Reading Plan 
Daily Bible Reading (daily) January 9
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Genesis 27:1--29:35

Context
Jacob Cheats Esau out of the Blessing

27:1 When 1  Isaac was old and his eyes were so weak that he was almost blind, 2  he called his older 3  son Esau and said to him, “My son!” “Here I am!” Esau 4  replied. 27:2 Isaac 5  said, “Since 6  I am so old, I could die at any time. 7  27:3 Therefore, take your weapons – your quiver and your bow – and go out into the open fields and hunt down some wild game 8  for me. 27:4 Then prepare for me some tasty food, the kind I love, and bring it to me. Then 9  I will eat it so that I may bless you 10  before I die.”

27:5 Now Rebekah had been listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau. 11  When Esau went out to the open fields to hunt down some wild game and bring it back, 12  27:6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Look, I overheard your father tell your brother Esau, 27:7 ‘Bring me some wild game and prepare for me some tasty food. Then I will eat 13  it and bless you 14  in the presence of the Lord 15  before I die.’ 27:8 Now then, my son, do 16  exactly what I tell you! 17  27:9 Go to the flock and get me two of the best young goats. I’ll prepare 18  them in a tasty way for your father, just the way he loves them. 27:10 Then you will take 19  it to your father. Thus he will eat it 20  and 21  bless you before he dies.”

27:11 “But Esau my brother is a hairy man,” Jacob protested to his mother Rebekah, “and I have smooth skin! 22  27:12 My father may touch me! Then he’ll think I’m mocking him 23  and I’ll bring a curse on myself instead of a blessing.” 27:13 So his mother told him, “Any curse against you will fall on me, 24  my son! Just obey me! 25  Go and get them for me!”

27:14 So he went and got the goats 26  and brought them to his mother. She 27  prepared some tasty food, just the way his father loved it. 27:15 Then Rebekah took her older son Esau’s best clothes, which she had with her in the house, and put them on her younger son Jacob. 27:16 She put the skins of the young goats 28  on his hands 29  and the smooth part of his neck. 27:17 Then she handed 30  the tasty food and the bread she had made to her son Jacob.

27:18 He went to his father and said, “My father!” Isaac 31  replied, “Here I am. Which are you, my son?” 32  27:19 Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau, your firstborn. I’ve done as you told me. Now sit up 33  and eat some of my wild game so that you can bless me.” 34  27:20 But Isaac asked his son, “How in the world 35  did you find it so quickly, 36  my son?” “Because the Lord your God brought it to me,” 37  he replied. 38  27:21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Come closer so I can touch you, 39  my son, and know for certain if you really are my son Esau.” 40  27:22 So Jacob went over to his father Isaac, who felt him and said, “The voice is Jacob’s, but the hands are Esau’s.” 27:23 He did not recognize him because his hands were hairy, like his brother Esau’s hands. So Isaac blessed Jacob. 41  27:24 Then he asked, “Are you really my son Esau?” “I am,” Jacob 42  replied. 27:25 Isaac 43  said, “Bring some of the wild game for me to eat, my son. 44  Then I will bless you.” 45  So Jacob 46  brought it to him, and he ate it. He also brought him wine, and Isaac 47  drank. 27:26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come here and kiss me, my son.” 27:27 So Jacob 48  went over and kissed him. When Isaac caught the scent 49  of his clothing, he blessed him, saying,

“Yes, 50  my son smells

like the scent of an open field

which the Lord has blessed.

27:28 May God give you

the dew of the sky 51 

and the richness 52  of the earth,

and plenty of grain and new wine.

27:29 May peoples serve you

and nations bow down to you.

You will be 53  lord 54  over your brothers,

and the sons of your mother will bow down to you. 55 

May those who curse you be cursed,

and those who bless you be blessed.”

27:30 Isaac had just finished blessing Jacob, and Jacob had scarcely left 56  his father’s 57  presence, when his brother Esau returned from the hunt. 58  27:31 He also prepared some tasty food and brought it to his father. Esau 59  said to him, “My father, get up 60  and eat some of your son’s wild game. Then you can bless me.” 61  27:32 His father Isaac asked, 62  “Who are you?” “I am your firstborn son,” 63  he replied, “Esau!” 27:33 Isaac began to shake violently 64  and asked, “Then who else hunted game and brought it to me? I ate all of it just before you arrived, and I blessed him. 65  He will indeed be blessed!”

27:34 When Esau heard 66  his father’s words, he wailed loudly and bitterly. 67  He said to his father, “Bless me too, my father!” 27:35 But Isaac 68  replied, “Your brother came in here deceitfully and took away 69  your blessing.” 27:36 Esau exclaimed, “‘Jacob’ is the right name for him! 70  He has tripped me up 71  two times! He took away my birthright, and now, look, he has taken away my blessing!” Then he asked, “Have you not kept back a blessing for me?”

