Você está na página 1de 21

THE INTERDENOMINATONAL THEOLOGICAL CENTER

AN EXEGETICAL STUDY OF GENESIS 28:10-17

SUBMITTED TO DR. HAROLD V. BENNETT


IN PARTIAL COMPLETION OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
BSL 507A: GENESIS

BY

ANTHONY D. CLINKSCALES

ATLANTA, GEORGIA
MAY 14, 2010

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION

TEXT/PERICOPE

TRANSLATION

GRAMMATICAL CRITICISM/LEXICAL STUDY

FORM CRITICISM

10

HISTORICAL (SETTING) CRITICISM

11

LITERARY CRITICISM

12

TRADITION CRITICISM

14

READERS RESPONSE CRITICISM

15

CONCLUSION

17

BIBLIOGRAPHY

18

3
INTRODUCTION
Genesis 28 is one of the more popular narratives recalled in religious contexts.
The account of Jacobs dream is one of the many instances where Genesis grabs the
reader or listeners attention and engages the imagination. The narrative is centered on
the activities of one of the three premier patriarchs of Jewish and Christian history. The
story of Jacobs dream has survived thousands of years of circulation, and still baffles the
minds of interpreters and preachers in our contemporary setting. There is much packed
into Genesis 28, but for the sake of this study I will focus on verses 10-17. I have come
to this decision because I find the idea of dreaming and dream interpretation very
intriguing. I seek to lift out a legitimate hermeneutic from this pericope that will speak to
us today, as it has successfully spoken to people for centuries. I will begin by briefly
surveying what some scholars have suggested about my pericope.
The Jewish Hellenistic philosopher Philo was a correlationist who juxtaposed
Jewish exegesis with Stoic philosophy. Accordingly, his interpretation of the dream
account in Gen 28 is interesting, and perhaps reflects a sample of the earliest scholarship
available concerning the understanding of the dream from the ancient Near Eastern
viewpoint. In the Works of Philo, he distinguishes between three kinds of dreams sent by
God: firstly, the kind where God speaks directly to the sleepers such as the case of
Abimelech in Gen 20:3; secondly, the kind that is mediated by immortal souls in the air;
thirdly, the kind that originates in the souls own power of divination such as the case of
Josephs, the butler and bakers, and Pharaohs dream (Gen 37; 40; 41). Philo interpreted

4
Jacobs dream in Genesis 28 as the second type; accordingly the heavenly ladder
symbolizes the immortal souls in the air.1 2
Gary Greenberg, President of the Biblical Archaeology Society of New York,
suggests that the scene of Jacob dreaming about a ladder to heaven is a myth that derives
from Egyptian writings from third millennium BCE pyramids that describe funerary
rituals for the deceased king. Greenberg highlights four points of the context, which are
influenced by the Egyptian paradigm including: he has just received the blessing from
his father; his father died shortly afterwards; he dreamed about a ladder to heaven; and he
became the new heir to Gods covenant. For Greenberg, this setting parallels excerpts
from the Pyramid Texts of ancient Egypt, namely the Fifth dynasty pyramid of Pharaoh
Unas, dating to the period from about 2500 to 2100 BCE.3
In these texts, Egyptian belief about how the soul of the dead king enters heaven
is described. When the king is alive he is the god Horus. When he dies he
becomes the god Osiris, father of Horus. The dead king as Osiris climbs a ladder
from earth to heaven, and the ladder consists of the bodies of his two brothers,
Horus and Set. If we ignore the polytheistic Egyptian imagery and compare these
descriptions with the biblical portrayal, we see what the Bible describes. A ladder
with several supernatural beings, angels, climbing up and down between earth and
heaven, has replaced the Egyptian ladder, consisting of the bodies of two
Egyptian deities upon which Osiris ascends into heaven. The Egyptian ritual
takes place in the context of replacing the deceased king with a new king. The
biblical context describes the replacement of the deceased king-figure, Isaac, with
the new king-figure Jacob. One other connection between the two sets of images
should be mentioned. Jacob named the site of the ladder Beth-el, which means
House of God, and says that this was the gate to heaven. The Egyptian name for
heaven is Hathor, which means House of Horus. Hathor and Beth-el both signify

Gerhard Kittel and Gerhard Friedrich, eds. Theological Dictionary of the New
Testament, trans. Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 1964), 5:220.
2
The Works of Philo, trans. C. D. Yonge (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers,
1995), 365-387.
3
Gary Greenberg, 101 Myths of the Bible: How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical
History (Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2000), 135-144.

