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JACOB'S WONDERFUL DREAM
Genesis xxvii: 46, to xxx: 24.
FTER Esau found that he had lost his birthright and his
blessing, he was very angry against his brother Jacob;
and he said to himself, and told others, "My father
Isaac is very old, and cannot live long. As soon as he
is dead, then I shall kill Jacob for having robbed me
of my right."
When Rebekah heard this, she said to Jacob, "Before it
is too late, do you go away from home, and get out of
Esau's sight. Perhaps when Esau sees you no longer, he
will forget his anger; and then you can come home
again. Go and visit my brother Laban, your uncle, in
Haran, and stay with him for a little while, until
Esau's anger is past."
You remember that Rebekah came from the family of
Nahor, Abraham's younger brother, who lived in Haran, a
long distance to the northeast of Canaan; and that
Laban was Rebekah's brother, as was told in Story
So Jacob went out of Beersheba, on the border of the
desert, and walked alone toward a land far to the
north, carrying his staff in his hand. One evening,
just about sunset, he came to a place among the
mountains, more than sixty miles distant from his home.
And as he had no bed to lie down upon, he took a stone
and rested his head upon it for a pillow, and lay down
to sleep. We would think that a hard pillow, but Jacob
was tired, and soon feel asleep.
And on that night Jacob had a wonderful dream. In his
dream he saw stairs leading up to heaven from the earth
where he lay; and angels were coming down and going up
upon the stairs. And above the stairs, he saw the Lord
God standing. And God said to Jacob:
"I am the Lord, the God of Abraham, and the God of
Isaac your father; and I will be your God, too. The
land where you are
 lying all alone, shall belong to you and to your
children after you; and your children shall spread
abroad over the lands, east, and west, and north, and
south, like the dust of the earth: and in your family
all the world shall receive a blessing. And I am with
you in your journey, and I will keep you where you are
going, and will bring you back to this land. I will
never leave you, and I will surely keep my promise to
JACOB'S WONDERFUL DREAM
And in the morning Jacob awaked from his sleep, and he
said, "Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not
know it! I thought that I was all alone, but God has
been with me. This place is the house of God; it is the
gate of heaven!"
And Jacob took the stone on which his head had rested,
and he set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on it as
an offering to God. And Jacob named that place Bethel,
which in the language that Jacob spoke means "The House
And Jacob made a promise to God at that time, and said:
"If God really will go with me, and will keep me in the
way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and will
bring me to my
 father's house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God;
and this stone shall be the house of God; and of all
that God gives me, I will give back to God one-tenth as
Then Jacob went onward in his long journey. He waded
across the river Jordan in a shallow place, feeling the
way with his staff; he climbed mountains, and journeyed
beside the great desert on the east, and at last he
came to the city of Haran. Beside the city was the
well, where Abraham's servant had met Jacob's mother,
Rebekah (see Story Eleven); and there, after Jacob had
waited for a time, he saw a young woman coming with her
sheep, to give them water.
Then Jacob took off the flat stone that was over the
mouth of the well, and drew water, and gave it to the
sheep. And when he found that this young woman was his
own cousin Rachel, the daughter of Laban, he was so
glad that he wept for joy. And at that moment he began
to love Rachel, and longed to have her for his wife.
Rachel's father, Laban, who was Jacob's uncle, the
brother of Rebekah, Jacob's mother, gave a welcome to
Jacob, and took him into his home.
And Jacob asked Laban if he would give his daughter
Rachel to him as his wife; and Jacob said, "If you will
give me Rachel, I will work for you seven years." And
Laban said, "It is better that you should have her than
that a stranger should marry her."
So Jacob lived seven years in Laban's house, caring for
his sheep and oxen and camels; and such was his love
for Rachel that the seven years seemed like a few days.
At last the day came for the marriage; and they brought
in the bride, who after the manner of that land was
covered with a thick veil, so that her face could not
be seen. And she was married to Jacob; and when Jacob
lifted up her veil, he found that he had married, not
Rachel whom he loved, but her older sister Leah, who
was not beautiful, and whom Jacob did not love at all.
Jacob was very angry that he had been deceived, though
that was just the way in which Jacob himself had
deceived his father and cheated his brother Esau (see
Story Twelve). But his uncle Laban said:
"In our land we never allow the younger daughter to be
married before the older daughter. Keep Leah for your
wife, and work for me seven years longer, and you shall
have Rachel also."
 For in those times, as we have seen, men often had two
wives or even more than two. No one thought that it was
wrong then to have more than one wife, although now it
is considered very wicked. So Jacob stayed seven years
more, fourteen years in all, before he received Rachel
as his wife.
While Jacob was living at Haran, eleven sons were born
to him. But only one of these was the child of Rachel,
whom Jacob loved. This son was Joseph, who was dearer
to Jacob than any other of his children, partly because
he was the youngest, and also because he was the child
of his beloved Rachel.