Genesis 28:10-19a

Genesis 28:10-19a
Ordinary A34


10 JacobA left Beer-shebaB and went toward Haran.C 

Notes on verse 10

A “Jacob” = yaaqob. From the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.
B “Beer-sheba” = beerah shaba. From beer (a well or pit); {from baar (to make plain,; to dig; can also mean to engrave or figuratively to explain)} + perhaps from shaba (to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant; properly, to be complete; this is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times) {perhaps from sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness)}. This is Beersheba – meaning either “well of seven” or “well of an oath.”
C “Haran” = charan. 12x in OT. From Assyrian arranu (road, crossroads, junction of trade routes) OR from charar (to be scorched, burn, glow, dry up; figuratively, to show passion). This is Haran, meaning crossroads. It is also a proper name meaning parched.

11 He came to a certain placeD and stayed there for the night,E because the sunF had set. Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his headG and lay down in that place. 

Notes on verse 11

D “place” = maqom. From qum (to arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide; rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action; standing in a figurative sense). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.
E “stayed…for the night” = lun. This is to stop – usually to lodge for the night. It can imply dwelling, enduring, or staying permanently. Figuratively, it can mean being obstinate, particularly with one’s words – to complain.
F “sun” = shemesh. This is sun or toward the east. Its root may mean being brilliant. Figuratively, this could be a ray or an arch.
G “head” = meraashoth. 8x in OT. From rosh (head, captain, or chief; excellent or the forefront; first in position or in statue or in time). This is a place for one’s place so it could be a pillow, head rest, or other head piece.

12 And he dreamedH, I that there was a ladderJ set upK on the earth, the topL of it reachingM to heaven;N

Notes on verse 12a

H “dreamed” = chalam. Properly, to bind solidly and so to be plump. This is to be healthy or strong, to recover; figuratively, to dream.
I {untranslated} = hinneh. From hen (lo! Behold! If, though; an expression of surprise). This is to draw attention, show suddenness or surprise, or to emphasize the importance of the coming statement. See! Lo! Behold!
J “ladder” = sullam. 1x in OT. From salal (to lift up, build, pile, extol, exalt; can also be used for opposing as a dam holds back water). This is a ladder or a staircase.
K “set up” = natsab. This is to station, appoint, establish, take a stand.
L “top” = rosh. Related to “head” in v11. See note G above.
M “reaching” = naga. This is touch, reach, arrive, come near, strike. This is touching for any reason including sexual or violent.
N “heaven” = shamayim. Root may mean being lofty. This is sky, the air, or heaven. It is in a dual noun form so this might refer to the part of the sky where the clouds move on the one hand and the part beyond that where the sun, moon, and stars are on the other hand.

O and the angelsP of GodQ were ascending and descending on it. 

Notes on verse 12b

O {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v12. See note I above.
P “angels” = malak. This is a messenger, an angel, or a deputy of some kind. Can be used for human messengers literally or for prophets, priests, or teachers as messengers of God. Also used for supernatural messengers i.e. angels.
Q “God” = Elohim.

13 RAnd the LordS stoodT beside him and said, “I am the Lord, the God of AbrahamU your fatherV and the God of Isaac;W the land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring;X 

Notes on verse 13

R {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v12. See note I above.
S “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.
T “stood” = natsab. Same as “set up” in v12. See note K above.
U “Abraham” = Abraham. From the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (father literal or figurative) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
V “father” = ab. Related to “Abraham” in v13. See note U above.
W “Isaac” = yitschaq. From tsachaq (to laugh, mock, play, make sport; this is laughing out loud whether in joy or in a scornful way). This is Isaac, meaning “he laughs.”
X “offspring” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.

14 and your offspring shall be like the dustY of the earth, and you shall spread abroadZ to the westAA and to the eastBB and to the northCC and to the south;DD

Notes on verse 14a

Y “dust” = aphar. May be related to aphar (to throw dust, be dust). This is dust as powdered, perhaps gray colored. It could be ashes, powder, ground, dry earth, clay mud, or rubbish.
Z “spread abroad” = parats. This is to make a breach, burst out, compel, disperse. It is to break out literally or figuratively.
AA “west” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.
BB “east” = qedem. Perhaps from qadam (to come in front or be in front; to meet, anticipate, confront, receive, or rise; sometimes to meet for help). This is front, formerly, before, east, eternal, everlasting, antiquity.
CC “north” = tsaphon. From tsaphan (to hide, hoard, reserve; to cover over or figuratively to deny; also to lurk). This is properly hidden, dark, or gloomy. It can also be used to refer to the north.
DD “south” = negeb. Root may mean to be parched. The Negeb is the south country – sometimes used to refer to Egypt. This is a land that suffers from a lot of drought.

and all the familiesEE of the earthFF shall be blessedGG in you and in your offspring. 

Notes on verse 14b

EE“families” = mishpachah. This is clan, family, kindred. It is inclusive of the entire circle of one’s relatives, family members, and members of one’s household. It can also be used to refer to animals or types of things or tribes or peoples.
FF“earth” = adamah. From the same as adam (man, humankind); perhaps from ‘adom (to be red). This is ground, earth, soil as red, or land.
GG “be blessed” = barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God.

15 HH Know that I am with you and will keepII you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leaveJJ you until I have done what I have promisedKK you.” 

Notes on verse 15

HH {untranslated} = hinneh. Same as {untranslated} in v12. See note I above.
II “keep” = shamar. This is to keep, watch, or preserve. It means to guard something or to protect it as a thorny hedge protects something.
JJ “leave” = azab. To loosen, relinquish, permit, forsake, fail, leave destitute.
KK “promised” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.

16 Then Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place—and I did not knowLL it!” 17 And he was afraid,MM and said, “How awesomeNN is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gateOO of heaven.”

Notes on verses 16-17

LL “know” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
MM “was afraid” = yare. This is to fear, be afraid, dreadful. It can also refer to fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect.
NN “awesome” = yare. Same as “was afraid” in v17. See note MM above.
OO “gate” = shaar. May be related to sha’ar (to calculate or reckon; may come from a root that means to open up or split). This is a gate, door, or other opening like a port.

18 So Jacob rose earlyPP in the morning, and he took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillarQQ and pouredRR oilSS on the top of it. 

Notes on verse 18

PP “rose early” = shakam. This is leaning one’s shoulder into a burden or load, whether a person or an animal. Thus, it meant starting or rising early.
QQ “pillar” = matstsebah. Related to “set up” in v12. From natsab (see note K above). This is something stationed so it could be a column, pillar, memorial, image, or idol. It can also mean a garrison.
RR “poured” = yatsaq. This is to pour out, flow, wash away, or overflow. It can imply melting as one does to cast metal. By extension, it can refer to something being steadfast, stiffened, firmly in place.
SS “oil” = shemen. From shamen (to shine, which implies being oily, growing fat). This is fat, oil, grease, olive oil – often with perfume. Used figuratively for fertile, lavish, rich.

19 He called that place Bethel;TT but the nameUU of the cityVV was LuzWW at the first. 

Notes on verse 19

TT “Bethel” = bethel. From bayit (house, household, palace, dungeon) + el (God, a god). This is Bethel, literally meaning “house of God.”
UU “name” = shem. May be from sum (to put, place, set). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.
VV “city” = ir. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.
WW “Luz” = luz. 8x in OT. Probably from the same as luz (almond tree or almond wood; may also be hazel) OR from luz (to turn aside). The is Luz, meaning “almond tree” or “twisted.” See

Image credit: Reformed Bethel Church: Interior, detail of stained glass window from 1965 by artist Lex van Voorst in the Netherlands.

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