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Bible Commentaries

Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Genesis 28

Verses 1-9


Jacob receives Isaac’s blessing (26:34-28:9)

The custom in ancient times was for the father of the household to confirm the birthright on his firstborn son by giving his special blessing just before he died. People considered this blessing to be more than just a promise; they saw it as a prophecy that carried God’s favour. Isaac knew that God’s will was for Jacob, not Esau, to receive the firstborn’s blessing (see 25:23). Yet he was determined to give the blessing to Esau, even though Esau, by taking wives from among the Canaanites, confirmed his own position as being outside God’s covenant blessings (26:34-27:4).
Rebekah and Jacob were also at fault, because of their deceit and lack of trust in God (5-24). In spite of these failures, Jacob received the blessing that God intended for him. He was to be the head of God’s promised people, who would live in a prosperous land and have victory over their enemies (25-29).

On finding that his scheme had not worked, Isaac accepted the fact that God’s will for the blessing of Jacob could not be changed (30-37). The only blessing Isaac could give Esau was the promise that he too would be father of a nation (to be known as Edom; cf. 25:30); but that nation would live in a barren region where it would be in constant conflict with its neighbours, particularly Israel (38-40; cf. Numbers 24:18; 1 Samuel 14:47; 1 Samuel 14:47; 2 Samuel 8:13-14; 2 Samuel 8:13-14; 1 Kings 11:15-16; 1 Kings 11:15-16; 2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Kings 8:20-22; 2 Kings 14:7,2 Kings 14:22).

In bitterness Esau planned to kill Jacob, so Rebekah decided to send Jacob to her brother Laban for safety (41-45). However, knowing Isaac’s feeling concerning Jacob’s deceit, she gave Isaac a different reason for sending Jacob away. Jacob needed a wife, and Rebekah knew that Isaac would not want a third Canaanite daughter-in-law, as Esau’s existing Canaanite wives created enough trouble (46; cf. 26:34-35). Isaac therefore agreed to Rebekah’s suggestion to send Jacob north to find a wife among Rebekah’s relatives. He sent Jacob off with the blessing of the covenant, this time giving his blessing knowingly and willingly. As for Rebekah, she gained what she wanted, but as far as we know she never saw her favourite son again (28:1-5).
When Esau learnt that his parents did not approve of his Canaanite wives, he married again, this time to one of Ishmael’s daughters. By such a marriage, Esau gave further confirmation that he was outside God’s covenant blessings (6-9).

Verses 10-22


28:10-36:43 JACOB ESTABLISHES THE FAMILY

Jacob’s marriages (28:10-29:30)

Before Jacob left Canaan, God appeared to him in a dream. In spite of Jacob’s shameful behaviour, God repeated to him the covenant promises given earlier to Abraham and Isaac, promising also to bring him back safely to Canaan (10-15; cf. 12:1-3; 26:24). In return for God’s favour to him, Jacob promised to be loyal in his devotion and generous in his offerings. He named the place where he met God, Bethel (16-22).
From Bethel Jacob journeyed on and finally reached Haran. He first met his cousin Rachel at a well, and she took him home to her father Laban (29:1-14). Laban was as deceitful with Jacob as Jacob had been with Isaac. When Jacob had worked for Laban seven years as payment of the bride price for Rachel, Laban gave him the older daughter Leah instead. After the week-long wedding celebrations for Jacob and Leah were over, Laban gave Rachel to Jacob as a second wife, but only on the condition that Jacob worked an additional seven years as payment of the second bride price. According to custom, each wife received a slave-girl as a wedding gift (15-30; cf. 24:59).


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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Genesis 28". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/genesis-28.html. 2005.