Ya‘akov (Hebrew), Jacob, James (English), Yakub, Yakobus (Indonesian) are names that refer to the figure we will discuss here. He was born as the second child and was called Ya’akov because he was born holding the heel of his twin, Eisav (or Esau), who was born earlier. The name Ya’akov means “follower,” but the word akev, from which Ya’akov was derived, has a broader meaning, including “substitute,” “supplant” (or “to tackle to replace”), and “deceive.” Isaac and Rebekah were Esau and Jacob’s parents.
In Christianity, Ya’akov is often interpreted as “the deceiver.” This is because in Genesis 27:36 ESV, Esau called him by that name after Jacob had tricked him into giving up his birthright. Esau said, “is he not rightly named Jacob? For he has cheated me these two times.” This label stuck with Jacob like a stigma, and many people tend to point their finger at him and agree with Esau’s words without carefully examining the Bible and studying its context. However, it is important to remember that Jacob’s story also shows his transformation and redemption through God’s grace.