Genesis 28

Listen to Genesis 28

Jacob Sent to Laban

1 Then Isaac called Jacob 1and blessed him and directed him, 2"You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women.
2 3Arise, go to Paddan-aram to the house of 4Bethuel your mother's father, and take as your wife from there one of the daughters of Laban your mother's brother.
3 5God Almighty[a] bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples.
4 May he give 6the blessing of Abraham to you and to your offspring with you, that you may take possession of 7the land of your sojournings that God gave to Abraham!"
5 Thus Isaac sent Jacob away. And he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother.

Esau Marries an Ishmaelite

6 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, and that as he blessed him he directed him, "You must not take a wife from the Canaanite women,"
7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and his mother and gone to Paddan-aram.
8 So when Esau saw 8that the Canaanite women did not please Isaac his father,
9 Esau went to Ishmael and took as his wife, besides the wives he had, 9Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael, Abraham's son, the sister of 10Nebaioth.

Jacob's Dream

10 Jacob left 11Beersheba and went toward 12Haran.
11 And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night, because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head and lay down in that place to sleep.
12 And he 13dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder[b] set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, 14the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!
13 And behold, 15the LORD stood above it[c] and said, 16"I am the LORD, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. 17The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.
14 Your offspring shall be like 18the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and 19your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
15 Behold, 20I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and 21will bring you back to this land. For I will 22not leave you until I have done what I have promised you."
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, "Surely the LORD is 23in this place, and I did not know it."
17 And he was afraid and said, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven."
18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up 24for a pillar 25and poured oil on the top of it.
19 He called the name of that place 26Bethel,[d] but the name of the city was Luz at the first.
20 Then Jacob 27made a vow, saying, "If God will be with me and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear,
21 28so that I come again to my father's house in peace, 29then the LORD shall be my God,
22 and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, 30shall be God's house. And 31of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you."

Genesis 28 Commentary

Chapter 28

Isaac sends Jacob to Padan-aram. (1-5) Esau marries the daughter of Ishmael. (6-9) Jacob's vision. (10-15) The stone of Beth-el. (16-19) Jacob's vow. (20-22)

Verses 1-5 Jacob had blessings promised both as to this world and that which is to come; yet goes out to a hard service. This corrected him for the fraud on his father. The blessing shall be conferred on him, yet he shall smart for the indirect course taken to obtain it. Jacob is dismissed by his father with a solemn charge. He must not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan: those who profess religion, should not marry with those that care not for religion. Also with a solemn blessing. Isaac had before blessed him unwittingly; now he does it designedly. This blessing is more full than the former; it is a gospel blessing. This promise looks as high as heaven, of which Canaan was a type. That was the better country which Jacob and the other patriarchs had in view.

Verses 6-9 Good examples impress even the profane and malicious. But Esau thought, by pleasing his parents in one thing, to atone for other wrong doings. Carnal hearts are apt to think themselves as good as they should be, because in some one matter they are not so bad as they have been.

Verses 10-15 Jacob's conduct hitherto, as recorded, was not that of one who simply feared and trusted in God. But now in trouble, obliged to flee, he looked only to God to make him to dwell in safety, and he could lie down and sleep in the open air with his head upon a stone. Any true believer would be willing to take up with Jacob's pillow, provided he might have Jacob's vision. God's time to visit his people with his comforts, is, when they are most destitute of other comforts, and other comforters. Jacob saw a ladder which reached from earth to heaven, the angels going up and coming down, and God himself at the head of it. This represents, 1. The providence of God, by which there is a constant intercourse kept up between heaven and earth. This let Jacob know that he had both a good guide and a good guard. 2. The mediation of Christ. He is this ladder; the foot on earth in his human nature, the top in heaven in his Divine nature. Christ is the Way; all God's favours come to us, and all our services go to him, by Christ, ( John 1:51 ) . By this way, sinners draw near to the throne of grace with acceptance. By faith we perceive this way, and in prayer we approach by it. In answer to prayer we receive all needful blessings of providence and grace. We have no way of getting to heaven but by Christ. And when the soul, by faith, can see these things, then every place will become pleasant, and every prospect joyful. He will never leave us, until his last promise is accomplished in our everlasting happiness. God now spake comfortably to Jacob. He spake from the head of the ladder. All the glad tidings we receive from heaven come through Jesus Christ. The Messiah should come from Jacob. Christ is the great blessing of the world. All that are blessed, are blessed in him, and none of any family are shut out from blessedness in him, but those that shut out themselves. Jacob had to fear danger from his brother Esau; but God promises to keep him. He had a long journey before him; to an unknown country; but, Behold, I am with thee, and God promises to bring him back again to this land. He seemed to be forsaken of all his friends; but God gives him this assurance, I will not leave thee. Whom God loves, he never leaves.

