Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
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.Jacob's Departure from his Parents' House. - Rebekah's complaint reminded Isaac of his own call, and his consequent duty to provide for Jacob's marriage in a manner corresponding to the divine counsels of salvation.
He called Jacob, therefore, and sent him to Padan-Aram to his mother's relations, with instructions to seek a wife there, and not among the daughters of Canaan, giving him at the same time the "blessing of Abraham," i.e., the blessing of promise, which Abraham had repeatedly received from the Lord, but which is more especially recorded in Genesis 17:2., and Genesis 22:16-18.
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.
And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;
And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.
And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padanaram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother.
When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padanaram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;When Esau heard of this blessing and the sending away of Jacob, and saw therein the displeasure of his parents at his Hittite wives, he went to Ishmael - i.e., to the family of Ishmael, for Ishmael himself had been dead fourteen years - and took as a third wife Mahalath, a daughter of Ishmael (called Bashemath in Genesis 36:3, a descendant of Abraham therefore), a step by which he might no doubt ensure the approval of his parents, but in which he failed to consider that Ishmael had been separated from the house of Abraham and family of promise by the appointment of God; so that it only furnished another proof that he had no thought of the religious interests of the chosen family, and was unfit to be the recipient of divine revelation.
And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padanaram;
And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father;
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.
And Jacob went out from Beersheba, and went toward Haran.Jacob's Dream at Bethel. - As he was travelling from Beersheba, where Isaac was then staying (Genesis 26:25), to Haran, Jacob came to a place where he was obliged to stop all night, because the sun had set. The words "he hit (lighted) upon the place," indicate the apparently accidental, yet really divinely appointed choice of this place for his night-quarters; and the definite article points it out as having become well known through the revelation of God that ensued. After making a pillow with the stones (מאשׁת, head-place, pillow), he fell asleep and had a dream, in which he saw a ladder resting upon the earth, with the top reaching to heaven; and upon it angels of God going up and down, and Jehovah Himself standing above it. The ladder was a visible symbol of the real and uninterrupted fellowship between God in heaven and His people upon earth. The angels upon it carry up the wants of men to God, and bring down the assistance and protection of God to men. The ladder stood there upon the earth, just where Jacob was lying in solitude, poor, helpless, and forsaken by men. Above in heaven stood Jehovah, and explained in words the symbol which he saw. Proclaiming Himself to Jacob as the God of his fathers, He not only confirmed to him all the promises of the fathers in their fullest extent, but promised him protection on his journey and a safe return to his home (Genesis 28:13-15). But as the fulfilment of this promise to Jacob was still far off, God added the firm assurance, "I will not leave thee till I have done (carried out) what I have told thee."
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.
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.
And, behold, the LORD stood above it, 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 families 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.
And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.Jacob gave utterance to the impression made by this vision as soon as he awoke from sleep, in the words, "Surely Jehovah is in this place, and I knew it not." Not that the omnipresence of God was unknown to him; but that Jehovah in His condescending mercy should be near to him even here, far away from his father's house and from the places consecrated to His worship-it was this which he did not know or imagine. The revelation was intended not only to stamp the blessing, with which Isaac had dismissed him from his home, with the seal of divine approval, but also to impress upon Jacob's mind the fact, that although Jehovah would be near to protect and guide him even in a foreign land, the land of promise was the holy ground on which the God of his fathers would set up the covenant of His grace. On his departure from that land, he was to carry with him a sacred awe of the gracious presence of Jehovah there. To that end the Lord proved to him that He was near, in such a way that the place appeared "dreadful," inasmuch as the nearness of the holy God makes an alarming impression upon unholy man, and the consciousness of sin grows into the fear of death. But in spite of this alarm, the place was none other than "the house of God and the gate of heaven," i.e., a place where God dwelt, and a way that opened to Him in heaven.
And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.
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.In the morning Jacob set up the stone at his head, as a monument (מצּבה) to commemorate the revelation he had received from God; and poured oil upon the top, to consecrate it as a memorial of the mercy that had been shown him there (visionis insigne μνημόσυνον, Calvin), not as an idol or an object or divine worship (vid., Exodus 30:26.). - He then gave the place the name of Bethel, i.e., House of God, whereas (ואוּלם) the town had been called Luz before. This antithesis shows that Jacob gave the name, not to the place where the pillar was set up, but to the town, in the neighbourhood of which he had received the divine revelation. He renewed it on his return from Mesopotamia (Genesis 35:15). This is confirmed by Genesis 48:3, where Jacob, like the historian in Genesis 35:6-7, speaks of Luz as the place of this revelation. There is nothing at variance with this in Joshua 16:2; Joshua 18:13; for it is not Bethel as a city, but the mountains of Bethel, that are there distinguished from Luz (see my Commentary on Joshua 16:2).
(Note: The fact mentioned here has often been cited as the origin of the anointed stones (βαίτυλοι) of the heathen, and this heathen custom has been regarded as a degeneration of the patriarchal. But apart from this essential difference, that the Baetulian worship was chiefly connected with meteoric stones (cf. F. von Dalberg, @fcb. d. Meteor-cultus d. Alten), which were supposed to have come down from some god, and were looked upon as deified, this opinion is at variance with the circumstance, that Jacob himself, in consecrating the stone by pouring oil upon it, only followed a custom already established, and still more with the fact, that the name βαίτυλοι, Βαιτόλια, notwithstanding its sounding like Bethel, can hardly have arisen from the name Beth-El, Gr. Βαιθήλ, since the τ for θ would be perfectly inexplicable. Dietrich derives βαιτύλιον from בּטּל, to render inoperative, and interprets it amulet.)
And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.
And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God 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,Lastly, Jacob made a vow: that if God would give him the promised protection on his journey, and bring him back in safety to his father's house, Jehovah should be his God (והיה in Genesis 28:21 commences the apodosis), the stone which he had set up should be a house of God, and Jehovah should receive a tenth of all that He gave to him. It is to be noticed here, that Elohim is used in the protasis instead of Jehovah, as constituting the essence of the vow: if Jehovah, who had appeared to him, proved Himself to be God by fulfilling His promise, then he would acknowledge and worship Him as his God, by making the stone thus set up into a house of God, i.e., a place of sacrifice, and by tithing all his possessions. With regard to the fulfilment of this vow, we learn from Genesis 35:7 that Jacob built an altar, and probably also dedicated the tenth to God, i.e., offered it to Jehovah; or, as some have supposed, applied it partly to the erection and preservation of the altar, and partly to burnt and thank-offerings combined with sacrificial meals, according to the analogy of Deuteronomy 14:28-29 (cf. Genesis 31:54; Genesis 46:1).
So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:
And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.