Jacob: A Failed Patriarch Essay

Jacob: A Failed Patriarch Essay

Length: 953 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


Jacob, the second and more prominent son of Isaac, is one of three aptly named Patriarchs of the Hebrew Bible. Much like his father and grandfather, Jacob earns the right to be known as one of God’s chosen men by being one whose “descendants shall be as the dust of the earth“ (Gen 28:14). Despite this, Jacob is a truly a flawed human being. While he is able to overcome these flaws to become the patriarch of the Israelite people, and receive a portion of the covenant God had promised to his grandfather, Abraham, his sins in life negatively affected future generations of Israelites in the form of slavery in Egypt.
When examining the original text, it becomes clear that Jacob’s flaws are a very important part of his overall disposition. His flaws are much more apparent in his early life; as evidenced by his various sins during the first part of his appearance Genesis. First, in Gen. 25:30-34, Jacob essentially steals his brother Esau’s birthright. Esau is “famished,” and asks his brother for food. Jacob agrees to feed his brother, but only if Esau is willing to “sell me [Jacob] your birthright,” which Esau agrees to do (Gen. 25:30-34 NJPS). This method of receiving the birthright points to two attributes that are very important Jacob’s personality: first, this episode illustrates Jacob’s Machiavellian tendencies, and second his proper application of intelligence. This characteristics are displayed again two chapters later in Genesis, when Jacob and his mother, Rebekah, trick his ailing father into giving him the blessing intended for Esau by dressing in Esau’s clothes and putting the skins of slaughtered goats on his hands and neck to simulate Esau’s hairiness. While Isaac is at first skeptical, he believes that Jacob ...

... middle of paper ...

...eward from God, Jacob’s descendants are punished by God in the form of slavery in Egypt. By the end of Genesis, it is not uncommon for collective punishment to be used; all living things are destroyed by the Flood in Gen. 6-9, and the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are annihilated in Gen. 19. By this reckoning, it is not at all a stretch to believe that sins of the Patriarchs, and in particular Jacob‘s sins, are the direct cause of for hundred years of slavery in Egypt.

Works Cited

Berlin, Adele, and Marc Z. Brettler, eds. Jewish study Bible [featuring the Jewish Publication Society Tanakh translation]. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2004.
Tullock, John, and Mark McEntire. Old Testament Story, The (8th Edition). Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2009.
Zakovitch, Yair. Why Were the Israelites Enslaved in Egypt. "And You Shall Tell Your Sons..." Jerusalem: Magnes P, 1992.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

A Government that Has Failed to Provide Essential Needs and Conditions to Its People

- A failed state is perceived as a state who has failed to provide essential needs, functions, conditions, and responsibilities of a sovereign government. Indication of a failed state are distinguished as a loss of power, loss of regulation and control in its own territory, corrosion of authority in decision making and resolutions, incompetence in administering national services, such as education, security, or governance, and lack in collaborating with other states as a full representative of the international community....   [tags: failed state, loss of power]

Better Essays
1105 words (3.2 pages)

Change and Personal Growth in Katherine Paterson's Book, Jacob Have I Loved

- Who are you. Who am I. Do you know who you are. Are you positive with that answer. Change isn't always a positive experience to undergo. But the experience to undergo change can always affect something or someone's life. In the book, "Jacob Have I Loved," by Katherine Paterson, the main characters Sara Louise Bradshaw, McCall Purnee, sister Caroline Bradshaw and Captain Hiram Wallace face many obstacles in their life on Rass Island while experiencing the growth of fellow friend and family member, Sara Louise....   [tags: Jacob Have I Loved]

Better Essays
1418 words (4.1 pages)

Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room - Jacob Flanders, Many Things to Many Readers

- Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room - Jacob Flanders, Many Things to Many Readers Listless is the air in an empty room, just swelling the curtain; the flowers in the jar shift. One fibre in the wicker arm- chair creaks, though no one sits there. - Jacob's Room The year 1922 marks the beginning of High Modernism with the publications of T. S. Eliot's The Wasteland, James Joyce's Ulysses, and Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room. Woolf's novel, only her third, is not generally afforded the iconic worship and critical praise so often attached to those works of her most famous male contemporaries....   [tags: Jacob's Room Essays]

Better Essays
4385 words (12.5 pages)

