(Calvin, Genesis 2. part 7)

his third wife? From the race of Ishmael, whom we know to have been 
himself degenerate, and whose posterity had departed from the pure 
worship of God. A remarkable proof of this is discernible at the present 
day, in the pretended and perfidious intermeddlers, who imagine they can 
admirably adjust religious differences by simply adorning their too 
gross corruptions with attractive colours. The actual state of things 
compels them to confess that the vile errors and abuses of Popery have 
so far prevailed as to render a Reformation absolutely necessary: but 
they are unwilling that the filth of this Camarine marsh be stirred; 
they only desire to conceal its impurities, and even that they do by 
compulsion. For they had previously called their abominations the sacred 
worship of God; but since these are now dragged to light by the word of 
God, they therefore descend to novel artifices. They flatter themselves, 
however; in vain, seeing they are here condemned by Moses, in the person 
of Esau. Away, then, with their impure pretended reformation, which has 
nothing simple nor sincere. Moreover, since it is a disease inherent in 
the human race, willingly to attempt to deceive God by some fictitious 
pretext, let us know that we do nothing effectually, until we tear up 
our sins by the roots, and thoroughly devote ourselves to God. 
  10. "And Jacob went out." In the course of this history we must 
especially observe, how the Lord preserved his own Church in the person 
of one man. For Isaac, on account of his age, lay like a dry trunk; and 
although the living root of piety was concealed within his breast, yet 
no hope of further offspring remained in his exhausted and barren old 
age. Esau, like a green and flourishing branch, had much of show and 
splendour, but his vigour was only momentary. Jacob, as a severed twig, 
was removed into a far distant land; not that, being ingrafted or 
planted there, he should acquire strength and greatness, but that, being 
moistened with the dew of heaven, he might put forth his shoots as into 
the air itself. For the Lord wonderfully nourishes him, and supplies him 
with strength, until he shall bring him back again to his father's 
house. Meanwhile, let the reader diligently observe, that while he who 
was blessed by God is cast into exile; occasion of glorying was given to 
the reprobate Esau, who was left in the possession of everything, so 
that he might securely reign without a rival. Let us not, then, be 
disturbed, if at any time the wicked sound their triumphs, as having 
gained their wishes, while we are oppressed. Moses mentions the name of 
Beersheba, because, as it formed one of the boundaries of the land of 
Canaan, and lay towards the great desert and the south, it was the more 
remote from the eastern region towards which Jacob was going. He 
afterwards adds Charran, (chap. 29,) where Abraham, when he left his own 
country, dwelt for some time. Now, it appears that not only the pious 
old man Terah, when he followed his son, or accompanied him on his 
journey, came to Charran where he died; but that his other son Nahor, 
with his family, also came to the same place. For we read in the 
eleventh chapter, that Terah took his son Abraham, and Lot his grandson, 
and Sarai his daughter-in-law. Whence we infer that Nahor, at that time, 
remained in Chaldea, his native country. But now, since Moses says, that 
Laban dwelt at Charran, we may hence conjecture, that Nahor, in order 
that he might not appear guilty of the inhumanity of deserting his 
father, afterwards gathered together his goods and came to him. 
  Moses here, in a few words, declares what a severe and arduous journey 
the holy man (Jacob) had, on account of its great length: to which also 
another circumstance is added; namely, that he lay on the ground, under 
the open sky, without a companion, and without a habitation. But as 
Moses only briefly alludes to these facts, so will I also avoid 
prolixity, as the thing speaks for itself. Wherefore, if, at any time, 
we think ourselves to be roughly treated, let us remember the example of 
the holy man, as a reproof to our fastidiousness. 
