Bible Review 2:1, Spring 1986
The Patriarch Jacob—An “Innocent Man”
Moral ambiguity in the biblical portrayal
At the beginning of the story of Jacob and Esau, the Bible tells us that Esau was a hunter, a man of the outdoors; Jacob, by contrast, was an ’ îš tām (Genesis 25:27), (pronounced ish tam).
If we were to render this expression in accordance with the Bible’s usual meaning of tām (’ îš unquestionably means “man”), we would say that Jacob was a “perfect man,” a “blameless man,” a “man of integrity” or an “innocent man.”
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