Jacob: Unexpected Patriarch (Jewish Lives)

A strong hero of the Bible, Jacob is usually one among its most intricate figures. Bible tales recounting his existence usually reveal his deception, lies, and greed—then, puzzlingly, try and justify them. during this ebook, eminent biblical student Yair Zakovitch provides a whole view of the patriarch, first reading Jacob and his lifestyles tale as provided within the Bible, then additionally reconstructing the tales that the Bible writers suppressed—tales that have been famous, might be, yet incompatible with similar to Jacob they desired to advertise. via a piece of awesome “literary archaeology,” Zakovitch explores the recesses of literary historical past, achieving again even to the degree of oral storytelling, to spot assets of Jacob's tale that preceded the paintings of the Genesis writers.

The biblical writers have been expert mosaic-makers, Zakovitch indicates, and their success was once to reshape assorted 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 spiritual and political setting within which the Bible used to be written, supplying a robust explication of early Judaism.

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It’s worthy declaring that, in Hebrew, a lexical connection exists among beged, “garment, [piece of] clothing,” and begidah, “betrayal”; among me’il, “overcoat,” and me’ilah, “treachery”; among kesut, “covering (such as a garment),” and kisui, “concealment,” that's, hiding one’s precise intentions. garments allows deceit. With Jacob donning his brother’s clothing, Rebekah areas the nutrients she ready into his palms and sends him off to his father. yet for the truth that just one who's current to listen to a blessing should be blessed through it, we start to suspect that Rebekah could have taken Jacob’s position and long gone to Isaac herself.

She characterizes her fight dramatically—“a fateful contest,” actually, “a contest of God,” that's, the last word contest, which has concluded effectively, in victory: “I have prevailed. ” This time she doesn’t trouble pointing out God’s support: the victory is all hers. Leah senses a danger from her sister’s maneuverings and he or she makes a decision to come back fireplace with fireplace. She, too, obtained a maidservant from their father! “When Leah observed that she had stopped bearing, she took her maid Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as concubine” (v 9).

And Jacob was once left on my own and a guy wrestled [vaye’aveq] with him till the holiday of sunrise. (vv 23-25) Jacob’s adversary is a guy, ‘ish, a time period used on a regular basis to refer additionally to angels (see the exchange makes use of of the time period within the Sodom and Gomorrah tale: “men,” in Gen 18:2, sixteen, 22; 19:5, eight, 10, 12, sixteen; “angels” in 19:1, 15). The fit with the “man” occurs at a ford of the Jabbok, one of many tributaries of the Jordan that joins it approximately 40 kilometers north of the lifeless Sea. the tale translates the river’s identify, yaboq, as derived from the basis ‘-b-q, “to combat, struggle,” which makes its unmarried visual appeal within the Bible during this episode (v 25; see additionally v 26).

Jacob, whose mom enjoyed him top and favorite him notwithstanding he used to be the youngest, now brims with extra love for his younger son, Joseph. and that's no longer all. The biblical author subsequent provides an instance of Jacob’s preferential therapy: “and he made him an ornamented tunic” (v 3). As now we have constantly visible all through our research of Jacob’s lifestyles, each aspect the biblical narrator chooses to narrate is important. just like the Chekhovian directive of narrative potency that warns us to watch out for the gun putting at the wall in a drama’s first scene, the colourful tunic that Joseph gets from his father will—predictably—play a very important function within the dramatic occasions to come back.

With the instructed delivery of Zilpah’s moment baby, Leah pronounces, “’I am satisfied [be’oshri]! for girls have praised me [ishruni]. ’ So she named him Asher” (v 13). once more we pay attention no expression of pleasure in motherhood, in line with se, yet in attractiveness of her admirable place, accomplished during the many sons she has produced. This dizzying succession of births has avoided us from looking at the rival sisters jointly at the similar degree. The velocity now slows a section, and the 2 look jointly, by myself, for the 1st time, and we get to witness a talk among them.

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