Journey Through The Scriptures

The Life of Jacob

Lesson 1: Jacob Flees His Brother and Finds a Bride

(Scripture to Read: Genesis 25:19–34;28:1–22)

Jacob was one of the most colorful characters in the Bible. He was born as the second twin in his family after Esau, yet took over the top spot by tricking his father Isaac into giving him the blessing that normally would have gone to Esau as the first-born. But even in the midst of Jacob’s deception, God’s hand was at work. A prophecy given at the sons’ birth said, "the older will serve the younger" (Genesis 25:23; for further study read Genesis 27, which tells of the stolen blessing and Esau’s threat to kill his brother Jacob).

Isaac and Rebekah knew that Esau was serious about his threat to kill Jacob, so Jacob was sent far away to Rebekah’s family-both for his safety and to find a bride from among his own people. As the deceiver, Jacob left home to face an unknown future, but God met him on the way and assured him that the Lord would be with him. Jacob also needed to learn some hard lessons about honesty, which God was going to teach him through his equally crafty uncle, Laban.

Study Questions

  1. Did Jacob have to take matters into his own hands to fulfill God’s will? To what can we attribute God’s determination to bless Jacob despite Jacob’s often devious ways?
  2. Jacob left home under the dark cloud of Esau’s death threat, but also under the bright promise of God’s blessing (Genesis 28:3-4). In what two specific ways did Isaac pray that God would bless Jacob?
  3. At Bethel (north of Jerusalem), God promised to bless all peoples through Jacob and his descendants (see also Genesis 12:3). Do you believe this blessing is still in effect today for those who bless Israel? Why?
  4. Jacob turned his stone pillow into a memorial at Bethel. Explain why setting up memorials at key places became an important part of Israel’s later journey toward the Promised Land?
  5. In Genesis 28:20-22, Jacob declared his faith in God and vowed to give God a tenth, or tithe, of all that he acquired. How does this vow reveal that Jacob was a changed man?

Something to Think About

God has promised to be with His people always. Can you think of a recent event in your life that reminded you of God’s abiding presence? Thank God today for this "memorial."

Jacob’s tithe, like Abraham’s (Genesis 14:20), was a recognition that everything he had belonged to God, the great Giver. Reflect on this truth as you consider what God has given you and how you can demonstrate your gratitude for His gifts.