Verses 16-19 God manifested himself and his favour, to Jacob, when he was asleep. The Spirit, like the wind, blows when and where it listeth, and God's grace, like the dew, tarrieth not for the sons of men. Jacob sought to improve the visit God had made him. Wherever we are, in the city or in the desert, in the house or in the field, in the shop or in the street, we may keep up our intercourse with Heaven, if it is not our own fault. But the more we see of God, the more cause we see for holy trembling before him.

Verses 20-22 Jacob made a solemn vow on this occasion. In this observe, 1. Jacob's faith. He trusts that God will be with him, and will keep him; he depends upon it. 2. Jacob's moderation in his desires. He asks not for soft clothing and dainty meat. If God give us much, we are bound to be thankful, and to use it for him; if he gives us but little, we are bound to be content, and cheerfully to enjoy him in it. 3. Jacob's piety, and his regard to God, appear in what he desired, that God would be with him, and keep him. We need desire no more to make us easy and happy. Also his resolution is, to cleave to the Lord, as his God in covenant. When we receive more than common mercy from God, we should abound in gratitude to him. The tenth is a fit proportion to be devoted to God, and employed for him; though it may be ( 1 Corinthians. 16:2 ) remember our Bethels, how we stand engaged by solemn vows to yield ourselves to the Lord, to take him for our God, and to devote all we have and are to his glory!

Cross References 31

  • 1. ver. 6
  • 2. [See Genesis 27:46 above]
  • 3. Hosea 12:12
  • 4. Genesis 22:23
  • 5. See Genesis 17:1
  • 6. See Genesis 12:2, 3
  • 7. Genesis 17:8; Genesis 36:7; Genesis 37:1
  • 8. Genesis 24:3; Genesis 26:35
  • 9. [Genesis 36:3]
  • 10. Genesis 25:13; Genesis 36:3
  • 11. Genesis 21:31; Genesis 26:33
  • 12. [Acts 7:2]
  • 13. [Numbers 12:6; Job 33:15, 16]
  • 14. [John 1:51]
  • 15. [Genesis 35:1; Genesis 48:3]
  • 16. Genesis 26:24
  • 17. Genesis 35:12; See Genesis 13:14-16
  • 18. See Genesis 13:16
  • 19. See Genesis 12:3
  • 20. Genesis 26:24; Genesis 31:3
  • 21. Genesis 35:6
  • 22. 1 Kings 8:57
  • 23. Exodus 3:5; Joshua 5:15
  • 24. Genesis 31:13, 45; Genesis 35:14; [1 Samuel 7:12; 2 Samuel 18:18]
  • 25. [Leviticus 8:10, 11; Numbers 7:1]
  • 26. Genesis 35:7; Judges 1:23, 26
  • 27. Genesis 31:13
  • 28. [Judges 11:31; 2 Samuel 15:7-9]
  • 29. Deuteronomy 26:17
  • 30. Genesis 35:7, 14
  • 31. Genesis 14:20; Leviticus 27:30-33

Footnotes 4

Chapter Summary


In this chapter an account is given of the charge Isaac gave to Jacob not to marry a Canaanitess, but to go to Padanaram, and take a wife from his mother's family, and of his blessing him before he sent him away, Ge 28:1-5; of the notice that Esau took of this blessing and charge, which led him to take a wife of the family of Ishmael, Ge 28:6-9; of the dream of the ladder, which Jacob had in his way to Haran, Ge 28:10-12; of the blessing which God conferred upon him there, Ge 28:13-15; of the awfulness of the place upon his awaking, and of his erecting a pillar in it, and giving a name to it, Ge 28:16-19; and of the vow he made to God, should he be supplied with the necessaries of life, and be kept in safety by him, Ge 28:20-22.

Genesis 28 Commentaries