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Joined: 2009/1/16
Posts: 393

 Interpreting the life of Jacob was he rebellious and judged or obedient and blessed? (more thorough)

I have been thinking over the OT and all the pictures and types in them and seeking to gain further understanding.

I have for sometime been a bit confused over the life of Jacob.

I have been taught that he was rebellious and so was judged and so forth.

Some things did not sit well with me though.

I think I have come to some more clarity though I am not 100%.

I thought to myself why would he be judged for grabbing Esau's foot to come out first when it was God's plan to have Jacob first. Or why would his plotting with his mother be judged when it was his rightfully. Or why would he be judged with 2 wives when in fact the one he did not love as much bore him children and was a good wife was it not just their father who was evil. If Jacob was judged then why was his flock blessed. Jacob wrestled with God/Angel yes, but was he judged did not Esau receive him, and did Jacob do it knowingly?

I thought over the life of Isaac. It seemed as if Isaac had it easy his father Abraham sent a servant to fetch his bride and while he was meditating in the field his wife was brought to him. The I thought of Jacob who had to work for years. However, is being persecuted by Esau, deceived by his wives father though overcoming with good, a curse? Do not we as Christians get tried like this? Is this not the cross life of Christ? I know Isaac did not seem to have it like this with his wife, but still there was a cross life in prayer and was he not offered up to be sacrificed.

So, I am not so sure Jacob was rebellious. I am not so sure he was cursed. I think it may be slander to say he was evil. Look at the overwhelming evidence of his saintliness! Should we say of one of the patriarchs that he was a failure when truly to me it seems he did great exploits of righteousness. Was it not told that he was not to be touched because he was God's.

I am also pondering the situation with Esau. Maybe there is something there as a type though I don't understand yet. First, Esau wanted to kill him then later he received him. Is this a cross and resurrection thing. Or a first coming to second coming contrast. Or making even your enemies your friends or what. I think there is something. Maybe Jacob thought Esau would kill him, but God wrestled with him to bring him to Esau to show that there would be peace that the flesh "Esau" had been crucified with it's lusts.

What say you?...

[edit] (a more thorough statement in the following)

So, I have been thinking over the types and what not in the OT. Praying to God that he would open my understanding to more of these foreshadowings and things I may have missed.

I began to think of how a wife was brought to Isaac from his fathers servant while he was meditating in the field. Then I thought of how Jacob had to work like crazy and go through wild trials to get his wife even weeping when he first kissed her. I have been of the interpretation that I have heard that Jacob was rebellious so God had to judge him sometimes and break him. Whereas Isaac was just a good guy and had it easy. I was however confused over this for a while because it just wouldn't settle. I wonder if Jacob really was bad I mean I know many errors of saints are shown in the Scriptures, but sometimes just much good. I then thought you know what maybe Jacob wasn't all that bad. I mean not every Christian gets it easy like Isaac that could have just been an instance and even a picture of Christ' bride being brought to him. The Christian can often though not doing any wrong or like Christ not doing any wrong need to be tried and yet love. So also, I thought with Jacob. Sure he was deceived and had to work like crazy, but that does not necessarily mean he did anything wrong. Also, when Jacob who many call rebellious was lied to did he revile in return? No, he blessed and served. This is Christ likeness and a great deal so. I then went on to think more so into the latter texts wherein he deals with Esau and what not and will try to further prove my case. Since I have not given a ton of reason though some yet mostly statements without many proofs.

Though this is not exhaustive or strongly thought through I will just jot down some of the things I have mused on.

Jacob grabbed Esaus ankle on the way out and so got his name. Some say you see he is trying to cheat. I will more say he is competing and there is nothing wrong with that. Some will even say he is trying to usurp. I will say usurping in and of itself is not wrong. David by the call of God usurped kingdoms for power by the sword.

Jacob offered Esau food for his birthright. Was this wrong? No I don't think so. I think that Esau just cared more for fleshly things then godly things. For what does it say in Hebrews of him?

Heb 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.
Heb 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

You will see from this that Esau was just a sinful man. Jacob merely exposed Esau's sinfulness and showed that Esau was no fit person for the birthright. It was not as if Jacob stole the birth right it was Esau's choice. The sin here is not Jacob's, but it is shown to be Esau's here in this text.

Or what of the fact that Jacob deceived his father and out maneuvered Esau for the blessing? Was this sin? Was this deception? Well, first of Jacob didn't want to do it at first and was talked into it by his mother and she said she would take the fault. It is a righteous man who does not want to do wrong even in great opportunity. Yet, think of this did Jacob really steal anything? No. Remember Esau had already sold it so it was rightfully Jacob's. Then think of this of the harlot Rahab. She lied to hide the spies and it was accounted to her as faith and righteousness. So, also, Jacob under honest circumstances out witted his enemies.