27:37 Isaac replied to Esau, “Look! I have made him lord over you. I have made all his relatives his servants and provided him with grain and new wine. What is left that I can do for you, my son?” 27:38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only that one blessing, my father? Bless me too!” 72  Then Esau wept loudly. 73 

27:39 So his father Isaac said to him,

“Indeed, 74  your home will be

away from the richness 75  of the earth,

and away from the dew of the sky above.

27:40 You will live by your sword

but you will serve your brother.

When you grow restless,

you will tear off his yoke

from your neck.” 76 

27:41 So Esau hated 77  Jacob because of the blessing his father had given to his brother. 78  Esau said privately, 79  “The time 80  of mourning for my father is near; then I will kill 81  my brother Jacob!”

27:42 When Rebekah heard what her older son Esau had said, 82  she quickly summoned 83  her younger son Jacob and told him, “Look, your brother Esau is planning to get revenge by killing you. 84  27:43 Now then, my son, do what I say. 85  Run away immediately 86  to my brother Laban in Haran. 27:44 Live with him for a little while 87  until your brother’s rage subsides. 27:45 Stay there 88  until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I’ll send someone to bring you back from there. 89  Why should I lose both of you in one day?” 90 

27:46 Then Rebekah said to Isaac, “I am deeply depressed 91  because of these daughters of Heth. 92  If Jacob were to marry one of these daughters of Heth who live in this land, I would want to die!” 93 

28:1 So Isaac called for Jacob and blessed him. Then he commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman! 94  28:2 Leave immediately 95  for Paddan Aram! Go to the house of Bethuel, your mother’s father, and find yourself a wife there, among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. 28:3 May the sovereign God 96  bless you! May he make you fruitful and give you a multitude of descendants! 97  Then you will become 98  a large nation. 99  28:4 May he give you and your descendants the blessing he gave to Abraham 100  so that you may possess the land 101  God gave to Abraham, the land where you have been living as a temporary resident.” 102  28:5 So Isaac sent Jacob on his way, and he went to Paddan Aram, to Laban son of Bethuel the Aramean and brother of Rebekah, the mother of Jacob and Esau.

28:6 Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him off to Paddan Aram to find a wife there. 103  As he blessed him, 104  Isaac commanded him, “You must not marry a Canaanite woman.” 105  28:7 Jacob obeyed his father and mother and left for Paddan Aram. 28:8 Then Esau realized 106  that the Canaanite women 107  were displeasing to 108  his father Isaac. 28:9 So Esau went to Ishmael and married 109  Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth and daughter of Abraham’s son Ishmael, along with the wives he already had.

Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

28:10 Meanwhile Jacob left Beer Sheba and set out for Haran. 28:11 He reached a certain place 110  where he decided to camp because the sun had gone down. 111  He took one of the stones 112  and placed it near his head. 113  Then he fell asleep 114  in that place 28:12 and had a dream. 115  He saw 116  a stairway 117  erected on the earth with its top reaching to the heavens. The angels of God were going up and coming down it 28:13 and the Lord stood at its top. He said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham and the God of your father Isaac. 118  I will give you and your descendants the ground 119  you are lying on. 28:14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, 120  and you will spread out 121  to the west, east, north, and south. All the families of the earth will pronounce blessings on one another 122  using your name and that of your descendants. 123  28:15 I am with you! 124  I will protect you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I promised you!”

28:16 Then Jacob woke up 125  and thought, 126  “Surely the Lord is in this place, but I did not realize it!” 28:17 He was afraid and said, “What an awesome place this is! This is nothing else than the house of God! This is the gate of heaven!”

28:18 Early 127  in the morning Jacob 128  took the stone he had placed near his head 129  and set it up as a sacred stone. 130  Then he poured oil on top of it. 28:19 He called that place Bethel, 131  although the former name of the town was Luz. 28:20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God is with me and protects me on this journey I am taking and gives me food 132  to eat and clothing to wear, 28:21 and I return safely to my father’s home, 133  then the Lord will become my God. 28:22 Then this stone 134  that I have set up as a sacred stone will be the house of God, and I will surely 135  give you back a tenth of everything you give me.” 136 

The Marriages of Jacob

29:1 So Jacob moved on 137  and came to the land of the eastern people. 138  29:2 He saw 139  in the field a well with 140  three flocks of sheep lying beside it, because the flocks were watered from that well. Now 141  a large stone covered the mouth of the well. 29:3 When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds 142  would roll the stone off the mouth of the well and water the sheep. Then they would put the stone back in its place over the well’s mouth.

29:4 Jacob asked them, “My brothers, where are you from?” They replied, “We’re from Haran.” 29:5 So he said to them, “Do you know Laban, the grandson 143  of Nahor?” “We know him,” 144  they said. 29:6 “Is he well?” 145  Jacob asked. They replied, “He is well. 146  Now look, here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep.” 29:7 Then Jacob 147  said, “Since it is still the middle of the day, 148  it is not time for the flocks to be gathered. You should water the sheep and then go and let them graze some more.” 149  29:8 “We can’t,” they said, “until all the flocks are gathered and the stone is rolled off the mouth of the well. Then we water 150  the sheep.”

