by Henry T. Vriesen
Jacob had done a wicked thing in deceiving his old father. But his mother was as much to blame as he was. She should have left the matter to God. Now that Esau wanted to kill his brother, she was in great fear for the safety of Jacob. Her advice to him was, “Arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; and tarry until thy brother’s fury turn away … and he forget that which thou hast done to him.” Isaac agreed to this. It may not have been so easy for Jacob to leave his parents and friends, but he was willing to go. He went with the well wishes of his father who said, “God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful … and give thee the blessing of Abraham.”
So Jacob left Beersheba for Mesopotamia, but not with camels and servants: His father was a rich man; he could have given him both, but he traveled on foot. Probably he left during the night quietly, for fear that Esau might ‘follow him. His mother told him, before he left, that when Esau’s anger cooled down, she would send for him to come back. She could not keep that promise. Before he came back, she died. He did not see her again. It was a long and tiresome journey for the young man, about 400 miles. But he traveled not alone; God was with him.
One night, after the sun had gone down, he took a stone for his pillow and lay down to sleep. While he slept, he had a wonderful dream. He saw a ladder standing on the earth and reaching up to heaven. On the ladder bright angels were going up and down. At the top of the ladder he saw the Lord. He spoke to him 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 … 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 the places whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land.”
When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he said, “Surely, the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.” He was astonished and somewhat afraid and said, “How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.” He took the stone he had used for a pillow and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it, and called the name of the place Bethel, which means “House of God.” He made a vow, If God will be with me, and keep me and bring me back to my father’s house, then the Lord shall be my God. Of all that thou shalt give me, I surely will give the tenth unto thee! He continued his long journey. He waded through rivers and climbed mountains and tramped over hot and burning sand. Finally he came to the city of Haran.For further information on this resource, click here.