Genesis 28

Study the Inner Meaning

English: King James Version

← Genesis 27   Genesis 29 →

1 And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan.

2 Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother.

3 And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people;

4 And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.

5 And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother.

6 When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob, and sent him away to Padan-aram, to take him a wife from thence; and that as he blessed him he gave him a charge, saying, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan;

7 And that Jacob obeyed his father and his mother, and was gone to Padan-aram;

8 And Esau seeing that the daughters of Canaan pleased not Isaac his father;

9 Then went Esau unto Ishmael, and took unto the wives which he had Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael Abraham's son, the sister of Nebajoth, to be his wife.

10 And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran.

11 And he lighted upon a certain place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took of the stones of that place, and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place to sleep.

12 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

13 And, behold, the LORD stood above it, 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;

14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

15 And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not.

17 And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

18 And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it.

19 And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first.

20 And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on,

21 So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God:

22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

← Genesis 27   Genesis 29 →
   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 3656, 3657, 3658, 3659, 3660, 3661, 3662, ...


Other references to this chapter:

Arcana Coelestia 1025, 1298, 1420, 1430, 1453, 1463, 1992, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 779

True Christian Religion 24


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 340, 375, 422, 675, 696

Marriage 24

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Genesis 11:31, 12:2, 3, 7, 8, 13:16, 14:20, 17:2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 20:3, 21:14, 22:23, 24:3, 4, 29, 60, 25:13, 26:34, 35, 27:33, 30:25, 31:3, 13, 45, 32:10, 35:1, 3, 6, 7, 14, 38:2, 46:3, 4, 47:24, 26, ...

Exodus 2:24, 3:5, 6, 6:7, 32:13

Leviticus 26:42, 45, 27:32

Numbers 12:6, 21:2

Deuteronomy 26:5, 17, 31:6, 8

Joshua 16:2, 18:13, 24:26

Judges 11:30, 20:26

Ruth 2:4

1 Samuel 1:11, 7:12, 16

2 Samuel 15:8

1 Kings 12:29

2 Kings 2:2

1 Chronicles 4:10

2 Chronicles 13:19

Psalms 91:11, 121:7

Jeremiah 16:15

Ezekiel 28:25

Hosea 12:13

Malachi 3:10

John 1:51

Acts of the Apostles 18:10

Hebrews 13:5

Word/Phrase Explanations

Isaac
'Isaac' represents spiritual love. 'Isaac,' in Genesis 17:19, signifies the rational divine. 'Isaac' signifies the Lord's divine rational in reference to divine good. Isaac' signifies...

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

Jacob
Jacob is told twice that his name will now be Israel. The first time is when he wrestles with an angel on his journey to...

blessed
The Lord is perfect love expressed as perfect wisdom. He created us so that He could love us, could give us love and wisdom of...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

the daughters of
The daughters of Rabbah' signify people who are in natural good and falsify the truths of the church.

Daughters
"Behold I have two daughters,” etc. (Gen. 19:8), signifies the affections of good and truth, and the blessedness perceivable from the enjoyment thereof, by those...

of Canaan
'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people who kept external worship separate from internal.

Canaan
Canaan signifies a worship in things external without internals, which arose out of the internal church corrupted, called Ham. Thus it is that Ham is...

Padan-Aram
'Padan Aram,' as in Genesis 28:2, signifies the exterior knowledges of good and truth.

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

Bethuel
Bethuel (Gen. 24), signifies the origin of the affection of good.

mother
In general, mothers in the Bible represent the Lord's church on earth, or the church among those who know and follow the Lord. In some...

father
Father in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

Laban
Laban' signifies the affection of good in the natural self, or the affection of external good, and properly collateral good of a common stock. The...

Brother
There are two ways "brother" is used in the Bible, ways that are still reflected in modern language. One denotes an actual blood relationship; the...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

Make
'To make,' as in Hosea 8:11, refers to good. In the opposite sense it refers to evil. To make heaven, and earth, and the sea,...

Fruitful
To be fruitful is predicated of goodnesses, and to be multiplied, of truths.

multiply
'Spreading themselves on the earth,' as in Genesis 8:17, signifies the internal self operating on the external.

multitude
A company, congregation, and a multitude, in the Word, are predicated of truths.

people
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

give
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "give" in the Bible is affected by context: who is giving what to whom? In general, though, giving...

abraham
Abraham (or Abram, as he is named in the beginning of his story) is one of the major characters in the story of the sacred...

Seed
'A seed' signifies love, and everyone who has love, as in Genesis 12:7. 8:15, 16. 'A seed' signifies faith grounded in charity. 'A seed' signifies...

inherit
In Biblical times, possessions passed from fathers to sons, a patriarchal system that would not be accepted in today's society – but one that is...

