Genesis 28:10 – Jacob’s Vow Questions

Jacob’s Vow

(Questions with Proposed Answers)

Background and Printed Text: Genesis 28:10-22

Genesis 28:10 And He-Will-Heel (Jacob) exited from Well-Of-Oath (Beersheba). And he walked toward Charred (Haran). 11And he reached in a place. And he lodged there because the sun came. And he took from the stones of the place. And he put his headings. And he lay down in that place.

12And he dreamed. And behold, a ladder is positioned landward. And his head touches the heavensward. And behold, messengers of Elohim are ascending and descending via him! 13And behold, Yehovah positioned upon him. And He said, “I am Yehovah Gods of Father-Of-A-Crowd thy father and the Gods of He-Will-Laugh. The land on which thou liest—I will give her to thee and to thy seed. 14And thy seed shall be as dust of the land! And thou shalt spread seaward and eastward and northward and southward. And all families of the soil shall be blessed via thee and via thy seed. 15And behold, I am with thee. And I will guard thee in all that thou shalt walk. And I will return thee unto this soil. For I will not forsake thee unto that, if I did what I spoke to thee!”

16And He-Will-Heel (Jacob) awoke from his sleep. And he said, “Indeed there is Yehovah in this place! And I, I didn’t know!” 17And he feared. And he said, “How fearsome is this place! This is not but rather House of Gods! And this is a gate of the heavens!”

18And Jacob early-rose in the morning. And he took the stone that he put his headings. And he put her a pillar. And he poured oil upon her head. 19And he called the name of that place House-of-Mighty-One. And contrarily, Perversion is the name of the city to her head. 20And Jacob vowed a vow to say, “If Elohim will be with me, and He will guard me in this way that I am walking, and He will give bread to me to eat and a garment to put on, 21and I will return in peace unto my father’s house, and Yehovah shall be to me for Gods, 22and this stone that I put a pillar will be House of Gods! And all that Thou shalt give to me—I will-tenth him a tenth to Thee!”


I. Jacob’s Depressed Journey (verses 10-11)

This was a very sad time for Jacob. He had quickly departed from his family. He loved his family. His father had blessed him, and his mother had shown him real graces. His brother hated him, and Jacob did not know how long this would last.

Jacob did as his parents commanded, journeying toward Haran, the place where his uncle Laban lived. On the way there, he came to a place that seemed ordinary. The sun had ‘come’ (set), and he wanted to stop. Sleeping on the ground can be uncomfortable, but he took from the stones of the place and formed them into his ‘headings’ (pillows for his head). He lay down and went to sleep.



1.   Was Yehovah already leading Jacob? The text doesn’t tell the reader that He is, but He is. Jacob is doing exactly what he should be doing. It won’t seem that way to Jacob.

2.   Why does the Hebrew language describe the sun as coming when it is setting? It has the appearance of coming down to the land!

3.   How could stones be good for ‘headings’ (places to put one’s head)? If they are properly shaped, and if either much smaller stones are placed so that they act like a bean-bag pillow, or if material is put over the stones, the stones can be quite comfortable.

4.   Why didn’t he leave home with his pillow? Jacob had to quickly leave. He left with what he could carry. A pillow is weight and bulk. It’s absense also would show his brother that he had left.

 5.  Why didn’t Isaac give Jacob an animal to ride and another animal upon which to carry his stuff, instead of Jacob leaving on foot with just what he could carry? If Esau saw Jacob leaving, Esau likely would have followed him (being a good hunter) to kill him. Jacob needed to just disappear. Doing that on foot would be best, since suspicion of Jacob’s leaving would not occur for several days. Had Jacob left with a camel and a camel burden, Esau might have concluded that Isaac had given Jacob a large inheritance.



II. The Dream (verses 12-15)

Jacob dreamed. He saw a ladder set up toward the land. Its head touches the heavens. This ladder was extremely tall. Messengers, which are angels in this case, are ascending (going upward) and descending (going downward) via the ladder. Jacob saw Yehovah positioned on the ladder. He began to speak to Jacob.

