וַיִּקְרָא יִצְחָק אֶל יַעֲקֹב וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתוֹ וַיְצַוֵּהוּ וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ לֹא תִקַּח אִשָּׁה מִבְּנוֹת כְּנָעַן 28:1
Gene. 28:1 So Isaac called to Jacob and blessed him and charged him and said to him, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.”
קוּם לֵךְ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם בֵּיתָה בְתוּאֵל אֲבִי אִמֶּךָ וְקַחלְךָ מִשָּׁם אִשָּׁה מִבְּנוֹת לָבָן אֲחִי אִמֶּךָ 28:2
Gene. 28:2 “Arise, go to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel, the father of your mother, and take to yourself from there a wife of the daughters of Laban, the brother of your mother.”
וְאֵל שַׁדַּי יְבָרֵךְ אֹתְךָ וְיַפְרְךָ וְיַרְבֶּךָ וְהָיִיתָ לִקְהַל עַמִּים 28:3
Gene. 28:3 “And may God Almighty bless you that you are fruitful, and multiply you that you will become a congregation of people,
וְיִתֶּן לְךָ אֶת בִּרְכַּת אַבְרָהָם לְךָ וּלְזַרְעֲךָ אִתָּךְ לְרִשְׁתְּךָ אֶת אֶרֶץ מְגֻרֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר נָתַן אֱלֹהִים 28:4
Gene. 28:4 and give you the blessings of Abraham, to you and your seed with you, to possess the land of your sojourning that God gave to Abraham.”
וַיִּשְׁלַח יִצְחָק אֶת יַעֲקֹב וַיֵּלֶךְ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם אֶל לָבָן בֶּן בְּתוּאֵל הָאֲרַמִּי אֲחִי רִבְקָה אֵם יַעֲקֹב 28:5
Gene. 28:5 Then Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram, to Laban, the son of Bethuel, the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.
If the events of the last chapter preceded this one chronologically, then Isaac would have been near death when Jacob left for Laban. Isaac died at the age of 180 (Gene. 35:28), and Jacob and Esau were born when he was sixty years old (Gene. 25:26). That would make Jacob 120 years old at that time -- an impossibility. So I am pretty sure that at least some of the events of this chapter are out of chronological order.
וַיַּרְא עֵשָׂו כִּי בֵרַךְ יִצְחָק אֶת יַעֲקֹב וְשִׁלַּח אֹתוֹ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם לָקַחַת לוֹ מִשָּׁם אִשָּׁה בְּבָרְכו אֹתוֹ 28:6
וַיְצַו עָלָיו לֵאמֹר לֹא תִקַּח אִשָּׁה מִבְּנוֹת כְּנָעַן
Gene. 28:6 Now Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan-aram to take a wife for himself from there; as he blessed him, that he gave a charge to him saying, “You shall not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan,”
וַיִּשְׁמַע יַעֲקֹב אֶל אָבִיו וְאֶל אִמּוֹ וַיֵּלֶךְ פַּדֶּנָה אֲרָם 28:7
Gene. 28:7 and Jacob had hearkened to his father and his mother, and went to Paddan-aram.
וַיַּרְא עֵשָׂו כִּי רָעוֹת בְּנוֹת כְּנָעַן בְּעֵינֵי יִצְחָק אָבִיו 28:8
Gene. 28:8 So Esau saw that the daughters of Canaan were sore in the eyes of Isaac, his father.
וַיֵּלֶךְ עֵשָׂו אֶל יִשְׁמָעֵאל וַיִּקַּח אֶת מָחֲלַת בַּת יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן אַבְרָהָם אֲחוֹת נְבָיוֹת עַל נָשָׁיו לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה 28:9
Gene. 28:9 So Esau went to Ishmael and took Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael, the son of Abraham, the sister of Nebaioth, to be over the wives he had, to be his wife.
[Return to Gene. 36:3]
וַיֵּצֵא יַעֲקֹב מִבְּאֵר שָׁבַע וַיֵּלֶךְ חָרָנָה 28:10
Gene. 28:10 And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba and went toward Haran.
וַיִּפְגַּע בַּמָּקוֹם וַיָּלֶן שָׁם כִּיבָא הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וַיִּקַּח מֵאַבְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם וַיָּשֶׂם מְרַאֲשֹׁתָיו וַיִּשְׁכַּב בַּמָּקוֹם 28:11
Gene. 28:11 And he arrived at the place and he stopped there all night because the sun had fallen, and he took one of the stones of the place that he put under his head and he lay down in that place to sleep.
וַיַּחֲלֹם וְהִנֵּה סֻלָּם מֻצָּב אַרְצָה וְרֹאשׁוֹ מַגִּיעַ הַשָּׁמָיְמָה וְהִנֵּה מַלְאֲכֵי אֱלֹהִים עֹלִים וְיֹרְדִים בּוֹ 28:12
Gene. 28:12 And he dreamed and, behold, a ladder was set up on the earth and its top reached to the heaven and, behold, angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
וְהִנֵּה יְהוָה נִצָּב עָלָיו וַיֹּאמַר אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אָבִיךָ וֵאלֹהֵי יִצְחָק הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה 28:13
שֹׁכֵב עָלֶיהָ לְךָ אֶתְּנֶנָּה וּלְזַרְעֶךָ
Gene. 28:13 And behold, the Lord was present over him and said, “I am the Lord, God of Abraham, your forefather, and God of Isaac. The land on which you are lying, I will give it to you and to your seed.”