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

stranger
'A sojourner' or 'stranger,' as in Matthew 25:32, signifies someone who is willing to be instructed.

Sent
'Being sent' everywhere signifies, in an internal sense, going forth, as in John 17:8. In similar manner, it is said of the holy of the...

sent away
To "send away" means creating a separation of spiritual states. This phrase is used a great deal in Exodus, when Moses repeatedly calls on Pharaoh...

son
Marriages in the Bible represent the union we all can have between the desire for good and the understanding of truth (or an understanding of...

the Syrian
'Naaman, the Syrian,' as in 2 Kings 5:10, represents people who falsify the knowledges of truth and good from the Word. Naaman being healed of...

Esau
Esau (Gen. 28:5, etc.) signifies the truth of good in the natural principle. Esau (Gen. 32:3) signifies celestial good in the natural principle.

saw
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

Ishmael
'Ishmael' represents the first rationality pertaining to the Lord. 'Ishmael' signifies rationality separate from good. 'Ishmael' signifies the Lord's merely human rational. Ishmael, in Genesis...

wives
The Hebrew of the Old Testament has six different common words which are generally translated as "wife," which largely overlap but have different nuances. Swedenborg...

Mahalath
'Mahalath,' as in Genesis 28:9, signifies truth from a divine origin.

daughter
Marriages among people – both in the Bible and in life – represent spiritual marriage. Women represent the desire to be good and to do...

Sister
The Lord calls people who are in truth from the good of charity from Him 'sisters,' as in Matthew 12:50. 'Sister' denotes intellectual truth, when...

Sheba
'Sheba, Havilah, Sabthah, Regmah, and Sabthecha,' the sons of Cush, as in Genesis 10:7, were several nations which were did not have internal worship, but...

Haran
'Haran,' as mentioned in Genesis 11:28, signifies inward idolatrous worship. 'Haran,' as mentioned in Genesis 12:5, signifies an obscure state. 'Haran,' as mentioned in Genesis...

upon
Over' or 'upon' in the Word, signifies being within, because the highest part in successive order becomes inmost in simultaneous order. This is why the...

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

night
The sun in the Bible represents the Lord, with its heat representing His love and its light representing His wisdom. “Daytime,” then, represents a state...

Sun
The 'sun' signifies celestial and spiritual love. The 'sun' in the Word, when referring to the Lord, signifies His divine love and wisdom. Because the...

stones
Stones in the Bible in general represent truths, or things we know concerning the Lord and what He wants from us and for us in...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

Pillows
In Genesis 28:11, the things which are under the back of the head or neck, that is 'pillows,' or supports, signify communication of inmost or...

lay down
To “lie down” in the Bible represents a state of spiritual serenity, a time when temptations are distant and we are not in spiritual conflict....

sleep
In a general sense, sleeping in the Bible represents a state of obscurity about spiritual matters, a state in which you are not recognizing things...

Ladder
A ladder' signifies the communication of truth which is in the lowest place with truth which is in the highest.

Earth
"Earth" in the Bible can mean a person or a group of like-minded people as in a church. But it refers specifically to the external...

reached
The hand in the Bible represents power, which is easy to understand, so to reach out or stretch out the hand means to exercise power,...

heaven
"Heaven" and "heavens" are used many times in the Bible, with a couple of variations of meaning. Sometimes it is relatively literal, including times when...

angels
"Angels" in the Bible represent qualities of the Lord himself, or a variety of things that come directly from the Lord. On a lower level...

the Lord
The Bible refers to the Lord in many different ways, which from the text seem indistinguishable and interchangeable. Understood in the internal sense, though, there...

Dust
Dust, in Ezekiel 26:12, signifies the lowest things which are of the sensual principle of man. In Isaiah 40:12, the dust signifies exterior or natural...

West
'The west' signifies people in obscured good, and in an opposite sense, people in evil. 'The west' signifies the affection of truth.

North
'North' signifies people who are in obscurity regarding truth. North,' in Isaiah 14:31, signifies hell. The North,' as in Jeremiah 3:12, signifies people who are...

South
'South' denotes truth in light.

Families
Families (Gen 8:19) signify goodnesses and truths arranged in man by the Lord, according to order. Families have respect to truths. (Nahum 3:4)

keep
"Keeping" in the Bible generally has to do with controlling the actual actions of life, though in some cases it can mean holding something away...

goest
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

bring
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “bring” is highly dependent on context, but in general it represents an introduction to a new...

spoken
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

knew
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

afraid
Fear of the unknown and fear of change are both common ideas, and together cover a broad spectrum of the fears we tend to have...

none
'No one,' or 'none' denotes the negative side of something.

gate
"Gates" in ancient times had a significance that does not hold in the modern world. Cities then were enclosed by walls for protection; gates in...

rose
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

early
Since the sun represents the Lord, the early morning and sunrise represent a state of enlightenment, with a new and clear understanding coming after a...

morning
Morning comes with the rising of the sun, and the sun – which gives life to the earth with its warmth and light – represents...