Yehovah first identified Himself: “I am Yehovah Gods of Avraham thy father, and the Gods of Isaac.” He then gave the same promise to Jacob that He had given to Avraham and to Isaac—that the land will be his and his seed’s property.

Jacob’s seed will be as the dust of the land. They will spread out to live in all four directions. (The Mediterranean sea, ‘seaward,’ was to Jacob’s west.)

All families of the soil will be blessed by means of Jacob and Jacob’s seed.

Yehovah next assured Jacob, who was running from his murder-planning brother, that He (Yehovah) is with Jacob. He will guard Jacob in all things that he will walk. Yehovah will return Jacob back to this very soil. He will not forsake or abandon Jacob even unto the point that He has done what He promised.



1.   Was this dream from Elohim? Yes. This dream will be prophetic. It will exactly represent what Yehovah desires it to represent, as if it is a quote from Him.

2.   Why was a ladder a necessary part of this dream? A ladder represents a way to go from one place to another that is above or below when there would otherwise be no good way. This ladder pictures the same thing: a way to Yehovah the Father.

3.   Do other texts explain about this ladder? (If so, what is the explanation?) Other texts do.

       John 1:51 And [Yeshua] says unto him, “Faith! Faith I say unto you! Hereafter ye shall see the heavens open, and the messengers (angels) of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.”

       This is worded just like our text. This shows that the Son of man, Yeshua, is the ladder! This will make more sense if another text is added:

       John 14:6 Yeshua says unto him, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes unto the Father but via me!”

       That is why Yehovah was at the head of the ladder. Yeshua is the only way to Yehovah the Father.

4.   What business did the messengers have so that they needed to ascend and descend the ladder? If you carefully read the following text, it will explain this. Pay attention to verses 1-5, then verses 10 and 11.

       Matthew 18:1 At the same time came the disciples came unto Yeshua, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2And Yeshua called a little child unto Him. And He set him in the midst of them. 3And He said, “Faith I say unto you, except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdom of the heavens. 4Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the Kingdom of the heavens. 5And whoso shall receive one such little child in my Name receives me! 6But whoso shall offend one of these little ones who believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea! 7Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come. But woe to that man by whom the offence comes! 8Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off and cast from thee! It is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed rather than to be cast into everlasting fire having two hands or two feet. 9And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out and cast from thee! It is better for thee to enter into life with one eye rather than to be cast into hell fire having two eyes. 10Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones! For I say unto you that their angels in the heavens do always behold the face of my Father Who is in the heavens! 11For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

       If these angels/messengers assigned to the little ones do always behold the face of Yehovah the Father in the heavens, they must take turns finding out what is happening to the little children. The ladder is their way of going to and from the earth. Yet, the ladder is Messiah Himself.

       These little ones must be in special circumstances to need these messengers always standing before Yehovah. They must be in danger. Since the text above warns about offending these little ones (thus endangering them by harm or death), these messengers must be reporting to Yehovah on how these little ones are being treated. This will be especially necessary during the Tribulation, a time of seven years when Israel will be in the greatest danger of being destroyed! The little ones are very important. So, Yehovah has assigned messengers to directly report to Him; He will take action for the sake of these children, for the sake of adults who help them, and against all who desire to do them harm!

5.   Is there really one place where there is an invisible ladder with angels ascending and descending on it? Jacob knew that there was! It is in Israel!

6.   Why is the word Gods plural? Is there not only one God? There is only one God, and He intentionally showed Himself in different ways so that we could understand Him. He is Yehovah the Father, the God Who cannot die. (If He did, the whole universe would stop existing.) There is Yeshua the Son. He is also Yehovah of Hosts, so He is Yehovah. He was born as a child who could die. That way He was the sacrifice for sin. There is Yehovah the Spirit; He gives abilities to some folks so that they can do what couldn’t be done.

