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Jacob meaning in the Bible

What is the meaning of the name Jacob in the Bible?


Jacob is a significant figure in the Bible.

He was the second born of the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekkah.

He was the grandson of Abraham and the father of twelve sons, also known as the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jacob’s story is full of interesting events, facts, and revelations from which the significance and meanings of his name can be culled.

His name means ‘supplanter,’ meaning the one who usurps, contends, or forcefully takes over.

The significance of this name was established at his birth when he took hold of the heel of Esau, his twin brother, who came out before him (Genesis 25:24-25).

Another meaning of Jacob, given after his encounter with an angel he wrestled with, is “the wrestler with God” after he contended with an angel and prevailed.

Jacob has more biblical meanings.

Keep reading to discover.

The meanings of the name Jacob in the Bible:

SupplanterWhat is the meaning of the name Jacob in the Bible

“Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.” (Genesis 25:26)

A supplanter is a person who takes someone else’s rightful place.

It means to dispossess someone of their possessions.

Jacob embodies this description, especially in his early days living with his parents and twin brother.

Jacob devised cunning means to take over Esau’s position as the firstborn.

He took over his birthright and the double-portion paternal blessings deserving of a first son according to biblical tradition (Deuteronomy 21:17)

The situation surrounding Jacob’s birth suggests that Jacob’s supplanter’s tendencies began in the womb because he came out from the womb holding on to Esau’s heel, showing his intention to be labeled as the second child.

He wanted to be equal to his brother.

He was uncomfortable being the second, so he struggled to be in the same position as him or overtake him.

Selfishwhat does jacob mean

“And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.” (Genesis 25:30-31)

A meaning associated with the name Jcob is selfishness.

Jacob was a selfish young man who took advantage of his brother’s weakness and love for food.

Jacob knew Esau, his twin, loved food.

Instead of helping him to overcome that bad habit, he took advantage of it to pursue and achieve his plan to take his place as the first child.

The Bible records that Esau went hunting and came back famished to the point he confessed he was dying, although it was an exaggeration because a day’s hunger wouldn’t have killed him.

He met his brother cooking a stew and demanded some.

Jacob became transactional instead of giving his brother a portion of the meal.

He demanded Esau’s birthright in exchange for a plate of stew and bread.

Esau agreed, which was how he sold his birthright to his younger brother, Jacob.

Jacob appeared stingy. He couldn’t give his food to his blood brother for free.

His known selfishness could be why Esau exaggerated that he wanted to die of hunger; perhaps, it would provoke some sympathy from Jacob, but it didn’t work.

Cunningjacob name meaning

“But he said, “Your brother came with deceit and has taken away your blessing.” (Genesis 27:35)

Jacob could also mean cunning or deceitful.

He connived with Rebekah, his mother, to rob Esau of his blessings.

Isaac became old and perceived it was time to bless his children before giving up the ghost.

The Bible records that his eyesight became defective, one of the side effects of old age.

He called his first son, Esau, and told him to go into the wild, kill an animal, prepare it for him, and feed him. These would then be followed with blessings pronouncement on him.

However, Rebekah, who was eavesdropping on the conversation, told Jacob. They both schemed a plan involving killing and preparing two young goats, disguising Jacob as Esau, and stealing the blessing for himself from an old and partially blind Isaac.

The plan worked, and Esau was left with the remnant blessing.

Jacob’s act caused great enmity between the two brothers.

At the height of the pain of betrayal and loss, Esau swore to kill his brother after Isaac’s death.

Jacob ran away to escape his brother’s wrath to stay with his uncle, Laban, in Haran.

Wrestler with Godjacob nicknames

“And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28)

Jacob wrestled with an angel until the breaking of the day, but the angel could not prevail against him.

Because of Jacob’s incredible strength and stamina, the angel changed his name to Israel, meaning “for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

This meaning of the name Jacob reveals his destiny to win and prevail. Jacob had previously prevailed over his brother, even though he did it dubiously.

He also prevailed over his uncle, Laban, who tried to cheat him by denying him his wages, his wife, Rebekah, and freedom (Genesis 31:41).

Therefore, Jacob signifies resilience. The ability to be persistent and never take no for an answer. A goal-getter and an ambitious person.

He served Laban for seven years to get Rebekah’s hand in marriage. He was cheated on and given Leah. Instead of complaining, he went another seven years for the love of his life.

The Chosen Onemeaning of jacob in the bible

“And the Lord said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:23)

Another meaning of Jacob is the chosen one. Jacob had been chosen and pre-ordained to be greater than his brother, even while still in his mother’s womb.

Even though his means of obtaining spiritual blessings from his father was dubious, he was already set up for greatness by God.

God selected Jacob and re-established His covenant with Abraham and Isaac to increase His people greatly over the face of the earth and possess the Promised Land (Genesis 28:14–15).