  12. "And he dreamed." Moses here teaches how opportunely, and (as we 
may say) in the critical moment, the Lord succoured his servant. For who 
would not have said that holy Jacob was neglected by God, since he was 
exposed to the incursion of wild beasts, and obnoxious to every kind of 
injury from earth and heaven, and found nowhere any help or solace? But 
when he was thus reduced to the last necessity, the Lord suddenly 
stretches out his hand to him, and wonderfully alleviates his trouble by 
a remarkable oracle. As, therefore, Jacob's invincible perseverance had 
before shone forth, so now the Lord gives a memorable example of his 
paternal care towards the faithful. Three things are here to be noticed 
in their order; first, that the Lord appeared unto Jacob in a dream; 
secondly, the nature of the vision as described by Moses; thirdly, the 
words of the oracle. When mention is made of a dream, no doubt that mode 
of revelation is signified, which the Lord formerly was wont to adopt 
towards his servants. (Numb. 12: 6.) Jacob, therefore, knew that this 
dream was divinely sent to him, as one differing from common dreams; and 
this is intimated in the words of Moses, when he says that God appeared 
to him in a dream. For Jacob could not see God, nor perceive him 
present, unless his majesty had been distinguishable by certain marks. 
  "And behold a ladder." Here the form of the vision is related, which 
is very pertinent to the subject of it; namely, that God manifested 
himself as seated upon a ladder, the extreme parts of which touched 
heaven and earth, and which was the vehicle of angels, who descended 
from heaven upon earth. The interpretation of some of the Hebrews, that 
the ladder is a figure of the Divine Providence, cannot be admitted: for 
the Lord has given another sign more suitable. But to us, who hold to 
this principle, that the covenant of God was founded in Christ, and that 
Christ himself was the eternal image of the Father, in which he 
manifested himself to the holy patriarchs, there is nothing in this 
vision intricate or ambiguous. For since men are alienated from God by 
sin, though he fills and sustains all things by his power; yet that 
communication by which he would draw us to himself is not perceived by 
us; but, on the other hand, so greatly are we at variance with him, 
that, regarding him as adverse to us, we, in our turn, flee from his 
presence. Moreover the angels, to whom is committed the guardianship of 
the human race, while strenuously applying themselves to their office, 
yet do not communicate with us in such a way that we become conscious of 
their presence. It is Christ alone, therefore, who connects heaven and 
earth: he is the only Mediator who reaches from heaven down to earth: he 
is the medium through which the fulness of all celestial blessings flows 
down to us, and through which we, in turn, ascend to God. He it is who, 
being the head over angels, causes them to minister to his earthly 
members. Therefore, (as we read in John 1: 51,) he properly claims for 
himself this honour, that after he shall have been manifested in the 
world, angels shall ascend and descend. If, then, we say that the ladder 
is a figure of Christ, the exposition will not be forced. For the 
similitude of a ladder well suits the Mediator, through whom ministering 
angels, righteousness and life, with all the graces of the Holy Spirit, 
descend to us step by step. We also, who were not only fixed to the 
earth, but plunged into the depths of the curse, and into hell itself, 
ascend even unto God. Also, the God of hosts is seated on the ladder; 
because the fulness of the Deity dwells in Christ; and hence also it is, 
that it reaches unto heaven. For although all power is committed even to 
his human nature by the Father, he still would not truly sustain our 
faith, unless he were God manifested in the flesh. And the fact that the 
body of Christ is finite, does not prevent him from filling heaven and 
earth, because his grace and power are everywhere diffused. Whence also, 
Paul being witness, he ascended into heaven that he might fill all 
things. They who translate the particle "al" by the word "near," 
entirely destroy the sense of the passage. For Moses wishes to state 
that the fulness of the Godhead dwelt in the person of the Mediator. 
Christ not only approached unto us, but clothed himself in our nature, 
that he might make us one with himself. That the ladder was a symbol of 
Christ, is also confirmed by this consideration, that nothing was more 
suitable than that God should ratify his covenant of eternal salvation 
in his Son to his servant Jacob. And hence we feel unspeakable joy, when 
we hear that Christ, who so far excels all creatures, is nevertheless 
joined with us. The majesty, indeed, of God, which here presents itself 
conspicuously to view, ought to inspire terror; so that every knee 
should bow to Christ, that all creatures should look up to him and adore 
him, and that all flesh should keep silence in his presence. But his 
friendly and lovely image is at the same time depicted; that we may know 
by his descent, that heaven is opened to us, and the angels of God are 
rendered familiar to us. For hence we have fraternal society with them, 
since the common Head both of them and us has his station on earth. 