5
the same thing, which is the connection between a ruling gods house and
heaven.4
Nahum Sarna asserts that there is Canaanite origin for Bethel and the sanctuary
situated at the place bearing that name. The second component of the name, El, betrays
its pre-Israelite connections. It can refer to none other than El, a well-known Semitic
deity and the name of the head of the Canaanite pantheon. Bethel derived its name from
being the cultic center of this god. Originally a designation of just the temple of El, it
gradually encompassed the entire surrounding urban area. Ultimately it even became the
name of the god himself, so that a god Bethel is known to us from several extra-biblical
sources.5
Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas suggest that the ladder or stairway in the dream
presents messengers (angels) that are using it to pass between realms embarking on and
returning from missions, not a procession or parade, the Lord is not portrayed as having
used it, but as standing beside it. Walton, Matthews, and Chavalas also note that, the
comparable word in Akkadian is used in Mesopotamian mythology to refer to what
messengers of the gods used when they wanted to pass from one realm to another. The
ancient Babylonians sought to represent this architecture of the zigguratsWhen Jacob
awakes, he identifies the sacred place as the house of God (Beth-el) and the gate of
heaven. In Akkadian mythology the stairway used by the messengers went up to the gate
of the gods, while the temple of the deity was located at the bottom. In this way the
patron deity could leave the assembly of the gods and descend to the place of worship.6
4

Ibid, p. 144
Nahum M. Sarna, Understanding Genesis: The World of the Bible in the light of
History (New York: Schocken Books, 1966), 192-193.
6
John H. Walton, Victor H. Matthews, and Mark Chavalas, The IVP Bible
Background Commentary: Old Testament (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press,
2000), 60.
5

6
Allen P. Ross affirms that the connection of the Akkadian simmiltu translated as
staircase with the Mesopotamian background is a probable view. In the myth Nergel
and Ereshkigal, communication between the netherworld and heaven takes place via the
long stairway of heaven that leads to the gate of Anu, Enlil, and Ea.7
For me, the most importance doesnt lie within the historical context out of which
Gen 28:10-17 birthed, but more importance lies with my passages ability to convey
meaning and relevancy in the 21st century. However, I do think the historical denotations
and connotations surrounding Jacobs name are important to consider. Especially, since
the name Jacob carries meanings such as deceiver, heel-catcher, and supplanter related
to the verb bq[ meaning to follow at the heel, circumvent, or overreach; with deceitful
reflecting the adjective form. Considering the fact that Jacobs name is confirmed by his
actions, the content of Jacobs dream appears rather paradoxical. Therefore, I will
employ various exegetical methods to engage my pericope in an effort to deduce the
overarching message. I will identify symbolisms and motifs that have been employed in
other instances within the biblical narrative. Also, I will discuss the ambiguity within the
text, offering my best exegetical explanations for the benefit of every Christian.
Furthermore, I will conclude this paper with a readers response criticism. Essentially,
my thesis is that this passage strengthens the faith community by ensuring the
remembrance of a hero of the faith, effectively re-membering Gods people to one
another through common ancestry, and also assuring believers of Gods presence in spite
of any circumstance.

Allen P. Ross, Jacobs vision: The Founding of Bethel. Bibliotheca Sacra 142 no.
567 (July-September 1985): 229.

7
TEXT/PERICOPE
)Genesis 28:1017 (BHS/WHM 4.2

10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

TRANSLATION8

And Jacob went out from Beersheba and walked to Haran.

