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Jacob: A Cycle of Deceit

The name Jacob in Hebrew means ‘to supplant’ or ‘he who grasped the heel’ because he was born holding his brother Esau’s heel. Dressing or covering up to deceive played a big part in Jacob’s life. The first instance was when he tricked his own father to give him, the younger son, the blessing meant for the firstborn in response to his own mother, Rebekah‘s influence. She covered him with goat fur to disguise his smooth skin and together deceived Isaac into thinking that he was dispensing a blessing to the hairy Esau. Second, his uncle Laban turned the tables and gave Leah under the cover of darkness for Jacob to marry instead of Rachel. Lastly, Jacob was deceived by his own sons when they brought back Joseph’s bloodied multicolored coat and tricked him into thinking his favorite son was killed by a beast.

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“Isaac blessing Jacob”

All these acts of deception marred the lives of everyone involved and caused unnecessary heartaches to Jacob. Jacob did not escape the consequences of his actions which included his escape to Paddan Aram or risk being killed by his own brother. The years of work he rendered to Laban just to marry Rachel, and the deceit of his own sons which mirrored the deception he did years ago to his own father are further examples of the price he paid. Yes, he was blessed by God, but he also reaped what he had sown years ago in his father’s household in Canaan.

If you really think about it, the Bible does not cast Jacob in a very flattering light. From the womb to the major moments of his life, the father of the nation of Israel repeatedly acted in very unscrupulous manner and tricked his way to get what he wanted. That doesn’t mean, however, that he did not have good qualities. The author of Genesis did not feel the need to justify Jacob’s actions but laid out his true character to show how God’s mercy, grace, and love worked in Jacob’s life. As well as show that this love is not be earned by his (or our) special merit or attributes.

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Picture By Horst, Gerrit Willemsz. (c.1612 – 1652) – ArtistDetails of artist on Google Art Project1QHvqb64da2aKg at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22152078
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8 thoughts on “Jacob: A Cycle of Deceit

  1. Didn’t Jacob have 3 or 4 wife bearing children including the wife of of one of his sons? Wasn’t Jacob’s pillar the Stone of destiny. a.k.a. the Coronation Stone? I cannot but help but think that much much more lies behind Jacob’s deceit.

  2. First and foremost we should not be so quick to cast names upon Jacob. But to consider Genesis 25:23 when the Lord advised Rebekah that the twins inside her were “Two nations….and elder shall serve the younger”(KJV).
    I would therefore suggest that what we have so quickly called deception was the fulfillment of God’s spoken word.
    And contrare to what everyone wants to say the name Jacob meansit is grabber, not deceiver.
    It’s so important we get back to the actual Words of the Bible, and not try to tell our own story.
    The actual story is do beatiful it needs to be told correctly.

  3. To say that Joseph’s brother deceived him is true in their eyes, but, I too beleive like Joseph, in order for him to be ahead, Genesis 45:5 says…..”God did send me before you to preserve life”. We as Bible readers and scholars need to listen to listen to what God is telling us in His Word.
    Everything we need is written and available to “Feed His Sheep”. If we consider nothing in the Word is a mistake, no action was taken, without God. Everything leads to His Good.

  4. Janice Welch,
    Aren’t we forgetting God’s curse to the serpent?
    And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel
    If Jacob grabbed Esau’s heel then Esau has bruised Jacob’e head.
    It turns everything on its head which was not intentional & has got me pondering.
    It’s hind of true in that the Israelites, say those with the faithful genotype, have since the overthrow of the 2 Kingdoms of Israel and Judah have always faced persecution such as with the jews and protestants.

  5. P.s. Or just protestants if the jews with the religious gene were the majority of the Jews. Peter converted over 400 at Pentecost. That is quite a number in one evening.

  6. p.p.s. My head spinning but didn’t Christ to the pharassees , who proclaimed their descent from Abraham ,say that before Abraham I am. Note: I am, not I was. Who was I am that I am in the O.T.?
    The name Abraham can be broken down to AB, which means from and is short for abba or father; Ra, the title given to Pharaohs as sun god after the Shepherd Kings had been removed; and Ham is Nimrod’s grandfather that saw Noah’s nakedness.

  7. i really like this and very much blessed. is possible i get more material for more study especially on adam and eve, moses, elijah and david

  8. Please bear with me…Jacob DID deceive his father (with the coaching of his mother). But Esau did swear on oath his birthright to Jacob making it legally Jacob’s from that point forward. His mother was somehow made aware of that(?) and when it came time for blind old Isaac to bestow his blessing, she quickly helped fulfill what God had pronounced to her when she prayed for understanding during her pregnancy. (that the older would serve the younger). Still, as many preachers like to point out, Jacob did technically deceive his father with regards to Jacob being Esau. But let us be careful about how the story ends. Remember that deception is a part of the fallen human condition. And to say that Jacob was deceived by Laban as a result of his own sin is making presumptions. If you remember, Rachel, for example, deceived her father Laban regarding his household gods. Jacob’s daughter Dinah was raped by the son of a another tribal chief. There must have been some deception by Shechem to get her to a place of vulnerability. Rebekah helped deceive Isaac…what I’m trying to say is, deception is part of human nature. Jacob’s sons – not filled with the Holy Spirit – were living from their own fleshly nature when they deceived their father. One would expect them to – in some way or another – practice deceit just like Laban, just like Shechem, just like Rachel, just like Rebekah, just like Jacob, just like you or I.
    So let’s not be quick to follow pulpit tradition that “Jacob had it coming” or “it was the price he paid” due to his own behavior…His sons weren’t even alive when Jacob deceived his father so who modeled that behavior to them? There is no indication Jacob deceived any one else after he left for Paddan Aram – which may be because God showed up at Bethel in a vision with simple grace. That grace was a life changer for Jacob and may be the reason that the Bible records no more acts of deception from Jacob thereafter – So who would have modeled that deceptive behavior to his children? Anyone!
    Listen, we all fall short of the glory of God. But we don’t all get “what’s coming to us”. We don’t all get what we deserve. And although sin has consequences, sometimes people go through difficulties not because of “karma” but because of the fallen condition of humanity. Therefore, let us not be quick to point the finger or follow what others say. Study the Bible deeply for yourself. Then make judgements.

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