  13. "I am the Lord God of Abraham." This is the third point which, I 
said, was to be noticed: for mute visions are cold; therefore the word 
of the Lord is as the soul which quickens them. The figure, therefore, 
of the ladder was the inferior appendage of this promise; just as God 
illustrates and adorns his word by external symbols, that both greater 
clearness and authority may be added to it. Whence also we prove that 
sacraments in the Papacy are frivolous, because no voice is heard in 
them which may edify the soul. We may therefore observe, that whenever 
God manifested himself to the fathers, he also spoke, lest a mute vision 
should have held them in suspense. Under the name "Jehovah" God teaches 
that he is the only Creator of the world, that Jacob might not seek 
after other gods. But since his majesty is in itself incomprehensible, 
he accommodates himself to the capacity of his servant, by immediately 
adding, that he is the God of Abraham and Isaac. For though it is 
necessary to maintain that the God whom we worship is the only God; yet 
because when our senses would aspire to the comprehension of his 
greatness, they fail at the first attempt; we must diligently cultivate 
that sobriety which teaches us not to desire to know more concerning him 
than he reveals unto us; and then he, accommodating himself to our 
weakness, according to his infinite goodness, sill omit nothing which 
tends to promote our salvation. And whereas he made a special covenant 
with Abraham and Isaac, proclaiming himself their God, he recalls his 
servant Jacob to the true source of faith, and retains him also in his 
perpetual covenant. This is the sacred bond of religion, by which all 
the sons of God are united among themselves, when from the first to the 
last they hear the same promise of salvation, and agree together in one 
common hope. And this is the effect of that benediction which Jacob had 
lately received from his father; because God with his own mouth 
pronounces him to be the heir of the covenant, lest the mere testimony 
of man should be thought illusive. 
  "The land whereon thou liest." We read that the land was given to his 
posterity; yet he himself was not only a stranger in it to the last, but 
was not permitted even to die there. Whence we infer, that under the 
pledge or earnest of the land, something better and more excellent was 
given, seeing that Abraham was a spiritual possessor of the land, and 
contented with the mere beholding of it, fixed his chief regard on 
heaven. We, may observe, however, that the seed of Jacob is here placed 
in opposition to the other sons of Abraham, who, according to the flesh, 
traced their origin to him, but were cut off from the holy people: yet, 
from the time when the sons of Jacob entered the land of Canaan, they 
had the perpetual inheritance unto the coming of Christ, by whose advent 
the world was renewed. 
  14. "And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth." The sum of the 
whole is this, Whatever the Lord had promised to Abraham, Jacob 
transmitted to his sons. Meanwhile it behoved the holy man, in reliance 
on this divine testimony, to hope against hope; for though the promise 
was vast and magnificent, yet, wherever Jacob turned himself, no ray of 
good hope shone upon him. He saw himself a solitary man; no condition 
better than that of exile presented itself; his return was uncertain and 
full of danger; but it was profitable for him to be thus left destitute 
of all means of help, that he might learn to depend on the word of God 
alone. Thus, at the present time, if God freely promises to give us all 
things, and yet seems to approach us empty-handed, it is still proper 
that we should pay such honour and reverence to his word, that we may be 
enriched and filled with faith. At length, indeed, after the death of 
Jacob, the event declared how efficacious had been this promise: by 
which example we are taught that the Lord by no means disappoints his 
people, even when he defers the granting of those good things which he 
has promised, till after their death. 
  "And in thee, and in thy seed, shall all the families of the earth be 

blessed." This clause has the greater weight, because in Jacob and in 
his seed the blessing is to be restored from which the whole human race 
had been cut off in their first parent. But what this expression means, 
I have explained above; namely, that Jacob will not only be an exemplar, 
or formula of blessing, but its fountain, cause, or foundation; for 
though a certain exquisite degree of happiness is often signified by an 
expression of this kind; yet, in many passages of Scripture, it means 
the same as to desire from any one his blessing, and to acknowledge it 
as his gift. Thus men are said to bless themselves in God, when they 
acknowledge him as the author of all good. So here God promises that in 
Jacob and his seed all nations shall bless themselves, because no 
happiness will ever be found except what proceeds from this source. 