Analysis of Jacob Have I Loved Essay

- Louise, the protagonist of Katherine Patterson’s Jacob Have I Loved, infuriates me.  She fights against ghosts of what she wishes to be and against what she really is, kicking and screaming all the way.  I don’t debate that she struggles with good reason -- certainly the neglect from her family, whether perceived or real, and the expectations her culture (I really want to say environment here) has placed on her gender role have contributed to her plight -- but her great inner strength and insight belies her inability to overcome or at least circumvent those obstacles.  To me, she is a rebel with the sole cause of declaring her independence from her expected gender role.  And, in that, I find...   [tags: Jacob Have I Loved]

Free Essays
1888 words (5.4 pages)

Analysis Of ' Autumn Of The Patriarch ' Essay

- ... Shortly after the General’s masculinity is displayed to the reader, Benedicion Alvarado, his mother, makes a statement that is seemingly weary of her son’s ability to lead: “if I’d known my son was going to be president of the republic I’d have sent him to school.” (45-46) Though lack of schooling doesn’t preclude the General from having wisdom, it does call into question what warranted his rise to power other than his perceived masculinity. But perhaps this is the point-- by introducing the General as a masculine figure, and by making the General’s masculinity preeminent to his being, Marquez presents a basal idea that dictates masculinity is the driver of leadership....   [tags: Masculinity, Gender, Libido, Virility]

Better Essays
1476 words (4.2 pages)

Freedom From The Patriarch : Feminism Essay

- ... Miss Mackay goes on to explain that Second Wave feminists were often labeled as lesbian, man hating or hairy (333). The places in which they met were under the constant view of what they thought and fought for brought a bad reputation. These stigmas are actually misogynistic views and women shouldn 't fear those labels but work to explain these acts and help others understand it. Instead of putting down other women or fearing the stigma of a feminist, women should aim to break this stereotype and break the ideals that feminism is unreasoned and radical....   [tags: Feminism, Second-wave feminism, Feminist theory]

Better Essays
1095 words (3.1 pages)

Jacob A. Riis' How the Other Half Lives Essay

- Jacob A. Riis' How the Other Half Lives This book talks about the immigrants in the early 1900’s. The book describes how they live their daily lives in New York City. It helped me a lot on Riis photographs and his writings on to better understand the book and the harsh reality this people lived. This comes to show us that life is not that easy and it will cost us work to succeed. Riis talked about all the immigrant major groups that came to the United States during this time period. Riis was a bit prejudice and stereotyped the people he wrote about....   [tags: Jacob Riis Other Half Lives Essays]

Better Essays
519 words (1.5 pages)

Essay about Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus and Jurek Becker’s Jacob the Liar

- Thomas Mann’s Doctor Faustus and Jurek Becker’s Jacob the Liar Joseph Campbell’s definition of a hero states that “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself” (Campbell 123). The concept of the hero has been present and in active use by storytellers since humans first began telling stories. Myths and legends of every culture and tradition have heroes whose purpose is to serve as role models and character lessons to those who hear or read their stories. The hero of a story can take many forms depending on the purpose of the story, reflecting the society of the writer....   [tags: Hero German Faustus Jacob Essays]

Better Essays
2648 words (7.6 pages)

Rebecca West's The Return of the Soldier and Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room

- Rebecca West's The Return of the Soldier and Virginia Woolf's Jacob's Room Rebecca West and Virginia Woolf give great significance to the families of their respective main characters in The Return of the Soldier and Jacob’s Room because it gives the reader a greater insight to the formation of and reasoning for both Chris and Jacob’s nature. Each of these characters have multiple families to deal with: Chris has Kitty and Jenny on the one hand, and Margaret on the other, while Jacob deals with his mother and brother as well as his connections to society and academia....   [tags: Woolf West Soldier Jacob's Compare Essays]

Better Essays
2723 words (7.8 pages)

Jacob Essay example

- Jacob, the son of Isaac and Rebekah, and the twin brother of Esau, was born in Canaan, around 2,000 BC. Even before his birth, great things had been predicted of him by the Spirit of the Lord. It was prophesized that although he was the younger born of the twins, he should have dominion, and be the father of a great and powerful nation. The predictions also included his descendents would reign supreme over all the descendents of his elder brother, Esau (Blunt 123). Jacob first appears in the Bible in the book of Genesis....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1308 words (3.7 pages)