Jacob is one of the forefathers of Israel being grandson of Abraham. He is the son of Isaac and Rebekah. He was born after his twin brother Esau. They have contrasting characters.
19 This is the history of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son. Abraham became the father of Isaac. 20 Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Paddan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian, to be his wife. 21 Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren. The LORD was entreated by him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her. She said, “If it is like this, why do I live?” She went to enquire of the LORD. 23 The LORD said to her,
“Two nations are in your womb.
Two peoples will be separated from your body.
The one people will be stronger than the other people.
The elder will serve the younger.”
27 The boys grew. Esau was a skilful hunter, a man of the field. Jacob was a quiet man, living in tents.
Genesis 27 tells us that Isaac favoured Esau and planned to bless him. At his mother, Rebekah’s, instigation Jacob deceived Isaac into blessing him instead. This incensed Esau who planned to kill Jacob. Rebekah intervenes and sends Jacob to her brother:
41 Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing with which his father blessed him. Esau said in his heart, “The days of mourning for my father are at hand. Then I will kill my brother Jacob.”
42 The words of Esau, her elder son, were told to Rebekah. She sent and called Jacob, her younger son, and said to him, “Behold, your brother Esau comforts himself about you by planning to kill you. 43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice. Arise, flee to Laban, my brother, in Haran. 44 Stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury turns away—
As Jacob went to his uncle Laban God appeared in a vision to give Jacob the same promises that he had given to the Abraham:
15 Behold, I am with you, and will keep you, wherever you go, and will bring you again into this land. For I will not leave you, until I have done that which I have spoken of to you.”
While Jacob was with Laban he married Laban’s two daughters and worked for Laban to acquire considerable quantities of cattle and servants. This despite Laban’s efforts to cheat Jacob. Jacob summarises this in an angry exchange with Laban:
38 “These twenty years I have been with you. Your ewes and your female goats have not cast their young, and I haven’t eaten the rams of your flocks. 39 That which was torn of animals, I didn’t bring to you. I bore its loss. Of my hand you required it, whether stolen by day or stolen by night. 40 This was my situation: in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night; and my sleep fled from my eyes. 41 These twenty years I have been in your house. I served you fourteen years for your two daughters, and six years for your flock, and you have changed my wages ten times. 42 Unless the God of my father, the God of Abraham, and the fear of Isaac, had been with me, surely now you would have sent me away empty. God has seen my affliction and the labour of my hands, and rebuked you last night.”