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A strong hero of the Bible, Jacob is additionally certainly one of its most intricate figures. Bible tales recounting his existence frequently reveal his deception, lies, and greed—then, puzzlingly, try to justify them. during this publication, eminent biblical student Yair Zakovitch offers an entire view of the patriarch, first analyzing Jacob and his existence tale as awarded within the Bible, then additionally reconstructing the tales that the Bible writers suppressed—tales that have been famous, might be, yet incompatible with a twin of Jacob they desired to advertise. via a piece of notable “literary archaeology,” Zakovitch explores the recesses of literary historical past, achieving again even to the level of oral storytelling, to spot resources of Jacob's tale that preceded the paintings of the Genesis writers.
The biblical writers have been expert mosaic-makers, Zakovitch indicates, and their fulfillment used to be to reshape diversified pre-biblical representations of Jacob in help in their rising new faith and id. because the writer follows Jacob in his wanderings and revelations, his successes, disgraces, and disappointments, he additionally considers the non secular and political setting within which the Bible used to be written, providing a strong explication of early Judaism.
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Extra info for Jacob: Unexpected Patriarch (Jewish Lives)
We observe that Jacob didn't pin his hopes on God yet on his personal crafty. His determination to depend on magic and shrewdness, and to prevent turning to heaven for support, might set off our unease. we are going to quickly see the way it led a few readers to extend the tale. Laban’s sons brazenly show their jealousy: “Jacob has taken all that was once our father’s and from that which was once our father’s he has outfitted up all this wealth” (31:1). Jacob is familiar with, too, of La-ban’s growing to be envy, strengthening our hero’s decision to go away his father-in-law’s apartment, a call that gets divine validation: “Then the Lord acknowledged to Jacob, ‘Return to the land of your fathers and on your birthplace and that i can be with you’” (v 3). In those phrases we pay attention echoes of God’s first command to the nation’s first patriarch, Abraham: “Go forth out of your land and out of your birthplace and out of your father’s condo to the land that i'll exhibit you” (12:1). of the nation’s patriarchs have therefore been commanded to visit Canaan: the 1st needed to depart in the back of his father and his father’s condominium, whereas the second one needs to rejoin his father and his father’s residence. The phrases with which God ends his command to Jacob, “and i'll be with you,” reconfirm the blessing Jacob acquired at Bethel, “And behold, i'm with you; i'm going to safeguard you anyplace you move and may go back you to this land …” (28:15). The encouragement God bargains isn't really sufficient for Jacob, in spite of the fact that; he desires to understand that his other halves will stand by way of him. He calls Rachel and Leah out to the sector, faraway from the ears and eyes in their suspicious father. The interplay is a chance for us to listen to Jacob venting his personal anger opposed to Laban: “ … and also you comprehend that i've got served your father with all my power. And your father tricked me and altered my wages ten instances, yet God didn't allow him damage me” (31:6-7). Laban has deceived Jacob greater than as soon as concerning his wage: he has cheated him ten occasions! As Jacob keeps, what was once formerly awarded because the magically precipitated bring up of his flocks appears to be like in a wholly new mild: “If he stated, ‘The speckled can be your wages,’ then all of the flocks bore speckled younger; and if he stated, ‘The streaked will be your wages,’ then all of the flocks bore streaked younger” (v 8), all this being the manifestation of God’s blessing: “God has taken your father’s cattle and given it to me” (v 9). in response to Jacob, it used to be now not a mixture of crafty and magic that elevated his wages yet an exasperated God who was once appearing opposed to Laban’s outrageous deceitfulness. Jacob’s declare of divine intervention relies on a revelation he had in a dream: “Once, while the flocks have been in warmth, I raised my eyes and observed in a dream, and behold, the he-goats mounting the herd have been streaked, speckled, and mottled … And within the dream an angel of God stated to me, ‘Jacob! ’ ‘Here I am,’ I spoke back, and he acknowledged, ‘Raise your eyes and spot the entire he-goats which are mounting the flocks are streaked, noticed, and mottled, simply because i've got visible all that Laban has been doing to you” (vv 10-12).