29:9 While he was still speaking with them, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep, for she was tending them. 151  29:10 When Jacob saw Rachel, the daughter of his uncle Laban, 152  and the sheep of his uncle Laban, he 153  went over 154  and rolled the stone off the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of his uncle Laban. 155  29:11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep loudly. 156  29:12 When Jacob explained 157  to Rachel that he was a relative of her father 158  and the son of Rebekah, she ran and told her father. 29:13 When Laban heard this news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he rushed out to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his house. Jacob 159  told Laban how he was related to him. 160  29:14 Then Laban said to him, “You are indeed my own flesh and blood.” 161  So Jacob 162  stayed with him for a month. 163 

29:15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Should you work 164  for me for nothing because you are my relative? 165  Tell me what your wages should be.” 29:16 (Now Laban had two daughters; 166  the older one was named Leah, and the younger one Rachel. 29:17 Leah’s eyes were tender, 167  but Rachel had a lovely figure and beautiful appearance.) 168  29:18 Since Jacob had fallen in love with 169  Rachel, he said, “I’ll serve you seven years in exchange for your younger daughter Rachel.” 29:19 Laban replied, “I’d rather give her to you than to another man. 170  Stay with me.” 29:20 So Jacob worked for seven years to acquire Rachel. 171  But they seemed like only a few days to him 172  because his love for her was so great. 173 

29:21 Finally Jacob said 174  to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time of service is up. 175  I want to have marital relations with her.” 176  29:22 So Laban invited all the people 177  of that place and prepared a feast. 29:23 In the evening he brought his daughter Leah 178  to Jacob, 179  and Jacob 180  had marital relations with her. 181  29:24 (Laban gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Leah to be her servant.) 182 

29:25 In the morning Jacob discovered it was Leah! 183  So Jacob 184  said to Laban, “What in the world have you done to me! 185  Didn’t I work for you in exchange for Rachel? Why have you tricked 186  me?” 29:26 “It is not our custom here,” 187  Laban replied, “to give the younger daughter in marriage 188  before the firstborn. 29:27 Complete my older daughter’s bridal week. 189  Then we will give you the younger one 190  too, in exchange for seven more years of work.” 191 

29:28 Jacob did as Laban said. 192  When Jacob 193  completed Leah’s bridal week, 194  Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife. 195  29:29 (Laban gave his female servant Bilhah to his daughter Rachel to be her servant.) 196  29:30 Jacob 197  had marital relations 198  with Rachel as well. He loved Rachel more than Leah, so he worked for Laban 199  for seven more years. 200 

The Family of Jacob

29:31 When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, 201  he enabled her to become pregnant 202  while Rachel remained childless. 29:32 So Leah became pregnant 203  and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, 204  for she said, “The Lord has looked with pity on my oppressed condition. 205  Surely my husband will love me now.”

29:33 She became pregnant again and had another son. She said, “Because the Lord heard that I was unloved, 206  he gave me this one too.” So she named him Simeon. 207 

29:34 She became pregnant again and had another son. She said, “Now this time my husband will show me affection, 208  because I have given birth to three sons for him.” That is why he was named Levi. 209 

29:35 She became pregnant again and had another son. She said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” That is why she named him Judah. 210  Then she stopped having children.

1 tn The clause begins with the temporal indicator (“and it happened”), making it subordinate to the main clause that follows later in the sentence.

2 tn Heb “and his eyes were weak from seeing.”

3 tn Heb “greater” (in terms of age).

4 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Esau) is specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Isaac) is specified in the translation for clarity.

6 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) here introduces a logically foundational statement, upon which the coming instruction will be based.

7 tn Heb “I do not know the day of my death.”

8 tn The Hebrew word is to be spelled either צַיִד (tsayid) following the marginal reading (Qere), or צֵידָה (tsedah) following the consonantal text (Kethib). Either way it is from the same root as the imperative צוּדָה (tsudah, “hunt down”).

9 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with the prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result.

10 tn Heb “so that my soul may bless you.” The use of נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) as the subject emphasizes that the blessing will be made with all Isaac’s desire and vitality. The conjunction “so that” closely relates the meal to the blessing, suggesting that this will be a ritual meal in conjunction with the giving of a formal blessing.

11 tn The disjunctive clause (introduced by a conjunction with the subject, followed by the predicate) here introduces a new scene in the story.

12 tc The LXX adds here “to his father,” which may have been accidentally omitted in the MT.

13 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with the prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result.

14 tn The cohortative, with the prefixed conjunction, also expresses logical sequence. See vv. 4, 19, 27.

15 tn In her report to Jacob, Rebekah plays down Isaac’s strong desire to bless Esau by leaving out נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”), but by adding the phrase “in the presence of the Lord,” she stresses how serious this matter is.

16 tn Heb “listen to my voice.” The Hebrew idiom means “to comply; to obey.”

17 tn Heb “to that which I am commanding you.”