7.   Why did Yehovah identify Himself as “I am Yehovah Gods of Avraham thy father and the Gods of Isaac”? This identification shows holiness—being owned. Yehovah is owned by Avraham as his Gods and by Isaac as his Gods. Ownership is the normal way to identify all things on this planet. Even a mailing address or a telephone shows ownership. Saying, “That’s my gramma!” shows ownership; ownership is always holiness.

8.   What did Yehovah mean by “the land on which thou liest”? Jacob was lying on the ground asleep during this!

9.   Who is Jacob’s seed? He is Messiah Yeshua!

10. In what way(s) will Jacob’s seed be as dust of the land?

  • Dust spreads and settles. The Israelis, each being like Messiah Yeshua in righteousness, benefit to others and Godliness, will likewise spread over the earth and will settle among the races to instruct them.
  • Dust multiplies; there is always more dust. The Israelis, each being like Yeshua, will have children and will multiply.
  • Dust goes where no one can really tell, because it follows the wind. The Israelis, each behaving like Yeshua, will go where folks don’t expect among the races:

    John 3:8 The wind blows where it wills, and thou hearest its sound but thou cannot tell from where it comes and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.

  • Dust can provide great benefit. Each core of dust in each snowflake can provide nitrogen for plant growth.

11. How will Jacob spread seaward and eastward and northward and southward? Jacob’s offspring will become a great race with many folks! They will have homes in all directions! The center the spreading will be in Jerusalem!

 12.     How will all the families of the soil been blessed because of Jacob? Jacob’s offspring will make new discoveries and will teach Truth to all the world. Those new discoveries will provide great benefits for humans!

13. How will all the families of the soil be blessed by Jacob’s seed? Yeshua will provide humans with many things that add great benefits to life and living! He will be King over all kings, making certain that laws in all lands of the earth are good laws, and that they benefit their citizens.

14. What does “I am with thee” mean? If Yehovah is with anyone, He will make certain that what they do will prosper; it will work, do good, and be worthwhile. He will also protect that person until the time of the person’s life is finished.

15. Is He with all Christians? Most who claim to be Christian are not. He is only with those He says He is with. (He is with those who truly fear Him and who walk righteously, and He is with others who don’t even know Him if He determines to be with them.)

16. What does “I will guard thee in all that thou shalt walk” mean? That means that He will not permit enemies to overcome him, kill him, or keep him from doing what he sets his hands to do. The walk is the way one lives everyday. Even folks who cannot walk and who move around in a wheelchair have a walk before Yehovah.

17. Does Yehovah guard all His children? No, He doesn’t. Some of His children get killed or die from diseases. They are still His; they will live again. All eventually die; some die sooner than others.

       He also doesn’t have that many children.

18. What is so important about Yehovah returning Jacob to this soil? The promises that Yehovah gave to Jacob have everything to do with that soil. Jacob/Israel must live on the Land of Israel if the promises will be kept.

19. What does “For I will not forsake thee unto that, if I did what I spoke to thee” mean? The wording in English is very funny and strange. The wording in Hebrew isn’t. First, He states, “I will not forsake thee.” That is not difficult to understand. Next, He states, “unto that…” This will tell the reader how long this promise is good. “If I did what I spoke to thee” sounds like He might not do it, but that isn’t what it means in Hebrew. The word if in Hebrew can be like an exclamation mark in English. I can mean, “I will certainly” or “I have certainly,” or even “I will certainly not” or “I have certainly not.” It means “I have certainly” in this case: “I have certainly done what I spoke to thee.” The whole sentence would sound like this: “For I will not forsake thee unto my certainly doing what I spoke to thee!”

20. Will Yehovah ever forsake Jacob or his offspring? He won’t. He will become furious with Israel, turning the Israelis over to their enemies at times, but He will not forsake Israel. If He did, He would be a liar.



