Jacob, Isaac’s son, is the last patriarch, the men of stature who in spite of some events in their personal lives followed the God who had made his covenant with them. His 12 sons became the figureheads of the 12 tribes of Israel down through the centuries with Judah becoming the main ancestor in the family tree of Jesus. Jacob’s own family story is a most adventurous one with love as well as treachery and conflict. He wrestled with an angel in the name of God. He also eventually became reconciled with his brother Esau. He fell in love and wanted to marry his uncle’s daughter Rachel and had to work for 7 years before he could marry her. But his uncle cheated him and gave him the other sister Leah. So he had to work again to marry Rachel. Apart from his 12 sons Jacob had daughters by his various wives but Rachel was his favourite and died giving birth to Benjamin. The story of the rape of his daughter Dinah by foreigners and her being avenged by her brothers speaks not only of sexual immorality but of intercultural conflict. As in his earlier life there is a case of favouritism as Joseph was spoiled by his father which naturally caused great resentment in his brothers. Jacob’s son Judah is the one whose name is included in the list of ancestors. Read Genesis 28 – 35.
Pope Francis; Every day the family has to come up with new ways of appreciating and acknowledging its members. AL 276.
Points for reflection and discussion: The family bonds in Jacob’s family, in spite of conflict, remained strong. Certain practices like polygamy were common at the time but there were clearly sexual norms to be adhered to as well. Reflect on conflict and resolution in our family.