A different perspective on the story of Jacob and Esau

I have been reading a lot on the site about the relationship between Jacob and MIB (presumed to be Esau by many theorists) and in fact was actually reading a theory by Maiden_Cooper when I started going off on a bit of a tangent that I thought I would share with you all.

First I would like to give a quick run down of the chronology of Jacob’s story as I think some of the important connections have been missed in previous theories.


Jacob and Esau are the sons of Rebecca and Isaac. Jacob, the second son, resented that Esau was first born and conspired with his mother to fool his aging and blind father in to thinking he was Jacob. Before doing this he tricked Esau in to signing over his rights as firstborn by extracting Esau’s promise to give up his position in return for a feast which he, Jacob, had been preparing.

This achieved, Jacob runs away from the displeasure of Esau and Isaac to his mother’s birthplace and en route dreams of a ladder between heaven and earth. Convinced he has stumbled upon the doorway to heaven, Jacob sanctifies the place and continues on to his mother’s homeland.

Next Jacob meets Rachel and falls in love with her. He cannot afford to marry her however, and his Uncle tricks him in to marrying her older sister, Leah. Jacob is angry but convinces Laban to allow him Rachel’s hand in marriage as well. Jacob goes on to have twelve children with Leah, Rachel and their two maids Zilpah and Bilhah. These twelve children as we know are the father’s of The Twelve Tribes of Israel.

In the end, Jacob’s beloved Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin and Jacob is reconciled with Esau who is appears is the better man all along.


Well I don’t know about you guys but this story is striking in its entirety and I think it might just give us a different perspective on the dealings of Jacob and MIB.

To me, the most interesting aspect of Jacob and Esau’s story is that actually Esau is the wronged brother. Jacob is a trickster who assumes the identity of his brother to fool his father.

In relation to Lost, where does that leave us? Do we now decide that Jacob is bad and MIB is good? Or do we decide that actually Jacob and MIB have swapped identities and taken each other’s roles in life. If Jacob was indeed the good brother why was he imprisoned in his cabin? I put it to you all that MIB/Esau is the good brother who has somehow been imprisoned by his rival.

‘No thanks I’ve already eaten’ ‘ Is this the clearest sign that Jacob and MIB are in fact Jacob and Esau? It refers implicitly to Jacob’s manipulation of Esau in the bible story. I think it is striking that the specific interchange takes place when we first meet the two men. Is it reminding us again that Jacob is a trickster and will stop at nothing to get what he wants?

It is also my feeling that we are perhaps seeing two different Jacob’s in the flashbacks. One is the real Jacob, who has a hand in Nadia’s death, the other is Esau DRESSED AS JACOB who, amongst other things, brings Locke back to life (or so it appears to me anyway!).

I believe the loophole being referred to by Jacob (in his aspect as MIB) is in fact a direct reference to the fact that Jacob has stolen Esau’s identity and his birthright. When we see MIB talking of how he wants to kill Jacob, are we actually seeing Jacob saying he wants to kill MIB? It seems more likely that when we see Jacob being pushed, dead, in to the fire, we are actually seeing Esau/MIB.

As a side note I find it interesting that Jacob (the bible Jacob) suffers infertility with his beloved second wife Rachel. Rachel even dies in childbirth leaving a son named’ BENJAMIN.

Benjamin: ‘What about me?’

Jacob: ‘What about you?’

Surely if he is anything, Ben is very much a product of his father (and here I am not talking about Roger Linus). There is something odd about the relationship between Ben and Jacob which can actually be explained if we consider that the real Jacob is disguised as MIB. Lets face it, this would explain why the man with the outward appearance of Jacob has never revealed himself to Ben. It would also explain why the MIB appearing as Locke holds such antipathy for Ben’

I am interested to hear what others think about this theory. Please don’t hold back if you have any criticisms or spot any glaring errors!

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Known as The Missus to friends, mrssawyer is a five seasons (and counting) fan of Lost with a particular love of our long-haired lothario, James Ford. A doyen of the LT site, The Missus is overjoyed to have found this site peopled with old and new faces, and like-minded individuals. Two small people keep The Missus from joining in as much as she would like but she reads every post via the newsfeed and thinks Emzi is a genuis for including this function.

12 thoughts on “A different perspective on the story of Jacob and Esau

  1. Mrssawyer,

    Interesting theory you’re posing… That made me think a lot about a lot of scenes…

    And you know what? You may be right!

    If you see the 5th season finale all over again with your swapped identities theory in mind, you see that Jacob seems, in fact, different in behaviour when comparing the first scene and the many flashbacks presented.

