Why Was He Named Jacob?

Jacob and th-4his twin brother, Esau עֵשָׂו were born to Issac יִצְחַק and Rebecca רִבְקָה after 20 years of marriage, when Isaac was 60 years of age.

When the time came for Rebecca to give birth, the firstborn, Esau, עֵשָׂו, came out covered with red hair and his heel – עָקֵב was grasped by the hand of Jacob, the second born.

Many Biblica male names start with the letter Yod י that symbolizes God’s name (the Yod is one of the four letters that comprise the name of God) such as יַעֲקֹב; יְהוֹשֻׁע; יְחֶזְקֵאל; יִרְמִיָהוּ, יִצְחֵק etc…

The Yod as a prefix also indicates future tense of the pronoun ‘he’.

From the original word for ‘heel’ עָקֵב we formulate the verb ‘to follow’ – לַעֲקוֹב. Therefore you can translate the name Jacob יַעֲקֹב to ‘he will follow’ — Jacob that followed his brother Esau at the time of their birth. Another explanation to his name is, ‘God will follow’ (God will be at his heel to protect him).

Here are Hebrew words derived from the root ע.ק.ב (A.k.v):

עָקַב; לַעֲקוֹב אַחֲרֵי (v.) – followed (physically and mentally); tracked; 

עֵקֶב (prep.) – because of, due to

עָקֵב, עָקֵבִים (noun) – heels

נַעֲלֵי עָקֵב (noun) – high heeled shoes

עִקְבוֹת  (noun)- traces; footprints

בְּעִקְבוֹת (prep.) – as a result; consequent upon

עִקְבִי, עִקְבִית (adj.) – consistent

בְּעִקְבִיוּת (adv.) – consistently

עֲקֵב אָכִילֶס – Achilles heel

Jacob’s name was then changed to Israel יִשְׂרָאֵל. Do you know why? And what does the name  יִשְׂרָאֵל mean? Feel free to share.

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