The Message

Genesis 28

11-2 So Isaac called in Jacob and blessed him. Then he ordered him, “Don’t take a Caananite wife. Leave at once. Go to Paddan Aram to the family of your mother’s father, Bethuel. Get a wife for yourself from the daughters of your uncle Laban.

3-4 “And may The Strong God bless you and give you many, many children, a congregation of peoples; and pass on the blessing of Abraham to you and your descendants so that you will get this land in which you live, this land God gave Abraham.”

So Isaac sent Jacob off. He went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

6-9 Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan Aram to get a wife there, and while blessing him commanded, “Don’t marry a Canaanite woman,” and that Jacob had obeyed his parents and gone to Paddan Aram. When Esau realized how deeply his father Isaac disliked the Canaanite women, he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Ishmael, Abraham’s son. This was in addition to the wives he already had.

10-12 Jacob left Beersheba and went to Haran. He came to a certain place and camped for the night since the sun had set. He took one of the stones there, set it under his head and lay down to sleep. And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground and it reached all the way to the sky; angels of God were going up and going down on it.

13-15 Then God was right before him, saying, “I am God, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. I’m giving the ground on which you are sleeping to you and to your descendants. Your descendants will be as the dust of the Earth; they’ll stretch from west to east and from north to south. All the families of the Earth will bless themselves in you and your descendants. Yes. I’ll stay with you, I’ll protect you wherever you go, and I’ll bring you back to this very ground. I’ll stick with you until I’ve done everything I promised you.”

16-17 Jacob woke up from his sleep. He said, “God is in this place—truly. And I didn’t even know it!” He was terrified. He whispered in awe, “Incredible. Wonderful. Holy. This is God’s House. This is the Gate of Heaven.”

18-19 Jacob was up first thing in the morning. He took the stone he had used for his pillow and stood it up as a memorial pillar and poured oil over it. He christened the place Bethel (God’s House). The name of the town had been Luz until then.

20-22 Jacob vowed a vow: “If God stands by me and protects me on this journey on which I’m setting out, keeps me in food and clothing, and brings me back in one piece to my father’s house, this God will be my God. This stone that I have set up as a memorial pillar will mark this as a place where God lives. And everything you give me, I’ll return a tenth to you.”

New International Reader's Version

Genesis 28

1So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him, “Don’t get married to a Canaanite woman. Go at once to Paddan Aram. Go to the house of your mother’s father Bethuel. Find a wife for yourself there. Take her from among the daughters of your mother’s brother Laban. May the Mighty God bless you. May he give you children. May he make your family larger until you become a community of nations. May he give you and your children after you the blessing he gave to Abraham. Then you can take over the land where you now live as an outsider. It’s the land God gave to Abraham.” Isaac sent Jacob on his way. Jacob went to Paddan Aram. He went to Laban, the son of Bethuel the Aramean. Laban was Rebekah’s brother. And Rebekah was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

Esau found out that Isaac had blessed Jacob and had sent him to Paddan Aram. Isaac wanted him to get a wife from there. Esau heard that when Isaac blessed Jacob, he commanded him, “Don’t get married to a woman from Canaan.” Esau also learned that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddan Aram. Then Esau realized how much his father Isaac disliked Canaanite women. So he went to Ishmael and married Mahalath. She was the sister of Nebaioth and the daughter of Abraham’s son Ishmael. Esau added her to the wives he already had.

Jacob Has a Dream at Bethel

10 Jacob left Beersheba and started out for Harran. 11 He reached a certain place and stopped for the night. The sun had already set. He took one of the stones there and placed it under his head. Then he lay down to sleep. 12 In a dream he saw a stairway standing on the earth. Its top reached to heaven. The angels of God were going up and coming down on it. 13 The Lord stood beside the stairway. He said, “I am the Lord. I am the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your children after you the land you are lying on. 14 They will be like the dust of the earth that can’t be counted. They will spread out to the west and to the east. They will spread out to the north and to the south. All nations on earth will be blessed because of you and your children after you. 15 I am with you. I will watch over you everywhere 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.”

16 Jacob woke up from his sleep. Then he thought, “The Lord is surely in this place. And I didn’t even know it.” 17 Jacob was afraid. He said, “How holy this place is! This must be the house of God. This is the gate of heaven.”

18 Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head. He set it up as a sacred stone. And he poured olive oil on top of it. 19 He named that place Bethel. But the city used to be called Luz.

20 Then Jacob made a promise. He said, “May God be with me. May he watch over me on this journey I’m taking. May he give me food to eat and clothes to wear. 21 May he do as he has promised so that I can return safely to my father’s home. Then you, Lord, will be my God. 22 This stone I’ve set up as a sacred stone will be God’s house. And I’ll give you a tenth of everything you give me.”