18 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with the prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result.

19 tn The form is the perfect tense with the vav (ו) consecutive. It carries forward the tone of instruction initiated by the command to “go…and get” in the preceding verse.

20 tn The form is the perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive; it carries the future nuance of the preceding verbs of instruction, but by switching the subject to Jacob, indicates the expected result of the subterfuge.

21 tn Heb “so that.” The conjunction indicates purpose or result.

22 tn Heb “And Jacob said to Rebekah his mother, ‘Look, Esau my brother is a hairy man, but I am a smooth [skinned] man.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

23 tn Heb “Perhaps my father will feel me and I will be in his eyes like a mocker.” The Hebrew expression “I will be in his eyes like” means “I would appear to him as.”

24 tn Heb “upon me your curse.”

25 tn Heb “only listen to my voice.”

26 tn The words “the goats” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

27 tn Heb “his mother.” This has been replaced by the pronoun “she” in the translation for stylistic reasons.

28 tn In the Hebrew text the object (“the skins of the young goats”) precedes the verb. The disjunctive clause draws attention to this key element in the subterfuge.

29 tn The word “hands” probably includes the forearms here. How the skins were attached is not specified in the Hebrew text; cf. NLT “she made him a pair of gloves.”

30 tn Heb “gave…into the hand of.”

31 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

32 sn Which are you, my son? Isaac’s first question shows that the deception is going to require more subterfuge than Rebekah had anticipated. Jacob will have to pull off the deceit.

33 tn Heb “get up and sit.” This may mean simply “sit up,” or it may indicate that he was to get up from his couch and sit at a table.

34 tn Heb “so that your soul may bless me.” These words, though not reported by Rebekah to Jacob (see v. 7) accurately reflect what Isaac actually said to Esau (see v. 4). Perhaps Jacob knew more than Rebekah realized, but it is more likely that this was an idiom for sincere blessing with which Jacob was familiar. At any rate, his use of the precise wording was a nice, convincing touch.

35 tn Heb “What is this?” The enclitic pronoun “this” adds emphasis to the question, which is comparable to the English rhetorical question, “How in the world?”

36 tn Heb “you hastened to find.” In translation the infinitive becomes the main verb and the first verb becomes adverbial.

37 tn Heb “caused to meet before me.”

38 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Because the Lord your God….’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

39 tn Following the imperative, the cohortative (with prefixed conjunction) indicates purpose or result.

40 tn Heb “Are you this one, Esau, my son, or not?” On the use of the interrogative particle here, see BDB 210 s.v. הֲ.

41 tn Heb “and he blessed him.” The referents of the pronouns “he” (Isaac) and “him” (Jacob) have been specified in the translation for clarity.

42 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

43 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

44 tn Heb “Bring near to me and I will eat of the wild game, my son.” Following the imperative, the cohortative with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.

45 tn Heb “so that my soul may bless you.” The presence of נַפְשִׁי (nafshi, “my soul”) as subject emphasizes Isaac’s heartfelt desire to do this. The conjunction indicates that the ritual meal must be first eaten before the formal blessing may be given.

46 tn Heb “and he brought”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

47 tn Heb “and he drank”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

48 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

49 tn Heb “and he smelled the smell”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

50 tn Heb “see.”

51 tn Heb “and from the dew of the sky.”

52 tn Heb “and from the fatness.”

53 tn Heb “and be.” The verb is an imperative, which is used rhetorically in this oracle of blessing. It is an invitation to exercise authority his brothers and indicates that he is granted such authority by the patriarch of the family. Furthermore, the blessing enables the recipient to accomplish this.

54 tn The Hebrew word is גְבִיר (gevir, “lord, mighty one”). The one being blessed will be stronger and therefore more powerful than his brother. See Gen 25:23. The feminine form of this rare noun means “mistress” or “queen-mother.”

55 tn Following the imperative, the prefixed verbal form (which is either an imperfect or a jussive) with the prefixed conjunction indicates purpose or result.

56 tn The use of the infinitive absolute before the finite form of the verb makes the construction emphatic.

57 tn Heb “the presence of Isaac his father.” The repetition of the proper name (“Isaac”) was

58 tn Heb “and Esau his brother came from his hunt.”

59 tn Heb “and he said to his father”; the referent of “he” (Esau) has been specified in the translation for clarity, while the words “his father” have been replaced by the pronoun “him” for stylistic reasons.

60 tn Or “arise” (i.e., sit up).

61 tn Heb “so that your soul may bless me.”

62 tn Heb “said.”

63 tn Heb “and he said, ‘I [am] your son, your firstborn.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged for stylistic reasons.

64 tn Heb “and Isaac trembled with a great trembling to excess.” The verb “trembled” is joined with a cognate accusative, which is modified by an adjective “great,” and a prepositional phrase “to excess.” All of this is emphatic, showing the violence of Isaac’s reaction to the news.

65 tn Heb “Who then is he who hunted game and brought [it] to me so that I ate from all before you arrived and blessed him?”