That, however, which is peculiar to Christ, is without impropriety 
transferred to Jacob, in whose loins Christ then was. Therefore, 
inasmuch as Jacob, at that time, represented the person of Christ, it is 
said that all nations are to be blessed in him; but, seeing that the 
manifestation of a benefit so great depended on another, the expression 
"in thy seed" is immediately added in the way of explanation. That the 
word "seed" is a collective noun, forms no objection to this 
interpretation, (as I have elsewhere said,) for since all unbelievers 
deprive themselves of honour and of grace, and are thus accounted 
strangers; it is necessary to refer to the Head, in order that the unity 
of the seed may appear. Whoever will reverently ponder this, will easily 
see that, in this interpretation, which is that of Paul, there is 
nothing tortuous or constrained. 
  15. "I am with thee, and will keep thee." God now promptly anticipates 
the temptation which might steal over the mind of holy Jacob; for though 
he is, for a time, thrust out into a foreign land, God declares that he 
will be his keeper until he shall have brought him back again. He then 
extends his promise still further; saying, that he will never desert him 
till all things are fulfilled. There was a twofold use of this promise: 
first, it retained his mind in the faith of the divine covenant; and, 
secondly, it taught him that it could not be well with him unless he 
were a partaker of the promised inheritance. 
  16. "And Jacob awaked." Moses again affirms that this was no common 
dream; for when any one awakes he immediately perceives that he had been 
under a delusions in dreaming. But God impressed a sign on the mind of 
his servant, by which, when he awoke, he might recognize the heavenly 
oracle which he had heard in his sleep. Moreover, Jacob, in express 
terms, accuses himself, and extols the goodness of God, who deigned to 
present himself to one who sought him not; for Jacob thought that he was 
there alone: but now, after the Lord appeared, he wonders, and exclaims 
that he had obtained more than he could have dared to hope for. It is 
not, however, to be doubted that Jacob had called upon God, and had 
trusted that he would be the guide of his journey; but, because his 
faith had not availed to persuade him that God was thus near unto him, 
he justly extols this act of grace. So, whenever God anticipates our 
wishes, and grants us more than our minds have conceived; let us learn, 
after the example of this patriarch, to wonder that God should have been 
present with us. Now, if each of us would reflect how feeble his faith 
is, this mode of speaking would appear always proper for us all; for who 
can comprehend, in his scanty measure, the immense multitude of gifts 
which God is perpetually heaping upon us? 
  17. "And he was afraid, and said." It seems surprising that Jacob 
should fear, when God spoke so graciously to him; or that he should call 
that place dreadful, where he had been filled with incredible joy. I 
answer, although God exhilarates his servants, he at the same time 
inspires them with fear, in order that they may learn, with true 
humility and self-denial, to embrace his mercy. We are not therefore to 
understand that Jacob was struck with terror, as reprobates are, as soon 
as God shows himself; but he was inspired with a fear which produces 
pious submission. He also properly calls that place the gate of heaven, 
on account of the manifestation of God: for, because God is placed in 
heaven as on his royal throne, Jacob truly declares that, in seeing God, 
he had penetrated into heaven. In this sense the preaching of the gospel 
is called the kingdom of heaven, and the sacraments may be called the 
gate of heaven, because they admit us into the presence of God. The 
Papists, however, foolishly misapply this passage to their temples, as 
if God dwelt in filthy places. But if we concede, that the places which 
they designate by this title, are not polluted with impious 
superstitions, yet this honour belongs to no peculiar place, since 
Christ has filled the whole world with the presence of his Deity. Those 
helps to faith only, (as I have before taught,) by which God raises us 
to himself, can be called the gates of heaven. 
  18. "And Jacob rose up early." Moses relates that the holy father was 
not satisfied with merely giving thanks at the time, but would also 
transmit a memorial of his gratitude to posterity. Therefore he raised a 
monument, and gave a name to the place, which implied that he thought 
such a signal benefit of God worthy to be celebrated in all ages. For 
this reason, the Scripture not only commands the faithful to sing the 
praises of God among their brethren; but also enjoins them to train 
their children to religious duties, and to propagate the worship of God 
among their descendants. 