Also, Jacob didn't even say he was wrong in doing it. He said paraphrased, "If I am caught I will 'seem' a deceiver and he will bring a curse upon me". Not that he was really an evil deceiver for what he was doing was right. Not that God would judge him, but that his father would curse him.

Or you can point to the fact that Isaac and Rebekah were told by God previously who these children would be. Isaac was in the flesh therefore looking at Esau and wanting to give him the birthright because he was stronger even though he was sinful. As Abraham wanted to have a child by his maid instead of by the promise of God impossibly through his aged wife. Or as Samuel would have chosen another one of Jesse's sons then David, but the Lord does not see as man sees for the Lord looks at the heart.

God does not always respect the natural first born but the one who is worthy in the heart. Not the one who is great but the one who is weak. Not the one who is fleshly but the one who is spiritual. This is a perfect picture of that.

I have already mentioned Isaac's dealing with his wife in light of Jacob. Now how about Esau in light of Jacob. Esau took non Israelite brides which vexed his mother and more then one. Isaac however waited and so much so that he wept when he found one of his kin. Sure he had 2 brides but it wasn't even his choice, but he did the even greater good in keeping the one he did not want. Some would think that in "polygamy" that the best thing to do is to divorce all wives except for the first when becoming a Christian. I would say though that that is not always the best thing for those women especially in that culture context. So Jacob in not wanting her nor wanting 2 wives kept her anyways and cared for her.

Some say Jacob was deceived because he was a deceiver by Laban the father of his 2 wives. This I think not to be true. Jacob was deceived by Laban one because Laban was evil. Note also that though Jacob got a bride he did not want and had to work an extra 7 years it turned into a Romans 8:28;

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Though evil occurred to Jacob it turned out for good. First, many children were born to him though not many from the other. Second, in Leah's debasement God worked and gave her praise namely Judah who ended up being in the lineage of Christ. So, you will see that this even evil turned out for good to Jacob.

Not only that, but when reviled by Laban Jacob did not curse back but blessed. He worked hard and multiplied Laban's well being and God was with him. Then in the end Jacob even had his own wealth. And even when Laban wanted to attack Jacob he couldn't for God protected him.

Or think even before all this. When Jacob fleeing from persecution like a martyr. Slept and had a dream of a ladder to heaven ect. What was this? This was the Gospel this was Christ as Jesus later stated. So Jacob was blessed all this time. God was showing him all this because he was seeking to be right before God. Jacob even vowed at that point to worship God and so we have Bethel.

Or some will say you will see later Jacob wrestling with God/Angel. Therefore he was disobedient to God. I will say this in light of all the previous body of evidence that this was not totally the case. Sure maybe Jacob needed to be taught obedience by the things he suffered, but so did Jesus and it was not sin. I do not quite know how to interpret that whole part yet. I will say though that Esau did not try to kill him. It says in the Proverbs that a righteous man makes even his enemies to be his friends. Or maybe Jacob was not sure if he would be killed or not and God had to teach him trust. As Jacob vowed if you will bring me back safe to my fathers house then you will be my God. In making Esau not attack him God I believe was fulfilling Jacob prayer. So I am not sure this was a conscience act of disobedience, but just an innocent lesson of growth.

Furthermore, as people say he was wrestling with God and so disobedient. It may have been a trial of faith for God had told him he would be back in his land and even angels met him before seeing Esau and who knows what they said maybe the same. Jacob was afraid, but what was this wrestling for? Was it to get away in fear? No, it was to get a blessing to get past Esau somehow. You see Jacob was not saying let me out of here he was wrestling and pleading with God to bless him like Jesus in Gethsemane. For after what was it told of him? You shall no longer be called Jacob or one who struggles to get ahead but Israel one who rules as a prince and has power with God and men! Now that is a blessing not a cursing what he was doing in wrestling was not wrong. Maybe it was right for him to fear until he prayed it through. A mighty man of prayer was this Jacob.

The list goes on.

So, I think you will see, that Jacob was not a man who was rebellious, to judgment, to brokenness. But, a man who was zealous for righteousness, a man who loved his enemies, who was wise and did great exploits in God. Again, I know that faults are often seen in saint in the Scripture but not always. Think of Joseph or Daniel. These men were "excellent" this was a testimony of how great God can make men to be. There life was marked with mostly abundant good. Some will even say that Joseph was sinning and so made his brother mad. This is emphatically not the case. Joseph is a picture of Christ. He was anointed and favored by the father because of his righteousness and his brother lack thereof. He was cast into a pit depicting death. Later he was on top of the world in Egypt and saved Israel and restored his brothers. All this Christ will do. Joseph was not proud he was anointed and favored and evil men hate that and therefore persecute. Let us not cast slander and accusation on these Patriarchs of God who bore much fruit as a testimony and lest the pictures which God has given us of the Gospel be skewed.

