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Jacob
Known as the third biblical patriarch. Son of Isaac and Rebecca and younger twin brother of Esau; they fought in the womb and Jacob was born clutching Esau's foot. Favoured by his mother, Jacob obtained Esau's birthright by bargaining over a bowl of lentil stew (Genesis 25:29-34) and with Rebecca's help tricked the elderly, blind Isaac into blessing him instead of Esau by covering his hands and neck with a goat's fleece (Genesis 27:29). Jacob, a herdsman, fled to his uncle Laban in Charan. On the way he dreamt of a ladder and had a vision of God at Beth El (Genesis 28:12-19). He married Laban's daughter Leah, then Rachel (Genesis 29:17). Leaving Laban with his family and flocks, he saw angels of God at Machanaim, and wrestled with a stranger at Peniel, who changed Jacob's name to Israel (Genesis 32:25). Jacob and Esau were reconciled (Genesis 33:4-16). Jacob went to Canaan, stopping at Sukkoth; he settled in Shalem. After his daughter Dinah was raped by Shechem he moved to Beth-El and made an altar to God. After Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin on the way to Ephrath, Jacob went to Isaac in Hebron; after his death Jacob and Esau buried him in the Cave of Machpelah. Jacob had 12 sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun and Dinah (by Leah); Joseph and Benjamin (by Rachel); Gad and Asher (by Zilpah), Dan and Naphtali (by Bilhah. He and his sons went to Egypt at the invitation of Joseph, and he died there at the age of 147. His body was taken to Hebron, where he was interred in the Cave of Machpelah. Jacob is considered to be the immediate ancestor of the Jewish people, and his sons the forebears of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Jebusites, Yebusites
The Jebusites were among the several ethnic groups that inhabited Canaan before the formation of the Israelite federation (Genesis 10:15-17; Genesis 15:19-21) .They were identified by the twelve spies sent by Moses as occupying the hill country of Canaan (Numbers 13:29). Jebus (Hebrew: Yevus) is associated by some scholars with the city of Jerusalem; the Jebusites may have have ruled over Jerusalem until they were later defeated in battle by King David. During the Exodus period, the Jebusites appear several times in the lists of nations that were to be utterly destroyed (Exodus 3:8, Exodus 33:2, Exodus 34:11, Deuteronomy 7:1).
Jeshurun
Poetic name for the Israelite people (Deuteronomy 32:15).
Jethro
Father-in-law of Moses and priestly leader of the Kenite tribe based in the Sinai desert, also referred to as Reuel (Exodus 2:18) and Chovev (Numbers 10:29), although some think that Chovev may have been Jethro's son.When Moses fled from Egypt after killing Pharoah's overseer, Jethro took him in and he married his daughter Tzipporah. Jethro later visited Moses at the Rephidim camp in the Sinai desert, advising Moses to appoint judges and offering a sacrifice to God before returning to his own country (Exodus 18:11, 27).
Joseph
In History and Beliefs. The 11th son of Jacob, said to be have been his favourite son. Joseph’s brothers developed a resentment against Joseph’s precociousness. At first they conspired to kill him, but with Reuben’s entreaties, they relinquished and sold him instead into slavery. Joseph subsequently rose to power and fame in Egypt, and despite him being wronged, became his brothers benefactor during their sojourn in Egypt (Genesis 37). The story of Joseph reveals how by means of magnanimity and the hand of providence the faithful can overcome misfortune: as Joseph from being a humbly servant was transformed, through his judicious behaviour, into a key character in the salvation of the Israelite.
Joshua
Son of Nun, descendant of a prince of the tribe of Ephraim, originally called Hoshea. Assistant to Moses and his divinely-appointed successor as leader of Israel (Deuteronomy 34:9). Joshua led the defence against the Amalekites at Rephidim (Exodus 17:8-16). He attended on Moses at God's Mountain (Exodus 24:13, Exodus 32:17) and at the Tent of Meeting (Exodus 33:11, Numbers 11:28). Moses changed his name from Hoshea (salvation) to Joshua (God is salvation) (Numbers 13:16). One of the 12 spies sent by Moses to enter Canaan, he and Caleb alone gave a favourable description, and were the only ones allowed to enter the Promised Land (Numbers 14:7,8,30,38). His exploits as leader of the Israelites after Moses' death are described in the Book of Joshua.
Judah
The fourth son of Jacob by Leah. He was involved in the chain of events leading up to the sale of Joseph into slavery in Egypt. Judah had the idea of selling Joseph to a caravan of Midianite traders instead of leaving him to die (Genesis 37:27) and adopted the role of spokesman for Jacob's sons when in Egypt. He married Shua, a Canaanite, and had three sons by her, Er, Onan, and Shelah, as well as twin sons by his daughter-in-law Tamar. Ancestor of the tribe of Judah.




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