  "And set it up for a pillar." Moses does not mean that the stone was 
made an idol, but that it should be a special memorial. God indeed uses 
this word "matsbah", when he forbids statues to be erected to himself, 
(Lev. 26: l,) because almost all statues were objects of veneration, as 
if they were likenesses of God. But the design of Jacob was different; 
namely, that he might leave a testimony of the vision which had appeared 
unto him, not that he might represent God by that symbol or figure. 
Therefore the stone was not there placed by him, for the purpose of 
depressing the minds of men into any gross superstition, but rather of 
raising them upward. He used oil as a sign of consecration, and not 
without reason; for as, in the world, everything is profane which is 
destitute of the Spirit of God, so there is no pure religion except that 
which the heavenly unction sanctifies. And to this point the solemn 
right of consecration, which God commanded in his law, tends, in order 
that the faithful may learn to bring in nothing of their own, lest they 
should pollute the temple and worship of God. And though, in the times 
of Jacob, no teaching had yet been committed to writing; it is, 
nevertheless, certain that he had been imbued with that principle of 
piety which God from the beginning had infused into the hearts of the 
devout: wherefore, it is not to be ascribed to superstition that he 

poured oil upon the stone; but he rather testified, as I have said, that 
no worship can be acceptable to God, or pure, without the sanctification 
of the Spirit. Other commentators argue, with more subtlety, that the 
stone was a symbol of Christ, on whom all the graces of the Spirit were 
poured out, that all might draw out of his fulness; but I do not know 
that any such thing entered the mind of Moses or of Jacob. I am 
satisfied with what I have before stated, that a stone was erected to be 
a witness or a memorial (so to speak) of a vision, the benefit of which 
reaches to all ages. It may be asked, Whence did the holy man obtain oil 
in the desert? They who answer that it had been brought from a 
neighbouring city are, in my opinion, greatly deceived; for this place 
was then void of inhabitants, as I shall soon show. I therefore rather 
conjecture, that on account of the necessity of the times, seeing that 
suitable accommodations could not always be had, he had taken some 
portion of food for his journey along with him; and as we know that 
great use was made of oil in those parts, it is no wonder if he carried 
a flagon of oil with his bread. 
  19. "And he called, the name of that place Bethel." It may appear 
absurd that Moses should speak of that place as a city, respecting which 
he had a little while before said that Jacob had slept there in the open 
air; for why did not he seek an abode, or hide himself in some corner of 
a house? But the difficulty is easily solved, because the city was not 
yet built; neither did the place immediately take the name which Jacob 
had assigned, but lay long concealed. Even when a town was afterwards 
built on the spot, no mention is made of Bethel, as if Jacob had never 
passed that way; for the inhabitants did not know what had been done 
there, and therefore they called the city Luz, according to their own 
imagination; which name it retained until the Israelites, having taken 
possession of the land, recalled into common use, as by an act of 
restoration, the former name which had been abolished. And it is to be 
observed, that when posterity, by a foolish emulation, worshipped God in 
Bethel, seeing that it was done without a divine command, the prophets 
severely inveighed against that worship, calling the name of the place 
Bethaven, that is, the house of iniquity: whence we infer how unsafe it 
is to rely upon the examples of the fathers without the word of God. The 
greatest care, therefore, must be taken, in treating of the worship of 
God, that what has been once done by men, should not be drawn into a 
precedent; but that what God himself has prescribed in his word should 
remain an inflexible rule. 
  20. "And Jacob vowed a vow." The design of this vow was, that Jacob 
would manifest his gratitude, if God should prove favourable unto him. 
Thus they offered peace-offerings under the law, to testify their 
gratitude; and since thanksgiving is a sacrifice of a sweet odour, the 
Lord declares vows of this nature to be acceptable to him; and therefore 
we must also have respect to this point, when we are asked what and how 
it is lawful to vow to God; for some are too fastidious, who would 
utterly condemn all vows rather than open the door to superstitions. But 
if the rashness of those persons is perverse, who indiscriminately pour 
forth their vows, we must also beware lest we become like those on the 
opposite side, who disallow all vows without exception. Now, in order 
that a vow may be lawful and pleasing to God, it is first necessary that 
it should tend to a right end; and next, that men should devote nothing 
by a vow but what is in itself approved by God, and what he has placed 
within their own power. When the separate parts of this vow are 
examined, we shall see holy Jacob so regulating his conduct as to omit 
none of these things which I have mentioned. In the first place, he has 
nothing else in his mind than to testify his gratitude. Secondly, he 
confines whatever he is about to do, to the lawful worship of God. In 
the third place, he does not proudly promise what he had not the power 
to perform, but devotes the tithe of his goods as a sacred oblation. 