Therefore, bearing the name Jacob establishes you as God’s favorite and positions you for divine blessings and success.

The spiritual meaning of the name Jacob

A new namejacob meaning in bible

“And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Genesis 32:28)

A significant meaning of the name Jacob is a new name.

Jacob experienced a new dawn in his life after encountering the Lord and wrestling with Him. The Bible says God then changed his name from Jacob to Israel. 

This is profound considering the meaning of Jacob: supplanter or deceiver due to the nature of his birth.

Jacob held on to Esau’s heel when he was born, leading to him being named a supplanter.

It is pretty intriguing to see that the name reflected in his life later on.

Jacob became a deceiver.

He lured his brother into selling his birthright.

He also deceived his father into blessing him instead of Esau as the firstborn male child.

He suffered the consequences of his action as he was deceived into marrying Leah instead of Rachel, whom he loved.

However, after his encounter with God, his life was transformed. He got a new name, signifying a new nature.

This simulates the born-again experience, where a person who receives Christ becomes a new creature. Old are things pass away, and everything becomes new (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This makes Jacob suitable for new Christian converts.

The name can symbolize their translation from the kingdom of darkness and sin into the kingdom of light and righteousness.

It is an emblem of Jesus’ sacrifice and the transformation it brings to those who love and accept Him.

Sacrificial loverjacob bible meaning

“So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.” (Genesis 29:20)

Can you wait for someone you love for 14 years while engaging in backbreaking labor in her father’s company to get her hand in marriage? This was Jacob’s predicament.

He first served Laban for 7 years in exchange for Rachel but was deceived. But instead of giving up and settling for what he was given, he embarked upon another 7 years of service for Rachel, his true love.

Jacob sacrificed seven years of hard work for the love of his life. This is what love entails: sacrifice.

Without sacrifice, we cannot say we have loved. God gave Jesus to be sacrificed because of His love for us.

Abraham was ready to sacrifice his only son he got in old age, Isaac, because of his love for God. 

Jacob symbolizes the true meaning of love. It reminds us that love involves giving, and we must not have money before we can give.

We can give time, energy, and affection.

Mummy’s boybiblical meaning of jacob

“And Isaac loved Esau because he ate of his game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.” (Genesis 25:28)

Although Jacob became great and one of Israel’s patriarchs, he was a mama’s boy at a point in his life.

He was overly dependent on his mother, Rebekah, and she influenced him greatly.

For example, Rebekah advised Jacob to deceive Isaac and steal his brother’s blessings.

She was the mastermind.

She prepared the meal Isaac ate, gave Jacob Esau’s cloth, and wrapped Jacob’s hand with the goat’s fur so he could appear hairy (Genesis 27:1-17).

Also, when Esau discovered he had been robbed by his twin brother and vowed to kill him as soon as their father died, it was Rebekah who advised Jacob to run to Haran to her brother Laban’s place, pending when Esau’s anger would subside (Genesis 27:41-46).

Jacob was old enough to say no to his mother’s ill advice. However, it appears he had no personal opinion about matters but depended on his mother to make crucial decisions on his behalf.

This would have been detrimental to his future if he had remained with his mother longer. However, it seemed he changed after serving his uncle, Laban, and encountering God.

The mother and son relationship is good but becomes a concern if an adult cannot do basic things independently and decide between good and evil.

The one to be servedwhat does the name jacob mean in the bible

“And the Lord said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.” (Genesis 25:23)

One of the prophecies that followed the birth of Jacob is that Esau will serve him. This means that he will be greater than his brother. It is typical of God to refer to a generation or nation by their patriarch.

For example, when God said Esau would serve Jacob, he was not referring to the two of them alone but to their unborn descendants. Therefore, Jacob means a ruler, someone destined to be at the top, or a born leader. 

Here’s God’s promise to those who follow His commandment: 

“And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them” (Deuteronomy 28:13)

This promise is a clear picture of the spiritual meaning of the name Jacob. Jacob became exceedingly great.

He became the father of the 12 tribes of Israel, including Joseph, who became Egypt’s Prime Minister. 

Naming a child Jacob means agreeing with the prophecy or God’s promise to elevate the child to a great height. 

Repentance and redemptionjacob name meaning bible

“But Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him. And they wept.” (Genesis 33:4)

Another meaning of Jacob is repentance and reconciliation.

It takes effort and introspection to understand you are wrong. But it takes courage to accept your mistake and pursue reconciliation.

Jacob repented of his mistakes and sought Esau’s forgiveness (Genesis 33:1-20).

The name represents the journey of repentance, involving a sinner acknowledging their sins, accepting Jesus, and confessing Him as Lord and Savior. Jacob completed this process by offering a gift to Esau.

Although Esau rejected it because he had more than enough, the two brothers reunited and did not allow the past to interfere with their lives. 

The name reminds us to approach those we have offended and humbly ask for their forgiveness. 


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