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The Man in Black stated that he needed to find a loophole to be able to kill jacob. This was first revealed in The Incident.

MAN IN BLACK: Do you have any idea how badly I wanna kill you?
MAN IN BLACK: One of these days, sooner or later... I'm going to find a loophole, my friend.
JACOB: Well, when you do, I'll be right here.

The motive of The Man in Black is to leave The Island. But The Rules prevents him from doing so. Jacob and his followers believe that The Man in Black is evil incarnate,hence has to be trapped on The Island. Once The Man in Black realized that Jacob's rules wouldnt let him leave,he began looking for a loophole to be able to leave the island.This includes manipulating some one not bound by The Rules to kill Jacob. Richard Alpert is the first known attempt of The Man in Black to find his loophole.But Jacob was able to successfully defeat him.

The Man in Black accomplished his loophole by manipulating Ben to kill Jacob. Moments after The Man in Black and Ben entered the Statue chamber,Jacob stated that The Man in Black had found his loopshole.

JACOB: Well, you found your loophole.
LOCKE: Indeed I did. And you have no idea what I've gone through to be here.

And it became an apparent that Jacob did not want to defend him self.

The Man in Black also had to assume the appearance of John Locke, to gain access to jacob.Later The Man in Black explained to Richard that he had to appear as John Locke because he was a Candidate.

Many survivors of Oceanic 815 and inhabitants of The Island were manipulated by The Man in Black in attempt to find his loophole,such as Ben and Locke.The Man in Black would often use his shape shifting abilities to get this done.

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