OceanSide church of Christ

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Genesis 28

Victor M. Eskew


I.          The Title of Genesis 28


A.   Orders to Get a Wife

B.   Padan-aram:  The Land of Available Wives (Gen. 28:2, 6)

C.   Isaac’s Order and Jacob’s Dream

D.   A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Haran


II.        The Key Verse of Genesis 28:  Genesis 28:10


And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.


Why this verse?  Jacob’s leaving Beersheba was by order of his father.  It was as he traveled toward Haran that he spent the night at Luz and dreamed of the ladder.


III.      The Outline of Genesis 28


i.             ABRAHAM’S CHARGE TO JACOB (Gen. 28:1-9)

ii.            GOD’S COVENANT WITH JACOB (Gen. 28:10-22)


IV.       The Lessons of Genesis 28


A.   There are some women who are not worthy to be the wives of godly men (Gen. 28:1).


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


B.   The background of one’s spouse should be considered before one marries (Gen. 28:2).


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.


C.   Godly parents will always wish God’s blessings upon their children (Gen. 28:3-4).


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


D.   Good deeds(?) cannot take the place of foolish deeds (Gen. 28:6-9).

1.     Esau had married two Hittite women, Judith and Bashemath (Gen. 26:34-35).

2.    He heard Isaac’s order to Jacob to get a wife from Padan-aram and he saw Jacob’s obedience (Gen. 28:6-7).

3.     This prompted Esau to seek to correct his error (Gen 28:8).

4.    Thus, he married Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael (Gen. 28:9).


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.


5.    Question:  Did he think this marriage would please his mother and father since he married a daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son?


E.   Jacob receives his first theophany (Gen. 28:12-13a).


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, the Lord stood above it…


1.     Theophany:  a manifestation of a deity to man in a form that, though visible, is not necessarily material.

2.    Dreams were just one of many ways God communicated with man in OT times (Heb. 1:1).


God, who at sundry times and in divers manner spake in time past unto the father by the prophets.


F.    There is an interrelationship between heaven and earth (Gen. 28:12).


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.


1.     Jacob was privileged to see what human eyes cannot usually see.

2.    One of the functions of the heavenly beings called angels is to serve as “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those who shall be heirs of salvation” (Heb. 1:14).  Thus, the angels to move back and forth, up and down, between God and man, as they carry out their assignments for God on behalf of man.

3.     Jesus makes an interesting statement that is similar to this passage in John 1:51.


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.


a.    Guy N. Woods:  “The statement is obviously figurative and is a reference to the opening of heaven by Christ to men against whom it was closed by sin.  Jacob dreamed of it (Gen. 28:8-22), and Jesus gave it reality” (New Testament Commentaries, “John,” Woods, pp. 47-48).

b.    B.W. Johnson:  “Jacob, old Israel, in his dream at Bethel, saw the ladder that reached to heaven with angels upon it (Gen. 28:12).  Christ is that ladder, the way from earth to heaven, the way heaven sends messages to the world and the way we must go to reach it.  Nathanael would be permitted to see that Jesus was the Mediator, that through him the Father speaks to man; that through him there is intercommunication between earth and heaven” (A Commentary on John, Johnson, p. 42).

c.    Henry M. Morris:  “In other words, the Lord Jesus Christ claimed that He Himself was Jacob’s Ladder, the one means by which one could go from earth to heaven.  He is the Way, He is the Mediator, between man and God.  All the infinite ministries and activities of the mighty angels depend on Him” (The Genesis Record, Morris, p. 449).

d.    Ephesians 2:18


For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.


G.   Although Isaac is still alive, Jacob seems to be given the mantle of the pa-triarch.  Now, God begins to speak to him (Gen. 28:13a).


And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said…


H.   The blessing of Abraham had been passed down to Isaac and now it is given to Jacob (Gen. 28:13-15).


Abraham                                                                 Isaac                                Jacob


I will be with thee (Gen. 21:22)                                                    Gen. 26:3                                   Gen. 28:15

I will bless thee (Gen. 12:2)                                                         Gen. 26:3

I will give thee all these countries (Gen. 12:1; 15:7, 18)                  Gen. 26:3                                   Gen. 28:13

I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven (Gen. 15:5)              Gen. 26:4                                   Gen. 28:14

In thy seed shall all the nations be blessed (Gen. 12:3;                  Gen. 26:4                                   Gen. 28:14

18:18; 22:18)                  


I.     The presence of God changes things (Gen. 28:16-19).


And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.  And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place!  This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.  And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillow, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil on the top of it.  And he called the name of the place Bethel:  but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.


1.     Jacob originally thought this was a comfortable spot to rest (Gen. 28:11).  The next morning, the place was considered “dreadful.”  It had become a place of fear, reverence, and a place to be honored.

2.    It was not a memorable spot when he arrived.  After God’s presence was there, he set up a stone to commemorate it.

3.     The name of the place was no longer Luz meaning “almond tree,” but Bethel, the house of God.





J.    Men can make vows unto God (Gen. 28:20-21).


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, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God.


1.     Vows, however, should not be taken lightly (Eccl. 5:4-5).


When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools:  pay that which thou hast vowed.  Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.


2.    NOTE:  This is the first recorded vow mentioned in Scripture.


K.   In Genesis 28:22, we have the first record of a tithe being promised to God.


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.


1.     This is not the first time, we read of a tenth mentioned in Genesis.  In Genesis 14:20, Abraham gave Melchizedek “tithes of all.”

2.    Tithes will become very important under the Mosaic Law.