Wherefore, the folly of the Papists is easily refuted; who, in order to 
justify their own confused farrago of vows, catch at one or another vow, 
soberly conceived, as a precedent, when in the meantime their own 
license exceeds all bounds. Whatever comes uppermost they are not 
ashamed to obtrude upon God. One man makes his worship to consist in 
abstinence from flesh, another in pilgrimages, a third in sanctifying 
certain days by the use of sackcloth, or by other things of the same 
kind; and not to God only do they make their vows, but also admit any 
dead person they please into a participation of this honour. They 
arrogate to themselves the choice of perpetual celibacy. What do they 
find in the example of Jacob which has any similitude or affinity to 
such rashness, that they should hence catch at such a covering for 
themselves? But, for the purpose of bringing all these things clearly to 
light, we must first enter upon an explanation of the words. It may seem 
absurd that Jacob here makes a covenant with God, to be his worshipper, 
if he will give him what he desires; as if truly he did not intend to 
worship God for nothing. I answer, that, by interposing this condition, 
Jacob did not by any means act from distrust, as if he doubted of God's 
continual protection; but that in this manner made provision against his 
own infirmity, in preparing himself to celebrate the divine goodness by 

a vow previously made. The superstitious deal with God just as they do 
with mortal man; they try to soothe him with their allurements. The 
design of Jacob was far different; namely, that he might the more 
effectually stimulate himself to the duties of religion. He had often 
heard from the mouth of God, "I will be always with thee;" and he 
annexes his vow as an appendage to that promise. He seems indeed, at 
first sight, like a mercenary, acting in a servile manner; but since he 
depends entirely upon the promises given unto him, and forms both his 
language and his affections in accordance with them, he aims at nothing 
but the confirmation of his faith, and gathers together those aids which 
he knows to be suitable to his infirmity. When, therefore, he speaks of 
food and clothing, we must not, on that account, accuse him of 
solicitude respecting this earthly life alone; whereas he rather 
contends, like a valiant champion, against violent temptations. He found 
himself in want of all things; hunger and nakedness were continually 
threatening him with death, not to mention his other innumerable 
dangers: therefore he arms himself with confidence, that he might 
proceed through all difficulties and obstacles, being fully assured that 
every kind of assistance was laid up for him in the grace of God: for he 
confesses himself to be in extreme destitution, when he says, "If the 
Lord will supply me with food and raiment." It may nevertheless be 
asked, since his grandfather Abraham had sent his servant with a 
splendid retinue, with camels and precious ornaments; why does Isaac now 
send away his son without a single companion, and almost without 
provisions? It is possible that he was thus dismissed, that the mind of 
cruel Esau might be moved to tenderness by a spectacle so miserable. 
Yet, in my judgment, another reason was of greater weight; for Abraham, 
fearing lest his son Isaac should remain with his relatives, took an 
oath from his servant that he would not suffer his son to go into 
Mesopotamia. But now, since necessity compels holy Isaac to determine 
differently for his son Jacob; he, at least, takes care not to do 
anything which might retard his return. He therefore supplies him with 
no wealth, and with no delicacies which might ensnare his mind, but 
purposely sends him away poor and empty, that he might be the more ready 
to return. Thus we see that Jacob preferred his father's house to all 
kingdoms, and had no desire of settled repose elsewhere. 
