Who was a scammer in the Bible?

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Jacob, the son of Isaac and the father of the twelve tribes of Israel was characterized in his early life as a scammer. The name Jacob means “heel-catcher, supplanter, cheater, defrauder, deceiver.” Jacob received his name at birth when his mother gave birth to both him and his brother Esa (Genesis 25:26).

At an early age, Jacob scammed his brother out of his birthright in exchange for a dish of red pottage when Esau was hungry. “And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright” (Genesis 25:31). Jacob was fully aware of the prophecy concerning himself and his brother that was given at their birth. The prophecy predicted that Jacob would be the leader “One people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger” (Genesis 15:23). Esau had a sinful character that disqualified him from the birth right blessing. And the Lord was going to give the blessing to Jacob at the right time but Jacob took matters into his hands. Jacob’s proposal to his brother was shameful. It showed a spirit of impatience, and a lack of faith in the overruling providence of God.

Later on, Jacob did another scam where he took advantage of Isaac’s poor eyesight to receive the birth right blessing. To make his father think that he was Esau, Jacob put on Esau’s clothes and put goat skin around his arms to make his arms feel hairy like his brother’s arms. “And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn; I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray thee, sit and eat of my venison, that thy soul may bless me” (Genesis 27:19). Again Jacob did not wait upon the Lord to receive His promise of blessing and instead he resorted to deception to obtain it.

But the good news is that Jacob fully repented of his sins of deception and the Lord forgave him (Genesis 32:28-30). The Lord also changed him completely and transformed his character. There was no longer in his character a trace of craftiness and selfishness. Instead of the selfish spirit, Jacob possessed a new giving spirit that honored God.

Check out our Bible Answers page for more information on a variety of topics.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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