Figures of Prominence in the Old Testament Notes by Dr. Honora M. Finkelstein 4 - Jacob and Joseph Jacob had seven sons and a daughter by his first wife Leah, and two more by her handmaid (Zilpah); then he had two sons with his second wife Rachel, and two more with her handmaid (Bilhah). Hence, he was the father of the 12 tribes of Israel, though he had to disown two of these sons, Simeon and Levi, who were replaced by two grandsons. Only in one tiny section of the Bible does the daughter of Jacob play a role. Dinah, the daughter, went into the nearby city, where she was courted by the ruling prince Shechem. They “lay” together, and he then went to her father with gifts, asking to wed her. Jacob and his sons were upset that she had taken it upon herself to bestow her virginity on a non-Hebrew; so they said the prince would have to undergo circumcision if he wanted to make things right. He agreed, as did his father and all the other men of the city, for many of them wanted to marry with the women of the tribe of Jacob. However, after they had undergone the circumcision and were recovering, Simeon and Levi went into the city and slaughtered all the temporarily defenseless men. This caused trouble for Jacob, and he had to move his tribe again. An excellent book by Anita Diamant, The Red Tent (New York: Picador USA, 1997) tells the story of Jacob’s family from the perspective of his wives and his daughter Dinah. Jacob became known as Israel after he wrestled with an angel—though some researchers have pointed out the Egyptian source of this name as being a combination of Isis-Ra-Elohim. Made with Xara Website by Susan Smily