Part 1 Jacob, a scoundrel though he is, has a few redeeming qualities. Jacob in his later life expresses these good qualities using not only his words, but his actions as well. In the 29 chapter of Genesis, Jacob arrives at the home of his uncle and immediately falls in love with Laban’s youngest daughter, Rachel. Laban accepts Jacob’s offer to work for him for seven years in exchange for Rachel’s hand in marriage. The trickster is tricked, however, the night of his wedding and marries Leah, Rachel’s sister, instead. Even though Laban has tricked him, he stays true to his word and works for Leah’s hand for seven years, and then proposes the same offer for Rachel and follows through. This admirable trait is something that has fallen by the wayside in some of our more recent generations. In the past, a man’s word was his reputation, his integrity. In today’s culture, our youth seem to base reputation on superficialities like physique and attractiveness instead of honesty and morality. Jacob’s ability to follow through with his promise, even though he did not receive what he was promised shows the value of his word, even when he doesn’t receive his just reward. Jacob has integrity, a trait that can be hard to find in today’s men and women. It seems that Jacob also began to regret the decisions of his younger years. In Genesis chapter 32 and 33, Jacob is told by God (see note at end of paper) to leave Laban’s land a return to the land of his ancestors. As he acquiesces to his God’s command, he realizes that he will eventually encounter his brother, Esau, who he has wronged multiple times when they were younger. In an attempt to redeem himself and give back what he stole through gaining his brother’s birthright, Jacob sends messengers with flocks of goats, sheep, camels, cattle and donkeys ahead of him. This shows that he regrets his actions a feels guilty. He seeks forgiveness for the wrong he has done. Jacob wasn’t a moral compass in his youth, but in this passage, I believe that he shows his growth through his actions. The way I see it, Jacob knew that stealing his brother’s birthright, inheritance and blessing was wrong, and when he knows he must face his brother, he tries to give him back what is rightfully his. Isaac and his family, including Esau, were pastoral people, meaning that the animals were their wealth and prosperity. Jacob attempts to return to Esau what he wrongfully took in his youth by giving him animals from his own flocks. This reveals his maturity and ability to recognize his transgression and seek forgiveness and redemption. Family, in these times, was everything…Jacob couldn’t afford to be on the outs with his family.
Part 2 In Jacob’s youth, he was all about getting ahead; he didn’t care whom he had to step on or hurt to get what he wanted. In Genesis 25:27-34, Jacob forces his brother into giving up his rights as the first-born son in exchange for a bowl of stew. Esau had been out, possibly in the wild hunting, and came home exclaiming how hungry he was as Jacob finished cooking stew and demanded a bowl. Jacob would not give Esau food without the promise of his rights as the first-born. Knowing that he isn’t his father’s favorite, he knows that he will not receive much of an inheritance and tries to guarantee himself something for the future. Jacob is selfish and jealous. Jacob is acting as any adolescent would/does when they know they are not the favorite. Jacob acts out, and takes what he believes he deserves,