The Patriarch Jacob was the younger of the fraternal twins of Isaac and Rebecca, and his older brother was Esau. As related in Genesis, Esau sold his birthright to Jacob (Gen 25:29-34). Jacob instead of Esau received the last and greatest blessing from his father Isaac (Gen 27:1-41). Jacob saw in a dream a ladder which stretched from earth to Heaven and spoke with God as he received His blessing (Gen 28:10-17). Jacob worked to gain Rachel for his wife through fourteen years of hard labor for Laban, her father (Gen 29:16-30), and was the father of twelve sons who became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Jacob’s name in Hebrew means “heel,” which refers to the fact that he held onto the heel of Esau even from the womb when he was born second to Rebecca. Jacob later reconciled with his brother Esau. He also wrestled with God to receive his blessing, and then received from Him a new name, Israel, which means “persevere with God.” Jacob lived until a ripe old age, seeing his most beloved son, Joseph, arise to become the ruler of Egypt under Pharaoh, and died in Egypt and was buried in Canaan.