Character Studies

Lesson 8

JACOB

And he said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed." (Genesis 32:28)

Text: Genesis 25-50

Name: Jacob (Supplanter); Israel (Prince with God)

Place: Canaan, Padan-Aram, Egypt

Occupation: Shepherd

References: Hosea 12:3-5, 12; Heb. 11:21; Matt. 8:11; Rom. 9:10-13

JACOB'S BIRTH
Genesis 25:21-26; Joshua 24:4; Romans 9:10-13
Son of Isaac and Rebekah in answer to prayer
Struggle of Jacob and Esau before birth depicted the struggle of two nations
The favoritism of his parents (Isaac and Rebekah)

THE BIRTHRIGHT AND THE BLESSING
Genesis 25:29-34; 27:1-41; Hebrews 12:16-17
Jacob bargained for Esau's birthright
The birthright granted:
    1. Superior rank in the family (firstborn, cf. Gen. 49:3)
    2. A double portion of the paternal inheritance (Deut. 21:17)
Deceives Isaac and obtains the blessing of the firstborn
Jacob is hated by Esau

FLIGHT INTO PADAN-ARAM (SYRIA)
Genesis 27:42-30:43
Rebekah's plan to save Jacob's life
Jacob's dream of heaven's ladder at Bethel
Jacob's love, marriages and children
Jacob's 20 year service to Laban
His flight from Laban

JACOB RETURNS TO CANAAN
Genesis 32-35
The angels at Mahanaim
Wrestles with the angel of God and his name is changed to "Israel" (cf. Hosea 12:3-4)
He meets Esau in peace
The incident at Shechem
Jacob returns to Bethel

JACOB AND HIS HOUSE ESCAPE FAMINE IN EGYPT
Genesis 37-50
Jacob's favoritism of Joseph lead to jealous treachery
Joseph rises to power in Egypt
Israel goes down into Egypt
There he blesses the sons of Joseph
He speaks of the future to his sons
His death and burial

JACOB'S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES
STRENGTHS INCLUDE:
-Determined to succeed (Gen. 32:24-28), faith (Gen. 28:16-22; 35:3; Heb. 11:21), sacrificial love (Gen. 29:18-20), dutiful servant (Gen. 31:36-42), prayerful (Gen. 32:9-12)
WEAKNESSES INCLUDE:
-Crafty (Gen. 25:29-34), deception (Gen. 27:1-29), showed favoritism to sons (Gen. 37:3)

LESSONS FOR US
God is long-suffering with man.
God blesses those who rely on Him.
God is always true to His word.
God's sovereignty accomplishes His purposes among men.
Treachery brings tumultuous consequences (we reap what we sow).
Contentment comes, not from prosperity, but from faith in God.

QUESTIONS
1. What two nations were in Rebekah's womb?

2. Discuss some of the contrasts between Jacob and Esau and how they shaped or defined each man.

3. What was a birthright? What was Esau's attitude toward it? (Gen. 25:29-34)

4. Name the times in Jacob's life when he:

    a. Struggled with man.

    b. Struggled with God.

5. What blessing did Isaac give Jacob? (Gen. 27:26-29)

6. What promises did God make to Jacob in Genesis 28:13-15?  What was Jacob's response? (28:16-22)

7. How did God bless Jacob in Padan-Aram?

8. Name the times in his life that God appeared to Jacob, and why.

9. Name Jacob's wives and their children.

10. Where was Jacob buried?