    For instance, in the very first dialogue between Jacob and Esau (with true identities) we heard Esau’s opinion concerning humans “They come, fight, they destroy and corrupt. It always ends the same.”. One can conclude that he sees humans as sinful and corrupted in nature. On the other hand Jacob wants this confront to occur because as he says “It only ends once. Anything that happens before that, is just progress.”. I see this as a way of saying: we, the special ones will prevail, let humans kill themselves!

    Now, let’s take a very good look at the scene where Locke falls from the building! Jacob is reading a book called “Everything that rises must converge”. Well, that seemed strange to me! This is a book that “aims to expose the sinful nature of humanity that often goes unrecognized in the modern, secular world.” (!!
    This can’t be the same Jacob we saw in the first scene… It just doesn’t fit! This would be definitely a book for Esau. (fake identity) And to state this, hear what he says to Locke! He asks sorry! The Jacob at the beginning of the episode didn’t seem to have pity for the so called “progress”!

    Let’s now analise another scene. The one Jacob visits Ilana at the hospital. He asks for her help and doesn’t touch her! I think this clearly shows us that whenever’s a touch we’re seeing Esau (as he can assume different identities). So, in this scene the real Jacob may be asking for Ilana’s help knowing that Esau will try to kill him. That help will consist of showing to the Others that the true Locke is dead and the one amongst them is a “fake” (Esau).

    I’m pretty sure of this because I noticed Jacob’s big knife (which he uses to kill the fish at the beginning) is the same that we see in the cabin wall giving a clue to Ilana!!

    All of this to say that I thought your theory makes a lot of sense! Sorry for any English errors I write, it’s not my mother language :p


  2. Nice theory. It would make Season 6 very interesting if this does turn out to be the case. I’ll have to goe back and familiarize myself with the Biblical story. It would at least certainly put things into perspective about what is happening on the Island.

  3. Okay, but what is Jacob’s motivaiton as it relates to the world at large? Because this is what is really important. So tell us which times that the actor was Jacob and which times was he MIB?

  4. Missus, great job presenting the story of Jacob and Esau.

    No question, Lost has presented us with parables from Religion along with the ancient Mythology.

    My ideas about Jacob and his Nemesis are geared towards their duality, which is a long running theme in the show.

  5. Achalli and Dabs thanks for your comments.

    Jedi it is I. Thank you for your kind words. Its nice to see some old names again 🙂

    Maiden_Cooper you have made me think again about Locke/MIB/Jacob. Locke threw a large fishing knife at Naomi and killed her – most of us thought it was slightly out of character at the time but of course if it was not really Locke doing the throwing, it was not at all out of character!

    @ BenLinus I will need to rewatch the final ep of S5 for certainty but my thoughts are along the following lines; the times when the man appearing as Jacob makes physical contact with the future Losties, he is player number one, and those times where he does not make contact, he is player number two.

    I am not sure at this point which is which but I would think that player number one’s touch is a healing one, if he is, as I supposed, actually Esau in disguise.

  6. Does anyone really believe Roger Linus is Bens father? I mean come on. His mom died off island and Horace just happened to show up to help. Pfft you know he knows more than he’s letting on to.

  7. Mrssawyer,

    You’re absolutely right! I haven’t thought of that before… Locke (or Esau) killed Naomi with the same objective in mind: not to let humans make contact with the island! (same knife and all)

    I’ve been seeing season one all over again and it’s incredible how Locke’s behaviour after the plane crashes is exactly the same as when the Ajira flight crashes. He stares at the ocean appearing to know everything he must do to accomplish something. And when he’s asked about how he knows something he says “because the island told me”.

    This makes us think… and a lot!


  8. i think the ben theory of him being jacob’s son would have foundation if his mother had not been called “emily”.

    sounds like a good theory though

  9. Very good read. Unfortunately, it only raises more questions than answers.

    Lets face it: The writers are going to have to reveal a lot in every episode of the final season, otherwise we’re all left holding one big bag.

  10. MIB calls him Jacob on the beach though. Unless he was playing around, or the writers just wanna mess with everyone to an even more extreme degree (sometimes he’s Jacob, sometimes he’s Esau), I’m assuming Jacob is Jacob. I couldn’t agree more though that Jacob is not a good man. Just because MIB is dressed in a dark shirt and wants Jacob dead does NOT mean MIB is evil. He knows Jacob better than the audience does right now and therefore might have an extremely good reason for wanting Jacob dead

  11. Sorry, after reading your theory again, I could see how one could assume that sometimes we are seening Jacob and sometimes Esau. Yet, it seems like a lot for the writers to expect the audience to deal with. You have good examples to back your theory up though, and that’s what it’s all about. So thumbs up afterall

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