Verse 10

And he reached a certain spot and spent the night there because the sun

Verse 11

had set. And he took from the stones from the spot and set them at his
head-place and lay down in that spot.

This is my translation of the Hebrew text recorded in the Biblia Hebraica


Stuttgartensia. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, and Page
Kelleys Biblical Hebrew: An Introductory Grammar were primary translation aids.

8
Verse 12

And he dreamed, behold a ladder set up on the earth and its head reached
the heavens and behold Angels of God ascended and descended on him.

Verse 13

And behold the Lord stood upon it and said, I am the Lord God of
Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. I will give the earth that you
lay upon to you and to your offspring.

Verse 14

And your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and break through the
west and toward the east and the north and the south, and all families of
the earth will bless themselves in you and your offspring.

Verse 15

And behold I am with you, and I will keep you wherever you go, and I
will bring you back to this ground; for I will not abandon you until I have
done that which I have spoken to you.

Verse 16

And Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, Surely the Lord is in this place
and I didnt know it!

Verse 17

And he feared and said, How awesome is this place? This is nothing but
the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

GRAMMATICAL CRITICISM/LEXICAL STUDY


After consulting the text and footnotes of several popular translations of the Bible,
I contend that Gen 28:10-17 appears to have at least three grammatical concerns worthy
of mention. The NRSV includes three footnotes for alternant translations of verses 12,
13, and 14. Seemingly,
in verse 12 may be understood accurately as a stairway

9
or ramp. According to the New Oxford Annotated Bible, the earliest version of this
oracle described angels ascending and descending a stairway (a better translation than
NRSVs ladder) to heaven.
According to the BDB Hebrew and English lexicon, the preposition in verse
13 can be interpreted in many ways including on, by, upon, above, beside,
beyond, over, against, according to, on account of, on behalf of,
concerning, together with, or hence on the ground of because Hebrew uses the
same word to convey all of these prepositional meanings. Considering the NRSV
rendering in verse 13, And the Lord stood beside him may be read as, And the Lord
stood above it. The NRSV prefers the placement of God beside Jacob when God speaks
within Jacobs dream. The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) places God beside him. The
Contemporary English Version (CEV) positions God beside a ladder. The 1611 King
James Version (KJV), New King James Version (NKJV), and the New International
Version (NIV) records God as standing above it. The New Living Translation (NLT)
places God at the top of it. Most translations agree that it stretches from earth to
heaven.
The ambiguity is perhaps attributable to Hebrew classification of nouns as either
masculine or feminine. English utilizes the neutral classification, but this is uncommon
in Hebrew. Therefore, the pronoun that many modern committee translations use may be
a designation for
, which Hebrew classifies as a masculine noun. Or it may point to

. The Hebrew is not clear in this instance, thus a


the proper masculine noun,
judgment call has to be made. And I have chosen to interpret the passage as God
standing on the staircase that reaches Jacob on one end, and heaven on the other. The

10
dream is important, but I think more importance lies in the dreamer himself, and the fact
that God is connected to him, in this instance, via a staircase.
On another point, verse 14 has led to varying interpretations among the major
translations of the Bible. The KJV, NKJV, and NAS prefer the rendering: in you and in
your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. The NIV renders: All
peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring. The NJB renders, that
all clans on earth will bless themselves by you and your descendants. The CEV merely
states, Your family will be a blessing to all peoples, including a footnote suggesting an
alternative rendering: All people will ask me to bless them as I have blessed your
family. Because of similarities to Gen 12:3 and 18:18, a Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia
footnote suggests that verse 14 may have been added by a redactor. Nonetheless, the
NRSV footnote for verse 14 provides my preferential treatment of the Hebrew: all the
families of the earth shall bless themselves.
Moreover, verse 17 has ambiguity in the translation of Jacobs utterance,
regarding the place where he is resting. Some translations render that the place is
awesome (NRSV, NIV, NAS), while others use the terms such as fearful (LXX) or
dreadful. The BDB acknowledges all of the above renderings for verse 17 as
possibilities for the classification of , a niphal masculine singular participle. The
root of the word describing Jacobs description of the place comes from the verb form
arey" literally meaning, To fear or be afraid. Even so, I think that Jacobs sentiment
is better understood as awe-inspiring in praisessuggesting a godly fear and reverence,
as opposed to the connotations associated with being terrified or fearful because of threat.

