Contents Calendar Find Reference
Navigating the Bible
Genesis Chapter 28
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50

Jacob takes the Blessing
28:1 Isaac summoned Jacob and gave him a blessing and a charge. 'Do not marry a Canaanite girl,' he said.
28:2 'Set out and go to Padan Aram, to the house of your maternal grandfather Bethuel. Marry a daughter of your uncle Laban.
28:3 God Almighty will then bless you, make you fruitful, and increase your numbers. You will become an assembly of nations.
28:4 He will grant Abraham's blessing to you and your descendants, so that you will take over the land which God gave to Abraham, where you previously lived only as a foreigner.'
28:5 Isaac then sent Jacob on his way. [Jacob] headed toward Padan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramaean, the brother of Rebecca, Jacob and Esau's mother.
28:6 Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Padan Aram to find a wife, including in his blessing the charge, 'Do not marry a Canaanite girl.'
28:7 [He also knew that] Jacob had obeyed his father and mother, and had gone to Padan Aram.
28:8 Esau understood that the Canaanite girls were displeasing to his father Isaac.
28:9 Esau therefore went to Ishmael and married Machlath daughter of Abraham's son Ishmael, a sister of Nebayoth, in addition to his other wives.

Jacob's Journey, Marriage and Children
28:10 Jacob left Beer-sheba and headed toward Charan.
28:11 He came to a familiar place and spent the night there because the sun had already set. Taking some stones, he placed them at his head and lay down to sleep there.
28:12 He had a vision in a dream. A ladder was standing on the ground, and its top reached up toward heaven. God's angels were going up and down on it.
28:13 Suddenly he saw God standing over him.

[God] said, 'I am God, Lord of Abraham your father, and Lord of Isaac. I will give to you and your descendants the land upon which you are lying.

28:14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth. You shall spread out to the west, to the east, to the north, and to the south. All the families on earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.
28:15 I am with you. I will protect you wherever you go and bring you back to this soil. I will not turn aside from you until I have fully kept this promise to you.'
28:16 Jacob awoke from his sleep. 'God is truly in this place,' he said, 'but I did not know it.'
28:17 He was frightened. 'How awe-inspiring this place is!' he exclaimed. 'It must be God's temple. It is the gate to heaven!'
28:18 Jacob got up early in the morning and took the stone that he had placed under his head. He stood it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it.
28:19 He named the place God's Temple (Beth El). The town's original name, however, had been Luz.
28:20 Jacob made a vow. 'If God will be with me,' he said, 'if He will protect me on the journey that I am taking, if He gives me bread to eat and clothing to wear,
28:21 and if I return in peace to my father's house, then I will dedicate myself totally to God.
28:22 Let this stone that I have set up as a pillar become a temple to God. Of all that You give me, I will set aside a tenth to You.'


Do not marry...
  See Genesis 24:3.

assembly of nations
  See Genesis 17:5.

  Not mentioned again. Some say that she is the Basemath mentioned in Genesis 36:3 (Yerushalmi, Bikkurim 3:3; cf. Josephus, Antiquities 1:18:8).

sister of Nebayoth
  See Genesis 25:13. Some say that Nebayoth is mentioned because Ishmael had more than one wife (Ibn Ezra). There is a tradition that Ishmael died at this point, and Nebayoth gave his sister to Esau (Megillah 14a; Rashi).

in addition to...
  See Genesis 26:34.

  Where Isaac lived, Genesis 26:33. However, some say that Isaac then lived in Hebron (see Genesis 35:27), and that Jacob had gone to Beer-sheba to pray (Ramban on Genesis 28:17). Others maintain that Isaac moved to Hebron later (Yov'loth 29:19).

  See Genesis 11:31, note on Genesis 24:10.

  The ladder represented all the spiritual levels, which would now be given to Jacob and his descendants. It was shown to him now, when Jacob was about to start a family.

over him
  (Saadia). Or, 'near him' (cf. Exodus 18:13). Or, 'on top of it (the ladder)' (Bereshith Rabbah 69). See note on Deuteronomy 27:12.

dust of the earth
  See Genesis 13:16, 15:5, 22:17.

All the families...
  Genesis 12:3, 18:18, 22:18, 26:4.

God's Temple...
  We render this Beth El instead of Bethel. According to many authorities, Jacob was lying on the place of the Holy of Holies in Jerusalem (Pesachim 88a; Pirkey Rabbi Eliezer 35; Ramban). Hence, it was literally the 'gate of heaven' (see Jerusalem, Eye of the Universe, p. 50). From Beer-sheba to Jerusalem is 42 miles, a good day's journey (see note on Genesis 30:36). According to others, however, this was the Bethel which was Abraham's first home in the Holy Land (Genesis 12:8).

  See Genesis 35:6, 48:3; Rashi on Joshua 16:2, 18:13, Judges 1:23. Also see Judges 1:26. According to those who say that Beth El is in Jerusalem, there were two villages there, Salem (Genesis 14:18) and Luz.

I will dedicate myself...
  Literally, 'God will be my Lord' (cf. Ramban; Sforno; Hirsch). Others have it as part of the condition: 'and if God will be my Lord' - that is, 'If God will be uniquely associated with me and my children forever' (Rashi).

temple to God
  It was later the place of the Holy of Holies (see note on Genesis 22:19).

  Literally a tithe. See note on Genesis 14:20.

Copyright © 2000 World ORT
Notice: This computer program is protected by copyright law and international treaties. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this program, or any portion of it, may result in severe civil and criminal penalties, and will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible under the law.