  21. "Then shall the Lord be my God." In these words Jacob binds 
himself never to apostatize from the pure worship of the One God; for 
there is no doubt that he here comprises the sum of piety. But he may 
seem to promise what far exceeds his strength; for newness of life, 
spiritual righteousness, integrity of heart, and a holy regulation of 
the whole life, were not in his own power. I answer, when holy men vow 
those things which God requires of them, and which are due from them as 
acts of piety; they, at the same time, embrace what God promises 
concerning the remission of sins by the help of his Holy Spirit. Hence 
it follows that they ascribe nothing to their own strength; and also, 
that whatever falls short of entire perfection does not vitiate their 
worship, because God, mercifully and with paternal indulgence, pardons 
  22. "And this stone which I have set for a pillar." This ceremony was 
an appendage to divine worship; for external rites do not make men true 
worshippers of God, but are only aids to piety. But because the holy 

fathers were then at liberty to erect altars wherever they pleased, 
Jacob poured a libation upon the stone, because he had then no other 
sacrifice to offer; not that he worshipped God according to his own 
will, (for the direction of the Spirit was instead of the written law,) 
but he erected in that place a stone--as he was permitted to do by the 
kindness and permission of God, which should be a testimony of the 
vision. Moreover, this form of speech, that "the stone shall be Bethel," 
is metonymical; as we are sanctioned, by common usage, to transfer to 
external signs what properly belongs to the things represented. I have 
lately shown how ignorantly posterity has abused this holy exercise of 
piety. What next follows respecting the offering of tithes, is not a 
simple ceremony, but has a duty of charity annexed; for Jacob 
enumerates, in a threefold order, first, the spiritual worship of God; 
then the external rite, by which he both assists his own piety, and 
makes profession of it before men; in the third place, an oblation, by 
which he exercises himself in giving friendly aid to his brethren; for 
there is no doubt that tithes were applied to that use. 
Chapter XXIX. 
1 Then Jacob went on his journey, and came into the land of the people 
of the east. 
2 And he looked, and behold a well in the field, and, lo, there [were] 
three flocks of sheep lying by it; for out of that well they watered the 
flocks: and a great stone [was] upon the well's mouth. 
3 And thither were all the flocks gathered: and they rolled the stone 
from the well's mouth, and watered the sheep, and put the stone again 
upon the well's mouth in his place. 
4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, whence [be] ye? And they said, 
Of Haran [are] we. 
5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban the son of Nahor? And they said, 
We know [him]. 
6 And he said unto them, [Is] he well? And they said, [He is] well: and, 
behold, Rachel his daughter cometh with the sheep. 
7 And he said, Lo, [it is] yet high day, neither [is it] time that the 
cattle should be gathered together: water ye the sheep, and go [and] 
feed [them]. 
8 And they said, We cannot, until all the flocks be gathered together, 
and [till] they roll the stone from the well's mouth; then we water the 
9 And while he yet spake with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: 
for she kept them. 
10 And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his 
mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that 
Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered 
the flock of Laban his mother's brother. 
11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept. 
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he [was] her father's brother, and that he 
[was] Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father. 
13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard the tidings of Jacob his 
sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, 
and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. 
14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou [art] my bone and my flesh. And he 
abode with him the space of a month. 
15 And Laban said unto Jacob, Because thou [art] my brother, shouldest 
thou therefore serve me for nought? tell me, what [shall] thy wages 
16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder [was] Leah, and 
the name of the younger [was] Rachel. 
17 Leah [was] tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 
18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for 
Rachel thy younger daughter. 
19 And Laban said, [It is] better that I give her to thee, than that I 
should give her to another man: abide with me. 
20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him 
[but] a few days, for the love he had to her. 
21 And Jacob said unto Laban, Give [me] my wife, for my days are 
fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. 
22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a 
23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, 
and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. 
24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid [for] an 
25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it [was] Leah: and 
he said to Laban, What [is] this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve 
with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? 
26 And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the 
younger before the firstborn. 
27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service 
which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. 
28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his 
daughter to wife also. 
29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her 
30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than 
Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. 
31 And when the LORD saw that Leah [was] hated, he opened her womb: but 
Rachel [was] barren. 
32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: 
for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now 
therefore my husband will love 
33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LORD 
hath heard that I [was] hated, he hath therefore given me this [son] 
also: and she called his name Simeon. 
34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will 
my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: 
therefore was his name called Levi. 
35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I 
praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing. 
1. "Then Jacob went on his journey." Moses now relates the arrival of 
Jacob in Mesopotamia, and the manner in which he was received by his 
uncle; and although the narration may seem superfluous, it yet contains 

(continued in part 8...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-02: cvgn2-07.txt