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The Story Of Jacob Essay

1295 words - 5 pages

Of the Biblical Patriarchs, Jacob is the most mysterious. Possessing neither the faith nor virtues of Abraham, Jacob is chosen to be the bearer of Divine blessing and the father of Israel. His character emerges through a series of deceptions, intrigues and conflicts which cast serious doubt on the wisdom and appropriateness of God using Jacob as his prophet. A casual reading of the text would indicate that God is rather wary of being too intimately involved in Jacob's schemes and deception. God, who was Abraham's constant companion and guide, now appears to be standing on the sidelines, carefully weighing when and where to make an appearance. With Jacob we seem to be dealing no longer with the life of virtuous prophet in the presence of God, but, rather, with a very human and flawed character. There are many lessons that can be learned from the story of Jacob. Most importantly, the story of Jacob holds out hope that man, despite his weaknesses and deceits, can live together with God.The story of Jacob occupies a pivotal position in the stories of the Bible, and serves a dual function. On the one hand, it provides a bridge between the Patriarchs and the people-a transition from the individual lives of the Patriarchs to the history of the people. Abraham is the father of Israel; and Jacob becomes Israel. On the other hand, the story of Jacob provides us with history and can be seen as a continuation and resolution of prior events and subjects of the Bible. Jacob's life is related to events and concerns of history (Genesis 3-11), and serves as its dramatic culmination.The Bethuel and Penuel revelations place the Jacob narrative within a continuum of events beginning with man's expulsion from the Garden of Eden and ending with Israel's entrance into the land of Canaan. Relating to the past, Jacob represents the working out of God's promises to Abraham, and the resolution of various problems of humanity posed in the first eleven chapters of Genesis. For the future, Jacob presents an overview of the history of the people of Israel and of the relationship of God to His people. The last of the Patriarchs, Jacob is a crossroad in the Biblical narrative: a closure and conclusion of the past; an opening and prophetic glance into the future.Genesis 1-11 describes a progressive deterioration of the original unity and harmony of creation-the chronicle of humanity's undoing of Divine creation. We learn that Abraham and Jacob are the two individuals chosen by God to reverse this process of destruction and reinstate God's original blessing to mankind. Abraham and Jacob are the cornerstones of God's plan for world redemption. Jacob is the heir of the promise and blessing which originated with Abraham. After a period of little intervention, man's journey with God, which began with Abraham, is now resumed with Jacob at Bethel. Both Patriarchs are set on a road that reverses the series of free decisions which have characterized human existence since the expulsion...

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