Why did Jacob let Ben kill him but stopped Richard. What is it about "now" that Jacob is willing to let MIB find his loophole and why wasn't he ready for him to find it with Richard? Obvious answer would be that now Jacob is confident he has found a replacement and before he wasn't. But that leads me to ask why does he need a replacement, why can't he continue doing what he's been doing. I'm trying to distill this down to the simplest question in order to get to what is behind the whole Jacob/MIB story purpose. Seems like if Jacob has been bringing people to the island forever to prove his point about mankind to MIB, what has changed that he wants to stop doing this. Could he honestly not have found anyone worthy in all those years prior to Oceanic 815? And if he has found a worthy candidate, wouldn't Jacob want to hang around and watch what happens so he can tell MIB "I told you so.?" The best I can answer is that Jacob isn't looking for a candidate to replace him but to prove his point to MIB, that man can choose good (if that is his point). That answer only brings me back to the question, so why did he have to die, why does he let Ben kill him but not Richard?