Author: Ron Graham

History of Israel

Adventures of Jacob
—And a little romance

Time —1. Promises to Abraham
Books —Genesis
Figures —Abraham Isaac Jacob
Begins with —God's call to Abram
Ends with —Jacob's family settling in Egypt

The adventures of Isaac and his son Jacob. This lesson is taken from Genesis chapters 22-36.

1 God at Work

Abraham's wife Sarah died at the age of 127. He buried her in the land of Canaan. Abraham then sent his oldest and most trusted servant back to Abraham's homeland to find a wife for Isaac among Abraham's own relatives. Isaac married Rebekah, his first cousin once removed.

This marriage was arranged in dignity, self sacrifice, and seeking God’s providence.

Satisfied with all this, Abraham died at the age of 175, and was buried where his wife lay.

Rebekah was barren, so Isaac prayed and God answered, thus Rebekah conceived and bore twins Esau and Jacob.

Just as God was at work in the story of Jacob's grandfather and father, so he is in the story of Jacob (Israel) too.

2 Bible Summary (Genesis 22-36)

3 Isaac Marries Rebekah

The elderly Abraham wanted Isaac to marry within his family. Abraham sent his most trusted manservant under oath to fetch a wife for Isaac.

The man travelled with valuable gifts to Mesopotamia. He came to the well outside Nahor, and waited prayerfully. While he was still praying a beautiful girl (Rebekah) came to draw water. He spoke to her and she graciously served him and drew water for him and his camels. This was the sign he had asked God for.

Abraham's manservant put a ring on Rebekah's nose and bracelets on her wrists. She then took him to her father's house. The manservant negotiated with Rebekah's father, brother, and mother, and they consulted with her. Everyone recognized God's hand in this matter. So Rebekah left her family and went willingly with the manservant to become Isaac's wife. After being wedded they fell in love.

Rebekah was Isaac's first cousin once removed. The story of how their marriage was arranged is quite lovely. The hand of the Lord was in it, and his will was followed with dignity and self sacrifice (Genesis 24).

Satisfied with all this, Abraham died at the age of 175, and was buried where his wife lay.

Rebekah was barren, so Isaac prayed and God answered, thus Rebekah conceived and bore twins Esau and Jacob (Israel). God chose Jacob for the seed promise.

Except for chapter 26, the record largely passes over Isaac and Rebekah's life and deeds.

It is mostly the story of Jacob that occupies the following chapters of Genesis.

4 Jacob's relations

Jacob was...

5 Jacob's faith

Behind Jacob's story is the faith that he showed in God by his obedience to whatever God said. He seemed to be always struggling against a disadvantage.

His famous wrestle with God symbolised this. "You have striven with God and with men and have prevailed" (Genesis 32:24-30).

Jacob believed God would always help him contend with adversity, yet Jacob's faith and attitude was humble: "I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and all the truth which you have shown your servant" (Genesis 32:10).

6 Jacob's marriage to Rachel

The stories of Isaac's marriage to Rebekah (Genesis 24) and Jacob's to Rachel (Genesis 29) are interesting to compare, especially for their symbolic contrasts, which our next lesson will note. Below, briefly, is the story of Rachel's marriage to Jacob...

Rebekkah gave birth to twins, Esau and Jacob. When Jacob was grown up he journeyed to where Laban, Rebekkah's brother lived. At a well he met Rachel, Laban's daughter and was overjoyed. He served her by opening the well and watering her flocks. Laban, hearing of Jacob's arrival, ran to greet him and offer hospitality. Jacob fell in love with Rachel. He asked Laban to hire him for seven years, his wages being Rachel's hand in marriage. It was agreed.

But Laban tricked Jacob and when he awoke in the morning he found it was Leah, Rachel's older sister, whom he had bedded and wedded! So he worked another seven years and finally married Rachel.