II. The Dream (verses 12-15)

Jacob dreamed. He saw a ladder set up toward the land. Its head touches the heavens. This ladder was extremely tall. Messengers, which are angels in this case, are ascending (going upward) and descending (going downward) via the ladder. Jacob saw Yehovah positioned on the ladder. He began to speak to Jacob.

Yehovah first identified Himself: “I am Yehovah Gods of Avraham thy father, and the Gods of Isaac.” He then gave the same promise to Jacob that He had given to Avraham and to Isaac—that the land will be his and his seed’s property.

Jacob’s seed will be as the dust of the land. They will spread out to live in all four directions. (The Mediterranean sea, ‘seaward,’ was to Jacob’s west.)

All families of the soil will be blessed by means of Jacob and Jacob’s seed.

Yehovah next assured Jacob, who was running from his murder-planning brother, that He (Yehovah) is with Jacob. He will guard Jacob in all things that he will walk. Yehovah will return Jacob back to this very soil. He will not forsake or abandon Jacob even unto the point that He has done what He promised.



1.   Why didn’t Jacob awake and figure that he had just had a bad dream? There is a great difference between a dream that one can dream on any night, and a dream that Yehovah gives. When Yehovah gives a dream, the one dreaming it knows that it is very important, and that it is Truth. The person might not remember it—that happened to a king once who needed for someone to tell him both the dream and its interpretation—but the person will know that it is from Yehovah. Yehovah makes sure that the person knows.

2.   Why did Jacob conclude that Yehovah was in that place? Yehovah spoke to him! He must have come to that place in order to speak!

3.   Isn’t Yehovah everywhere? Yes, He is everywhere. Yet, being everywhere, He doesn’t make His home everywhere; He doesn’t claim all properties as His own. He is everywhere; yet He chooses certain places to abide and claim as His own property. Those places are very few in this world.

4.   Why didn’t Jacob know that Yehovah was in this place before he dreamed? Yehovah hadn’t given an indicator that He lived in that place. He had appeared elsewhere in the land that later would be Israel, but He hadn’t appeared there. Jacob is also prophesying—saying the very things that his offspring, the Israelis, will learn far into the future from our time!

5.   Why did Jacob fear? It was as if Jacob had wandered right into Yehovah’s own House! The land around him looked normal, with plants here and there. Yet, Jacob knew that this was no ordinary piece of land. It was a gate to the heavens and the House of Elohim! That would be frightening to a person who feared God! (All Saints fear God.)

6.   Why would the place be fearsome? It belongs to Yehovah!

7.   What is a House of Gods? It is a location where Yehovah lives! It is His own residence!

8.   What is a gate of the heavens? It is an entranceway where the messengers can go straight from the earth into the heavens where Yehovah is temporarily living. A gate is used to keep those out who do not belong.



IV. The Vow (verses 18-22)

Jacob did not sleep long after this. He rose early in the morning. The stone that he had put for his head now had a very important meaning. He stood the stone up on one end forming a pillar. He then took oil (likely olive oil), and he poured oil on the top part of the stone as if it were a person. This is called anointing something.

Jacob named the Place House-Of-Mighty-[One] the name is used to this day. The place originally (at her head) was called Perversion, but now it would be named something good.

Jacob vowed to Yehovah. He started out with the word if. He said that if God would do certain things, he would do certain things. Jacob’s vow included the following: if

(a) Elohim (God) will be with him

(b) Elohim (God) will guard him in this way that he is walking

(c) Elohim will give him bread to eat

(d) Elohim will give him a garment to put on

(e) Jacob will return in peace unto his father’s house

(f) Yehovah will be Jacob’s Gods

(g) The pillow stone will be House of Gods

(h) Jacob will take a tenth of all that Yehovah will give to him, and Jacob will give it back to Yehovah.

Will Yehovah do as Jacob said in his vow? Lessons later on will let us know.



