Friday, September 28, 2007

What's His Name?

So, Jacob ("he grasps the heel") gets a name change (Gn 32:28). Having overcome struggles with both men and God, he will now be known as Israel ("he struggles with God"). This name change is restated by God in Gn 35:10. Yet subsequent text within chapter 35 alternates between the two names. We flip flop between the two names again in chapters 45-49. Interestingly, God will refer to him as "Jacob" when He calls out to him in a dream (46:2).

It would appear that he retains the name Jacob as a personal reference? The name Isreal, then, is perhaps invoked as a "title" with respect to his paternal headship of the twelve tribes that will lay claim to a homeland for the future Israelites?

In Gn 17:5, Abram's ("exalted father") name changes to Abraham ("father of many") which is reflected as thus altered in subsequent text within Genesis. So, this is a "done deal." I'm wondering why Jacob's name change is treated differently. Why the continued reference to his "old" name? Anyone?

On my iPod... Dreams I'll Never See by Molly Hatchett (... I have no good explanation for this one.)

Pic: Jacob Wrestling with Angel by Gustave Dore (1855); Granger Collection, NY

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