SynopsisThis chapter continues the story that was begun in Genesis 27; Rebekah has told Isaac that she doesn’t want Jacob to marry a Canaanite woman, as an excuse to get him out of the area, so that Esau won’t kill him. So now, in this chapter, Isaac repeats the command to not marry a Canaanite to Jacob, and sends him on his way, to Laban, to marry one of his daughters. Laban, you may remember, is Rebekah’s brother, which would make the wife Jacob is to take his cousin.
On his way, Jacob stopped for the night, and had a dream, in which he saw “a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it” (verse 12). At the top of the stairway is God, who says:
“I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” (verses 13–15)This greatly moves Jacob. He sets up a little altar to God, and says:
“If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s house, then the LORD will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.” (verses 20–22)