Pillar
A pillar of a cloud by day,' and 'a pillar of fire by night,' as in Exodus 8:21, signifies a state of illustration which is...

oil
In Ezekiel 27:17, 'wheat of minnith, and pannag honey,' 'oil,' and 'balsam' denote the good things that come from love and charity, and the happiness...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

Bethel
When Jacob had his famous dream, of a staircase leading to heaven, he named the place "Bethel," which is Hebrew for "the house of God."...

city
In the ancient world cities were very nearly nations unto themselves – they existed within walls, with their own laws and customs, generally centered on...

Luz
'Luz,' as in Genesis 28, signifies a state wherein truth and good are together in the ultimate principle of order.

the first
'Resurrection' signifies salvation and eternal life. 'The first,' mentioned in Revelation 20:5, 6, does not mean a first resurrection, but the essence and primary part...

first
Why would it be insulting for a man to refer to his married partner as his “first wife”? Because it implies there will be a...

vowed
In Genesis 28:20, 'he vowed a vow' denotes, in the internal sense, willing that the Lord will provide. In the highest sense, where the Lord...

Way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

bread
The word “bread” is used two ways in the Bible. In some cases it means actual bread; in others it stands for food in general....

eat
When we eat, our bodies break down the food and get from it both energy and materials for building and repairing the body. The process...

Raiment
Soft raiment,' as in Matthew 11:9, represents the internal sense of the Word.

Put on
'To put on' is communication and imbuement.

come
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

peace
In ordinary life, we tend to think of "peace" as essentially "a lack of conflict." As a nation, if we're not at war, it's a...

tenth
Most places in Swedenborg identify “ten” as representing “all,” or in some cases “many” or “much.” The Ten Commandments represent all the guidance we get...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Angels on Jacob's Ladder
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Ascending and Descending
If we look to the Lord's Word as our guide, we can picture ourselves climbing a wonderful ladder, connecting us to the Lord's heaven.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 Blessings: Jacob's Ladder
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Conjunction by the Word
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 How the Word Enlightens
The Lord wants to help everyone see spiritual things more clearly but the quality and extent of an individual’s enlightenment depends on his or her own spiritual development. Enlightenment is affected by the questions we ask the Lord and the reasons we are seeking answers.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Jacob and His Dream
Color the background scene with the ladder. Color and cut out the figures of the angels and Jacob sleeping, then attach them to the scene. 
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Jacob Dreams of a Ladder
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Jacob's Dream
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Jacob's Dream
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 Jacob's Dream
Jacob had a wonderful dream. He saw a tall, tall ladder, or perhaps rather a wide and magnificent staircase reaching all the way from earth to heaven.
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 Jacob's Dream
Color the pictures of the Lord and Jacob. Then make a ladder using craft sticks and toothpicks.
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 Jacob's Dream
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 Jacob’s Dream
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Jacob’s Dream
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Jacob's Dream - Level A
Complete lesson with activity choices: make angel crowns and act out Jacob's dream, make a collage of Jacob's Ladder, scripted story discussion, coloring picture, and a memory verse.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Jacob's Dream - Level B
Complete lesson with activity choices: make angel crowns and act out Jacob's dream, make a pocket stone or necklace to remind you that the Lord is always with you, scripted story discussion, coloring picture, and a memory verse.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Jacob's Dream - Level C
Complete lesson with activity choices: flight or fight attitude jar, look closer at the ladder of life, and a scripted story discussion.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Jacob's Ladder
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Jacob’s Ladder
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Jacob's Ladder Collage
Color the ladder and the picture of Jacob. Make your own pictures of angels. Cut these out and assemble to make a collage picturing Jacob's dream. 
Project | Ages 4 - 10

 Jacob's Ladder Mural
Have children make pictures of angels of various sizes (because angels near the top of the ladder would appear smaller), then arrange on poster board (or a bulletin board) with a ladder, Jacob, and the Lord to make the mural. 
Project | Ages 7 - 14

 Jacob's Ladder (sheet music)
Song | Ages 4 - 14

 Jacob's Pillow
Use a small stone as "pillow" and then use it to make this project.
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Overview of Jacob and Esau Levels A B C D for ages 3-18
An overview of the Youth Journey Program "Jacob and Esau", Levels A, B, D, and D, for ages 3-18.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 18

 Quotes: Jacob's Ladder
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Stairway to Heaven
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Surely the Lord Is in this Place
One of the common experiences of life is waking up to something we did not realize before. This is what happened to Jacob after his dream of the ladder reaching from earth to heaven.
Worship Talk | Ages over 18

 The Stairway to Heaven
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 The Stairway to Heaven
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14


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