Jacob Becomes Israel

Can you imagine if there was a whole country named after you? That’s what happened to Jacob.

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Memory Verse

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

Genesis 32:28​​
Story Characters

Narrator
Voice of God/ Man
Jacob
Shepherd
Rachel
Laban
Messenger
Esau

Transcript

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Narrator: 

Can you imagine if there was a whole country named after you? That’s what happened to Jacob.

Jacob was on the run. He had tricked his brother Esau out of his birthright, and now Esau was out to kill him. One night, Jacob stopped to rest. He laid his head on a stone and went to sleep. 

Scene 1: EXT. DESERT – NIGHT

Jacob is sleeping. Suddenly, something startles him. 

Jacob:

What is it?!

(gasp)

Narrator: Suddenly, in Jacob’s sleep, he saw a huge ladder that reached all the way to heaven! There were angels going up and down. And God spoke to Jacob:

Voice of God:

I am the Lord God of Abraham your father, and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants….Behold I am with you and will keep you wherever you go. And I will bring you back to this land.

Jacob (now fully awake):

This place is awesome! The house of God! The gate of heaven! I will name this place Bethel—The House of God!

If God is with me, and provides for me, and keeps me in peace, and brings me back to this land, then the Lord will be my God. Just like my father and grandfather. And this stone that I slept on--

(grunts as he moves it) 

…will be my reminder…Bethel…

Scene 2: EXT. DESERT – DAY

Narrator:

After many days through the desert, Jacob came to a well. 

Jacob is parched as he rides his camel through the desert. 

Jacob:

I’m so tired…and thirsty. I need to rest. Maybe I can get some water here. 

(calling)

Hello there, do you happen to know Laban? I’m looking for him. 

Shepherd:

I know Laban. In fact, that’s his daughter Rachel, coming with her sheep. 

Jacob:

Oh, so she’s a…

(gasp)

She’s…beautiful! 

Jacob approaches Rachel. 

(SFX: SHEEP)

Jacob: 

You must be Rachel. 

Rachel: 

How did you know? 

Jacob: 

I am looking for Laban. Here, let me help you water your sheep.

Rachel:

But the stone is too heavy. It usually takes a whole group of men---

Jacob:

No problem. 

Jacob grunts as he moves the stone. 

Rachel:

Well…thank you! And you are…

Jacob:

Jacob, son of Rebekah. 

Rachel:

Son of Rebekah! Wait here! I will get my father! 

She runs off. 

Narrator: 

Laban ran to meet Jacob and invite him to his home. Laban offered him a job, taking care of his flocks. 

Scene 3 INT. LABAN’S TENT – DAY

Laban sits down with Jacob. 

Laban:

Now tell me what your wages should be? 

Jacob:

I will work seven years for you…if I can marry your daughter Rachel. 

Laban:

Well here in my country, we always marry off the oldest daughter first—Leah. 

Jacob:

Rachel. 

Laban:

Very well. Rachel it is.

Narrator: 

And so, Jacob worked for Laban for seven years. But all those years seemed like only a few days to Jacob, because of his love for Rachel. However, when it came time for the wedding, Laban played a trick on Jacob.

Scene 4 INT. LABAN’S TENT – DAY

Jacob storms into Laban’s tent. 

Jacob: 

I worked seven years for you! And you gave me Leah! Not Rachel!

 

Laban:

I told you. In our country, we marry the firstborn first. Take Leah and I will give you Rachel as well.  

Narrator:

Just as Jacob deceived his father, Laban now deceived Jacob. 

Jacob settled in the land and in time, he became father to twelve sons and one daughter. 

So God blessed Jacob. His family grew and his flocks grew. In fact, he had so many goats and lambs and camels and donkeys and servants, that Laban’s sons became jealous. And now the Lord talked with Jacob.

Voice of God:

Return to the land of your fathers, and to your family. And I will be with you. 

Narrator:

And so, Jacob took his all his family, and all his animals, and all his servants—and headed back home. But he was afraid. Because he knew his brother Esau wanted to kill him. 

Jacob sent messengers to Esau to offer his brother gifts—oxen, donkeys, and servants. But his messengers returned with bad news. 

Scene 5 EXT. DESERT - AFTERNOON

Messenger:

Esau is coming to meet you. With four hundred men. 

Jacob:

Oh no! 

Narrator

Then Jacob prayed to God

Jacob talked with God.

Jacob:

God, you told me to return to my country. And I have. I ask you now to deliver me from my brother. He is out to attack me and my family. I’m afraid, God. 

Scene 6: EXT. DESERT - NIGHT

Jacob wrestles with the Man. 

Narrator: 

That night, while Jacob was alone, a mysterious Man came to visit him. This was no dream. It was a wrestling match. In fact, Jacob and the Man wrestled all night long, until the Man touched Jacob’s hip---and threw it out of joint.

Jacob:

(startled in pain)

Man: 

Let me go!

Jacob:

I won’t let go until you bless me. 

Man:

What is your name?

Jacob:

Jacob.

Man:

Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel. For you have struggled with God and with men. And you have prevailed. 

Narrator: The next morning, Jacob—now known as Israel—came face to face with his enemy, his brother Esau.

Scene 7 EXT. DESERT – MORNING

Rachel calls out to Jacob.

Rachel (calling):

Jacob! Esau is coming! Look!

(SFX: DISTANT RUMBLE OF GALLOPING HORSES/CAMELS APPROACHING QUICKLY)

Jacob (calling):

Quickly! We must divide into two camps! 

Narrator: 

Jacob faced Esau in the heat of the desert. Jacob approached his brother Esau, who stood tall with his four hundred men surrounding him. Jacob bowed low to the ground seven times.  

Suddenly, Esau broke out from his camp and ran straight toward Jacob!

Jacob (under his breath):

God, you promised you would be with me! 

Esau (calling):

Jacob!!

And now, something remarkable happened. Esau grabbed his brother…and hugged him! 

Jacob (surprised):

Esau?!!

Esau: 

Jacob, my brother!

Narrator: Jacob offered Esau gifts of animals and servants. Esau refused, but Jacob insisted. And so, the two bitter enemies became brothers once again. And friends. 

Jacob, now Israel, was not only the father of twelve sons, but the father of a new nation….the nation of Israel. 

If you would like to learn more about Israel and his family, check out the book of Genesis. It’s the first book in the Old Testament part of your bible.

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