So Isaac called in Jacob and blessed him. Then he ordered him, "Don't take a Caananite wife.
Leave at once. Go to Paddan Aram to the family of your mother's father, Bethuel. Get a wife for yourself from the daughters of your uncle Laban.
"And may The Strong God bless you and give you many, many children, a congregation of peoples;
and pass on the blessing of Abraham to you and your descendants so that you will get this land in which you live, this land God gave Abraham."
So Isaac sent Jacob off. He went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.
Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan Aram to get a wife there, and while blessing him commanded, "Don't marry a Canaanite woman,"
and that Jacob had obeyed his parents and gone to Paddan Aram.
When Esau realized how deeply his father Isaac disliked the Canaanite women,
he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son. This was in addition to the wives he already had.
Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran.
He came to a certain place and camped for the night since the sun had set. He took one of the stones there, set it under his head and lay down to sleep.
And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground and it reached all the way to the sky; angels of God were going up and going down on it.
Then God was right before him, saying, "I am God, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. I'm giving the ground on which you are sleeping to you and to your descendants.
Your descendants will be as the dust of the Earth; they'll stretch from west to east and from north to south. All the families of the Earth will bless themselves in you and your descendants.
Yes. I'll stay with you, I'll protect you wherever you go, and I'll bring you back to this very ground. I'll stick with you until I've done everything I promised you."
Jacob woke up from his sleep. He said, "God is in this place - truly. And I didn't even know it!"
He was terrified. He whispered in awe, "Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God's House. This is the Gate of Heaven."
Jacob was up first thing in the morning. He took the stone he had used for his pillow and stood it up as a memorial pillar and poured oil over it.
He christened the place Bethel (God's House). The name of the town had been Luz until then.
Jacob vowed a vow: "If God stands by me and protects me on this journey on which I'm setting out, keeps me in food and clothing,
and brings me back in one piece to my father's house, this God will be my God.
This stone that I have set up as a memorial pillar will mark this as a place where God lives. And everything you give me, I'll return a tenth to you."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)