So I think that in part the life of Jacob was a picture of Christ and us who will serve God and be persecuted and tried and yet come through doing great good not having it always easy, but God works all things out for good.

 2009/9/5 2:05Profile

Joined: 2005/6/18
Posts: 1481

 Re: Interpreting the life of Jacob was he rebellious and judged or obedient and bless

hi, he was a usurper and he was blessed... put that in your religeous ... his name was changed to Israel after his repentence butGod is not ashamed to be known as the Gof of abraham , isaac, and JACOB.jimp

 2009/9/5 3:42Profile

Joined: 2009/1/16
Posts: 393


Yes, but, just because he usurped something does not mean that he evily usurped something.

Think of Rahab who lied to hide the spies and it was accounted to her as faith.

Or what is it to grab ones ankle. Is it wrong to take power over another? There is no sin in that. Though the odds were against Jacob both in the womb and for the blessing Jacob strove forward and went for what was his.

 2009/9/5 9:05Profile

Joined: 2005/11/10
Posts: 530

 Re: Interpreting the life of Jacob was he rebellious and judged or obedient and bless

Was Jacob rebellious and judged or obedient and blessed?

Both. Ultimately he was a blessed man. This is the washout of his life, a man of God, a man of trust, a man who God used not only while he was alive, but after he departed this life. There was judgment in his life however. The deceiver was deceived. Although he was not perfect in many areas, it was his overarching faith, love, and obedience that characterized his life and God's upholding of him. God looked into his heart, meaning deeply into the character of his very soul.

 2009/9/5 10:06Profile

Joined: 2009/1/16
Posts: 393


I'm not so sure he was judged. I'm not so sure there is any evil on his part. It would seem that he more so has an exemplary life like Joseph or Daniel. Once again as for deceiving Rahab also deceived those who would seek out the spies and it was accounted to her as faith. It would seem that he is recorded for doing no evil, but abundant good through and through and even when taken advantage of by his wives father it turns out for good and he in turn blesses.

 2009/9/5 12:23Profile

Joined: 2004/7/7
Posts: 7504

 Re: Interpreting the life of Jacob was he rebellious and judged or obedient and bless

The Scriptures are filled with incidents of people who fell short of perfect behaviours. This is in contrast to Jesus of whom there was absolutely nothing done in error. His behaviours were perfect. The stories of God's people illustrate how all are in need of a savior, how God can and will redeem a sinner and still use him.

I would guess there is little in current human life that one cannot find a counterpart in the Scriptures and get some inspiration.

Do we not see the story of God's mercy, his loving kindness in face of man's rebellion, disobedience? What was true thousands of years ago is still true today - human nature has not changed and neither has God's nature. Awesome, don't you think?

This is the story: of God redeeming fallen mankind and bring them to himself. Some were scoundrels, to be sure. Some repented and others did not. And therein lies the appeal of these Bible stories. Sounds like modern life, does it not?

That is the lesson.


EDIT: Basically the scriptures is the history of God dealing with fallen mankind who get all twisted up in knots and He redeeming them to himself. In reading these Bible stories one needs to focus on God, how he dealt with these people and then see what lesson this story teaches us about God. Simple.

Sandra Miller

 2009/9/5 13:37Profile

Joined: 2009/1/16
Posts: 393


Thank you for your input.

I am still yet to see any incidents wherein he did evil or was judged. The only thing that comes close is him wrestling with an angel, but no one knows if he thought he were going against the will of God.

Not all people's lives in the Scriptures are riddled with sin.

Think of Daniel how much of his error is shown? In contrast his righteousness is shown his exploits, and his wise heart in God, it is trying to show the exceeding good that he did.

Or think of Joseph what wrong is shown of him? I don't see any wrong shown in him. Much of the reason is probably because he is a picture of Christ and a foreshadow. Some will say that he was stuck up and so therefore caused his brother to persecute him. Do you see the error in this? Joseph as a picture of Christ was anointed among the brethren and favored by the father and righteous, therefore he was hated and pictorally killed by being in the pit, then he ended up saving Israel by being in charge in Egypt wherein he met his brothers and wept as a pic of the second coming. So you see Joseph did not sin if he did the foreshadowing would be ruined.

I know that men are in the Bible shows to have faults here and there, but sometimes it is not recorded. Specifically in the life of Jacob I don't see it.

