Genesis 28

Jacob and Esau

1 Isaac called Jacob to come to him. He blessed Jacob. He told him, ‘Do not marry a Canaanite woman. 2 Go now to Paddan Aram. Go to the house of your mother's father, Bethuel. Find a wife for yourself from there. Choose one of the daughters of your mother's brother, Laban. 3 I pray that God Almighty will bless you. I pray that he will give you many children, so that your descendants become a large nation of people. 4 May God bless you and your descendants with the good things that he promised to Abraham. The land that he promised to give to Abraham will then belong to you. That is the land where you now live as a foreign person.’

5 Isaac sent Jacob away and Jacob went to Paddan Aram. He went to stay with Laban, who was the son of Bethuel, the Aramean. Laban was the brother of Rebekah. Rebekah was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

6 Esau heard that Isaac had blessed Jacob and then sent him away to Paddan Aram. Isaac had told Jacob to find a woman from Paddan Aram that he would marry. Isaac had said to Jacob, ‘Do not marry a Canaanite woman.’ 7 Esau saw that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother, and that he had gone to Paddan Aram. 8 So Esau then understood that his father, Isaac, did not like the Canaanite women. 9 So Esau went to visit Abraham's son, Ishmael. He married Ishmael's daughter, Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth. When Esau married Mahalath, he kept his Canaanite wives as well.

Jacob's journey

10 Jacob left Beersheba and he went towards Haran. 11 He came to a place where he stayed for the night, because the sun had gone down. He took a stone and he put it under his head. Then he lay down and he went to sleep. 12 He had a dream. In the dream, he saw some steps. The steps went up from the earth into heaven. God's angels were going up and down the steps.

13 The Lord stood at the top of the steps. He said, ‘I am the Lord. I am the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of Isaac, your father. I will give the land that you are lying on to you and to your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be as many as the dust of the earth. They will go to the west and to the east. They will go to the north and to the south. Through you and your descendants I will bless all the families of people on the earth. 15 I am with you. I will take care of you wherever you go. I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I promised to do for you.’

28:14This is the promise that God made to Abraham. See Genesis 12:2-3.

16 Jacob woke from his sleep. He thought, ‘The Lord is in this place and I did not know it.’ 17 Jacob was afraid. He said, ‘How great this place is! This must be the house of God. This is the gate of heaven.’

18 Early in the morning Jacob got up. He took the stone that he had put under his head. He made it stand up straight in the ground. He poured oil on top of it.

28:18The oil was probably olive oil. Pouring oil on something showed that it belonged to God.

19 Jacob called that place Bethel. Before that, the name of the place had been Luz.

28:19Bethel means house of God.

20 Then Jacob made a promise to God. He said, ‘While I am on this journey, I want God to be with me and to take care of me. I want him to give me food to eat and clothes to wear. 21 Then I want to return to my father's house. If God keeps me safe, then the Lord will be my God. 22 This special stone that I have put here will be God's house. And from everything that God gives me, I will give God one tenth.’