GOD’s APPEARANCE TO JACOB – A VOW MADE BY JACOB (G-28-HBS)

JACOB LEAVES HOME

In this chapter we will find Jacob leaving home. He comes to Bethel where God appears to him and confirms to him the covenant made to Abraham.

Genesis 28:1-9 KJV

[1] And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.

[2] Arise, go to Padan–aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother.

[3] And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;

[4] And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.

[5] And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan–aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.

[6] When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padan–aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;

[7] And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan–aram;

[8] And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father;

[9] Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.

Genesis 28:1 KJV

And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.


  • He entered fully into Rebekah‘s feelings, and the burden of his parting counsel to his son was to avoid a marriage alliance with any but the Mesopotamian branch of the family.
  • At the same time he gave him a solemn blessing – pronounced before unwittingly, now designedly, and with a cordial spirit.
  • It is more explicitly and fully given, and Jacob was thus acknowledged “the heir of the promise.”

Genesis 28:2 KJV

Arise, go to Padan–aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother’s father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother’s brother.


  • All the way through the Old Testament we find that God does not want the godly to marry the ungodly.
  • That, again, is my reason for believing that in the sixth chapter of Genesis, where it says the sons of God looked upon the daughters of men, it is saying that the godly line married with the godless line of Cain.
  • This finally resulted in the judgment of the Flood with only one godly man left.

Genesis 28:3 KJV

And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;


 

 

 

Genesis 28:4 KJV

And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.


  • It is obvious now that Isaac understands that God had given the blessing to Abraham, that God had transferred it to him, and that this blessing is to be passed on to his son, Jacob.

Genesis 28:5 KJV

And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan–aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob’s and Esau’s mother.


  • If you were to give the nationality of this family, you would have to say they were Syrians because that is what they are called in the Scriptures.

Sometimes the questions are asked:

Was Abraham a Jew?

Was he an Israelite?

No, actually he was not. There were no Israelites until the time of Jacob whose name was changed to Israel. His twelve sons were Israelites.

The line came from Abraham, he is the father of the race, but you’re not going to call Abraham a Midianite, I hope, and yet he is the father of the Midianites, also.

Genesis 28:6 KJV

When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padan–aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;


 

 

 

Genesis 28:7 KJV

And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan–aram;


 

 

 

Genesis 28:8 KJV

And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father;


  • Desirous to humor his parents and, if possible, get the last will revoked, he became wise when too late (see Matthew 25:10), and hoped by gratifying his parents in one thing to atone for all his former delinquencies.

Genesis 28:9 KJV

Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham’s son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.


  • But he only made bad worse, and though he did not marry a “wife of the daughters of Canaan,” he married into a family which God had rejected.
  • It showed a partial reformation, but no repentance, for he gave no proofs of abating his vindictive purposes against his brother, nor cherishing that pious spirit that would have gratified his father – he was like Micah (see Judges 17:13).
  • Esau goes out and marries the daughter of Ishmael. He thinks it will please his father.
  • You see what a lack of spiritual perception he has.
  • The Ishmaelites were as much rejected as the Canaanites or the Philistines.

GOD APPEARS TO JACOB AT BETHEL

At Bethel, Jacob had a wonderful dream in which he saw a ladder or staircase extending from earth to heaven. This suggested “the fact of a real, uninterrupted, and close communion between heaven and earth, and in particular between God in His glory and man in his solitude.”

In His encounter with Nathanael, the Lord Jesus made an apparent reference to this incident and connected it with His Second Advent and millennial glory (John 1:51). But believers even now can enjoy moment-by-moment fellowship with the Lord.

At this time when Jacob’s heart was probably filled with regret for the past, loneliness in the present, and uncertainty about the future, God graciously made a covenant with him as He had with Abraham and Isaac.

Notice the promise of:

  • companionship: “I am with you”;
  • safety: “I will keep you wherever you go”;
  • guidance: “and will bring you back to this land”;
  • and personal guarantee: “I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

Conscious that he had met God there, Jacob changed the name of the place from Luz (separation) to Bethel (house of God).

Genesis 28:10-17 KJV

[10] And Jacob went out from Beer–sheba, and went toward Haran.

[11] And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.

[12] And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

[13] And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;

[14] And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

[15] And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

[16] And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.

[17] And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

Genesis 28:10 KJV

And Jacob went out from Beer–sheba, and went toward Haran.


  • His departure from his father‘s house was an ignominious flight; and for fear of being pursued or waylaid by his vindictive brother, he did not take the common road, but went by lonely and unfrequented paths, which increased the length and dangers of the journey.

Genesis 28:11 KJV

And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.


  • By a forced march he had reached Beth-el, about forty-eight miles from Beer-sheba, and had to spend the night in the open field.
  • The nature of the soil is an existing comment on the record of the stony territory where Jacob lay.

Genesis 28:12 KJV

And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.


  • and behold a ladder — Some writers are of opinion that it was not a literal ladder that is meant, as it is impossible to conceive any imagery stranger and more unnatural than that of a ladder, whose base was on earth, while its top reached heaven, without having any thing on which to rest its upper extremity.
  • They suppose that the little heap of stones, on which his head reclined for a pillow, being the miniature model of the object that appeared to his imagination, the latter was a gigantic mountain pile, whose sides, indented in the rock, gave it the appearance of a scaling ladder.
  • There can be no doubt that this use of the original term was common among the early Hebrews; as Josephus, describing the town of Ptolemais (Acre), says it was bounded by a mountain, which, from its projecting sides, was called “the ladder,” and the stairs that led down to the city are, in the original, termed a ladder (Nehemiah 3:15) though they were only a flight of steps cut in the side of the rock.
  • But whether the image presented to the mental eye of Jacob were a common ladder, or such a mountain pile as has been described, the design of this vision was to afford comfort, encouragement, and confidence to the lonely fugitive, both in his present circumstances and as to his future prospects.
  • His thoughts during the day must have been painful – he would be his own self-accuser that he had brought exile and privation upon himself – and above all, that though he had obtained the forgiveness of his father, he had much reason to fear lest God might have forsaken him.
  • Solitude affords time for reflection; and it was now that God began to bring Jacob under a course of religious instruction and training.
  • To dispel his fears and allay the inward tumult of his mind, nothing was better fitted than the vision of the gigantic ladder, which reached from himself to heaven, and on which the angels were continually ascending and descending from God Himself on their benevolent errands (John 1:51).

Genesis 28:13 KJV

And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;


  • That Jacob might be at no loss to know the purport of the vision, he heard the divine voice; and the announcement of His name, together with a renewal of the covenant, and an assurance of personal protection, produced at once the most solemnizing and inspiriting effect on his mind.

Genesis 28:14 KJV

And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.


  • Now God is giving to Jacob exactly what He had given first to Abraham; He had repeated it to Isaac, and now He confirms it, and He reaffirms to Jacob that He will do this.

Genesis 28:15 KJV

And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.


  • You can see that this would be comforting and helpful to a lonesome, homesick boy who really had to leave home in a hurry.
  • He is on his way to a far country, and this first night God says to him, “I’m going to be with you, Jacob, and I’m going to bring you back to this land.”

The vision that God gave to him in the dream was of a ladder that reached up to heaven. What does that ladder mean? Well, the Lord Jesus interpreted it when He called Nathanael, as recorded in John.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man” (John 1:50–51).

Genesis 28:16 KJV

And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.


  • His language and his conduct were alike that of a man whose mind was pervaded by sentiments of solemn awe, of fervent piety, and lively gratitude (Jeremiah 31:36).
  • When Jacob ran away from home, he had a limited view of God.
  • He thought that when he ran away from home, he was running away from God, also.
  • But he found that he had not left God back home. He exclaimed, “Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not!”

Genesis 28:17 KJV

And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.


  • The place is dreadful only for a fellow like Jacob, a sinner, trying to run away from God.
  • Every house of God, every church, ought to be a dreadful place to any sinner running away from God.
  • It is the place where the sinner ought to be able to meet God, come face to face with God, through the Ladder who has been sent down from heaven, even Christ.

JACOB MAKES A VOW

Next Jacob seems to be bargaining with God. He was actually bargaining for less than God had promised (v. 14).

His faith was not strong enough to take God at His word, so he had to make his tithe conditional on God’s performance of His part of the agreement, Another interpretation, however, is that the “if” is simply an inherent part of all Hebrew oaths and that Jacob was binding himself to give a tenth unconditionally (see Num. 21:2; Judg. 11:30, 31; 1 Sam. 1:11 for similar Hebrew oaths).

Genesis 28:18-22 KJV

[18] And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

[19] And he called the name of that place Beth–el: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

[20] And Jacob vowed 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 raiment to put on,

[21] So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:

[22] And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

Genesis 28:18 KJV

And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.


  • The mere setting up of the stone might have been as a future memorial to mark the spot; and this practice is still common in the East, in memory of a religious vow or engagement.
  • But the pouring oil upon it was a consecration.

Genesis 28:19 KJV

And he called the name of that place Beth–el: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.


  • Accordingly he gave it a new name, Beth-el, “the house of God” (Hosea 12:4); and it will not appear a thing forced or unnatural to call a stone a house, when one considers the common practice in warm countries of sitting in the open air by or on a stone, as are those of this place.

Genesis 28:20 KJV

And Jacob vowed 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 raiment to put on,


  • His words are not to be considered as implying a doubt, far less as stating the condition or terms on which he would dedicate himself to God.
  • Let “if” be changed into “since,” and the language will appear a proper expression of Jacob‘s faith – an evidence of his having truly embraced the promise.
  • How edifying often to meditate on Jacob at Beth-el.

Genesis 28:21 KJV

So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:


  • What is he doing? He wants to trade with God.

He says, “Now, God, if You will do this for me. . . .” But God has already told him that He is going to do every one of these things for him—“ I am going to keep you; I am going to bring you back to this land; I am going to give you this land; and I’m going to give you offspring.”

Then Jacob turns around and bargains with Him, “If You will do it, then I’ll serve You.” God doesn’t do business with us that way.

He didn’t do business that way with Jacob either. If He had, Jacob would never have made it back to that land.

God brought him back into that land by His grace and mercy. When Jacob did finally come back to Bethel, he came back a wiser man.

Do you know what he came back to do?

To worship and praise God for His mercy. God had been merciful to him.

Many people even today say they will serve the Lord if He will do such and such. You won’t do anything of the kind, my friend.

He doesn’t do business that way. He will extend mercy to you, and He will be gracious to you without asking anything in return.

But He does say that if you love Him, you will really want to serve Him. That will be the bondage of love.

It is the same kind of love a mother has for the little child. She becomes its Support System. That’s the way that He wants you and me.

 

Genesis 28:22 KJV

And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.


  • So Jacob erects this stone.
  • He is trying to make a deal with God!

And a great many of us are trying to make a deal with God. Oh, my friend, He just wants to become your Father through faith in Christ.

I hope that you have really enjoyed this post,

Please Leave All Comments in the Comment Box Below