 2009/9/5 18:03Profile


Do we not see the story of God's mercy, his loving kindness in face of man's rebellion, disobedience? What was true thousands of years ago is still true today - human nature has not changed and neither has God's nature. Awesome, don't you think?


We have to remember that there was no law in those days, every man did what he thought was right in his own eyes. The taking of two or more wives were permitted, but the first was by deception. It seemed Jacob only wanted one wife, but God had other plans.

This is going to sound weird but there are some things that are willed into our lives that are questionable but they have been ordained of God to be so. We say the most stupidest things, "God can't break His own law". God is not under the law! The law was added because of transgression. God does not sin. There are several instances in the word of God that have raised an eyebrow or two about God. But who can say to Him, "What doest thou?". Is there any one of us who has the right to tell God that what He is doing with North Korea is not right? Or why He doesn't send rain to the parched lands of Africa? He sends both Good and Evil and who can say to Him, "Stop what you are doing".

When you consider the bible and how it was written and the lives that were played out, all the examples of their lives have all a spiritual meaning. There is a depth to what and how they lived and the God that showed up when they called on Him. We see Christ all the way through their examples. All the good and the bad and the ugly that came their way was willed by God. It's the same as the tree in the garden of Eden. That tree was meant to offend, because Christ was slain BEFORE the foundation of the world. Christ was meant to show up some time in the future to die for all mankind.

God put Himself in situations that He would be angry to provoke Moses to step in His way to spare the people. I mean come on! God says to Moses, "Get out of my way that I may consume these people in moment". Moses was interceding and God was being resisted by a man who was pleading for mercy. God knew what He was doing. He wanted to see what Moses would do, would he be the example of the Prophet that should come? He certainly was.

Jacob was another pawn in the great circle of life to which God used again to show forth another example of Christ. The two wives were of the same household but one loved the other hated. The one hated had more children then the one loved. Leah wasn't hated as we use the word hate, she was not preferred. Yet Christ prefers those that are absolute nobody's. Not many nobles are born again, but the foolish things of this world, the despised hath God chosen. Leah the one that no man wanted (I feel sorry for this woman), became the one that gave Jacob the 10 patriarchs. Thus another of God's examples were written in stone about Christ.

I could go on and on about God's wisdom and how He is absolutely God over all His creation. I know that most will not understand my words, nor will they be able to comprehend what I have conveyed. We must remember that God is God and He changes not. I can't conform His image into what ever I think He should be in my beliefs. Each person reading this will go through some very ugly situations and you'll ask yourself, "Why God?". "Why is this happening to me?". Job could have asked those questions? You see, we knew something that Job didn't know, we knew why! He didn't know. All he saw was destruction after destruction and his kids died and finally his wife says, "curse God and die". If any good came out of that it was to show what kind of a woman Job had. But God willed for that man to suffer.

God willed Jacob to suffer as He wills it in our lives to suffer and hopefully it will be for His name sake and not for the sins in our flesh.

 2009/9/5 20:58

Joined: 2009/1/16
Posts: 393


Yes, it is true that God willed for Jacob to suffer.

This does not mean that it was judgment. It was more like the sufferings of Christ.

Jacob did suffer with being deceived, having 2 wives, but for those who love God and are called according to His purpose God works all things our for good. Though Jacob had Leah she gave birth to Judah who in turn was in the lineage of Christ.

So, there seems to be no proof that Jacob was a life of rebellion to judgment but of obedience and suffering like Christ.

 2009/9/5 21:07Profile

Joined: 2009/1/16
Posts: 393


So far most of the posts here are not giving reason why they think Jacob was rebellious. And are merely saying so. There were a couple instances, but I believe I answered those.

For instance the name Jacob mean usurper. I then said you can righteously usurp. Sure Jacob grabbed an ankle to get out first. But King David was righteous and by the calling of God struck armies for power. So there is nothing wrong with usurping in and of itself. Or again Rahab the harlot lied to hide the spies and it was accounted to her for righteousness.

The life of Jacob seems to be one wherein he had to labor for what He got in righteousness. And all the while he was being wrongfully persecuted and yet enduring and not striking back. It was Jacobs right to grab the ankle because it was his calling and it was his hustle. It was right for Jacob to deceive Isaac and Esau because they were seeking to be unjust and give the blessing to Esau. Jacob was right when he offered food to Esau who was so unrighteous that he would sell his birthright for the flesh it was right for Jacob to expose that sin. After that there are not even seeming evils. Jacob was deceived by his wives father and he did not strike back, but served and blessed back. He was a righteous man.

Not a man of failure, but a man who did great righteous acts aboundingly.

 2009/9/5 21:14Profile

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