11
FORM CRITICISM
Outline9 of Genesis 28:10-17
I. Jacob journeys to Haran

verse 10

II. Dream report


A. Exposition

verse 11

1. Jacob arrives at a certain spot

verse 11a

2. Jacob prepares for sleep

verse 11b

B. Dream
1. What is seen in the dream

verses 12-13a

2. What is heard in the dream

verses 13b-15

a. God reveals Godself

verse 13b

b. Patriarchal promise

verses 13b-14

i. Land

verse 13b

ii. Posterity

verse 14a

iii. Blessing

verse 14b

c. Assistance formula

verse 15

C. Etiology
1. Jacobs first saying upon awaking
2. Jacobs second saying upon awaking

verse 16
verse 17

I classify Gen 28:10-17 as a dream narrative that assures Gods presence with
Jacob. Since it includes promises that have been previously uttered to Abraham and
Isaac, its purpose is also to reinforce the ancestral promises. Accordingly, this passage
may be classified as an oracle account because of the prophetic nature of the dream with

This outline is structured in accordance with my acceptance of


George W. Coats outline of Gen 28 in The Forms of the Old Testament
Literature, Vol. 1: Genesis with an Introduction to Narrative Literature
(Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1983), 206.

12
regards to Gods utterances for Jacobs future. Consequently, Jacob is assured of his
wellbeing, as well as the prosperity of his offspring, which encompasses the Hebrews
through blood lineage, and it includes non-Jewish Christians adopted into the family by
faith through the blood of Jesus Christ. Moreover, this passage appears to be an
etiological legend because it explains why a certain place became a sacred place in
Jewish History after Jacob refers to it as the house of God and gateway of heaven.
Seemingly, this story was kept alive because of its unifying tendency, whereby all
Jews trace their ancestry to the patriarchs. I think this narrative would have cultivated
hope considering the faithful promises God rehashed in this narrative. I contend that Gen
28 circulated and survived because its underlying message tended to comfort Israel, and
assure her of Gods ever abiding presence, even while being exiled. Essentially, I posit
that this narrative contributed to the restoration of Israel as a nation having suffered
deracination, depersonalization, and nihilism, which are associated with slavery, postslavery, and oppression in general.

HISTORICAL (SETTING) CRITICISM


The patriarchs, having originated in Upper Mesopotamia, were selectively
nomadic moving to areas with close kinship. According to verse 10, Jacob left Beersheba
and went toward Haran. Haran is significant within historical critical exegesis because of
its recurrence among the Israelite patriarchs. In the Hebrew Bible, Moses is regarded as
the founder of Israels religion, and both Israels history and faith are regarded as having
begun with Abraham. In Gen 12:1-3, Abraham left Haran at the bidding of his God, after
receiving the promise of land and posterity in the place that would be shown to him. This

