Genesis Overview: Jacob's Journey

a) Jacob's Departure for Aram (27.46-28.9 in P)

27.46-28.2: The same blessing of Jacob is narrated but differently motivated; the resentment of Esau’s marriage to Canaanite women; here Jacob does not depart in haste (apparently against Isac's will) but leaves with great ceremony for Laban. P purifies the narrative. P, speaking to his own time, is only interested in the legitimate wife; in the post Exilic period the issue of mixed marriage was prominent.

b) Jacob's Dream in Bethel (28.10-22 in P with J & E)

This passage is joined to the deception story (27.43-45). There are some traces of J and E.

28.10-12: This is not a ladder but a succession of mounting pavements with the uppermost chamber being heaven and the lowest a temple. E concludes here.

28.13-15: J sees this as a theophany; the ancient promises of land and posterity: 28.13-14 is general and 28.15 refers to Jacob.

28.16-17: The passage is not so much to do with Jacob's emotional response but a special sense of place.

28.18-22: Jacob must have had enormous physical strength to erect the stone, cf. 29.10, 32.25. An elaborate explanation of the stone of Bethel. "When those who came later brought the tithe to Bethel, they shared somewhat in Jacob's vow." (p286). Jacob's threefold vow: Yahweh shall be my God; I have made this shrine; I proclaim the tithe. Bethel became the great shrine after the reform of Jereboam I (926 BCE, 1 Kings 12.26-29 cf 2 Kings 17.28) Destroyed by Josiah (2 Kings 23.15) and never recovered.

c) Jacob's Arrival at Laban's House (29.1-14)

29.1-14: The stone could only be lifted by all the shepherds together but Jacob lifts it alone. cf. Exodus 2.15 ff, Genesis 24. A charming tale in which the deceit of the hosts is not hinted at. VR does not specify the source but from the general context it seems to be J.

KC VI/14

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