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Genesis 28

28
1And Isaac calleth unto Jacob, and blesseth him, and commandeth him, and saith to him, ‘Thou dost not take a wife of the daughters of Caanan;
2rise, go to Padan-Aram, to the house of Bethuel, thy mother's father, and take for thyself from thence a wife, of the daughters of Laban, thy mother's brother;
3and God Almighty doth bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and thou hast become an assembly of peoples;
4and He doth give to thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee and to thy seed with thee, to cause thee to possess the land of thy sojournings, which God gave to Abraham.’
5And Isaac sendeth away Jacob, and he goeth to Padan-Aram, unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramaean, brother of Rebekah, mother of Jacob and Esau.
6And Esau seeth that Isaac hath blessed Jacob, and hath sent him to Padan-Aram to take to himself from thence a wife — in his blessing him that he layeth a charge upon him, saying, Thou dost not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan —
7that Jacob hearkeneth unto his father and unto his mother, and goeth to Padan-Aram —
8and Esau seeth that the daughters of Canaan are evil in the eyes of Isaac his father,
9and Esau goeth unto Ishmael, and taketh Mahalath, daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, sister of Nebajoth, unto his wives, to himself, for a wife.
10And Jacob goeth out from Beer-Sheba, and goeth toward Haran,
11and he toucheth at a [certain] place, and lodgeth there, for the sun hath gone in, and he taketh of the stones of the place, and maketh [them] his pillows, and lieth down in that place.
12And he dreameth, and lo, a ladder set up on the earth, and its head is touching the heavens; and lo, messengers of God are going up and coming down by it;
13and lo, Jehovah is standing upon it, and He saith, ‘I [am] Jehovah, God of Abraham thy father, and God of Isaac; the land on which thou art lying, to thee I give it, and to thy seed;
14and thy seed hath been as the dust of the land, and thou hast broken forth westward, and eastward, and northward, and southward, and all families of the ground have been blessed in thee and in thy seed.
15‘And lo, I [am] with thee, and have kept thee whithersoever thou goest, and have caused thee to turn back unto this ground; for I leave thee not till that I have surely done that which I have spoken to thee.’
16And Jacob awaketh out of his sleep, and saith, ‘Surely Jehovah is in this place, and I knew not;’
17and he feareth, and saith, ‘How fearful [is] this place; this is nothing but a house of God, and this a gate of the heavens.’
18And Jacob riseth early in the morning, and taketh the stone which he hath made his pillows, and maketh it a standing pillar, and poureth oil upon its top,
19and he calleth the name of that place Bethel, [house of God,] and yet, Luz [is] the name of the city at the first.
20And Jacob voweth a vow, saying, ‘Seeing God is with me, and hath kept me in this way which I am going, and hath given to me bread to eat, and a garment to put on —
21when I have turned back in peace unto the house of my father, and Jehovah hath become my God,
22then this stone which I have made a standing pillar is a house of God, and all that Thou dost give to me — tithing I tithe to Thee.’

