Jackson, William, Dd (3)
Jackson, William, D.D. (3)
a Congregational minister, was born in Cornwall, Conn., Dec. 14, 1768. At the age of sixteen, when about commencing his studies preparatory for college, his mind became deeply impressed with religious truth, and he at once decided to devote his life to the ministry. He entered Dartmouth College in 1786, and graduated in 1790. For a time he taught a school in Wethersfield, Conn., but, finding that his services were needed in the Church, he commenced finally the study of theology under Drs. Spring and Emmons. In 1793 he was licensed to preach, and he performed ministerial labors first near his home, and afterwards in New Jersey. A call which had been given him by the Congregational Society at Dorset, Vt., in 1793, when feeble health obliged him to decline, was renewed three years after, and this time accepted. He was ordained Sept. 27, 1796. In 1837 he was obliged to ask his people for all assistant; and though his task had thus been made easier, his health continued to fail him, and he died Oct. 15, 1842. In 1837 Middlebury College, of which he had been a corporation member for several years, conferred on him the doctorate of divinity. Dr. Jackson possessed a mind of high order, sanctified by earnest devotion to the interests of the Church. "Dr. Porter, late of Andover, the companion of his youth, and particular friend in college, said of him, 'He is the only minister of his- age who has kept up with the times.' His mental enterprise and panting for progress never left him."-Dr. J. 1i-altby, in Sprague, Annals. of the American Pulpit, 2, 336.
(Heb. Yaukob', יִעֲקֹב supplanter, from עָקִב, to bite the heel [to which signification there is allusion in Ge 25:26; Ge 27:36; Ho 12:14; Sept. and N.T. Ι᾿ακώβ; Josephus Ι᾿άκωβος, which latter is identical with the Greek name for "James"), the name of two men in the Bible.
I. The second-born of the twin sons of Isaac by Rebekah (B.C. 2004). His importance in Jewish history requires a copious treatment, which we accordingly give in full detail.
1. His conception is stated to have been supernatural (Ge 25:21 sq.). Led by peculiar feelings, Rebekah went to inquire of the Lord (as some think, through the intervention of Abraham) and was informed that she was about to become a mother, that her offspring should be the founders of two nations, and that the elder should serve the younger — circumstances which ought to be borne in mind when a judgment is pronounced on her conduct in aiding Jacob to secure the privileges of birthright to the exclusion of his elder brother Esau. He was born with Esau, when Isaac was 59 and Abraham 159 years old, probably at the well Lahai-roi.
As the boys grew, Jacob appeared to partake of the gentle, quiet, and retiring character of his father, and was accordingly led to prefer the tranquil safety and pleasing occupations of a shepherd's life to the bold and daring enterprises of the hunter, for which Esau had an irresistible predilection. The latter was his father's favorite, however, while Rebekah evinced a partiality for Jacob (Ge 25:27-28).
That selfishness, and a prudence which approached to cunning, had a seat in the heart of the youth Jacob, appears but too plainly in his dealing with Esau, when he exacted from a famishing brother so large a price for a mess of pottage as the surrender of his birthright (Ge 25:29-34). B.C. cir. 1985. (See Kitto, Daily Bible Illust. ad loc.)
The leaning which his mother had in favor of Jacob would naturally be augmented by the conduct of Esan in marrying, doubtless contrary to his parents' wishes, two Hittite women, who are recorded as having been a grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah (Ge 26:34-35). B.C. 1964.
Circumstances thus prepared the way for procuring the transfer of the birthright, when Isaac, being now old, proceeded to take steps to pronounce the irrevocable blessing, which acted with all the force of a modern testamentary bequest. This blessing, then, it was essential that Jacob should receive in preference to Esau. Here Rebekah appears as the chief agent; Jacob is a mere instrument in her hands. Isaac directs Esau to procure him some venison. This Rebekah hears, and urges her reluctant favorite to personate his elder brother. Jacob suggests difficulties; they are met by Rebekah, who is ready to incur any personal danger so that her object be gained (see Thomson, Land and Book, 2, 355). Her voice is obeyed, the food is brought, Jacob is equipped for the deceit; he helps out his fraud by direct falsehood, and the old man, whose senses are now failing, is at last with difficulty deceived (Genesis 27). B.C. 1927. It cannot be denied that this is a most reprehensible transaction, and presents a truly painful picture, in which a mother conspires with one son in order to cheat her aged husband, with a view to deprive another son of his rightful inheritance. Justification is here impossible; but it should not be forgotten, in the estimate we form, that there was a promise in favor of Jacob, that Jacob's qualities had endeared him to his mother, and that the prospect to her was dark and threatening which arose when she saw the negligent Esau at the head of the house, and his hateful wives assuming command over herself.
