Genesis  ◦   Chapter 28

1So Isaac summoned Jacob and blessed him with this directive: “You must not marry a Canaanite woman. 2You need to go at once to Paddan Aram to the house of your grandfather Bethuel, and marry a daughter of your uncle Laban, your mother’s brother. 3Then our Creator God will bless you with many children, and your descendants will multiply into a community of people 4through whom God will fulfill his promise to Abraham, and your descendants will inherit the land he gave to Abraham.” 5Then Isaac sent Jacob away to Paddan Aram, to uncle Laban the son of Bethuel the Aramean, the brother of Rebekah who was the mother of Jacob and Esau.

6Esau learned that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him away to Paddan Aram to marry a woman from there, and that when he blessed him, he gave him the directive, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman.” 7He understood that Jacob obeyed his father and mother and had gone to Paddam Aram. 8Esau now realized that his father was very unhappy with the Canaanite women he had married and saw them as influences for evil; 9so he went to Ishmael and, in addition to his current wives, married Ishmael’s daughter Mahalath, the sister of Nebaioth, granddaughter of Abraham.

10Jacob left Beersheba and headed for Haran. 11He traveled until the sun went down and then stopped for the night at a certain place. He used a stone he found there for a headrest and lay down to sleep. 12While he slept, he dreamed of a stairway connecting earth to heaven, with angels going up and down on it. 13The Lord stood in heaven above the top stair, and he said to Jacob: “I am the Lord, the promise-keeping God of your grandfather Abraham and father Isaac. This land where you are lying, I will give to you and your descendants as my helpers in carrying out my plan to save humanity. 14Your descendants will be like the dry dust of the earth, blown west and east and north and south, and all the peoples of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendant (the promised ‘Seed’). 15Be assured, I am with you and will watch over and protect you and bring you back to this land. I will not leave you even when I have done all that I have promised you.”

16When Jacob awoke, he said, “Truly, the Lord is right here with me in this place! And I was so worried that I didn’t even notice.” 17Filled with reverence, he said, “How awesome is the place where God stands; it is nothing other than the house of God, seen here through this gateway to heaven.”

18Jacob arose early in the morning and took the stone he had used for a headrest and set it up as a memorial. He poured oil on it, dedicating it to God. 19He named that place Bethel (which means ‘the house of God’), though the city used to be called Luz.

20Humbled and thankful, Jacob dedicated himself to God, saying, “Inasmuch as God would do this for me – be with me, watch over me on my journey, sustain me with food and clothing 21and enable me to return safely to my father’s house – then the Lord is surely my God 22and this stone, which I have set up as a memorial, will be a place to worship God; and I will give you a tenth of all you give me.”