Accessible and Comprehensive Tool for Topical Studies (London: Martin Manser, 2009).