66 tn The temporal clause is introduced with the temporal indicator and has the infinitive as its verb.

67 tn Heb “and he yelled [with] a great and bitter yell to excess.”

68 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Isaac) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

69 tn Or “took”; “received.”

70 tn Heb “Is he not rightly named Jacob?” The rhetorical question, since it expects a positive reply, has been translated as a declarative statement.

71 sn He has tripped me up. When originally given, the name Jacob was a play on the word “heel” (see Gen 25:26). The name (since it is a verb) probably means something like “may he protect,” that is, as a rearguard, dogging the heels. This name was probably chosen because of the immediate association with the incident of grabbing the heel. Esau gives the name “Jacob” a negative connotation here, the meaning “to trip up; to supplant.”

72 tn Heb “Bless me, me also, my father.” The words “my father” have not been repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons.

73 tn Heb “and Esau lifted his voice and wept.”

74 tn Heb “look.”

75 tn Heb “from the fatness.”

76 sn You will tear off his yoke from your neck. It may be that this prophetic blessing found its fulfillment when Jerusalem fell and Edom got its revenge. The oracle makes Edom subservient to Israel and suggests the Edomites would live away from the best land and be forced to sustain themselves by violent measures.

77 tn Or “bore a grudge against” (cf. NAB, NASB, NIV). The Hebrew verb שָׂטַם (satam) describes persistent hatred.

78 tn Heb “because of the blessing which his father blessed him.”

79 tn Heb “said in his heart.” The expression may mean “said to himself.” Even if this is the case, v. 42 makes it clear that he must have shared his intentions with someone, because the news reached Rebekah.

80 tn Heb “days.”

81 tn The cohortative here expresses Esau’s determined resolve to kill Jacob.

82 tn Heb “and the words of Esau her older son were told to Rebekah.”

83 tn Heb “she sent and called for.”

84 tn Heb “is consoling himself with respect to you to kill you.” The only way Esau had of dealing with his anger at the moment was to plan to kill his brother after the death of Isaac.

85 tn Heb “listen to my voice.”

86 tn Heb “arise, flee.”

87 tn Heb “a few days.” Rebekah probably downplays the length of time Jacob will be gone, perhaps to encourage him and assure him that things will settle down soon. She probably expects Esau’s anger to die down quickly. However, Jacob ends up being gone twenty years and he never sees Rebekah again.

88 tn The words “stay there” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

89 tn Heb “and I will send and I will take you from there.” The verb “send” has no object in the Hebrew text; one must be supplied in the translation. Either “someone” or “a message” could be supplied, but since in those times a message would require a messenger, “someone” has been used.

90 tn If Jacob stayed, he would be killed and Esau would be forced to run away.

91 tn Heb “loathe my life.” The Hebrew verb translated “loathe” refers to strong disgust (see Lev 20:23).

92 tn Some translate the Hebrew term “Heth” as “Hittites” here (see also Gen 23:3), but this gives the impression that these people were the classical Hittites of Anatolia. However, there is no known connection between these sons of Heth, apparently a Canaanite group (see Gen 10:15), and the Hittites of Asia Minor. See H. A. Hoffner, Jr., “Hittites,” Peoples of the Old Testament World, 152-53.

93 tn Heb “If Jacob takes a wife from the daughters of Heth, like these, from the daughters of the land, why to me life?”

94 tn Heb “you must not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.”

95 tn Heb “Arise! Go!” The first of the two imperatives is adverbial and stresses the immediacy of the departure.

96 tn Heb “El Shaddai.” See the extended note on the phrase “sovereign God” in Gen 17:1.

97 tn Heb “and make you fruitful and multiply you.” See Gen 17:6, 20 for similar terminology.

98 tn The perfect verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive here indicates consequence. The collocation הָיָה + preposition לְ (hayah + lÿ) means “become.”

99 tn Heb “an assembly of peoples.”

100 tn Heb “and may he give to you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your offspring with you.” The name “Abraham” is an objective genitive here; this refers to the blessing that God gave to Abraham.

101 tn The words “the land” have been supplied in the translation for clarity.

102 tn Heb “the land of your sojournings,” that is, the land where Jacob had been living as a resident alien, as his future descendants would after him.

103 tn Heb “to take for himself from there a wife.”

104 tn The infinitive construct with the preposition and the suffix form a temporal clause.

105 tn Heb “you must not take a wife from the daughters of Canaan.”

106 tn Heb “saw.”

107 tn Heb “the daughters of Canaan.”

108 tn Heb “evil in the eyes of.”

109 tn Heb “took for a wife.”

110 tn Heb “the place.” The article may indicate simply that the place is definite in the mind of the narrator. However, as the story unfolds the place is transformed into a holy place. See A. P. Ross, “Jacob’s Vision: The Founding of Bethel,” BSac 142 (1985): 224-37.

111 tn Heb “and he spent the night there because the sun had gone down.”