For the sale of his birthright to Jacob, Esau is branded in the N. Test. as a "profane person" (Heb 12:16). The following sacred and important privileges have been mentioned as connected with primogeniture in patriarchal times, and as constituting the object of Jacob's desire:
(a) Superior rank in the family (see Ge 49:3-4).
(b) A double portion of the father's property (so Aben-Ezra) (see De 21:17, and Ge 47:22).
(c) The priestly office in the patriarchal church (see Nu 8:17-19). In favor of this, see Jerome, ad Evang. Ep. 83, § 6; Jarchi, in Genesis 25; Estius, il Hebr. 12; Shuckford, Connexion, bk. 7; Blunt, Undes. Coinc. i, 1, § 2, 3; and against it, Vitringa, Observ. Sac; and J. D. Michaelis, Mosaisch. Recht, 2, § 64, cited by Rosenmüller in Genesis 25.
(d) A conditional promise or adumbration of the heavenly inheritance (see Cartwright in the Crit. Sacr. on Genesis 25).
(e) The promise of the Seed in which all nations should be blessed, though not included in the birthright, may have been so regarded by the patriarchs, as it was by their descendants (Ro 9:8, and Shuckford, 8). The whole subject has been treated in separate essays by Vitringa in his Observat. Sacr. 1. 11, § 2; also by J.H. Hottinger, and by J. J. Schröder. See Eycke, De venditione primogeniturae Esavi (Wittenb. 1729); Gmelin, De benedict. paterna Esavo a Jacobo praerepta (Tub. 1706); Heydegger, Hist. Patriarch. 2, 14. SEE BIRTHRIGHT.
With regard to Jacob's acquisition of his father's blessing (ch. 27), few persons will accept the excuse offered by St. Augustine (Serm. 4:§ 22, 23) for the deceit which he practiced: that it was merely a figurative action, and that his personation of Esau was justified by his previous purchase of Esau's birthright. It is not, however, necessary, with the view of cherishing a Christian hatred of sin, to heap opprobrious epithets upon a fallible man whom the choice of God has rendered venerable in the eyes of believers. Waterland (4, 208) speaks of the conduct of Jacob in language which is neither wanting in reverence nor likely to encourage the extenuation of guilt: "I do not know whether it be justifiable in every particular; I suspect that it is not. There were several very good and laudable circumstances in what Jacob and Rebekah did, but I do not take upon me to acquit them of all blame. Blunt (Undes. Coinc.) observes that none "of the patriarchs can be set up as a model of Christian morals. They lived under a code of laws that were not absolutely good, perhaps not so good as the Levitical; for, as this was but a preparation for the more perfect law of Christ, so possibly was the patriarchal but a preparation for the Law of Moses." The circumstances which led to this unhappy transaction, and the retribution which fell upon all parties concerned in it, have been carefully discussed by Benson (Hulsean Lectures  on Scripture Difficulties, 16, 17). See also Woodgate (Historical Sermons, 9) and Maurice (Patriarchs and Lawgivers, 5). On the fulfillment of the prophecies concerning Esau and Jacob, and on Jacob's dying blessing, see bishop Newton, Dissertations on the Prophecies, § 3, 4.
Punishment soon ensued to all the parties to this iniquitous transaction (see Jarvis, Church of the Redeemed, p. 47). Fear seized the guilty Jacob, who is sent by his father, at the suggestion of Rebekah, to the original seat of the family, in order that he might find a wife among his cousins, the daughters of his mother's brother, Laban the Syrian (Genesis 28). Before he is dismissed, Jacob again receives his father's blessing, the object obviously being to keep alive in the young man's mind the great promise given to Abraham, and thus to transmit that influence which, under the aid of divine Providence, was to end in placing the family in possession of the land of Palestine, and, in so doing, to make it "a multitude of people." The language, however, employed by the aged father suggests the idea that the religious light which had been kindled in the mind of Abraham had lost somewhat of its fullness, if not of its clearness also, since "the blessing of Abraham," which had originally embraced all nations, is now restricted to the descendants of this one patriarchal family. And so it appears, from the language which Jacob employs (Ge 28:16) in relation to the dream that he had when he tarried all night upon a certain plain on his journey eastward, that his idea of the Deity was little more than that of a local god: "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I knew it not." Nor does the language which he immediately after employs show that his ideas of the relations between God and man were of an exalted and refined nature: "If God will be with me, and will keep me in the way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace, then shall the Lord be my God." The vision, therefore, with which Jacob was favored was not without occasion, nor could the terms in which he was addressed by the Lord fail to enlarge and correct his conceptions, and make his religion at once more comprehensive and more influential. (Jacob's vision at Bethel is considered by Miegius in a treatise [De Scald Jacobi] in the Thesaur us novus Theologico-Philologicus, 1, 195. See also Augustine, Serm. 122; Kurz, History of the Old Covenant, 1, 309.)
