“Abortive Violence” Motif: A Re-Reading of Jacob’s Narrative

Bamidele Olusegun Fawenu


Violence is a global challenge if not a global threat to continued existence of humans. Violence comes in different forms and types; from the family setting down to national and international echelon of relationships violence is experienced. Sexual violence against women and minors, wife battering, armed robbery down to issues of murder and terrorism are all various shades of violence entrenched in human societies today. The fact that interpersonal conflicts are the little spark that does degenerate to full scale violence is the philosophy behind this study; that if interpersonal conflicts are properly handled, full scale violence could be prematurely aborted. While the Old Testament contains a great deal of stories of violence, it is fascinating to note that one of the themes that could be traced from the narratives of one of the three great patriarchs of ancient Israel is the theme of abortive violence. Therefore, the purpose of this work is to re-read Jacob’s narrative as a story of potential violence that never materialized. Deploying historical-critical and historical-grammatical methods of Bible interpretation the story comes alive in a less traditional but illuminating and exciting form. Literary, theological and didactic implications of the abortion of violence in the narrative were spelt out with a conclusion that the quest for personal social relevance and economic prosperity do constitute the reasons for conflict and violence against fellow human, but with third party intervention this could be checkmated.

Keywords: Abortive violence, Jacob narrative, Patriarchal, Genesis 25:19-35:29, conflict.

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