Genesis 28

28
1#A glimpse of Rebekah’s shrewdness is provided by 27:42–28:2. She is aware of Esau’s murderous plot against Jacob (27:42–45) but realizes the episode of the stolen blessing is still painful to Isaac; she therefore uses another motive to persuade Isaac to send Jacob away—he must marry within the family (endogamy), unlike Esau. Esau, unreflective as usual, realizes too late he also should marry within the family but, significantly, marries from Abraham’s rejected line. At this point in the story, Jacob (and his mother) have taken the blessing for themselves. Their actions have put Jacob in a precarious position: he must flee the land because of his brother’s murderous intent and find a wife in a far country. One might ask how God’s blessing can be given to such an unworthy schemer. There is a biblical pattern of preferring the younger brother or sister over the older—Isaac over Ishmael, Jacob over Esau, Rachel over Leah, Joseph over his older brothers, Ephraim over Manasseh (Gn 48:14), David over his older brothers. Isaac therefore summoned Jacob and blessed him, charging him: “You shall not marry a Canaanite woman!#Gn 24:3–4; 26:35. 2Go now to Paddan-aram, to the home of your mother’s father Bethuel, and there choose a wife for yourself from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother.#Gn 22:22. 3May God Almighty bless you and make you fertile, multiply you that you may become an assembly of peoples. 4May God extend to you and your descendants the blessing of Abraham, so that you may gain possession of the land where you are residing, which he assigned to Abraham.”#Ex 32:13. 5Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way; he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean, and brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.#Jdt 8:26.
6Esau noted that Isaac had blessed Jacob when he sent him to Paddan-aram to get himself a wife there, and that, as he gave him his blessing, he charged him, “You shall not marry a Canaanite woman,” 7and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and gone to Paddan-aram. 8Esau realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac, 9so Esau went to Ishmael, and in addition to the wives he had, married Mahalath, the daughter of Abraham’s son Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth.#Gn 36:2–3.
Jacob’s Dream at Bethel.#As Jacob is leaving the land on his way to an uncertain future in Paddan-aram, God appears to him at a sacred place that Jacob had visited only to take a night’s rest. Jacob’s unawareness of the holiness of the place underscores the graciousness of the gift. On his return to Canaan, he will again encounter a divine visitor in the form of the mysterious attacker (32:23–33) and, after his return and reconciliation with Esau, he will again go to Bethel (35:1–15). 10Jacob departed from Beer-sheba and proceeded toward Haran. 11When he came upon a certain place,#Place: the Hebrew word is often used specifically of a sacred site. The ambiguous word “place” is used here, for the text emphasizes that Jacob has no idea the place he has come upon is sacred; only when he wakes up does he realize it is sacred. The place was Bethel (v. 19), a sacred site as early as the time of Abraham (12:8). he stopped there for the night, since the sun had already set. Taking one of the stones at the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place. 12Then he had a dream: a stairway#Stairway: in Hebrew, sullam, traditionally but inaccurately translated as “ladder.” The corresponding verb, salal, means “to heap up” something, such as dirt for a highway or a ramp. The imagery in Jacob’s dream may be derived from the Babylonian ziggurat or temple tower, “with its top in the sky” (11:4), and with brick steps leading up to a small temple at the top. rested on the ground, with its top reaching to the heavens; and God’s angels were going up and down on it.#Jn 1:51. 13And there was the Lord standing beside him and saying: I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you are lying I will give to you and your descendants.#Dt 1:8; Mi 7:20. 14Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and through them you will spread to the west and the east, to the north and the south. In you and your descendants all the families of the earth will find blessing.#Gn 12:3; 13:14–15; 15:5–6; 18:18; 22:17–18; 26:4; Dt 19:8; Sir 44:21. 15I am with you and will protect you wherever you go, and bring you back to this land. I will never leave you until I have done what I promised you.#Gn 31:3.
16When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, “Truly, the Lord is in this place and I did not know it!” 17He was afraid and said: “How awesome this place is! This is nothing else but the house of God, the gateway to heaven!” 18Early the next morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head, set it up as a sacred pillar,#Sacred pillar: in Hebrew, masseba, a stone which might vary in shape and size, set upright and usually intended for some religious purpose. The custom of erecting such sacred pillars in Palestine went back to its pre-Israelite period; but since their polytheistic associations were often retained, later Israelite religion forbade their erection (Lv 26:1; Dt 16:22) and ordered the destruction of those that were associated with other religions (Ex 34:13; Dt 12:3). and poured oil on top of it.#Gn 31:13; 35:14–15. 19He named that place Bethel,#Bethel: i.e., “house of God”; the reference is to the house of God in v. 17. whereas the former name of the town had been Luz.#Gn 35:6; 48:3; Jos 18:13; Jgs 1:23; Hos 12:5.
20Jacob then made this vow:#This vow: knowing well that Esau’s murderous wrath stands between him and the possession of the land promised him, Jacob makes his vow very precise. He vows to make the God who appeared to him his own if the God guides him safely to Paddan-aram and back to this land. “If God will be with me and protect me on this journey I am making and give me food to eat and clothes to wear, 21and I come back safely to my father’s house, the Lord will be my God. 22This stone that I have set up as a sacred pillar will be the house of God. Of everything you give me, I will return a tenth part to you without fail.”