On the last couple Ramble On shows after the TLR Now podcast , the subject of Jacob’s Ladder from Genesis 28 in the Bible came up and how it related to the story. I missed getting in on the conversation originally ,but I still have some thoughts about it. ( And it’s come up a few more times since I was first going to write about it…lol. So “This post’s for you, Glen!” ) 🙂
( Please keep in mind , this is very much the “Cliff Notes” version, for brevity’s sake. Sorry if I leave out a lot of the details.. 🙂 )
When Jacob had his dream about the angels ascending and descending on the ladder that reached Heaven, he wasn’t in his warm, comfy bed. He was sleeping out in the desert, with a rock for a pillow. And why was he there? Because he was running away from his brother again. But Jacob and his brother,Esau, weren’t just brothers but twins. And they were , shall we say, competitive from the minute they were born. Jacob’s name means “heal grabber” and it was appropriate. Jacob actually grabbed the heal of his older brother to try and pull him back into his mother’s womb so he would be the oldest. But despite his best efforts, Jacob was second. However, a prophecy was spoken at their birth, stating ” The older shall serve the younger.”
This sibling rivalry continued throughout their lives. And it didn’t help that their parents “played favorites”. Esau, the muscular, hairy “Hunter” was his father, Isaac’s pride and joy. Jacob the “Farmer” was somewhat of homebody and his mom, Rebekkah’s tag along.
One day, Esau was out hunting and was hungry. Jacob said he’d fix him a bowl of stew if Esau would sell him his birthright, giving him everything that the first born was entitled to : property, livestock, etc. and to be the head of the entire tribe. Well, Esau actually did it! Just gave it all away. Esau didn’t take it seriously…but Jacob did.
Time passes and Isaac was poor of sight and health. It was his time to die. But he needed to bless the son that would inherit all his wealth and honor. He and Esau were arranging to secretly do this before anyone knew because Esau did sell over his birthright to his younger brother. It still “counted”. But Esau was asked by his father to hunt some game to make his favorite stew. While Esau was gone, Rebekkah , who overheard their conversation, made the stew, put goat skins on Jacob’s arms in case his father touched him to make sure he was blessing Esau. Jacob went into Isaac’s tent, pretended to be his brother, received the inheritance, and left. When Esau returned, they realized that Isaac gave it to the “wrong” son. From that moment on, Esau had it in for Jacob, chasing him for the majority of their lives. But after his “Ladder” experience, Jacob met Esau, without fear of his brother ,but with forgiveness for his brother …and the twins reconciled. ( Genesis 33: 1-20)
But after the dream of the angelic ladder, Jacob wrestled with God (which left him with his hip bone permanently disjointed, and God changed his name to Israel and gave him his purpose : To be the father/spiritual leader of the twelve tribes, consisting of his dozen sons. One of his sons, Joseph, would become vital to the saving of the whole nation (at the time) from famine, as well as being a leader of the nation, second only to Pharaoh. This would mean that all of his family, including his father, would one day be subservient to him. Joseph had seen the famine/leadership role, coming through dreams he had years prior. The brothers loved that idea so much, they threw him in a pit to die.. but changed their mind and sold Joseph into slavery. ( Thanks, bros!) Jacob and his other sons (including Benjamin the youngest) would be instrumental here, as to how these dreams come to pass, whether they liked it or not. A bit of “course correction” , if you will. 😉
So, why am I talking about this…lol ? Because there are some fairly “coincidental” parallels between this story and LOST. Some examples…
Hunter or Farmer ( Do these represent the “sides”? , ” You’re a GOOD man, John. You’re a farmer”, Further Instructions, Season 3)
Twins ( Is one of them a “Bad Twin”?)
Someone tricking someone else out of what they believe was rightfully there’s ( The Island)
The repeated leg injuries/walking impairment
Benjamin ( His mother died giving birth to him, as well, The Man Behind the Curtain, Season 3)
Jacob ( spiritual leader?)
The changing of names ( John Locke/ Jeremy Bentham, for example)
Dreams and visions
In Room 23, the film that Karl was forced to watch had the words ” God loves you as he loved Jacob” . ( Not in Portland, Season 3) This is a direct quote from The Bible. But there is also another one that was the flip side of that ” Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated” ( Malachi 1: 2-3, Romans 9:13) . So, the question is… who is the “Esau” in this story?
Jacob seems to take the heat for stealing his brother’s inheritance. But firstly, the word that was spoken over them at Esau/Jacob’s birth was that the older brother would serve the younger brother. Secondly, Esau gave away his right to it because he didn’t care about it. He didn’t respect it. But Jacob did. And so , God “loved one and hated the other”. This is much like Locke accusing The Others of being hypocrites by embracing technology rather than what The Island wants for them. Lastly, Esau tried to steal it , with his father’s help before Jacob could get what was , at this point, legally and rightfully his.
Is this like the Ben/Widmore feud? Widmore feels entitled to the Island. It’s his, he claims. But maybe he’s the “Esau” in this story? He’s powerful, he’s “family” but he is not the true “heir”? And for all the grandstanding that Widmore has done…. somewhere inside, he knows that he’s not. Is the real feud not with Ben/Widmore per se but who’s “side” they “represent” .. who they “speaks for “? Or is it simple, old fashioned envy? Will there also be a Jacob/Esau type “reconciliation” at the end, perhaps fighting a bigger foe? Or do they express that divide of the light and the dark, forever at war?