corner graphic   Hi,    
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to

Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures
Genesis 28



Verses 1-5

Jacob Departs from Canaan: Jacob's Journeys and His Divine Encounters- Throughout the story of Jacob in chapters 28-35, we will notice how God divinely intervened in his life during crucial periods. Kenneth Hagin teaches how God will often give us a divine encounter in order to strengthen us for the journey that lies ahead. 233] This encounter becomes a source of strength that we can lean upon during difficult day ahead. God gave Jacob a dream at the place called Bethel to assure him of divine protection. At that time, Jacob made a covenant of the tithe that sustained him and prospered him through the twenty years while he worked under his father-in-law Laban.

233] Kenneth Hagin, Following God's Plan For Your Life (Tulsa, Oklahoma: Faith Library Publications, c 1993, 1994), 118.

Again, the angels of God met Jacob as he left Laban just before he faced his angry brother Esau. Jacob wrestled with an angel at Penuel that night as he sought God's blessing. It was at this point in Jacob's life that he learned to totally trust in God, for the angel struck his thigh and left him physically weak before his brother. Jacob was a shepherd and this weakness made him fully dependent upon the Lord for his sustenance. He could not longer be the man that he used to be before being weakened.

The Lord protected Jacob while he dwelt in Canaan and He sent Joseph ahead in order to preserve Jacob and his seed by taking them in the land of Egypt. When he was going thru major changes or events in his life, the Lord was faithful to reveal Himself and show Jacob His plan for his life. This is the way that the Lord has guided me in my life. When I set out to serve the Lord, He has been faithful to speak to me in supernatural ways in order to show me His will during major changes in my life.

Genesis 28:5Word Study on "Padanaram" - Strong says the name Hebrew "Padanaram" (H 6307) means, "the table-land of Aram." Adam Clarke says Aram is the region once inhabited by the Arameans, 234] from which the Aramaic language probably originated (ISBE). 235] This language would later become the dominant language of the Near East during the time of the Babylonian domination, and some of the Old Testament literature would be written in this language, such as the book of Daniel.

234] Adam Clarke, Genesis , in Adam Clarke"s Commentary, Electronic Database (Seattle, WA: Hendrickson Publishers Inc, 1996), in P.C. Study Bible, v 31 [CD-ROM] (Seattle, WA: Biblesoft Inc, 1993-2000), notes on Genesis 28:5.

235] J. E. H. Thomson, "Aramaic; Aramaic Language," in International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, c 1915, 1939), in The Sword Project, v 1511 [CD-ROM] (Temple, AZ: CrossWire Bible Society, 1990-2008).

Genesis 28:5Word Study on "the Syrian" - Strong says the Hebrew name "Syrian" "Aramite" ( אֲרַמִּי ה) (H 761) comes from ( אֲרָם) (H 758), meaning, "the highland, Aram or Syria, and its inhabitants." The LXX uses the word "Syrian" ( συρου ) when translating the Hebrew text, from which the English word "Syrian" is derived.

Genesis 28:10Comments- Isaac had settled in Beershaba during this time.

Verses 11-22

Jacob's Dream - In Genesis 28:11-22 Jacob dreamed of a ladder that was placed upon earth that ascended into Heaven with the angels of God ascending and descending upon it. When we read the story of Jacob we find that he had a number of divine encounters with angels who were sent to save him and his twelve sons who were the beginnings of the nation of Israel. Therefore, one meaning of this dream was that God was sending His holy angels to be with Jacob in order to protect him on his journeys.

Genesis 28:11 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.

Genesis 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.

Genesis 28:12Comments- Because the vision of angels ascending and descending from Heaven to earth on a ladder is followed by the Lord making a Messianic promise to Jacob, it is natural to interpret these angels as ministering spirits sent forth upon the earth to accomplish God's prophecies to Jacob, which are a part of His overall divine plan of redemption. The angels are receiving divine instructions and coming to earth to implement them continually throughout redemptive history, but particularly regarding Jacob's prophecy. Thus, Jacob understands that God accomplishes His promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through these ministering angels. Twenty years later ( Genesis 31:38), these angels will meet Jacob on his return to Canaan ( Genesis 31:1). He will wrestle with one of these ministering angels at a place called Peniel ( Genesis 32:24-32).

Genesis 31:38, "This twenty years have I been with thee; thy ewes and thy she goats have not cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten."

Genesis 32:1, "And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him."

While Jacob had a dream of angels ascending and descending a ladder from heaven in order to bring about God's plan of redemption upon the earth, Ezekiel had a vision of angels coming to earth from the throne of God in a great whirlwind to accomplish the same. While these two visions are similar in meaning, the question can be asked as to why they are presented differently to these to Old Testament prophets. Jacob lived in a time when Israel was in its earliest infancy, and God was building the nation of Israel. Ezekiel lived in a time when God had judged and destroyed the nation of Israel and reserved a remnant for future restoration. The whirlwind can certainly represent divine judgment upon Israel and the nations who destroyed Jerusalem. The Lord standing in Heaven at the top of a ladder extending to earth perhaps represents God's ability to fulfill His promise of building a nation out of Jacob through continual involvement in the life of Jacob and his descendants.

Genesis 28:13 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;

Genesis 28:12-13Comments - The Word "Behold" - The word "behold" will occurs three times in Genesis 28:12-13. Jeffrey Arthurs says, "It signals the reader that details are being seen through the eyes of the character." 236] In other words, we read the narrative story as if we are Jacob seeing what he sees.

236] Jeffery D. Arthurs, Preaching With Variety (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Kregel Publications, 2007), 79.

Genesis 28:12-15Comments- The Lord Blesses Jacob - The Lord appears to Jacob in the dream and promises that He will bless him and give him the promised land of Abraham and Isaac. This promise was based upon a covenant promise that was first given to Abraham and passed down to Isaac. God is not blessing Jacob because of his faith, but because of the faith of his fathers.

Genesis 28:16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.

Genesis 28:16Comments- Note in Genesis 28:16 that Jacob shows evidence of a person who has never had an encounter with God, unlike his fathers, Abraham and Isaac, who had a number of divine encounters. Jacob is a person who does not know God intimately, as did Abraham. This appears to be Jacob"s first encounter with the Lord.

Genesis 28:19Word Study on "Bethel" - Strong says the Hebrew word "Bethel" ( בֵּית־אֵל) (H 1008) literally means "house of God," and is taken from Jacob's declaration in Genesis 28:17 that this place was the house of God.

Genesis 28:17, "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 28:22"I will surely give the tenth unto thee" - Comments- Abraham tithed one tenth ( Genesis 14:20), giving Jacob an example of how to serve the God of Abraham. Perhaps Abraham gave tithes on a regular basis, setting an example for his sons Isaac and Jacob to follow.

Genesis 14:20, "And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all."


Copyright Statement
These files are copyrighted by the author, Gary Everett. Used by Permission.
No distribution beyond personal use without permission.

Bibliography Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Genesis 28:4". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology