1 And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.
2 Arise, go to Padanaram, 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.
This was necessary if the promised seed should be preserved and the Promises to Abraham continue along the chosen line. It was a faithful action (Jms 2. 17-26). They saw that everything was in peril, except Jacob flee into the wilderness as the Remnant of the Woman's Seed, which has always been the case of the enmity between the two seeds (Gen 3.15) (Rev. 12. 6,14). The blessings of Ail Shaddai were intreated upon Jacob...
3 And El Shaddai bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;
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.
Esau's flesh reaction to this was to vex his parents even further by taking a wife of the daughters of Ishmael. A murderer in principle, now the enmity, resentment and sinful passions, boil over in regard to his brother's favoured position.
Esau thought Isaac's objection to his Canaanitish wives was on the score of their not being blood relations. It could not occur to him that spiritual incompatibility was the stumbling-block ; this was a thing he could not understand, for on many points it is true that
"the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God."
He thought to put straight a spiritually- caused family hitch by a resort to a natural remedy. He married a daughter of Ishmael, his father's brother, to soothe the irritation caused to his father by the daughters of Canaan. It might have occurred to him that if blood relations were all that Isaac desired in the wives of his sons, Jacob would have been sent to Ishmael (near) for a wife instead of to the house of Laban (far off). The daughters of Ishmael, the wild man, were as bad as the daughters of the land.
In Esau's estimation, they were as good and perhaps better; and, from a merely natural point of view, probably Esau was right. But the other point of view remains.
" Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."-(Prov. xxxi. 30.)
This sort of woman is not appreciated by the Ishmaels and the Esaus : to the Jacobs she is all-important, and sometimes they are sent by curious twists of providence to the places where they are to be found.
Ways of Providence Ch 6
10 And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.
Jacob overcame. He overcame his fears, and he overcame himself. Let us go back and follow his journey from the beginning. It was a great change when he set out alone from home. He was not young as we consider youth today, but he had hitherto lived a protected and quiet life.
We are told that Esau was a man of the open field, but Jacob was a "quiet man, dwelling in tents." From what he says later, it would appear that he set out on foot, with just a staff for the way. Therefore it could hardly have been the first night of his journey that God appeared to him at Beth-el, for Beth-el is over fifty miles from Beersheba, through hilly country.
And it was fitting it should not be the first night. It would give him time to think, test his determination, and be a clearer separation from the old life he is leaving behind. A night or two in the open, wondering about what lay ahead, would prepare his mind for the heavenly vision. Yet he was not left alone too long, for God, in His infinite love and mercy, knew Jacob's need.
Bro Growcott - A New Name
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.
Jacob's flight to Bethel. This was about 70 miles from Beer-Sheba, and Jacob reached this point north of Jerusalem, in record time, by evening the same day, as a resting place, running fast up the Judean hills as the hind of the dawn. He must have been exhausted but spurred no doubt by his brother's hate and evil intent towards him, his life in peril.As the sun set, he took stones for a pillow, and lay down to sleep echoing David's own flight from Absalom (Pslm 4.8) into the wilderness
"But know that Yahweh hath set apart him that is godly for himself: Yahweh will hear when I call unto him ... I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou Yahweh only makest me dwell in safety."
Jacob's pillow was the Rock of Israel who alone could give him rest from his enemies and wild beasts, serpents and scorpions (Pslm 71.3).
The earth is Yahweh's footstool and he will beautify it with righteousness through Jacob (Is.27; 6), and break in pieces the oppressor (Is.27. I, Pslm 72. 4).
Jacob "tarried there all night" in this place - the House of God (Bethel). As long as we do this, through the darkness of the Gentile night, enduring the hate of those that despise us, we shall be safe (Pslm 101. 6). To Jacob, as with Abraham before him, Yahweh was a sun and a shield (Gen.15. 1), a rewarder of the faithful. Now there is no permanent resting place, only trouble and trial (Gen.47.9), and our personal faith, hope and agape love, until we come to the house of God (Ezk. 43, Pslm. 84).
Bro Richard Lister
12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the Elohim ascending and descending on it.
Now, the fulfilment of time between the giving of the promise and the fulfilment of it, was represented to Jacob by a ladder of extraordinary length; one end of which stood at Bethel, and the other end against the vault of heaven. Here were two points of contact, the land of Judah and heaven ; and the connecting medium, the ladder between them. This was a most expressive symbol, as will be perceived by considering the uses to which a ladder is applied.
It is a contrivance to connect distant points, by which one at the lower end may reach a desired altitude. It is, then, a connecting medium between two points of distance. Now, if instead of distant localities distant epochs be substituted, the ages and generations which connect them will sustain a similar relation to the epochs as a ladder to the ground on which it rests, and the point of elevation against which it leans.
