Jacob (Israel) after whose name the country was named

Posted by admin on 11 August 2019 in Genesis |

Genesis 25 – Genesis 50

Rebekah conceived fraternal twins (Genesis 25:12). God revealed their destinies as Rebekah enquired of the LORD (“…the elder (Esau) will serve the younger (Jacob)…”) (Genesis 25:22-23). Jacob means ‘supplanter’. Jacob received Isaac’s blessing instead of Esau (Genesis 27:1-40). Jacob was sent away to the house of Rebekah’s brother, Laban, fleeing from the anger of Esau (Genesis 27:41-45).

See Genesis 28:10-22.

Along the journey, Jacob had a special dream, and the LORD said to him in the dream:

‘I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.’

Jacob setup a pillar and called the place ‘Bethel’ (the house of God).

Then Jacob made a vow, saying,

‘If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear 21 so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God 22 and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.’

Jacob (77 years old) met Rachel (at least 12 years old, Laban’s younger daughter) (Genesis 29:11) and Jacob was in love with Rachel (Genesis 29:18).

7 years later, on the wedding night, Laban deceived Jacob and let him sleep with his elder daughter Leah. A week later, Laban gave him Rachel as well (Genesis 29:21-30).

One thing noticed is that Jacob deceived by Laban (Genesis 29:23), and also later deceived by his children (Genesis 37:31-35). This is compared to the event he deceived his father Isaac.

Jacob got 12 sons and one daughter (Genesis 29:31-35). He became rich (Genesis 30:25-43) and it was due to God’s help (Genesis 31:12). Jacob fled from Laban to go back to homeland (Genesis 31) as God commanded him (Genesis 31:3). On the way to homeland, Jacob prepared to meet Esau (Genesis 32). He prepared gifts for Esau (Genesis 32:1-21) and he wrestled with God (the angel of God) for blessing (Genesis 32:22-32).

See Genesis 32:26-29:

26 Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’

But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’

27 The man asked him, ‘What is your name?’

‘Jacob,’ he answered.

28 Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.’

29 Jacob said, ‘Please tell me your name.’

But he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ Then he blessed him there.


As shown in Genesis 32:28, his name was changed to ‘Israel’.

God spoke to Jacob in Genesis 35:1. He built an altar in Bethel, where God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother (Genesis 35:7).

See Genesis 46:1-4. God spoke to Jacob when he offered sacrifices in Beersheba.

1So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.

And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, ‘Jacob! Jacob!’

‘Here I am,’ he replied.

‘I am God, the God of your father,’ he said. ‘Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph’s own hand will close your eyes.’


Jacob continues to appear till Genesis 50. His son Joseph was focused from Genesis 37 onward.

Note that the country was named after Jacob’s new name, ‘Israel’. So, I am paying special attention to Jacob’s life.

In summary,

He wanted God’s blessing (Genesis 27:1-40, Genesis 28:20-22, Genesis 32:26), he setup an pillar or an altar, and offered sacrifice (Genesis 28:18, Genesis 35:7, Genesis 46:1), he received dreams, and the LORD appeared and spoke to him in dreams or a vision (Genesis 28:12-15, Genesis 31:3, Genesis 35:1, Genesis 46:2-3). He met God (His angel) and wrestle with Him (Genesis 32:22-32).

What makes him special or what we can learn from him…?

  • He knew he would need God’s blessing. Action plan we can take would be ‘asking God His blessing’.
  • The above summary tells us his faith. He had faith in God.

Let us continue to find more.


[1] The Holy Bible: New International Version (Anglicised Edition, 2011). (2011). (Revised and updated edition). London: Hodder & Stoughton.

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