112 tn Heb “he took from the stones of the place,” which here means Jacob took one of the stones (see v. 18).

113 tn Heb “and he put [it at] the place of his head.” The text does not actually say the stone was placed under his head to serve as a pillow, although most interpreters and translators assume this. It is possible the stone served some other purpose. Jacob does not seem to have been a committed monotheist yet (see v. 20-21) so he may have believed it contained some spiritual power. Note that later in the story he anticipates the stone becoming the residence of God (see v. 22). Many cultures throughout the world view certain types of stones as magical and/or sacred. See J. G. Fraser, Folklore in the Old Testament, 231-37.

114 tn Heb “lay down.”

115 tn Heb “and dreamed.”

116 tn Heb “and look.” The scene which Jacob witnessed is described in three clauses introduced with הִנֵּה (hinneh). In this way the narrator invites the reader to witness the scene through Jacob’s eyes. J. P. Fokkelman points out that the particle goes with a lifted arm and an open mouth: “There, a ladder! Oh, angels! and look, the Lord himself” (Narrative Art in Genesis [SSN], 51-52).

117 tn The Hebrew noun סֻלָּם (sullam, “ladder, stairway”) occurs only here in the OT, but there appears to be an Akkadian cognate simmiltu (with metathesis of the second and third consonants and a feminine ending) which has a specialized meaning of “stairway, ramp.” See H. R. Cohen, Biblical Hapax Legomena (SBLDS), 34. For further discussion see C. Houtman, “What Did Jacob See in His Dream at Bethel? Some Remarks on Genesis 28:10-22,” VT 27 (1977): 337-52; J. G. Griffiths, “The Celestial Ladder and the Gate of Heaven,” ExpTim 76 (1964/65): 229-30; and A. R. Millard, “The Celestial Ladder and the Gate of Heaven,” ExpTim 78 (1966/67): 86-87.

118 tn Heb “the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac.” The Hebrew word for “father” can typically be used in a broader sense than the English word, in this case referring to Abraham (who was Jacob’s grandfather). For stylistic reasons and for clarity, the words “your father” are supplied with “Isaac” in the translation.

119 tn The Hebrew term אֶרֶץ (’erets) can mean “[the] earth,” “land,” “region,” “piece of ground,” or “ground” depending on the context. Here the term specifically refers to the plot of ground on which Jacob was lying, but at the same time this stands by metonymy for the entire land of Canaan.

120 tn This is the same Hebrew word translated “ground” in the preceding verse.

121 tn The verb is singular in the Hebrew; Jacob is addressed as the representative of his descendants.

122 tn Theoretically the Niphal stem can be translated either as passive or reflexive/reciprocal. (The Niphal of “bless” is only used in formulations of the Abrahamic covenant. See Gen 12:2; 18:18; 28:14.) Traditionally the verb is taken as passive here, as if Jacob were going to be a channel or source of blessing. But in other formulations of the Abrahamic covenant (see Gen 22:18; 26:4) the Hitpael replaces this Niphal form, suggesting a translation “will bless (i.e., pronounce blessings upon) themselves/one another.” The Hitpael of “bless” is used with a reflexive/reciprocal sense in Deut 29:18; Ps 72:17; Isa 65:16; Jer 4:2. Gen 28:14 predicts that Jacob will be held up as a paradigm of divine blessing and that people will use his name in their blessing formulae (see Gen 12:2 and 18:18 as well, where Abram/Abraham receives this promise). For examples of blessing formulae utilizing an individual as an example of blessing see Gen 48:20 and Ruth 4:11.

123 tn Heb “and they will pronounce blessings by you, all the families of the earth, and by your offspring.”

124 tn Heb “Look, I [am] with you.” The clause is a nominal clause; the verb to be supplied could be present (as in the translation) or future, “Look, I [will be] with you” (cf. NEB).

125 tn Heb “woke up from his sleep.” This has been simplified in the translation for stylistic reasons.

126 tn Heb “said.”

127 tn Heb “and he got up early…and he took.”

128 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

129 tn See the note on this phrase in v. 11.

130 tn Heb “standing stone.”

sn Sacred stone. Such a stone could be used as a boundary marker, a burial stone, or as a shrine. Here the stone is intended to be a reminder of the stairway that was “erected” and on which the Lord “stood.” (In Hebrew the word translated “sacred stone” is derived from the verb translated “erected” in v. 12 and “stood” in v. 13. Since the top of the stairway reached the heavens where the Lord stood, Jacob poured oil on the top of the stone. See C. F. Graesser, “Standing Stones in Ancient Palestine,” BA 35 (1972): 34-63; and E. Stockton, “Sacred Pillars in the Bible,” ABR 20 (1972): 16-32.

131 tn The name Bethel means “house of God” in Hebrew (see v. 17).

map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.

132 tn Heb “bread,” although the term can be used for food in general.

133 tn Heb “and I return in peace to the house of my father.”

134 tn The disjunctive clause structure (conjunction + noun/subject) is used to highlight the statement.

