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When Rebekah, wife of Issac, was pregnant with twins she asked the Lord why they jostled her so much. The Lord answered by foretelling that both children would sire a nation, and the elder child would serve the younger. When Rebekah was in labor, the second child came out grasping the heel of the first, so they named him Jacob- which means "he grasps the heel" and figuratively means "he deceives".
When we first come upon the grown figure of Jacob, he hardly seems a pious or God-fearing man. On the contrary, he is a self-absorbed and self-reliant guy, one who trusts mainly in his own cleverness. True, unlike Esau, who treats it with contempt, Jacob is keenly interested in the birthright: the rights and privileges belonging to the first-born as future replacement for his father Isaac as head of the family. But, though for this reason clearly superior to his older brother, Jacob is not yet fit for the covenant, and it seems likely that he is interested more in the privileges that attach to the birthright (gain and honor) than in its obligations (spiritual and moral leadership).
Jacob believes that he can solve the birth-order problem by himself, and that he can do so without his father's knowledge by his cleverness alone (the sale of the birthright for a bowl of stew). But if one has no reverence for one's father, how can one feel reverence for God? And how can one be a true heir of the way of Abraham if one relies solely on one's own cleverness? Even after Reb
Quotes talked about in this paper
- Elijah decided to rely on his own "wits" ...
- Jacob and changes his name from "deciever" to "he stuggles with God",
Names referenced in this essay
Elijah Jacob, Elijah,
Keywords talked about in this essay
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