The ladder, then, in Jacob's vision was representative of his seed in their generations and appointed times. One end of it was in his loins; the other, in the Lord Jesus when he should sit upon His throne, reigning over the land upon which Jacob was asleep.
Elpis Israel 2.3.
Ministering spirits ascending and descending
But upon this ladder of ages and generations, with Jacob at the bottom and his seed, the Shiloh, at the top,
" the angels of God were seen ascending and descending."
This represented to him that the affairs of his posterity, natural and spiritual, in all their relations with the world, would be superintended by the Elohim, who would pass to and fro between earth and heaven, in the performance of their work. Hence, the apostle styles them
"all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who are about to inherit salvation"
Israel and the nations are under their vicegerency till the Lord Jesus comes to assume the sovereignty of the world. When he appears in his kingdom, the land of Israel especially will be no longer subjected to their superintendence. The apostle styles Palestine and Syria, when the Hebrew commonwealth is reconstituted upon them, the future habitable (Heb. 2:5).
When he wrote this, these countries were inhabited by Israel under the Mosaic constitution, mixed up with, and in subjection to, the Gentiles. Under this arrangement their affairs were superintended by the angels of God. But with the future habitable it will be different; for, the apostle says,
"God hath not put it in subjection to the angels:"
but when He brings the first-born back again into the habitable. He says,
"let all the angels of God do homage to him."
Elpis Israel 2.3.
There is much to be learned from this vision. First, it was clearly a revelation and assurance to Jacob that God was closely watching over and controlling the lives of His people.Nothing could more strikingly convey this thought than a ladder directly connecting heaven and earth, with God's messengers travelling back and forth upon it as they carry out His
will on behalf of His children. And there is a deeper import in the ladder that Jesus unfolds in his words to Nathaniel-
"Hereafter ye shall see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man" (Jn. 1:51).
He is clearly alluding to Jacob's dream. Jesus himself is the ladder--the God-provided connection and way of communication between Himself and man. And angels ascend and descend upon him-that is, through and by him God's purposes are accomplished. Without him the angels could not do their Divine work of leading men to a place in God's Kingdom, for Jesus is the essential keystone to the whole plan. He "prevailed to open the book" and to make possible the fulfilment of its contents.
Bro Growcott - A New Name
13 And, behold, the Yahweh stood above it, and said, I am Yahweh Elohim of Abraham thy father, and the Elohim of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed;
Yahweh reigneth, ; let the earth rejoice
This return of the Lord to the habitable cannot be referred to the epoch of his resurrection; because he had not then left it. Indeed he never left it but once before his resurrection, and that was involuntarily when Joseph and Mary carried him into Egypt. He said himself that he had not been to the Father before rising from the dead (John 20:17). He was in the habitable only asleep in death.
But when he ascended then he departed into a far country to receive the kingdom; and when he had received it, to return. But, he has not yet received it, or he would be at this time reigning in the future habitable land. Till the Lord Jesus, however, sits on his throne as "King of the Jews" (John 18:33-39; 19:12-19), the providential direction of human affairs is committed to the Elohim; who are termed the angels of the little ones who believe in Jesus" (Matt. 18:3-6,10), because they minister to their profit, in causing all things among the nations to work together for their ultimate good.
When that remarkable change in the constitution of things is brought to pass, when Jesus having received the sovereignty, the angels shall do homage to him, there will be a great national jubilee throughout the earth. The nations which are now groaning under the blood-stained tyrannies of the world, and imprecating curses loud and deep upon the heads of their destroyers, will send up to heaven a shout
"like mighty thunderings, saying Alleluia: for the Lord God, the Omnipotent reigneth" (Rev. 19:6).
Paul evidently had a view to this period of blessedness, when he quoted the saying,
" worship Him all gods."
He quoted this from the ninety-seventh psalm, which celebrates the epoch of the reign in these words: --
"The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of the isles be glad. Clouds and darkness are round about Him; righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne. A fire goeth before Him, and burneth up His enemies round about. His lightnings enlightened the world; the earth saw and trembled. The hills melted like wax at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the people see His glory. Confounded be all they that serve graven images, that boast themselves in idols: worship Him all ye Elohim. Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, 0 Lord. For Thou, Lord, art high above all the earth; Thou art exalted far above all the Elohim."
Such will be the manifestation when the Father shall bring the Lord Jesus back again to the habitable. At present, the Elohim are ascending and descending the ladder, so to speak, between the Lord Jesus who is at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens, and the earth: but, when
"He reigns on Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem before His ancients gloriously" (Isaiah 24:28),
heaven and the habitable will be one; and the Elohim will ascend and descend upon him.