13
promise is repeatedly renewed (i.e. Gen 15:5, 13-16; 18:18ff) and sealed by covenant (i.e.
Gen 15:7-12, 17-21). It was given to Isaac in Gen 26:2-4, again to Jacob in Gen 35:11,
and resumed to Moses in Exod 3:6-8; 6:2-8.10
LITERARY CRITICISM
Gen 28:10-17 unfolds while Jacob is fleeing his brother in pursuit of his wife in
Haran. During his journey, the account records an instance during the night when Jacob
stops to lodge for the evening. He uses the natural environment to cushion his head as he
falls asleep. While asleep Jacob envisions Angels ascending and descending. Moreover,
God infringes upon Jacob with Gods glorious presentation, and Jacob receives promises
from God that have been uttered previously to his ancestors. Nonetheless, Jacob is
comforted by the God of his ancestors, as he encounters God in a place where he had not
previously been. The passage concludes with Jacob awaking from his sleep, clearly
moved by his dream, proclaiming the awesomeness of the place where he has stopped to
rest. His words confirm his acceptance of Gods promises and blessings, and he is
excited about what is going to unfold in his life.
In Gen 28:12, the term for angels is used here in the plural, as is the case in Gen
32:2. is from an unused root meaning to dispatch as a deputy, especially as a
messenger of God. From reading the English Bible, more people have come to
understand angels as solely spiritual beings. However, designates both human
and heavenly messengers. Among the many occurrences in the Old Testament, half

10

John Bright, A History of Israel, 4th edition (Louisville: Westminster John Knox
Press, 2000), 96.

14
designate humans (i.e. Gen 32:3; Num 20:14; Nah 2:13). The other half suggest halfspiritual beings (i.e. Gen 16:7; Exod 32:34; 1 Kings 13:18).11
Robert Gnuse has suggested that the dream motif and its language can be
compared to Neo-Assyrian and Chaldean Babylonian reports of the seventh and sixth
centuries BCE. These dream reports are characterized as auditory message dream
reports, containing the following components: theophany, recipient, dream reference,
reference to night, message, and termination of dream.12 All these characteristics are
found in Gen 28. However, the dream reference is a conundrum because of its depiction
of angels in proximity to the
. The term is hapaxlegomenon, and has been
difficult to translate considering that it only appears in Genesis 28:12.
The BDB suggests that
derives from ll;s', which means to lift up, heap up,
cast up, mound up (especially a turnpike); figuratively it means to exalt (self). Robert
Alter preferred to render the translation ramp.13 The traditional interpretation as a
ladder is apparently inadequate. I think Alter and others have made an interesting
observation by suggesting that the word being used as a path to the gate of heaven is
reminiscent of the Mesopotamian ziggurat. This would allow one to associate the story
of Jacobs dream with real physical structures that the Ancient Near Eastern listener
would recognize. In this instance, my passage displays a historical socio-political
connection between the ancient Hebrews and the 1st century Assyrians and Babylonians.
11

Maxwell John Davidson, Angel in The New Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible,
Vol. 1 edited by Katharine Doob Sakenfield, Samuel E. Balentine, Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan,
Eileen Schuller, Brian K. Blount, Joel B. Green, and Pheme Perkins (Nashville:
Abingdon Press, 2006), 149.
12
Robert K. Gnuse, Redefining the Elohist, Journal of Biblical Literature 119 no. 2
(Summer 2000): 206-207.
13
Robert Alter, Genesis: Translation and Commentary (New York: W. W. Norton
and Company, Inc., 1996), 149.

15
However, this is only plausible, being theoretical in nature based on an interpretation
from a literary critics viewpoint informed about 1st millennium BCE.
Considering the symbolism of
referring to a ziggurat, the ancients would
have envisioned a staged tower found in Mesopotamia, architecturally similar to the
stepped pyramid of Egypt. Scholarship has offered two common explanations regarding
the purpose of the ziggurat: (1) they were artificial mountains providing elevation
appropriate for templesso that the deity could descend to the temple and the town; and
(2) they were a ladder to heaven with the shrine on the summit, the priests were able
to carry on the cult in greater proximity to the deity.14 Therefore,
may symbolize the
mountain of God, and more specifically, the mountain of Bethel. The use of the term
may have been employed with the intentions of reinforcing Jewish reverence for the holy
places of worship within Jewish tradition. However, the overarching message for me is
about connection, and that God oversees God-agents ascending and descending upon
Gods people.