135 tn The infinitive absolute is used before the finite verb for emphasis.

136 tn Heb “and all which you give to me I will surely give a tenth of it to you.” The disjunctive clause structure (conjunction + noun/object) highlights this statement as well.

137 tn Heb “and Jacob lifted up his feet.” This unusual expression suggests that Jacob had a new lease on life now that God had promised him the blessing he had so desperately tried to gain by his own efforts. The text portrays him as having a new step in his walk.

138 tn Heb “the land of the sons of the east.”

139 tn Heb “and he saw, and look.” As in Gen 28:12-15, the narrator uses the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”) here and in the next clause to draw the reader into the story.

140 tn Heb “and look, there.”

141 tn The disjunctive clause (introduced by the noun with the prefixed conjunction) provides supplemental information that is important to the story.

142 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the shepherds) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

143 tn Heb “son.”

144 tn Heb “and they said, ‘We know.’” The word “him” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. In the translation several introductory clauses throughout this section have been placed after the direct discourse they introduce for stylistic reasons as well.

145 tn Heb “and he said to them, ‘Is there peace to him?’”

146 tn Heb “peace.”

147 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

148 tn Heb “the day is great.”

149 tn Heb “water the sheep and go and pasture [them].” The verbal forms are imperatives, but Jacob would hardly be giving direct orders to someone else’s shepherds. The nuance here is probably one of advice.

150 tn The perfect verbal forms with the vav (ו) consecutive carry on the sequence begun by the initial imperfect form.

151 tn Heb “was a shepherdess.”

152 tn Heb “Laban, the brother of his mother” (twice in this verse).

153 tn Heb “Jacob.” The proper name has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation for stylistic reasons.

154 tn Heb “drew near, approached.”

155 tn Heb “Laban, the brother of his mother.” The text says nothing initially about the beauty of Rachel. But the reader is struck by the repetition of “Laban the brother of his mother.” G. J. Wenham is no doubt correct when he observes that Jacob’s primary motive at this stage is to ingratiate himself with Laban (Genesis [WBC], 2:231).

156 tn Heb “and he lifted up his voice and wept.” The idiom calls deliberate attention to the fact that Jacob wept out loud.

157 tn Heb “declared.”

158 tn Heb “that he [was] the brother of her father.”

159 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

160 tn Heb “and he told to Laban all these things.” This might mean Jacob told Laban how he happened to be there, but Laban’s response (see v. 14) suggests “all these things” refers to what Jacob had previously told Rachel (see v. 12).

161 tn Heb “indeed, my bone and my flesh are you.” The expression sounds warm enough, but the presence of “indeed” may suggest that Laban had to be convinced of Jacob’s identity before permitting him to stay. To be one’s “bone and flesh” is to be someone’s blood relative. For example, the phrase describes the relationship between Abimelech and the Shechemites (Judg 9:2; his mother was a Shechemite); David and the Israelites (2 Sam 5:1); David and the elders of Judah (2 Sam 19:12,); and David and his nephew Amasa (2 Sam 19:13, see 2 Sam 17:2; 1 Chr 2:16-17).

162 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

163 tn Heb “a month of days.”

164 tn The verb is the perfect with the vav (ו) consecutive; the nuance in the question is deliberative.

165 tn Heb “my brother.” The term “brother” is used in a loose sense; actually Jacob was Laban’s nephew.

166 tn Heb “and to Laban [there were] two daughters.” The disjunctive clause (introduced here by a conjunction and a prepositional phrase) provides supplemental material that is important to the story. Since this material is parenthetical in nature, vv. 16-17 have been set in parentheses in the translation.

167 tn Heb “and the eyes of Leah were tender.” The disjunctive clause (introduced here by a conjunction and a noun) continues the parenthesis begun in v. 16. It is not clear what is meant by “tender” (or “delicate”) eyes. The expression may mean she had appealing eyes (cf. NAB, NRSV, NLT), though some suggest that they were plain, not having the brightness normally expected. Either way, she did not measure up to her gorgeous sister.

168 tn Heb “and Rachel was beautiful of form and beautiful of appearance.”

169 tn Heb “Jacob loved.”

170 tn Heb “Better my giving her to you than my giving her to another man.”

171 tn Heb “in exchange for Rachel.”

172 sn But they seemed like only a few days to him. This need not mean that the time passed quickly. More likely it means that the price seemed insignificant when compared to what he was getting in the bargain.

173 tn Heb “because of his love for her.” The words “was so great” are supplied for stylistic reasons.

174 tn Heb “and Jacob said.”

175 tn Heb “my days are fulfilled.”

176 tn Heb “and I will go in to her.” The verb is a cohortative; it may be subordinated to the preceding request, “that I may go in,” or it may be an independent clause expressing his desire. The verb “go in” in this context refers to sexual intercourse (i.e., the consummation of the marriage).

177 tn Heb “men.”

