BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 22, Day 5: Genesis 28:10-22


Summary of passage:  So Jacob left Beersheba to Haran.  He stopped along the way, put a stone under his head, and had a dream.  In the dream he saw a stairway from heaven to earth on which the angels of God were going up and down.  The Lord was there and He repeated His promise to Jacob (the covenant He gave to both Abraham and Isaac), saying He’ll give Jacob the promised land and his descendants will spread out.  All people on earth will be blessed through him.  God said He is with him and will watch out for him wherever he goes.

When Jacob woke, he took the stone he had been lying on and poured oil over it and called the place Bethel. Then Jacob vows that God will be his God and the stone will be God’s house and he will give God a tenth.


12a)  The stairway linking heaven and earth now reveals access to God.

b)  Jesus is the stairway, the way to heaven.  Jesus says the angels of God ascend and descend on the Son of Man.  John 14:6 says he is “the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  Hebrews says we will enter the Most Holy Place (heaven) “by the blood of Jesus.”

13a)  “I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.  Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.”

b)  Same as a. “I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying.  Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south.”

c)  “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.”

d)  “I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have  done what I have promised you.”

14a)  He had the fear of God now and realized God was with him and in this place.  He took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil over it to make the place, which he named Bethel or house of God.  He made a vow, saying if God does what He promises, then God will be my God, the pillar will be God’s house, and he will give God a tenth of all that God has given him.

b)  Through the Holy Spirit, God is with us and watches over us wherever we go.  He will not leave us until His work is done. (See Philippians 1:6 for a similar message).  We return a tenth to God of what is His.  He is our God and our pillar.  Hopefully, we believe first and then receive without the same stipulations Jacob makes (see Conclusions below for elaboration).

Conclusions:  Well, we moved on but I literally typed up most of the passage for my answers.  It felt like a copy exercise I might give my kids for school.  I did like saying specifically He is with us wherever we go and He will not leave us.  Something I needed to hear today.

The significance of this passage is that Jacob has finally realized God is everywhere and not just in certain places.

However, what BSF missed and what I find fascinating (of course we could see this next lesson if we repeat this passage again as seems to be the custom), is how Jacob responds to God’s promises.  Jacob doesn’t quite believe God will do all of these things He promises.  We see this in his response in verses 20-22:  IF God will be with me and IF He will provide, THEN the Lord will be my God.”

Do you see it?  He’s not quite sure if God will be with him and if God will provide.  But only after Jacob sees all this, then will God be his God.  Jacob is trying to make his own deal with God instead of humbly accepting God’s promise.  However, in God’s grace, He punishes Jacob through Laban in order to gain Jacob’s whole heart.

End Note:  Now God has personally appeared to all three patriarchs:  Abraham, Isaac, and now Jacob.

Fun Fact:  Bethel means “House of God” and is second only to Jerusalem to the number of times a town is mentioned in the Old Testament.  God even refers to Himself as the “God of Bethel” in Genesis 31:13.

7 thoughts on “BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 22, Day 5: Genesis 28:10-22

  1. Thanks for your posts; so helpful.  However, I did not receive Days 2, 3, or 4, Lesson 22.  Would appreciate if possible.

  2. Just a brief note in response to AtoZ’s thoughtful comments on 28:20-22 regarding Jacob possibly trying to bargain with God as several translations use the conditional clause “IF”. It sounds like in effect, Jacob is saying “Now God if you will do this for me… I will serve You”. God certainly doesn’t do business that way! I read some interesting commentaries that state the word “IF” can also be translated “SINCE”, in the Hebrew language. Thus Jacob may NOT be making a conditional bargain with God as it appears in the NIV. He may have actually been affirming his faith in God. Since God had promised to be with him, care and provide, and protect him, Jacob might have just been affirming his trust in the one true God. Maybe that will be touched on the next lesson by BSF. Unfortunately, I tend to be hard on Jacob because of his weaknesses, deceitfulness, lies, and schemes. My favorite patriarch is Joseph, and I am looking forward to his role that BSF assigns in future lessons.

    1. I agree with you. I did not read the passage as if Jacob was unsure. Jacob was proclaiming his faith and trust in God.

  3. I agree with the others. “If… then” is a valid logical statement called modus ponens. It is a statement that logically connects two things in order to draw a conclusion. It just means “If A happens then B is true and therefore the conclusion is that B is the truth and that is proven by the evidence of A” (I hope this makes sense I haven’t had finite math in 15-years!) When I read this all I see Jacob doing is stating the evidence (A — if/when this happens) (B — then…) God is his God.

  4. I got a lot out of this passage.Thank you so much for making your answers available to us.
    It is a great KICK START FOR ME.
    Before I truly surrendered myself to the Lord, my prayers were about what I thought I wanted or needed. In a way I was bargaining like Jacob did. Only after I surrendered did I “see the stairway to heaven” and I accepted God for who he was and I was accepted by God as His own child. Then I could pray and be content to just sharing time with the Lord on holy ground and not just ask and ask and ask.

  5. I agree with Julia, I didn’t see Jacob as bargaining with God, but, bargaining with himself, “IF” God can do this for me then why cna’t I do this for Him. after all his (Jacob) ill deeds he finaly saw that he does have a Father that care for him and will provide for all his needs and care for him as His only child. Love this lesson. I taught it to my 9-11 year old Sunday School Class and they too see the change God can make in our life “IF” (Since) we put our trust in Him.

Leave a Reply