Jacob obeyed his father, Isaac and mother, Rebekah and went on a journey to visit his uncle, Laban, who lived in Padan-aram. Laban was Rebekah's brother and had daughters of which Jacob would seek a wife.
On the way to Haran, Jacob made camp and used some stones for pillows and he slept and dreamed.
He saw a ladder that went from Heaven to earth and angels ascending and descending on it.
The Lord stood above and said, "I AM the Lord God of Abraham, thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; 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 familes of the earth be blessed. And behold, I AM with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land, for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." Genesis 28:13-15 This was a continuation of the covenant that God had made with his grandfather, Abraham.
When Jacob awoke, he said the Lord is in this place and I did not know. He was overcome with reverent fear and knew this place was Holy and a gateway to heaven. He used the stones and set up a pillar, anointed it with oil and called the place Beth-El (house of God). Bethel is a few miles North of Jerusalem. Jacob vowed if the Lord would be with him and keep his way so that he would be fed and clothed and come again to his father's house in peace, that He would be his God. He also said that this place would be God's house and that he would give a tenth of every thing that God provided. Genesis 28
When Jacob arrived in Haran looking for Padan-aram and Laban, he came across a couple of flocks around a well with a large stone covering its opening. He asked the shepherds why they did not water their flocks and take them back to pasture. They said they waited till the rest of the flocks arrived to open the well. Jacob asked if they knew Laban and if he was well. They answered yes and said yonder comes his daughter, Rachel with his flock.
When Jacob saw Rachel and Laban's flock, he took the stone cover off the well and watered his Uncle's livestock.
He was overcome with joy to find family and see the beauty of Rachel, he kissed her and wept. He had traveled around 400 miles.
Jacob explained to Rachel that he was family and that her father was his uncle.
She ran home and told her father all that happened. Laban was excited and ran to meet Jacob, his nephew and brought him to his house where he stayed a month.
The 7 years went by fast for Jacob, who was around Rachel everyday with the flocks and when the time was finished, Laban threw a wedding feast.
After all had well eaten and drank and night had come, Laban put Jacob in the wedding chamber but he put Leah in with him instead of Rachel. When morning arrived, Jacob saw that he had taken Leah to wife. So, he went to Laban and asked why the deception for he had worked 7 years for Rachel. Laban said that in their country the eldest always marries first. Laban said, you finish the wedding week with Leah and you can have Rachel to wife also...if you work for me another 7 years. Jacob agreed to this for Rachel. Laban gave Leah a handmaid named Zilpah.
After the wedding week, Laban let Rachel also marry Jacob. And Jacob worked for Laban another 7 years.
Laban gave Rachel a handmaid named Bilhah.
The Lord saw that Rachel was loved by Jacob and Leah despised in comparison and He opened Leah's womb, but Rachel was barren.
Leah had 4 sons in short order. Ruben (see, a son) and she hoped that Jacob would love her now. Next was Simeon (God hears) for now God has given me another son for He heard I was despised. Then came Levi (companion) for she said now I have given my husband 3 sons so he will be my companion. Then she became pregnant again and gave birth to Judah (praise) for she said I will praise the Lord. Then for a time she ceased bearing. Genesis 29
Rachel was envious of her sister and told Jacob to give her sons or she would die. Jacob was angry and said, "Am I in God's stead, Who has denied you children?" So Rachel said for him to take Bilhah as wife and have children for Rachel. So he did and Bilhah had Dan (judge) for Rachel said God has judged and vindicated me. Then Bilhah had another son, Naphtali (struggled) for Rachel said I have struggled with my sister and prevailed.
Leah was not about to be outdone and gave Jacob her maid, Zilpah to be another wife so Leah could claim her children. She bore 2 sons. First was Gad (fortune) for Leah said victory and good fortune have come. Next she bore Asher (happy) for Leah said I am happy for women will call me blessed.
During the time of the wheat harvest, Ruben found some mandrakes in the field. These are believed to enhance sex and fertility. He gave them to his mother, Leah. Rachel asked her sister for some of the mandrakes and Leah replied, "Is it not enough that you have taken my husband without your taking away my son's mandrakes also?" Rachel said that Jacob would sleep with her that night in exchange for some of the mandrakes.
When Jacob came in from the field he was told by Leah that she had his hire for the night. So he went into her. I am sure that Jacob had his hands full with both wives and their handmaids.
Leah did conceive and gave birth to her 5th son, Issachar (hired) for she said, "God has given me my hire, because I have given my maid to my husband." Again she became pregnant and had her 6th son, Zebulun (dwelling) for she said, God has endowed me with a good marriage gift, now will Jacob dwell with me because I have borne him six sons. Leah afterward had a daughter, Dinah (judged).
God remembered Rachel and answered her prayers and she had a son, Joseph (may He add) for she said God has ended my reproach and may He add to me another son.
Jacob approached Laban and asked to leave with his wives and children and goods and go back to his own country. Laban told him that the Lord had blessed him because of Jacob and that he should stay, just name his wages. So Jacob said that there would be no wages, just give him all the speckled, mottled, and spotted livestock for his own and that Laban's flocks would be all the solid colors. Laban agreed.
