Ja’cob (supplanter), the second son of Isaac and Rebekah. He was born with Esau, probably at the well of Lahai-roi, about b.c. 1837. His history is related in the latter half of the book of Genesis. He bought the birthright from his brother Esau, and afterward acquired the blessing intended for Esau, by practicing a well-known deceit on Isaac. (Jacob did not obtain the blessing because of his deceit, but in spite of it. That which was promised he would have received in some good way; but Jacob and his mother, distrusting God’s promise, sought the promised blessing in a wrong way, and received with it trouble and sorrow.—Ed.) Jacob, in his 78th year, was sent from the family home to avoid his brother, and to seek a wife among his kindred in Padan-aram. As he passed through Bethel, God appeared to him. After the lapse of twenty-one years he returned from Padan-aram with two wives, two concubines, eleven sons and a daughter, and large property. He escaped from the angry pursuit of Laban, from a meeting with Esau, and from the vengeance of the Canaanites provoked by the murder of Shechem; and in each of these three emergencies he was aided and strengthened by the interposition of God, and in sign of the grace won by a night of wrestling with God his name was changed at Jabbok into Israel. Deborah and Rachel died before he reached Hebron; Joseph, the favorite son of Jacob, was sold into Egypt eleven years before the death of Isaac; and Jacob had probably exceeded his 130th year when he went thither. He was presented to Pharaoh, and dwelt for seventeen years in Rameses and Goshen, and died in his 147th year. 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 example of Jacob is quoted by the first and the last of the minor prophets. Besides the frequent mention of his name in conjunction with the names of the other two patriarchs, there are distinct references to the events in the life of Jacob in four books of the New Testament—John 1:51; 4:5, 12; Acts 7:12, 16; Rom. 9:11-13; Heb. 11:21; 12:16.