The meaning of Jacob

Taurean

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On the request of Marcialou, I make this thread as an extension of the question I asked in the thread about whether Jacob did own any land. Here is the original thread.

I will now simply copy the question as I asked it, and invite Marcialou to share her insights.

>>> What does the character of Jacob signify? Why is he favored by Rebecca over his brother, and what is the significance of the brothers hairiness versus Jacobs less hairy nature? It may be an indication of animal nature, but perhaps that is seeking too much.

I am most interested in what exactly is seen by orthodox and otherwise learned Judaic scholars as happening between Jacob and the Angelic force that fights with him the night before he has to face Isaac.

Why is Jacob able to pin the angel down, and make a demand of him?
To the onlooker it has the appearance of the internal struggle to find ones courage, ones heroic self. Perhaps the wrestled divinity is here a metaphor of conscience.

but this would not explain what happens to Jacobs leg.
The point of the story seems to the physical nature of God.<<<
 

Marcialou

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Taureen,

I just noticed your thread was posted two days ago. I don't know why I didn't see it earlier. I would have responded to it right away if I had.

Here is my initial response to the questions about the two brothers and parental favoritism.

First, consider what God says to Rebecca when she is pregnant with the twins:

“Two nations are in your womb,
Two peoples shall be separated from your body;
One people shall be stronger than the other,
And the older shall serve the younger.”(Gen 25:23)

It appears that God has already chosen Jacob to sire the Children of Israel. This could have been enough for Rebecca to favor her second son.

The competition between the two boys begins shortly after God's pronouncement, with Jacob clutching the heel of his older brother as they are born.

The Bible says that Isaac favors Esau because Esau is a hunter and Isaac has a taste for game. Hairy, Esau, who was willing to sell his birthright for a bowl of stew, was coarse, impulsive and perhaps not too bright. I think of Esau taking after his father: both ruled by their stomachs.

Jacob is a mild mannered dweller of tents and a herder. He's also a manipulator like his mother. Consider how he took advantage of Esau with the stew for birthright deal. Rebecca masterminded the ploy to get Jacob Isaac's blessing. I get the feeling that God was just fine with the deception.
 

Marcialou

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Esau means "hairy", "rough".Hairiness is associated more with animals and less with modern humans.Think of popular images of Big Foot and the Neanderthals. The hairy, hunter Esau lost out to his herding younger brother Jacob, just as the hunter-gatherer economy eventually lost out to herding and ultimately farming. I think God’s preference for one brother over the other represents the advancement of the new economy over the old.
 

Taurean

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Thank you very much. I learned a lot.
Wil, that link is fantastic, what a wealth of information.
 

wil

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a figment of your imagination
It'll take you on a ride.... when you read about the fight...whether it an angel, G!d or a fight within himself (or all three) is upto interpretation.... take a look at the metaphysics....who did he send ahead, crossing a river...look up traits and replace the metaphysics with the people, things in the story...
 
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