Heaven will then be open to the eyes of His saints, and they will behold the wonders of the invisible. For such is the doctrine taught by the Lord himself; who, when Nathanael recognised him as the Son of God, and King of Israel, because he revealed his secret actions, said to him,
"Thou shalt see greater things than these. Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man" (John 1:51).
Then will the future habitable have been subjected to the Son.
The ladder of ages and generations, as I have said, connects the commencing and terminating, epochs, of a long period of time. Of this interval about three thousand seven hundred and sixty years have elapsed. A few more years only remain, and the top of the ladder will be attained by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and by all others with them who shall be accounted worthy of the kingdom of God. They will have reached to heaven; not by flying thither as ghosts upon the wings of angels, but by heaven being brought down to earth, when the Lord Jesus shall descend in glory.
Elpis Israel 2.3.
14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Thus, in the blessing that now rested upon Jacob as well as upon Abraham, and Isaac, God promised.
1. That at some future time not specified, He would give Jacob actual and personal possession of the land he was then lying upon, and upon which the town of Bethel stood for ages:
2. That he should have a seed, or descendant, in whom all nations should be blessed; and,
3. That Jacob and his seed should have possession of Palestine and Syria together, that is, at one and the same time.
The exact time, I say, was not specified in the promise. Jacob, however, was given to understand by the representation in the vision, that it would be a long time after the epoch of his dream. As the apostle says,
" he saw the promises afar off, and was persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that he was a stranger and pilgrim on the land."
He saw the fulfilment of the things promised afar off in point of time; but not afar off as to place: for the place where they were to be fulfilled was Bethel, about fifteen miles from Jerusalem. He was at the place; and so well did he understand this, that he termed Bethel "the gate of heaven."
Elpis Israel 2.3.
18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.
The Anointed pillar! At the location house of El
Now the altar erected by Jacob was typical of those referred to in the title he bestowed upon it. When the Spirit descended upon the Apostles, and shone through them, holding forth the word of life confirmed by power, there were many other Elohim in Israel. They were full of power, and therefore full of Ail, as Jesus promised they should be, saying,
"Ye shall receive power of the Holy Spirit coming upon you" (Acts 1:8);
and when Jacob poured oil upon the pillar-stone of Beit-ail [Bethel], he represented this anointing of the Elohim of Israel with Ail.
The marginal reading of the title of Jacob's Altar expresses nothing of this. "God, God of Israel" is an unmeaning phrase: rendered after the Saxon version of "God," it is "Good, Good of Israel"! But with the promises before us, we interpret the Altar as typical of the Power of the Powerful Ones of Israel in sacrificial manifestation.
Phanerosis - Hebrew titles of the Deity
20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If Elohim 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,
If Elohim will be with me
The common version gives the impression that Jacob is bargaining with God:
"If God will do certain things, then He shall be my God."
But the whole atmosphere of the event teaches us that this is a totally incorrect impression. This is a solemn and grateful self-dedication, in view of God's great mercy and revelation.
It would appear, too, that in this revelation of God to Jacob, the initiative was entirely on God's part, but here again a later remark of Jacob's gives us a different picture. Of this incident, he says-
"God ANSWERED me in the day of my distress " (Gen.35:3).
This tells a little more about those first few anxious days as he set out from home. It is reasonably certain that from the time he left home, Jacob's mind was occupied with thoughts and prayers concerning God's help in the lonely and unknown path ahead.
This was the turning point in Jacob's life. His conduct from this time on is that of an active, yet patient faith. We can hardly regard the incidents of the birthright and the blessing as
manifestations of true faith. They were attempts to secure by natural and questionable means what God had already promised He would give.
They were not necessarily proofs of lack of faith, but rather of a misconception of how faith should work. On the other hand, it is not faith to make no effort at all. The incidents of the breeding of the sheep and of the preparation to meet Esau seem to be examples of how faith should operate. That is, putting all reliance on God and none on self, but at the same time striving to merit God's help by diligent application to all legitimate efforts and precautions.
We cannot sit back and presume on God. If this were not a vital principle and a common danger, it would not appear as one phase of the three-fold temptation of Christ. That temptation symbolizes all temptation-lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and the pride of life.
"Cast thy self down, for it is written, He shall give His angels charge concerning thee" (Lk. 4:9, 10).
We must carefully follow the narrow road between presumption on God on the one hand, and the foolish vanity of self reliance on the other. Jacob succeeded, and is a lesson to us.
Bro Growcott - A New Name