וְהָיָה זַרְעֲךָ כַּעֲפַר הָאָרֶץ וּפָרַצְתָּ יָמָּה וָקֵדְמָה וְצָפֹנָה וָנֶגְבָּה וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כָּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת 28:14
Gene. 28:14 “And your seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and you shall spread to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and all the families of the earth shall be blessed in you and in your seed.”
The promise that Abraham’s seed will be as the dust of the earth, etc., was first given to Abram in Gene. 13:16. The promise that all the people of the earth shall be blessed through his (i.e., Abraham’s) seed, also appeared in Gene. 12:3, Gene. 18:18, Gene. 22:18, and Gene. 26:4.
וְהִנֵּה אָנֹכִי עִמָּךְ וּשְׁמַרְתִּיךָ בְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר תֵּלֵךְ וַהֲשִׁבֹתִיךָ אֶל הָאֲדָמָה הַזֹּאת כִּי לֹא אֶעֱזָבְךָ 28:15
עַד אֲשֶׁר אִם עָשִׂיתִי אֵת אֲשֶׁר דִּבַּרְתִּי לָךְ
Gene. 28:15 “And, behold, I am with you and I will preserve you everywhere that you will go and I will bring you back to this land, for I will not leave you until I have done that which I speak to you.”
Is God implying in this verse that He will leave when He’s done what He has spoken? Could that mean until the end of time? Because what God has spoken of in this dream has not yet been accomplished (v. 28:14), and it may not happen for a long time. On the other hand, God may be simply reassuring Jacob that he himself will not be deserted.
וַיִּיקַץ יַעֲקֹב מִשְּׁנָתוֹ וַיֹּאמֶר אָכֵן יֵשׁ יְהוָה בַּמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה וְאָנֹכִי לֹא יָדָעְתִּי 28:16
Gene. 28:16 And Jacob awoke from his sleep and he said, “Surely there is the Lord in this place and I did not know.”
וַיִּירָא וַיֹּאמַר מַה נּוֹרָא הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה אֵין זֶה כִּי אִם בֵּית אֱלֹהִים וְזֶה שַׁעַר הַשָּׁמָיִם 28:17
Gene. 28:17 And he was awed, and he said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God and this is the gate of heaven.”
וַיַּשְׁכֵּם יַעֲקֹב בַּבֹּקֶר וַיִּקַּח אֶת הָאֶבֶן אֲשֶׁר שָׂם מְרַאֲשֹׁתָיו וַיָּשֶׂם אֹתָהּ מַצֵּבָה וַיִּצֹק שֶׁמֶן עַל 28:18
Gene. 28:18 When Jacob rose early in the morning, then he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it for a pillar and poured oil on top of it.
וַיִּקְרָא אֶת שֵׁם הַמָּקוֹם הַהוּא בֵּית אֵל וְאוּלָם לוּז שֵׁם הָעִיר לָרִאשֹׁנָה 28:19
Gene. 28:19 And he called the name of that place Bethel, but Luz was the name of the city formerly.
I wonder. Could Bethel be the place that God will choose, as He mentions later in Deuteronomy? After all, as I’ve mentioned earlier, Bethel means the house of God. We may find later in 1Samuel that the Tabernacle was taken to Shiloh and erected there.
וַיִּדַּר יַעֲקֹב נֶדֶר לֵאמֹר אִם יִהְיֶה אֱלֹהִים עִמָּדִי וּשְׁמָרַנִי בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי הוֹלֵךְ וְנָתַן לִי 28:20
לֶחֶם לֶאֱכֹל וּבֶגֶד לִלְבֹּשׁ
Gene. 28:20 And Jacob made a vow saying, “If God will be with me and will preserve me in this way that I am going and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear,
וְשַׁבְתִּי בְשָׁלוֹם אֶל בֵּית אָבִי וְהָיָה יְהוָה לִי לֵאלֹהִים 28:21
Gene. 28:21 so that I can return in peace to the house of my father, then the Lord will be as God to me,
Phrases similar to the last two words in this verse are encountered throughout the bible. They are almost universally translated as “my God,” suggesting that לִי לֵאלֹהִים is an idiom, because that is not the literal translation. The prefix לֵ in לֵאלֹהִים makes the literal translation as I have it, “… as God to me.” I translate this phrase and others like it consistently, as I have done above. One of the reasons is that I can’t find this sort of phrase among the biblical Hebrew idioms I have searched through.
It has also occurred to me how interesting it is that Jacob sets these preconditions before God would be God to him. One more reason why I’m so deeply impressed by how loving and allowing God is.
וְהָאֶבֶן הַזֹּאת אֲשֶׁר שַׂמְתִּי מַצֵּבָה יִהְיֶה בֵּית אֱלֹהִים וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר תִּתֶּן לִי עַשֵּׂר אֲעַשְּׂרֶנּוּ לָךְ 28:22
Gene. 28:22 and this stone, a pillar which I have set up, shall be a house of God, and all that You will give me I will surely give a tenth of it to You.”
Notice that in the previous verse, Jacob refers to the Lord in the third person, but in this verse He is addressed in the second person. I suspect the scribe did this deliberately to make the vow to tithe more direct and personal.
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