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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Genesis

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FRAMEWORKS: Genesis 28: Jacob travels north


v.1-4 Isaac sends Jacob to Laban with his blessing

v.5-9 Out of Spite Esau marries outside the family

v.10-12 Jacob has a Dream at Bethel

v.13-15 In the Dream the Lord blesses Jacob

v.16-22 Jacob's response



v.1-4 Isaac sends Jacob to Laban with his blessing


v.1 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him: “Do not marry a Canaanite woman.

v.2 Go at once to Paddan Aram, to the house of your mother's father Bethuel. Take a wife for yourself there, from among the daughters of Laban, your mother's brother.

v.3 May God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and increase your numbers until you become a community of peoples.

v.4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing given to Abraham, so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner, the land God gave to Abraham.”


[Notes: Following directly on from the previous chapter, heeding his wife's counsel, he instructs Jacob not to take a Canaanite wife but to go [as he had done via his father's servant] to Paddan Aram [the area in the north including Haran] to Laban so see if he can marry one of his daughters, before returning to take this land as part of Abraham's blessing.]



v.5-9 Out of Spite Esau marries outside the family


v.5 Then Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

v.6,7 Now Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram to take a wife from there, and that when he blessed him he commanded him, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman,” and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram.

v.8,9 Esau then realized how displeasing the Canaanite women were to his father Isaac; so he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, in addition to the wives he already had.


[Notes: Hearing that Isaac had sent Jacob off with a blessing, out of spite, knowing his parents' not wanting the sons married to Canaanites, he nevertheless went and married yet another women, now from Ishmael's family. If he thought to get his parents approval he forgot that Ishmael was not the approved family line, only that from Isaac.]



v.10-12 Jacob has a Dream at Bethel


v.10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Haran.

v.11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep.

v.12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.


[Notes: Dreams often appear as significant in the Bible and this one no less so. He sees an entrance to heaven.]



v.13-15 In the Dream the Lord blesses Jacob


v.13 There above it stood the Lord , and he said: “I am the Lord , the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.

v.14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.

v.15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”


[Notes: From the entrance God speaks, confirming the land where he still is, is part of the Land promised to Abraham and thus to him. He also confirmed the family will make up a great multitude and the world will be blessed through them. Further assurance is given that the Lord will watch over him and bring him back here eventually.]



v.16-22 Jacob's response


v.16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.”

v.17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

v.18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it.

v.19 He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz.

v.20-22 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father's household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God's house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.”


[Notes: Jacob awakes and realizes the import of the dream. He makes an altar and a vow to bless God with a tenth of his goods if God does do what He said.]



Lessons or Challenges to Ponder from Genesis Chapter 28


1. At the beginning of this chapter, Isaac shows the same determination his father had shown for none of them to be married to Canaanites but remain true to their own family tree. I wonder how many Christian (young people especially) hold firm to the ‘Christian family' – see 2 Cor 6:14,15?

2. On his journey north Jacob has a God-dream. Do we take notice of God's signposts?

3. Afterwards Jacob bargains with God, not realising you DON'T bargain with God. He is Lord!



Continue to Chapter 29