2. Jacob, on coming into the land of the people of the East, accidentally met with Rachel, Laban's daughter, to whom, with true Eastern simplicity and politeness, he showed such courtesy as the duties of pastoral life suggest and admit (Genesis 29). Here his gentle and affectionate nature displays itself under the influence of the bonds of kindred and the fair form of the youthful maiden. "Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice and wept." It must be borne in mind, however, that Jacob himself had now reached the mature age of seventy-seven years, as appears from a comparison of Joseph's age (Ge 30:25; Ge 41:46; Ge 45:6) with Jacob's (Ge 47:9; Ge 31:41). After he had been with his uncle the space of a month, Laban inquires of him what reward he expects for his services. He asks for the "beautiful and well-favored Rachel." His request is granted on condition of a seven years' service — a long period, truly, but to Jacob "they seemed but a few days for the love he had to her." When the time was expired, the crafty-Laban availed himself of the customs of the country in order to substitute his elder and "tender-eyed" daughter, Leah. In the morning Jacob found how he had been beguiled; but Laban excused himself, saying, "It must not be done in our country, to give the younger before the first-born." Another seven years' service gains for Jacob the beloved Rachel. Leah, however, has the compensatory privilege of being the mother of the first-born, Reuben; three other sons successively follow, namely, Simeon, Levi, and Judah, sons of Leah. This fruitfulness was a painful subject of reflection to the barren Rachel, who employed language on this occasion that called forth a reply from her husband which shows that, mild as was the character of Jacob, it was by no means wanting in force and energy (Ge 30:2). An arrangement, however, took place, by which Rachel had children by means of her maid, Bilhah, of whom Dan and Naphtali were born. Two other sons, Gad and Asher, were born to Jacob of Leah's maid, Zilpah. Leah herself bare two more sons, namely, Issachar and Zebulun; she also bare a daughter, Dinah. At length Rachel herself bare a son, and she called his name Joseph. As this part of the sacred history has been made the subject of cavil on the alleged ground of anachronism (see Hengstenberg, Auth. des Pentat. 2, 851), it may be well to present here a table showing the chronological possibility of the birth of these children within the years allotted in the narrative (Ge 29:32; Ge 30:24).
Jacob's polygamy is an instance of a patriarchal practice quite repugnant to Christian morality, but to be accounted for on the ground that the time had not then come for a full expression of the will of God on this subject. The mutual rights of husband and wife were recognized in the history of the Creation, but instances of' polygamy are frequent among persons mentioned in the sacred records, from Lamech (Ge 4:19) to Herod (Josephus, At. 17, 1, 2). In times when frequent wars increased the number of captives and orphans, and reduced nearly all service to slavery, there may have been some reason for extending the recognition and protection of the law to concubines or half-wives, as Bilhah and Zilpah. In the case of Jacob, it is right to bear in mind that it was not his original intention to marry both the daughters of Laban. (See, on this subject, Augustine, Contra Faustum, 22, 47-54.)
Most faithfully and with great success had Jacob served his uncle for fourteen years, when he became desirous of returning to his parents. At the urgent request of Laban, however, he is induced to remain for an additional term of six years. The language employed upon this occasion (Ge 30:25 sq.) shows that Jacob's character had gained considerably during his service, both in strength and comprehensiveness; but the means which he employed in order to make his bargain with his uncle work so as to enrich himself, prove too clearly that his moral feelings had not undergone an equal improvement (see Baumgarten, Comment. I, 1, 276), and that the original taint of prudence, and the sad lessons of his mother in deceit, had produced some of their natural fruit in his bosom. (Those who may wish to inquire into the nature and efficacy of the means which Jacob employed, may, in addition to the original narrative, consult Michaelis and Rosenmüller on the subject, as well as the following: Jerome, Quaest. in Genesis; Pliny, Hist. Nat. 7, 10; Oppian, Cyneg. 1, 330 sq.; Michaelis Verm. Schrift. i, 61 sq.; Hastfeer, Ueber Schafzucht; Bochart, Hieroz. 1, 619; Nitschmann, De corylo Jacobi in Thesaur. novus Theologico- Philologicus, 1, 201. Winer [Handwörterb. s.v. Jacob] gives a parallel passage from Elian, Hist. Anitw. 8, 21.)
