The Structure of the Jacob Narrative (Genesis 25:19-35:29)

Posted by on Oct 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

Isaac Blessing Jacob, by Govert Flinck (c. 1638)

I addressed the importance of a text’s structure in a previous post, The Structure of the Abrahamic Narrative.  What follows is the way I believe that the Jacob Narrative unfolds.

Again, it follows a chiastic pattern (see the explanation in the aforementioned article), just like the narratives of the Flood and of Abraham.  The turning point of the chiasm is the birth of Joseph (Gen. 30:24), who will become the central figure in the final “book” of Genesis (ch. 37-50) and receive Jacob’s birthright and blessing (1 Chr. 5:1-2).

A   Genealogy: Sons born to Isaac; Jacob’s calling foretold (25:19-34)

B   God’s appearance & promise to Pilgrim-Isaac (26:1-5)

C   Relations with Canaanites; woman unharmed; peaceful covenant (26:6-33)

D   Jacob’s takes Esau’s blessing; enmity & danger (26:34-28:9)

E   Nighttime vision of the Lord; “Bethel” named (28:10-22)

F   Jacob serves for Leah & Rachel; cheated/dishonored (29:1-30)

  Jacob is blessed with children (29:31-30:24)

G’   Jacob is blessed with prosperity (30:25-43)

F’   Jacob departs w/ Leah & Rachel; cheats/plunders (31)

E’   Nighttime wrestling with the Lord; “Israel” named (32)

D’   Jacob gives Esau blessing; protected & reconciled (33)

C’   Relations with Canaanites; woman harmed; enmity & warfare (34)

B’   God’s appearance & promise to Pilgrim-Jacob (35:1-15)

A’   Genealogy: Sons bury Isaac; Jacob’s calling fulfilled (35:16-29)


Updated on October 13, 2017