Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Jacob's children

Laban was reluctant to release him, as God had blessed his flock on account of Jacob. Laban asked what he could pay Jacob. Jacob is also cited in the Hadith as an example of one who was patient and trusting in God in the face of suffering.

God's Discipline - Lesson 9 in Practical Christian Living

Jewish Apocalyptic literature of the Hellenistic period includes many ancient texts with narratives about Jacob, many times with details different from Genesis. When he told his brothers about these dreams, it drove them to conspire against him. Esau's spirit of revenge, however, was apparently appeased by Jacob's bounteous gifts of camels, goats and flocks. Seeing this, the half brothers began to hate Joseph. The more important are the book of Jubilees and the Book of Biblical Antiquities. Rachel envied her sister…Give me children, or else I die…Jacob’s anger was aroused against Rachel: The tension in this family was apparent. Their reunion was an emotional one.

Bible: Jacob on Pinterest | Bible Crafts, For Kids and Sunday ...

a. Yet, he contemplated his son’s words about these dreams. Jacob was finally reunited with his father Isaac in Mamre (outside Hebron).

Primary 6: Old Testament Lesson 14: Jacob and His Family

After Joseph was born, Jacob decided to return home to his parents. In the morning, Jacob assembled his 4 wives and 11 sons, placing the maidservants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. She took Zilpah her maid and gave her to Jacob as wife: Leah, who has stopped bearing children, figured she could use the same surrogate mother method to increase the number of children accounted to her, so she gave her maid Zilpah to Jacob as Rachel had given her maid Bilhah to Jacob.

As time passed, Laban's sons noticed that Jacob was taking the better part of their flocks, and so Laban's friendly attitude towards Jacob began to change. Jacob then settled in Migdal Eder, where his firstborn, Reuben, slept with Rachel's servant Bilhah; Jacob's response was not given at the time, but he did condemn Reuben for it later, in his deathbed blessing. When Joseph was seventeen years old, Jacob made a long coat or tunic of many colors for him. Then Joseph began to have dreams that implied that his family would bow down to him. Jacob placed peeled rods of poplar, hazel, and chestnut within the flocks' watering holes or troughs, an action he later attributes to a dream.

In contrast to the Judeo-Christian view of Jacob, one main difference is that the story of Jacob's blessing, in which he deceives Isaac, is not accepted in Islam. (Genesis 37:1-11)

Jacob then made a further move while Rachel was pregnant; near Bethlehem, Rachel went into labor and died as she gave birth to her second son, Benjamin (Jacob's twelfth son). The Qur'an makes it clear that Jacob was blessed by God as a prophet and, therefore, Muslims believe that his father, being a prophet as well, also knew of his son's greatness. At least Jacob saw the hand of God in the matter, even though he stated it to Rachel so directly as to be cruel (Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?).

Jacob had 2 wives, Rachel and Leah (who were sisters, and first-cousins of Jacob), and 2 concubines, Bilhah and Zilpah, an apparently common and accepted practice of the day. See the mini-article called Israel, for more about how the tribes of Israel were descended from Jacob’s twelve sons.

b. Before they left, Rachel stole the teraphim, considered to be household idols, from Laban's house.

Note: The numbers after Jacob’s children’s names indicate their birth order as given in Genesis 29,30; 35.16-26. God told Jacob that he should leave, which he and his wives and children did without informing Laban. His flocks were often fed in the pastures of Shechem as well as Dothan. Jacob himself took the foremost position. Of all the children in his household, he loved Rachel’s firstborn son, Joseph, the most. Jacob buried her and erected a monument over her grave. Some commentators cite this placement as proof that Jacob continued to favor Joseph over Leah's children, as presumably the rear position would have been safer from a frontal assault by Esau, which Jacob feared. Jacob proposed that all the spotted, speckled, and brown goats and sheep of Laban's flock, at any given moment, would be his wages. Thus Joseph’s half brothers were jealous of him and they ridiculed him often. When Jacob heard of these dreams, he rebuked his son for proposing the idea that the house of Jacob would even bow down to Joseph. Joseph even told his father about all of his half brothers’ misdeeds. Jacob is also the protagonist of the Testament of Jacob, of the Ladder of Jacob and of the Prayer of Joseph, which interpret the experience of this Patriarch in the context of merkabah mysticism. Rachel's Tomb, just outside Bethlehem, remains a popular site for pilgrimages and prayers to this day. Rachel and Leah did not object to the other two women because it was their idea to have more children with them (Genesis 30:3,9).

The house of Jacob dwelt in Hebron, in the land of Canaan.

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