The prosperity of Jacob displeased and grieved Laban, so that a separation seemed desirable. His wives are ready to accompany him. Accordingly, he set out, with his family and his property, "to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan" (Genesis 31) (B.C. 1907). It was lot till the third day that Laban learned that Jacob had fled, when he immediately set out in pursuit of his nephew, and, after seven days' journey, overtook him in Mount Gilead. Laban, however, is divinely warned not to hinder Jacob's return. Reproach and recrimination ensued. Even a charge of theft is put forward by Laban: "Wherefore hast thou stolen my gods?" In truth, Rachel had carried off certain images which were the objects of worship. Ignorant of this misdeed, Jacob boldly called for a search, adding, "With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live." A crafty woman's cleverness eluded the keen eye of Laban. Rachel, by an appeal which one of her sex alone could make, deceived her father. Thus one sin begets another; superstition prompts to theft, and theft necessitates deceit. Whatever opinion may be formed of the teraphim (q.v.) which Rachel stole, and which Laban was so anxious to discover, and whatever kind or degree of worship may in reality have been paid to them, their existence in the family suffices of itself to show how imperfectly instructed regarding the Creator were at this time those who were among the least ignorant in divine things. Laban's conduct on this occasion called forth a reply from Jacob, from which it appears that his service had been most severe, and which also proves that, however this severe service might have encouraged a certain servility, it had not prevented the development in Jacob's soul of a high and energetic spirit, which, when roused, could assert its rights, and give utterance to sentiments both just, striking, and forcible, and in the most poetical phraseology. Peace, however, being restored, Laban on the ensuing morning took a friendly, if not an affectionate farewell of his daughters and their sons, and returned home.
3. So far, things have gone prosperously with Jacob; the word of God to him at Bethel, promising protection and blessing, has been wonderfully verified, and, with a numerous family and large possessions, he has again reached in safety the borders of Canaan. But is there still no danger in front? Shortly after parting with Laban, he met, we are told, troops of angels, apparently a double band, and wearing somewhat of a warlike aspect, for he called the place in honor of them by the name of Mahanaim [two hosts] (Ge 32:1-2. Whether this sight was presented to him in vision, or took place as an occurrence in the sphere of ordinary life, may be questioned, though the latter supposition seems best to accord with the narrative; but it is not of material moment, for either way the appearance was a reality, and bore the character of a specific revelation to Jacob, adapted to the circumstances in which he was placed. It formed a fitting counterpart to what he formerly had seen at Bethel; angels were then employed to indicate the peaceful relation in which he stood to the heavenly world when obliged to retire from Canaan, and now, on his return, they are again employed with a like friendly intent-to give warning, indeed, of a hostile encounter, but at the same time to assure him of the powerful guardianship and support of heaven. The former part of the design was not long in finding confirmation; for, on sending messengers to his brother Esau with a friendly greeting, and apprising him of his safe return after a long and prosperous sojourn in Mesopotamia, he learned that Esau was on his way to meet him with a host of 400 men. There could be no reasonable doubt, especially after the preliminary intimation given through the angelic bands, as to the intention of Esau in advancing towards his brother with such a force. The news of Jacob's reappearance in Canaan, and that no longer as a dependant upon others, but as possessed of ample means and a considerable retinue, awoke into fresh activity the slumbering revenge of Esau, and led him, on the spur of the moment, to resolve on bringing the controversy between them to a decisive issue. This appears from the whole narrative to be so plainly the true state of matters, that it seems needless to refer to other views that have been taken of it. But Jacob was not the man at any time to repel force with force, and he had now learned, by a variety of experiences, where the real secret of his safety and strength lay. His first impressions, however, on getting the intelligence, were those of trembling anxiety and fear; but, on recovering himself a little, he called to his aid the two great weapons of the believer-pains and prayer. He first divided his people, with the flocks and herds, into two companies, so that if the one were attacked the other might escape. Then he threw himself in earnest prayer and supplication on the covenant-mercy and faithfulness of God, putting God in mind of his past loving-kindnesses, at once great and undeserved; reminding him also of the express charge he had given Jacob to return to Canaan, with the promise of his gracious presence, and imploring him now to establish the hopes he had inspired by granting deliverance from the hands of Esau. So ended the first night; but on the following day further measures were resorted to by Jacob, though still in the same direction. Aware of the melting power of kindness, and how "a gift in secret pacifieth anger," he resolved on giving from his substance a munificent present to Esau, placing each kind by itself, one after the other, in a succession of droves, so that on hearing, as he passed drove after drove, the touching words, "A present sent to my lord Esau from thy servant Jacob," it might be like the pouring of live coals on the head of his wrathful enemy. How could he let his fury explode against a brother who showed himself so anxious to be on terms of peace with him? It could scarcely be, unless there were still in Jacob's condition the grounds of a quarrel between him and his God not yet altogether settled, and imperiling the success even of the best efforts and the most skilful preparations.
