Jacob’s Journey to Haran

Genesis 28:10-29:30
I. Observation A. Who are the main characters in this passage? What do we know about them? 1. Jacob—younger son of Isaac, heir to birthright and blessing, fleeing Esau’s wrath, cunning & sly 2. Rachel—youngest of Laban’s 2 daughters, beautiful, shepherdess, Jacob’s cousin 3. Laban—Rebekah’s brother, lived near Haran, hospitable, fair in business but deceived Jacob w/Leah 4. Leah—Laban’s oldest daughter, weak/sensitive eyes, became Jacob’s 1st wife but he loved Rachel B. When are the events of this passage taking place? 1. The passage begins immediately following Rebekah’s convincing Isaac to send Jacob to Haran for a wife in an effort to protect him from Esau. 2. Passage covers at least 14 years, but likely longer when accounting for travel and unspecified gaps C. Where do the events of this passage take place? 1. Jacob leaves Beersheba and sets out for Haran (28:10) 2. Jacob’s dream takes place in what became Bethel, in the region northwest of the Dead Sea. 3. Jacob’s journey ends in the north, near Haran D. What happened? (Summary of Events) 1. Jacob leaves Beersheba and sets out for Haran to find a wife (28:10) 2. Jacob reaches a place (Bethel) and rests on night (28:11) 3. Jacob dreams of a stairway reaching from the ground up into Heaven (28:12-15) 4. In Jacob’s dream, God confirms the covenant and adds the promise of his presence (28:13-15) 5. Jacob awakes and builds an altar to honor God’s presence there (28:16-19) 6. Jacob vows to God: If God will protect and provide for me on this journey, then… a. The Lord will be my God… b. This stone will be God’s house… c. Of all you give me, I will give you (God) a tenth. (Not the first time a tenth mentioned-14:20) 7. Jacob arrives near Haran and converses with some local shepherds (29:1-8) 8. Jacob tries to get the men to leave before Rachel arrived, but they did not leave as he hoped (29:7-8) 9. Jacob meets Rachel, waters sheep, and greets her with a kiss [Ryrie: customary greeting] (29:9-12) 10. Jacob meets Laban and stays with them awhile (29:13-14) 11. Laban discusses work arrangement & payment with Jacob (29:15) 12. Jacob offers to work 7 years in exchange for Rachel as his wife (29:16-18) 13. Laban agrees; Jacob works the 7 years and then asks for Laban to let him marry Rachel (29:19-21) 14. Laban has a feast to celebrate, but later secretly switches Leah for Rachel (29:22-24) 15. The next morning, Jacob realizes he married/slept w/Leah, not Rachel, and confronts Laban (29:25) 16. Laban uses their customs as his reasoning and offer Rachel in exchange for 7 more years (29:26-27) 17. Jacob agrees and marries Rachel, then works 7 years for Laban as he promised. (29:28-30) II. Interpretation / Discussion Questions A. What principles are portrayed here? What is the main theme? 1. When man encounters God, his response is worship. 2. You reap what you sow—Jacob’s deception of Esau is eventually repaid by Laban 3. Theme: Refinement—God uses Jacob’s circumstances to “grow him up” B. What does Jacob’s response to his dream, especially his vow, tell us about him? 1. It would appear that meeting w/God changed him…although we still see the “look out for #1” attitude in his vow, we also see his willingness to pledge submission to God. C. Why do you think Laban tricked Jacob by switching his daughters? III. Application A. An encounter with God often evokes worship and change. When was the last time you remember encountering God in an out-of-the-ordinary way? How did you respond? B. Just as Jacob labored for 7 years before marrying his heart’s desire, we too must be willing to pay the price for what we truly desire. He could have given up, but he did not. Why? The prize was too great! C. Just as God promised to be with Jacob, so too has Christ promised to be with us. We who have trusted Christ can rest assured that we are never alone, but that Christ is always with us in all things.