1.   Why did Jacob rise early in the morning? It wasn’t because he was cold; that part of the world can be very warm. It wasn’t because he was excited about his journey; he was going to a place that was strange to him. The dream had surprised him in the middle of the night, and he had already awakened knowing that Yehovah is in this place. Unless it was cloudy (it probably wasn’t), he already had awakened to the beautiful sight of the stars even has he realized that this was the House of Gods and the gate of the heavens.

       I suspect that he rose early in the morning to do what he did next: anoint the stone he had used as his headings (a place to put his head). He also determined to vow a vow to Yehovah.

2.   What does “he put her a pillar” mean? Jacob put the stone that was his pillow in an upright position, making it into a pillar.

3.   Why did he set the stone up as a pillar? The Stone of Israel is the Messiah:

       Genesis 49:24 His bow abode in strength. And the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the Mighty-[One] of Jacob. From thence is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel.

       A pillar used in this text is the same Hebrew word used for an image, an idol. Jacob didn’t worship this stone pillar, however. He anointed it and left it. I suspect that this stone pillar was an early type, a picture of Messiah Who later showed Himself as the Rock that provided water for the Israelis in the desert.

5.   Why did Jacob pour oil on the stone? He anointed the stone with oil. Anyone who is anointed in the Bible has been given an assignment. The assignment might be to do something very good, but it also might be to become a leader, and that leader may do terrible things. Being anointed doesn’t show that the one anointed is good. In this case with the stone, however, the stone is a picture of One Who is very good! Jacob was anointing the Messiah of Israel in a picture (since Messiah wasn’t that rock as far as I can tell).

6.   How can the stone be a picture of a person if it is feminine in gender (“upon her head”)? God is not feminine or masculine! He created Adam both masculine and feminine, then took Eve out of Adam! Thus, feminine-gendered items or persons can also represent Messiah!

7.   Why did he call the name of that place ‘House of Mighty One’? Jacob realized that he was in a house, even if the house was not visible when he was awake. He also didn’t see a house when he was asleep, but he knew that he was in a place where Yehovah and the good messengers (angels) went to and from the earth and heavens. He therefore understood that the House of the Mighty One, the One with great power, would be located in that place. That will be where He will live.

       This isn’t Jerusalem. The Bible explains where the House of Yehovah will be located in the future: in Jerusalem. Therefore, this House that Jacob identified will be in this location before it finally is permanently placed in Jerusalem.

8.   What is a house in the Bible? When we think of a house, we think of a place with bedrooms, a bathroom, a living room and a kitchen (along with closets and other rooms). A house in the Bible can also be a group of folks who are related and are from a common ancestor. For example, the Bible mentions the house of David. That refers to David’s offspring. Those offspring can be his sons and daughters and his wife or wives, but it can also be his granddaughters and grandsons, his great granddaughters and great grandsons, his great great granddaughters and great great grandsons, and all the relatives who go back to David even if 30 or 40 generations have passed! They are still part of the house of David.

       Since the Mighty One will later be identified as Messiah Yeshua, and He will be called the Mighty One of Israel, the House of Messiah Yeshua are all those who are born from Him. (He never had a child of His own as we have children, but anyone who has been saved from sin and sinning, who believes in Him as God has become a son or daughter of Him. That person is therefore of His house!) This will include all the Israelis toward the end of the Tribulation, a terrible event many centuries from now that will result in all the people of Israel coming to faith in Israel’s Messiah Yeshua.

       Thus, when you read house in the Bible, think of both of these things: a building in which folks live and spend their nights, and a group of folks related by a common ancestor.

 9.  What does “Perversion is the name of the city to her head” mean? This means that the city’s name was originally Perversion. The expression, to her head, means at her beginning. The head of anything is its top or its beginning; the foot is the bottom or its ending.

10. What is a vow? It is a promise that a person makes with a god/God as a witness.

       A person who promises something should keep that promise unless that promise is very wrong. Parents can undo a promise of a child under their care. Adults who promise and who don’t keep their promises are liars. A promise, however, is when a person ‘gives his/her word’ to do or not do something. A vow is like a promise, but a god or God is brought into the picture to witness the promise. A person who breaks a vow is challenging that god or God.