That there really was something of the sort now supposed seems plain from what ensued. Jacob had made all his arrangements, and had got his family as well as his substance transported over the Jabbok (a brook that traverses the land of Gilead, and runs into the Jordan about half way between the Lake of Galilee and the Dead Sea), himself remaining behind for the night. It is not said for what purpose he so remained, but there can be little doubt it was for close and solitary dealing with God. While thus engaged, one suddenly appeared in the form of a man, and in the guise of an enemy wrestling with him and contending for the mastery. Esau was still at some distance, but here was an adversary already present with whom Jacob had to maintain a severe and perilous conflict; and this plainly an adversary in appearance only human, but in reality the angel of the Lord's presence. It was as much as to say, "You have reason to be afraid of the enmity of one mightier than Esau, and, if you can only prevail in getting deliverance from this, there is no fear that matters, will go well with you otherwise; right with God, you may trust him to set you right with your brother." The ground and reason of the matter lay in Jacob's deceitful and wicked conduct before leaving the land of Canaan, which had fearfully compromised the character of God, and brought disturbance into Jacob's relation to the covenant. Leaving the land of Canaan covered with guilt, and liable to wrath, he must now re-enter it amid sharp contending, such as might lead to great searchings of heart, deep spiritual abasement, and the renunciation of all sinful and crooked devices as utterly at variance with the childlike simplicity and confidence in God which it became him to exercise. In the earnest conflict, he maintained his ground, till the heavenly combatant touched the hollow of his thigh and put it out of joint, in token of the supernatural might which this mysterious antagonist had at his command, and showing how easy it had been for him (if he had so pleased) to gain the mastery. But even then Jacob would not quit his hold; nay, all the more he would retain it, since now he could do nothing more, and since, also, it was plain he had to do with one who had the power of life and death in his hand; he would, therefore, not let him go till he obtained a blessing. Faith thus wrought mightily out of human weakness-strong by reason of its clinging affection, and its beseeching importunity for the favor of heaven, as expressed in Ho 12:4: "By his strength he had power with God; yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept and made supplication unto him." In attestation of the fact, and for a suitable commemoration of it, he had his name changed from Jacob to Israel (combatant or wrestler with God); "for as a prince," it was added, by way of explanation, "hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed." Jacob, in turn, asked after the name of the person who had wrestled with him-not as if any longer ignorant who it might be, but wishing to have the character or manifestation of Godhead, as this had now appeared to him, embodied in a significant and appropriate name. His request, however, was denied; the divine wrestler withdrew, after having blessed him. But Jacob himself gave a name to the place, near the Jabbok, where the memorable transaction had occurred: he called it Peniel (the face of God), "for," said he, "I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved" (Ge 32:25-31). The contest indicated that he had reason to fear the reverse: but his preservation was the sign of reconciliation and blessing.
This mysterious wrestling has been a fruitful source of difficulty and misinterpretation (see Hofmann, Varia Sacra, 185 sq.; Heumann, Sylloq. diss. 1, 147 sq.). The narrator did not, we think, intend it for the account of a dream or illusion (see Ziegler in Henke's Nat. Mag. 2, 29 sq.; Hengstenberg, Bileam, p. 51; Herder, Geist der Heb. Poesie, 1, 266; Tuch's Genesis p. 468). A literal interpretation may seem difficult, for it makes the Omnipotent vanquish one of his own creatures, not without a long struggle, and at last only by a sort of art or stratagem (compare similar accounts in heathen mythology, Bauer, Heb. Mythol. 1, 251 sq.; Movers, Phonic. 1, 433; Bohlen, Isdien, i, 225). At the same time it must be said that the only way to expound the narrative is to divest ourselves of our own modern associations, and endeavor to contemplate it from the position in which its author stood (see Bush's Note, ad loc.). Still, the question recurs, What was the fact which he has set forth in these terms? (see De Wette, Krit. d. Is. Gesch. p. 132; Ewald, Israeliten, 1, 405; Rosenmüller, Scholia, ad loc.) The design (says Wellbeloved, ad loc.), "was to encourage Jacob, returning to his native land, and fearful of his brother's resentment, and to confirm his faith in the existence and providence of God. And who will venture to say that in that early period any other equally efficacious means could have been employed?" (Comp. the language already quoted [ver. 28].)' A very obvious end pursued throughout the history of Jacob was the development of his religious convictions; and the event in question, no less than the altars he erected and the dreams he had, may have materially conduced to so important a result. That it had a lasting spiritual effect upon Jacob is evident from the devout tenor of his after life. (For a beautiful exposition of this event, see Charles Wesley's poem entitled "'Wrestling Jacob." Compare Krummacher, Jacob Wrestling [Lond. 1838].)
