R4E130925 – Jacob (Old Testament Character Study) by Douglas Jacoby
- Ya’aqov (Jacob) — sounds like “he deceives/supplants.”
- Jacob appears 380x in the O.T.
- Compare this to Isaac (133x) and Abraham (309x).
- Beth-el (Bethel) — house of God
- Ye’abeq (Jabbok) — he wrestles
- Yisr’ael (Israel) — God strives
- Peni’el (Peniel) — face of God
- His life falls into four periods: Canaan, Aram, Canaan (again), and Egypt. Find the exact chapter numbers for each period.
- There are also four monuments/pillars/markers: 28:18, 31:45, 35:14, 35:20. What would be the “markers” in your own spiritual pilgrimage?
- Our study in Genesis: 25:26 (birth); 25 (deception of Esau); 27 (deception of Isaac); 28:10-15 (Bethel — see John 1:51); 31:42, 53 (“Fear of Isaac”); 29:14-28 (marriage[s] in Aram); 32:22-32 (wrestling match at the Jabbok); but had Jacob profoundly changed? (33–fear of Esau, 33:14–deceit?, 34:1ff–lack of concern for Dinah, 35–lack of concern for Bilhah (cp. 49:2-3); 37 (“death” of Joseph); 46:2, 29-30 (reaffirmation of divine promise and reunion with Joseph); 48-49 (blessing Joseph’s sons and his own sons); death (49:33) and burial (50:14).
- Sexual purity: compare and contrast Genesis 29 (Jacob and Rachel) with Genesis 34 (Shechem and Dinah).
- In summary, Jacob led a hard life:
- Not so impressive as his father’s and grandfather’s lives (47:9).
- Endured the loss of his beloved (favorite) wife and his special (favorite) son.
- Ran away from his parents.
- Still, he kept his eye on the promises, insisting that he be buried in Canaan (49:29-33).
- Other Old Testament books: Joshua 24:3, 4, 32; Psalm 105:10-23; Hosea 12:2-4, 12; Malachi 1:2ff.
- New Testament: John 4:5-6, 12; Acts 7:12, 14-16; Romans 9:10-13; Hebrews 11:9, 20ff.
Some things we learn about God:
- Even if God appears to us or works in our life in an intense way, our basic personality type will probably remain unaffected. He will not force us to change. We are all “under construction.”
- God does not spare his chosen ones from tragedy.
- We can wrestle the Lord for his blessing, but if he has already given his word, this is wholly unnecessary — exhausting, unproductive, and ultimately faithless.
For kids (devotional discussion):
- Read the story of Jacob at the Jabbok. For younger children, role-play: the angel, Jacob.
- If you were wrestling your daddy (mommy), who would win?
- Why do we fight (wrestle) God?
- Why does Jacob try to make God bless him, when God has already promised to be good to him?
- Why is Jacob so afraid?
- 28:12 — sees the “stairway to heaven”
- 29:20 — Jacob’s profound (and pure) love for Rachel.
- 32:36 — He demands God’s blessing at the Jabbok.
- 49:26 — tearful reunion with Joseph, whom he believed to be dead.