TRADITION CRITICISM
The theme of mass numbers of offspring appears frequently in Genesis with
comparisons to natural creations. While also appearing in Gen 28, there are comparisons
to the stars in Gen 22:17; 26:4, comparisons to sand at the seashore in Gen 22:17; 32:12,
and comparisons to the dust of the earth in Gen 13:16.15 From another viewpoint, it

14

John I. Lawlor, Ziggurat in The New Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, 5:983.
Victor P. Hamilton, The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17: The New International
Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing
Company, 1990), 423.
15

16
appears that this narrative may have been used to encourage the Hebrews to be fruitful
and multiply. This may have been a political agenda to preserve the race.
In addition, Jacobs dream may be regarded as encompassing etymological and
etiological legend. Because the dream leads Jacob to name the place Bethel, literally
meaning house of God mentioned in Gen 28:17, the pericope is an etiological legend,
which explains how a certain place and shrine got its name. It simultaneously is
etymological in that it gives the origin of the word Bethel. Essentially, from a tradition
critical viewpoint, this narrative parallels other occurrences in the biblical narrative that
affirm covenantal communication, acknowledge patriarchal promises from God, and also
encourage human reproduction.

READERS RESPONSE CRITICISM


As stated earlier, I chose Gen 28:10-17 because I was interested in studying a
narrative encompassing a dream. I narrowed my search to this pericope because of its
association with angels in relation to Jacob, whose name means trickster. I was initially
interested in why someone with questionable character and integrity is chosen and
affirmed by God. I had no reservations about embarking upon this exegetical journey
because of my initial queries. Nonetheless, as I read the text considering hermeneutical
insights Ive gleaned from Afrocentric, Post-Enlightenment, Post-Modernist, and PostLiberal standpoints. I began to try to deconstruct the notion of Jacob being regarded
negatively, as a trickster and deceiver. Furthermore, I pondered whether our association
with Jacob by faith through Jesus Christ, requires us to do a blessing inventory. And if
the blessing inventory is low, then maybe we need to take a look at our deception since

17
deception precedes Jacobs successes. Hence, my aim here is to offer a response to the
text in light of Christian virtues learned in the 21st century African-American church.
Needless to say, I had some reservations concerning my thesis because of the dark
side of the art of deception. However, the truth of the matter is that everybody lies.
Seemingly, some situations necessitate deception in order to have and maintain peaceful
relations and self-preservation. This is why spouses admit that they often have to curtail
the truth when they relate with their loved ones, to keep peace in their marriages.
Consider the Buddhist and Taoist acknowledgement of the Ying-Yang symbol, suggesting
that we should embrace the duality of our existence: the male-femaleness, the darklightness, and the wrong-rightness. I think that deception can function as a virtue, and
not solely as a vice. The danger in this instance, as there are dangers associated with
overindulging other virtues, is that persons may become too calculating, having their
integrity darkened. Recklessly and selfishly abusing relationships and misleading others,
these persons still expect Gods affirmation and praise.
Moreover, the image of God in proximity to Jacob and the stairway is a bit
deceptive. On the one hand, it is deceptive because we dont expect Jacob to be praised
and affirmed because of his past actions against his father and brother. The deception is
that we would expect Jacobs story to be about disconnection and dismembering. On the
contrary, I presume the narrative is more about connection and re-membering that
anything else. The depiction of angels ascending and descending stairway steps
embodies connection in the movement. But, connection is also exemplified in the
stepped-structure of the ziggurat or stairway, which functions as a general mediator
between God and humankind, symbolizing Gods connection to us (cf. John 1:49, 51;