After this night of anxious but triumphant wrestling, Jacob rose from Peniel with the sun shining- upon him (an emblem of the bright and radiant hope which now illuminated his inner man), and went on his way halting- weakened corporeally by the conflict in which he had engaged, that he might have no confidence in the flesh, but strong in the divine favor and blessing. Accordingly, when Esau approached with his formidable host, all hostile feelings gave way; the victory had been already won in the higher sphere of things, and he who turneth the hearts of kings like the rivers of water, made the heart of Esau melt like wax before the liberal gifts, the humble demeanor, and earnest entreaties of his brother. They embraced each other as brethren, and for the present at least, and for anything that appears during the remainder of their personal lives, they maintained the most friendly relations.
4. After residing for a little on the farther side of Jordan, at a place called Succoth, from Jacob's having erected there booths (Hebrew sukkoth) for his cattle, he crossed the Jordan, and pitched his tent near Shechene ultimately the center of the Samaritans. [In the received text, it is said (Ge 33:18), "He came to Shalem, a city of Shechem" — but some prefer the reading Shalom: "He came in peace to city of Shechem."] There he bought a piece of ground from the family of Shechem, and obtained a footing among the people as a man of substance, whose friendship it was desirable to cultivate. But ere long, having, by the misconduct of Hamor the Hivite SEE DINAH and the hardy valor of his sons, been involved in danger from the natives of Shechem in Canaan, Jacob is divinely directed, and, under the divine protection, proceeds to Bethel, where he is to "make an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the lace of Esau thy brother" (Ge 34; Ge 35) (B.C. cir. 1900). Obedient to the divine command, he first purifies his family from "strange gods," which he hid under "the oak which is by Shechem," after which God appeared to him again, with the important declaration, "I am God Almighty," and renewed the Abrahamic covenant. While journeying from Beth-el to Ephrath, his beloved Rachel lost her life in giving birth to her second son. Benjamin (Ge 35:16-20) (B.C. cir. 1899). At length Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, the family residence, in time to pay the last attentions to the aged patriarch (Ge 35:27) (B.C. 1898). The complete reconciliation between Jacob and Esau at this time is shown by their uniting in the burial rites of their father. Not long after this bereavement, Jacob was robbed of his beloved son, Joseph, through the jealousy and bad faith of his brothers (Genesis 37) (B.C. 1896).' This loss is the occasion of showing us how strong were Jacob's paternal feelings; for, on seeing; what appeared to be proofs that "some evil beast had devoured Joseph," the old man "rent his clothes, and put sackcloth- upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days, and refused to be comforted" (Ge 37:33).
A widely extended famine induced Jacob to send his: sons down into Egypt, where he had heard there was corn, without knowing by whose instrumentality (Genesis 42 sq.) (B.C. 1875). The patriarch, however, retained his youngest son Benjamin, "lest mischief should befall him," as it had befallen Joseph. The young men returned with the needed supplies of corn. They related, however, that they had been taken for spies, and that there was but one way in which they could disprove the charge, namely, by carrying down Benjamin to "the lord of the land." This Jacob vehemently refused (Ge 43:34). The pressure of the famine, however, at length forced Jacob to allow Benjamin to accompany his brothers on a second visit to Egypt; whence, in due time, they brought back to their father the pleasing intelligence, "Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt." How naturally is the effect of this on Jacob told — "and Jacob's heart fainted, for he believed them not." When, however, they had gone into particulars, he added, "Enough, Joseph my son is yet alive; I will go and see him before I die." Touches of nature like this suffice to show the reality of the history before us, and, since they are not infrequent in the book of Genesis, they will of themselves avail to sustain its credibility against all that the enemy can do. The passage, too, with others recently cited, strongly proves how much the character of the patriarch had improved. In the whole of the latter part of Jacob's life he seems to have gradually parted with many less desirable qualities, and to have become at once more truthful, more energetic, more earnest, affectionate, and, in the largest sense of the word, religious. Encouraged "in the visions of the night," Jacob goes down to Egypt (B.C. 1874), and was affectionately met by Joseph (Ge 46:29). Joseph proceeded to conduct his father into the presence of the Egyptian monarch, when the man of God, with that self-consciousness and dignity which religion gives, instead of offering slavish adulation, "blessed Pharaoh." Struck with the patriarch's venerable air, the king asked, "How old art thou?" What composure and elevation is there in the reply, "The days of the years of my pilgrimage are a hundred and thirty years; few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage" (Ge 47:8-10). Jacob, with his sons, now entered into possession of some of the best land of Egypt, where they carried on their pastoral occupations, and enjoyed a very large share of earthly prosperity. The aged patriarch, after being strangely tossed about on a very rough ocean, found at last a