Through cunning and God's hand over the next 6 years Jacob ended up with most of the livestock and many servants, he was very wealthy. Genesis 30
When 20 years had passed, Laban no longer looked on Jacob with the favor of before and Laban's sons felt resentment toward Jacob. So Jacob talked to his wives and decided to leave with all he had back to Canaan. Now in Laban's house were some household gods or teraphim. These were considered good luck and sacred so were very important to Laban.
They may have been statues of ancestors or of different Dieties of the day, but Rachel took them with her. There was another reason concerning inheritance and Rachel thought she had been deprived of all of hers as did Leah. Shown here are a clay figure, an asherah (fertility), and baal (god of the storm). All of this was Pagan to us, but remember this is before Moses and the commandments or law. During the time of the kings, ashera and baal worship did abound and was highly condemned by Jehovah.
Jacob was not missed for 3 days and it took a week for Laban to catch up to him. Laban had left in anger, but God spoke to him in a dream and told him to not speak good or bad to Jacob.
When Laban arrived to where Jacob was, he asked why he had stolen away with his daughters like a thief and why he had taken his household gods. Jacob replied that he had changed his wages (concerning the speckled livestock) 10 times and that he did not think he could leave peaceably. As far as the gods, Jacob said whoever has them you can kill. Jacob did not know about Rachel taking the idols.
Laban searched through all of the stuff in all of the tents. When he came into Rachel's tent she was sitting on a camel saddle in which she had placed the idols. She said it was her time of the month and she could not get up. So, Laban did not find his household gods.
Jacob was angry and demanded why would he be treated like this. The Bible does not say that he ever found out about the idols that Rachel took, however, later all of his clan gave up their household idols and charms they wore at Jacob's request and he buried them near Shechem. Laban said that these were his daughters and children, and that the animals were his too, and he told him about God saying to leave Jacob alone.
Jacob and Laban then made a covenant with each other to do no harm and to live in peace and they set up stones to mark the event. Laban swore by the god of Terah and Jacob by the Fear of his father Isaac, for he had met Jehovah in his dream so he made a sacrifice and feast that night. Laban blessed his daughters and grandchildren and went home. Jacob continued toward Canaan. Genesis 31
As Jacob went on his way, he met the angels of God. He named the place 2 camps or armies. Jacob was afraid of his brother Esau, who had said he would kill him when they met again, 20 years before. Maybe God was revealing to him not to fear by the angels that he saw, for God had promised to be with him.
Jacob split his clan so at least half could survive. Then he sent messengers ahead to meet Esau with over 200 head of livestock for gifts to soften his heart before they met. When he had sent his family ahead he was by himself and a man met him and wrestled with him all night.
When the man saw that He was not prevailing against Jacob he touched his hip and put it out of joint.
The man said, "Let Me go, for day is breaking. But Jacob said I will not let You go unless You declare a blessing upon me."
The Man asked his name, and he replied, Jacob (supplanter), and the Man answered, "Your name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel (contender with God), for you have contended and have power with God and with men and have prevailed."
Jacob knew that this had been God, and named the place Penuel (face of God). This was no doubt Jesus in one of his appearances as a man prior to actually being born. The Bible says that when God is a man, it is Jesus, 2 Cor. 4:4.
Esau came on with 400 men but, was happy to see Jacob and did him no harm.
He did not want to accept the gifts that Jacob had sent, but Jacob pushed and said he had been blessed, so Esau took the livestock. Esau asked who are all these children? And Jacob told him they were all his and that God had blessed him.
Esau invited Jacob to come to Seir with him and Jacob said he had to go slow with the young children and the animals to go on ahead. After he left Jacob went the other way to Succoth because there he built houses near Shalem in the land of Canaan. Genesis 33
The son of the prince of the land, Hamor, who was named Shechem took Dinah, Jacob's daughter by Leah, and raped her. According to the Book of Jubilees, she was 12 years old.
After this, Shechem wanted to marry Dinah. Her brothers, Simeon and Levi, agreed to this marriage if the men of the city were circumcised. They talked among themselves and agreed to this as they would inherit the wealth of Jacob. When the men were sore, Simeon and Levi went into the city and killed them all. Then the rest of Jacob's sons looted the place and took all their goods, women, and children.
Jacob said to his two sons that they had ruined him and set the whole land against him. His sons replied that he treated their sister as a harlot. Genesis 34
God told Jacob to arise and go to Beth-El where he had first talked with God, and there build an altar. God put terror of Jacob in all the cities round about and they did not pursue Jacob. When he was in Beth-El God affirmed to him the covenant that was first given to Abraham, to give to him and his descendants this land and that kings would come from Israel.
From there they went to Ephrath which is Bethlehem. There Rachel travailed and gave birth to Jacob's 12th son, Benjamin. She had a fatal delivery and wanted to name the boy Benoi (my sorrow), but Jacob named him Benjamin (son of my right hand). Rachel was buried near Bethlehem.
Jacob's 12 sons became the 12 tribes of Israel, which was his new name given by God, and now a new nation. They dwelt in the land of Canaan.
Through Levi came Moses and Aaron and the Priests. Through Benjamin came Israel's first King, Saul.
Through Judah came King David and from his lineage came the Messiah, Christ Jesus the Lord.
Judah's tomb in Yehud, Israel
I started my blogs with a short story about Joseph, son of Israel. I will go into more detail in a future blog.
All quotes are from the KJV, or Amplified Bible. All art was found on the Internet and artists are in the link info if known.