18
14:6; 1 Tim 2:5). This supports my previous acknowledgment that Gen 28 is a narrative
used to aid in the unification of the Jewish nation.
On another point, the deceptive nature of Jacob is reminiscent of the deceptive
theme surrounding heroes in general. In essence, I contend that deception is one of the
virtues held by powerful leaders because any person can calculate strength, but when one
is deceived, that person is likely to relinquish judgments and preconceived notions,
acknowledging his or her ignorance; thus, he or she becomes fearful of the unknown.
Fear and respect tend to yield similar results.
It should also be noted that, too often corporate executives promote junior
partners and lower-ranking employees after admiring the deceptive tactics they employ.
Instead of shunning this type of behavior, it has been admired since the beginning of
time. Similarly, in order to master the game chess, one has to learn the art of deception.
In sum, if the church, which is the descendant of Jacob by faith, is running low on
its blessings, then maybe she needs to pay attention to her dreams; likewise, she needs to
take a look at her deception. Perhaps she needs to use more deception. On the
assumption that it takes one to know one, maybe the church needs to master deception
so that she is able to detect the misuse or abuse of logic. Maybe the church needs to start
thwarting and countering deceptive acts. What is more, I think its important for those
who respond to the Jacob stories to not get consumed with the pursuit of power, but
should take care to distinguish between necessary deception and unnecessary deception.
I believe that there is a difference in the sight of God; furthermore, humans can discern
the appropriate times to use deception with the aid of Gods spirit inside of us.

19
CONCLUSION
The idea of Jacob being praised and affirmed by God in spite of his questionable
ethics and morals was the driving force for my research. This observation had trivialized
my Christian understanding of virtue ethics and morals, especially as Jacobs descendant
by faith. Nonetheless, I conclude that Jacob was being portrayed as a hero of the faith.
Essentially, deception has been employed successfully to help Jews and Christians
remember his story for centuries, thus strengthening our respective religious traditions
and beliefs. Gen 28:10-17 is about connection, that is, our connection to God and to
others. This passage may serve as an inspirational agitator propelling Gods people to
reject the perceptions and ideologies of others that attempt to subjugate or marginalize us.
Whether individuals or social constraints or even the church itself, favor and prosperity
are validated and ascribed by God who is greater than any one circumstance. Ultimately,
Gods presence and Gods favor is Gods prerogative. In addition, this passage may be
used to remind people to pay attention to our individual and collective God-inspired
dreams. We should learn to distinguish the sacred dreams from the secular. Furthermore,
people should realize that theophanies still occur in our dreams, where God effectively
assures and affirms Gods people. This is something thats personal, private, and
privileged based on Gods prerogative for Gods people.

Bibliography
Alter, Robert. Genesis: Translation and Commentary. New York: W. W. Norton and
Company, Inc., 1996.

20
Bright, John. A History of Israel, 4th ed. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press,
2000.
Brown, Francis, S. R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs. The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew
and English Lexicon. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 2008.
Coats, George W. Genesis, with an Introduction to Narrative Literature. The Forms of
the Old Testament Literature, Vol. 1. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company, 1983.
Greenberg, Gary. 101 Myths of the Bible: How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical
History. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2000.
Gnuse, Robert K. Redefining the Elohist. Journal of Biblical Literature 119 no. 2
(Summer 2000): 201-220.
Hamilton, Victor P. The Book of Genesis Chapters 1-17. The New International
Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company, 1990.
Kittel, Gerhard and Gerhard Friedrich, eds. Theological Dictionary of the New
Testament. Vol. 5. Translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley. Grand Rapids: William
B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1964.
Ross, Allen P. Jacobs Vision: The Founding of Bethel. Bibliotheca Sacra 142 no. 567
(July-September 1985): 224-237.
Sakenfeld, Katharine Doob, Samuel E. Balentine, Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, Eileen Schuller,
Brian K. Blount, Joel B. Green and Pheme Perkins, eds. The New Interpreters
Dictionary of the Bible. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006.
Sarna, Nahum M. Understanding Genesis: The World of the Bible in the Light of
History. New York: Schocken Books, 1966.
The Works of Philo. Translated by C. D. Yonge. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers,
1995.
Walton, John H., Victor H. Matthews and Mark W. Chavalas. The IVP Bible Background
Commentary: Old Testament. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000.
Wenham, Gordon J. Word Biblical Commentary: Genesis 16-50. Vol. 2. Dallas: Word
Books, 1994.

21