Jacob left Beersheba and went toward Haran.
And he came to a certain place and stayed there that night,
because the sun had set.
Taking one of the stones of the place, he put it under his head
and lay down in that place to sleep.
And he dreamed,
and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth,
and the top of it reached to heaven.
And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!
And behold, the Lord stood above it and said,
“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac.
The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.
Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth,
and you shall spread abroad to the west
and to the east
and to the north
and to the south,
and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
(The promise consists of a series of personal promises of care , buttressed by a Ground relationship)
Behold, I am with you (promise of presence)
and will keep you wherever you go, (promise of protecton)
and will bring you back to this land. (promise of guidance)
For I will not leave you
until I have done what I have promised you.” (promise of fulfillment)
This is the Ground that buttresses the entire promise. The Hebrew word 'for,' according to CHALOT can be,
‘emphatic,’ corroborative, strengthening: a) oft. = yes, indeed ... introducing positive clauses in an oath.
The certain place was Bethel, the House of God. It is the place of the sacred covenant to Jacob, his offspring, and "all the families of the earth (i.e. those who are children of Abraham by faith).
This word is used only one time in the entire Bible. Most believe this is akin to a flight of steps rather than our modern version of a ladder.
Moses makes it a point to use the covenant Name of God. Yahweh Himself would give this promise to Jacob and his descendants!
The covenant is not for Jacob only, but for all those who would be/are part of Israel.
This was the circumstance that God caused in order to give the covenant to Jacob.
Jacob's deception was no surprise to God. We Know from Gen 25:23 that God had already chosen Jacob to be the recipient of His promise. Jacob didn't need to deceive his father or brother in order to get it, yet in God's providence he did. The result was that of Jacob leaving and coming to Bethel in order to give this promise to Jacob. The most amazing part of this account is that the promise did NOT depend on Jacob's actions (his sin, or otherwise). And even though he sinned God was still determined to give him the promise.
This is the core of the entire passage. Jacob's dream plays the supporting role in the giving of the covenant.
Wisdom, Works, & Worship
We are great sinners. This statement is true. Yet God is a great and merciful God. He does not withhold His mercy from those who ask for it and He does not take away the covenant, the promise by which He swore by His own Name from us when we do falter and sin. Jacob is living proof of this. He was a deceiver and even though God had already chosen him to receive the inheritance, even though his mother had been told by God that her favorite son would rule over his brother. Do not grow weary or tired when you sin. Do not think that God has forsaken you or taken His promise away from you. Rather, let us cry out, "Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner!" (Lk 18:13)