A strong hero of the Bible, Jacob can be considered one of its most intricate figures. Bible tales recounting his existence usually reveal his deception, lies, and greed—then, puzzlingly, try to justify them. during this e-book, eminent biblical student Yair Zakovitch provides an entire view of the patriarch, first studying Jacob and his existence tale as provided within the Bible, then additionally reconstructing the tales that the Bible writers suppressed—tales that have been famous, possibly, yet incompatible with a twin of Jacob they desired to advertise. via a piece of awesome “literary archaeology,” Zakovitch explores the recesses of literary historical past, attaining again even to the level 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 exhibits, and their success was once to reshape diversified pre-biblical representations of Jacob in aid 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, delivering a strong explication of early Judaism.
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Extra resources for Jacob: Unexpected Patriarch (Jewish Lives)
Approval of Simeon and Levi’s habit in Shechem is usually discernible in postbiblical literature. within the apocryphal booklet of Judith, the eponymous heroine, who kills Holofernes, the commander of the invading Assyrian military, is a descendant of the tribe of Simeon (8:1). within the prayer she deals sooner than making her solution to the enemy camp, she summons the reminiscence of the well-known deed: O Lord God of my ancestor Simeon, to whom you gave a sword to take revenge on these strangers who had torn off a virgin’s garments to defile her, and uncovered her thighs to place her to disgrace, and polluted her womb to shame her … so that you gave up their rulers to be killed, and their mattress, which used to be ashamed of the deceit they'd practiced, was once stained with blood, and also you struck down slaves besides princes, and princes on their thrones. (9:2-3) In Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, a booklet written within the moment century b. c. e. , within the testomony of Levi, we discover an analogous culture of a sword of divine beginning dropped at those that may take revenge: “Then the angel introduced me all the way down to earth; and he gave me a safeguard and a sword and stated, ‘Take vengeance on Shechem due to Dinah, and that i should be with you, for the Lord has despatched me …’” (5:2–3; cf. Jubilees 30:17, 23). From one advanced anti-Shechemite culture to a different: following the tale of Dinah’s rape in Shechem, Jacob is commanded to ascend to Bethel and erect an altar to the Lord (Gen 35). 1And God acknowledged to Jacob, “Arise, cross as much as Bethel and sojourn there and make there an altar to the God who looked as if it would you in your flight from Esau your brother. ”2And Jacob stated to his family and to all who have been with him, “Put away the alien gods on your midst, purify yourselves, and alter your outfits. 3Let us upward thrust and cross as much as Bethel and that i will make there an altar to the God who responded me at the day of my misery and who has been with me at the manner i've got long past. ”4They gave to Jacob the entire alien gods that have been of their arms and the earrings that have been of their ears and Jacob buried them less than the terebinth that was once close to Shechem. …6And Jacob got here to Luz, that's Bethel, within the Land of Canaan, he and all of the people who have been with him. 7He equipped there an altar and known as where El-Bethel, for there God used to be published to him on his flight from his brother. Verses 1–4 will not be altogether coherent, as this brief episode comprises polemical components describing the removing of alien gods and their burial at Shechem (vv 2b, 4). facts for the weather’ secondary nature is twofold: a. Jacob isn't commanded to take away alien gods yet merely to ascend to Bethel and construct an altar there. The elimination of the gods and their burial is gifted, for that reason, as deriving from Jacob’s personal initiative, and the individuals of his loved ones obey his directions earlier than undertaking God’s command. b. one other a part of Jacob’s directive (the success of which isn't suggested) is fullyyt unrelated to the elimination of the alien gods yet quite addresses the arrangements towards the expected assembly with the Holy: “purify yourselves and alter your outfits” (v 2b), which we will evaluate to the Israelites’ arrangements prior to receiving the commandments at Mount Sinai, in Exodus 19:10, 14, and to the purification of the Levites in Numbers 8:7.