178 tn Heb “and it happened in the evening that he took Leah his daughter and brought her.”

sn His daughter Leah. Laban’s deception of Jacob by giving him the older daughter instead of the younger was God’s way of disciplining the deceiver who tricked his older brother. D. Kidner says this account is “the very embodiment of anti-climax, and this moment a miniature of man’s disillusion, experienced from Eden onwards” (Genesis [TOTC], 160). G. von Rad notes, “That Laban secretly gave the unloved Leah to the man in love was, to be sure, a monstrous blow, a masterpiece of shameless treachery…It was certainly a move by which he won for himself far and wide the coarsest laughter” (Genesis [OTL], 291).

179 tn Heb “to him”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

180 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

181 tn Heb “went in to her.” The expression “went in to” in this context refers to sexual intercourse, i.e., the consummation of the marriage.

182 tn Heb “and Laban gave to her Zilpah his female servant, to Leah his daughter [for] a servant.” This clause gives information parenthetical to the narrative.

183 tn Heb “and it happened in the morning that look, it was Leah.” By the use of the particle הִנֵּה (hinneh, “look”), the narrator invites the reader to view the scene through Jacob’s eyes.

184 tn Heb “and he said”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

185 tn Heb What is this you have done to me?” The use of the pronoun “this” is enclitic, adding emphasis to the question: “What in the world have you done to me?”

186 sn The Hebrew verb translated tricked here (רָמָה, ramah) is cognate to the noun used in Gen 27:35 to describe Jacob’s deception of Esau. Jacob is discovering that what goes around, comes around. See J. A. Diamond, “The Deception of Jacob: A New Perspective on an Ancient Solution to the Problem,” VT 34 (1984): 211-13.

187 tn Heb “and Laban said, ‘It is not done so in our place.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

188 tn Heb “to give the younger.” The words “daughter” and “in marriage” are supplied in the translation for clarity and for stylistic reasons.

189 tn Heb “fulfill the period of seven of this one.” The referent of “this one” has been specified in the translation as “my older daughter” for clarity.

sn Bridal week. An ancient Hebrew marriage ceremony included an entire week of festivities (cf. Judg 14:12).

190 tn Heb “this other one.”

191 tn Heb “and we will give to you also this one in exchange for labor which you will work with me, still seven other years.”

sn In exchange for seven more years of work. See C. H. Gordon, “The Story of Jacob and Laban in the Light of the Nuzi Tablets,” BASOR 66 (1937): 25-27; and J. Van Seters, “Jacob’s Marriages and Ancient Near Eastern Customs: A Reassessment,” HTR 62 (1969): 377-95.

192 tn Heb “and Jacob did so.” The words “as Laban said” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

193 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

194 tn Heb “the seven of this one.” The referent of “this one” has been specified in the translation as Leah to avoid confusion with Rachel, mentioned later in the verse.

195 tn Heb “and he gave to him Rachel his daughter for him for a wife.” The referent of the pronoun “he” (Laban) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

196 tn Heb “and Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his female servant, for her for a servant.”

197 tn Heb “and he”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

198 tn Heb “went in also to Rachel.” The expression “went in to” in this context refers to sexual intercourse, i.e., the consummation of the marriage.

199 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Laban) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

200 tn Heb “and he loved also Rachel, more than Leah, and he served with him still seven other years.”

201 tn Heb “hated.” The rhetorical device of overstatement is used (note v. 30, which says simply that Jacob loved Rachel more than he did Leah) to emphasize that Rachel, as Jacob’s true love and the primary object of his affections, had an advantage over Leah.

202 tn Heb “he opened up her womb.”

203 tn Or “Leah conceived” (also in vv. 33, 34, 35).

204 sn The name Reuben (רְאוּבֵן, rÿuven) means “look, a son.”

205 tn Heb “looked on my affliction.”

sn Leah’s explanation of the name Reuben reflects a popular etymology, not an exact one. The name means literally “look, a son.” Playing on the Hebrew verb “look,” she observes that the Lord has “looked” with pity on her oppressed condition. See further S. R. Driver, Genesis, 273.

206 tn Heb “hated.” See the note on the word “unloved” in v. 31.

207 sn The name Simeon (שִׁמְעוֹן, shimon) is derived from the verbal root שָׁמַע (shama’) and means “hearing.” The name is appropriate since it is reminder that the Lord “heard” about Leah’s unloved condition and responded with pity.

208 tn Heb “will be joined to me.”

209 sn The name Levi (לֵוִי, levi), the precise meaning of which is debated, was appropriate because it sounds like the verb לָוָה (lavah, “to join”), used in the statement recorded earlier in the verse.

210 sn The name Judah (יְהוּדָה, yÿhudah) means “he will be praised” and reflects the sentiment Leah expresses in the statement recorded earlier in the verse. For further discussion see W. F. Albright, “The Names ‘Israel’ and ‘Judah’ with an Excursus on the Etymology of Todah and Torah,” JBL 46 (1927): 151-85; and A. R. Millard, “The Meaning of the Name Judah,” ZAW 86 (1974): 216-18.



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