The Jacob Cycle*

Note: The Jacob cycle is well written about but its discovery is usually ascribed to Fishbane, Journal of Jewish Studies 26 (1975) 15-38. Those who have studied the life of Jacob will want to rephrase these sections. Others have pointed to the birth of Joseph as the turning point of the whole cycle. This is supported by the Genesis 30:25 which says “And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country”

A. The descendants of Ishmael 25:12-18

B. Rebekah struggles in childbirth; Jacob and Esau born 25:19-26

C. Jacob obtains Esau’s birthright 25:27-34

D. Rebekah in a foreign palace; foreign pact 26:1-33

E. Blessing taken from Esau 27:1-46

F. Jacob flees from Esau and meets the angels of God 28:1-22

G. Jacob arrives at Haran (deception and wages) 29:1-30

H. Jacob’s wives are fertile 29:31-30:24

H’. Jacob’s flocks are fertile 30:25-43

G’. Jacob leaves Haran (deception and wages) 31:1-55

F’. Jacob returns to Esau and meets the angels of God 32:1-32

E’. Blessing-gift returned to Esau 33:1-20

D’. Dinah in a foreign palace; foreign pact thwarted 34:1-31

C’. Jacob receives God’s blessing 35:1-15

B’. Rachel struggles in childbirth; Benjamin born 35:16-22

A’. the descendants of Jacob 35:23-26

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