11. Why did Jacob vow? Did he feel like he had to vow? The Bible rarely tells why persons vowed. Anyone can vow to Yehovah, but a person must be very careful. One man in the Bible vowed, and he lost what was most valuable to him in order to keep his vow. He was a hero in Israel, but he lost his daughter. Only vow if you are willing to do what you say, once you are an adult. Children shouldn’t vow without guidance from a wise and Godly adult. (Parents can overthrow vows of their young children.)

12. If Elohim is with anyone, what does this mean? That means that He will prosper that person even if he or she has much difficulty in life. It doesn’t mean that the person will avoid hardships. That person will usually have great hardships, but Elohim will give that person success.

13. If Elohim guards anyone in the way in which he is walking, what does this mean? This means that Elohim will make sure that the person isn’t killed before reaching the person’s goal. It also means that Elohim will keep attacks of enemies from succeeding.

       The walk includes all events to which the person comes as he or she lives; it isn’t just putting one foot in front of another to go somewhere.

14. Why would Jacob need to mention bread and a garment? There were no grocery stores as we know it. Food was often difficult to find. Bread includes all forms of food in the Bible.

       Garments were extremely valuable and difficult to produce. Since they didn’t last more than some years, a person would need to obtain another garment. Jacob included this in his request.

15. Why was returning in peace unto his father’s house important? He wanted to see his brother again without his brother desiring to kill him. He wanted to see his parents again, if possible. His father was old, so he might not see him. Others were part of his father’s house. He wanted to see them.

16. Jacob said, “Yehovah shall be to me for Gods.” Was Jacob a Believer and born of God at this time? Jacob had been a Believer in Yehovah and born of God for a long time. He also said things that were prophetic, things that others will say far into the future. He was prophesying what will happen to Israel (the people) during the Tribulation. Jacob already had Yehovah for his Gods.

17. How can a stone be (or become) the House of Gods (House of Elohim)? If a house is either a building in which folks live or a group from a common ancestor, consider both together. Suppose that a building that is made of stones represents a group of persons who will all be born of God. Suppose that each stone represents one person. Look at this text:

       1 Peter 2:5 Ye as living stones are also built up a spiritual house.

       Now, suppose that the stone that Jacob set up is a very important stone in an arch:

       Psalm 118:22 The stone the builders refused is become the head of the corner.

       That is the keystone in an arch. It is the center top stone of the opening, and is shaped like a wedge. (It is in blue, if you have color.)

Keystone picture

       A stone that isn’t shaped like other stones, but is wedged, can be the keystone—the stone in the middle-top part of an arch that holds the entire arch together, and also gives support to the entire wall! It is that important. It is as if Jacob found that keystone, but the keystone pictured Messiah Yeshua who is key to the whole House of Elohim. That is the Temple of Yehovah.

18. Jacob vowed to give a tenth. That is the same as tithing—giving a tithe. Why did he vow to do that? The text doesn’t say why he vowed. It also doesn’t show that he ever tithed directly to Elohim. Yet, later in the Teaching that Yehovah will give to Moshe, a tenth of the Israelis will become Yehovah’s priests. Israel will tithe part of the Israelis to be priests to Yehovah. A tenth of all that Elohim gives to Israel will become Elohim’s possession again!

19. Where would he give Elohim one tenth of all his things (that Elohim will give to him)? He did not attend church. How would he get these things to God? If Jacob’s offspring give a tenth of the people of Jacob to God by their being priests that continually serve Him, a tenth of all that Israel obtains will be given to Elohim.

20. Though this is not part of the Genesis 28 text, please answer it: What form was the tithe that Yehovah later commanded to Israel? The tithe was a party of food and drink! This is the only tithe that the Bible commands! Only food and drink are allowed to be part of the tithe, and the services that provide the food and drink. Money is not permitted.

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