tranquil harbor, where all the best affections of his nature were gently exercised and largely unfolded (Genesis 48, sq.). After a lapse of time, Joseph, being informed that his father was sick, went to him, when "Israel strengthened himself, and sat up in his bed." He acquainted Joseph with the divine promise of the land of Canaan which yet remained to be fulfilled, and took Joseph's sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, distinguishing them by an adoption equal to that of Reuben and Simeon, the oldest of his own sons (Ge 48:5). How impressive is his benediction in Joseph's family (Ge 48:15-16): "God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth." "And Israel said unto Joseph, Behold, I die; but God will be with you, and bring you again unto the land of your fathers" (ver. 21). Then, having convened his sons, the venerable patriarch pronounced on them also a blessing, which is full of the loftiest thought, expressed in the most poetical diction, and adorned by the most vividly descriptive and engaging imagery (see Sthhelin, Aninadversiones in Jacobi vaticiium, Heidelb. 1827), showing how deeply religious his character had become, how freshly it retained its fervor to the last, and how greatly it had increased in strength, elevation, and dignity: "And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed [i.e. knelt towards the bed's head (see Delitzsch on Heb 11:21) rather than bowed over the top of his staff, as Stuart, ad loc. SEE STAFF ], and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people" (Ge 49:33), at the ripe age of 147 years (Ge 47:28). B.C. 1857. His body was embalmed, carried with great care and pomp into the land of Canaan, and deposited with his fathers, and his wife Leah, in the cave of Machpelah. The route pursued by this funeral procession is ingeniously supposed by Dr. Kitto (Pict. Hist. of Jews, 1, 136) to have been the more circuitous one afterwards taken by the Israelites by the way of Mount Seir and across the Jordan, the object being apparently in both cases the fear of the Philistines, who lay in the direct route. Dr. Thomson objects to this as an unnecessary deviation (Land and Book, 2, 385), urging that the Bethagla, which Jerome identifies with the Area-Atad or Abel-mizraim (q.v.), as the scene of the mourning ceremonies, lay near Gaza; but in this case it is certainly difficult to explain the constant statement that the spot in question was situated "beyond the Jordan," as it clearly implies a crossing of the river by the cavalcade.
In the list of Jacob's lineal descendants given in Ge 46:8-27, as being those that accompanied him on his removal to Egypt, there is evidence that the list was rather made up to the time of his decease, or, perhaps even somewhat later (see Hengstenberg's Pentateuch, 2, 290 sq.); for we find mentioned not only numerous sons (some of whom will appear to be even grandsons) of Benjamin, at the date of that emigration a youth (see 44:20, 30-34), but also the children of Pharez, at that time a mere child (comp. 38:1). SEE BENJAMIN. There has, moreover, been experienced considerable difficulty in making out the total of seventy persons there stated, as well as the sum of sixty-six included it, and likewise the aggregates of the posterity of the several wives as there computed. This difficulty is further enhanced by the number seventy-five assigned by Stephen (Ac 7:14) to Jacob's family at the same date. This last statement, however, cannot be disposed of in the manner frequently adopted by including the wives of Jacob and his sons (for it does not appear that they are at all referred to, and it is probable that they would have swelled the number more largely if added), but is rather to be regarded as a quotation made (without indorsing or caring to discuss its accuracy) from the Sept., which gives that total in the passage in Genesis; but inconsistently attributes nine sons to Joseph in place of two. Of all the explanations of the other discrepancies, that of Dr. Hales is perhaps the most plausible (Analysis of Chronology, 2, 159), but it has the insuperable objections of including Jacob himself among the number of his own posterity, and of not conforming to the method of enumeration in the text. A comparison of Nu 26:8, shows that the name of Eliab, the son of Pallu and grandson of Reuben, has been accidentally dropped from the list in question; this restored, the whole, with its parallel accounts, may be adjusted with entire harmony, as in the table on the following pages.
The example of Jacob is quoted by the first and the last of the minor prophets. Hosea, in the latter days of the kingdom, seeks (Ho 12:3-4,12) to convert the descendants of Jacob from their state of alienation from God by recalling to their memory the repeated acts of God's favor shown to their ancestor. Mal 1:2 strengthens the desponding hearts of the returned exiles by assuring them that the love which God bestowed upon Jacob was not withheld from them. Besides the frequent mention of his name in conjunction with those of the other two patriarchs, there are distinct references to events in the life of Jacob in four books of the N.T. In Ro 9:11-13, Paul adduces the history of Jacob's birth to prove that the favor of God is independent of the order of natural descent. In Heb 12:16, and Heb 11:21, the transfer of the birthright and Jacob's dying benediction are referred to. His vision at Bethel, and his possession of land at Shechem, are cited in Joh 1:51, and Joh 4:5,12. Stephen, in his speech (Ac 7:12,16), mentions the famine, which was the means of restoring Jacob to his lost son in Egypt, and the burial of the patriarch in Shechem.
In Jacob may be traced a combination of the quiet patience of his father with the acquisitiveness which seems to have marked his mother's family; and in Esau, as in Ishmael, the migratory and independent character of Abraham was developed into the enterprising habits of a warlike hunter- chief. Jacob, whose history occupies a larger space, leaves on the reader's mind a less favorable impression than either of the other patriarchs with whom he is joined in equal honor in the N.T. (Mt 8:11). But, in considering his character, we must bear in mind that we know not what limits were set in those days to the knowledge of God and the sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit. A timid, thoughtful boy would acquire no self- reliance in a secluded home. There was little scope for the exercise of intelligence, wide sympathy, generosity, frankness. Growing up a stranger to the great joys and great sorrows of natural life-deaths, and wedlock, and births; inured to caution and restraint in the presence of a more vigorous brother; secretly stimulated by a belief that God designed for him some superior blessing, Jacob was perhaps in a fair way to become a narrow, selfish, deceitful, disappointed man. But, after dwelling for more than half a lifetime in solitude, he is driven from home by the provoked hostility of his more powerful brother. Then, in deep and bitter sorrow, the outcast begins life afresh long after youth has passed, and finds himself brought first of all unexpectedly into that close personal communion with God which elevates the son, and then into that enlarged intercourse with men which is capable of drawing out all the better feelings of human nature. An unseen world was opened. God revived and renewed to him that slumbering promise, over which he had brooded for threescore years since he had learned it in childhood from his mother. Angels conversed with him. Gradually he felt more and more the watchful care of an ever-present spiritual Father. Face to face he wrestled with the representative of the Almighty. And so, even though the moral consequences of his early transgressions hung about him, and saddened him with a deep knowledge of all the evil of treachery and domestic-envy, and partial judgment, and filial disobedience, yet the increasing revelations of God enlightened the age of the patriarch; and at last the timid "supplanter," the man of subtle devices, waiting for the salvation of Jehovah, dies the "soldier of God," uttering the messages of God to his remote posterity. (See Niemeyer, Charakt. 2, 260 sq.; Stanley, Jewish Church, 1, 58 sq.) For reflections on various incidents in Jacob's life, see Bp. Hall's Contemplations, bk. 3; Blunt, Hist. of Jacob (Lond.
Many Rabbinical legends concerning Jacob may be found in Eisenmenger's Ent. Judenth., and in the Jerusalem Targum. (See also Otho, Lex. Rabb. p. 286; Hamburger, Talmud. Torfterb. s.v.). In the Koran he is often mentioned in conjuncti6n with the other two patriarchs (chap. 2, and elsewhere). SEE MOHAMMEDANISM.
JACOB also occurs in certain poetical and conventional phrases, borrowed from the relations of the patriarch to the theocracy and state. "God of Jacob," אֵֹלהֵי יִעֲקֹב (Ex 3:6; Ex 4:5; 2Sa 23:1; Ps 20:2; Isa 2:3); or simply "Jacob" (Ps 24:6, where the term אֵֹלהֵי appears to have fallen out of the text); also "mighty One of Jacob," אֲבַיַר יִעֲקֹב (Ps 132:2), are titles of Jehovah as the national deity. "Jacob" frequently stands for his posterity or the Israelitish people; but poetically chiefly, "house of' Jacob," בֵּית יִעֲקֹב (Ex 19:3; Isa 2:5-6; Isa 8:17; Am 3:13; Am 9:8; Mic 2:7; Ob 1:17-18), "seed of Jacob," זֵרֲע יִעֲקֹב (Isa 45:19; Jer 33:26), "sons of Jacob," בּנֵי יִעֲקֹב (1Ki 18:37; Mal 3:6), "congregation of Jacob," קהַלִּת יִעֲקֹב (De 33:4), and simply "Jacob," יִעֲקֹב (Nu 23:7,10,21,23; Nu 24:5,17,19; De 32:9; De 33:10; Ps 14:7,7; Ps 44:5; Isa 25:6,9; Jer 10:25; Jer 31:11; Am 5:8; Am 7:2; Am 8:7), all put for the house or family of Jacob; whence the expression "in Jacob," בּיִעֲקֹב (Ge 49:7; La 2:3), i.e. among the Jewish people. Very generally the name is used for the people as an individual, and with the epithets appropriate to their patriarchal progenitor, i.e. "Jacob, my servant" (Isa 44:1; Isa 45:4; Isa 48:20; Jer 30:10; Jer 43:13,13), "Jacob, thy (Edom's) brother" (Ob 1:10). In like manner with the term Israel, "Jacob" is even spoken of the kingdom off Ephratim, which had arrogated to itself the title proper only to the entire nation (Isa 9:7; Isa 17:4; Mic 1:5; Ho 10:11; Ho 12:3); and, after the destruction of the northern kingdom, the same expression is employed of the remaining kingdom of Judah (Na 2:3; Ob 1:18).
See Isham, Discriminative uses of "Jacob" and "Israel" (Lond. 1854). SEE ISRAEL.