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Genesis 28:10-22 and Its Different Meanings


Genesis 28. 10-22 depicts Jacob’s one-on-one interaction with God in an event that happens during the night in a lonely place. To get the message, which God wants to convey to His people through Moses, who is the writer, and Jacob, the vessel used for proving that He is omnipotent, it is imperative to analyze the underlying literary, ideological, and communal meanings of these verses. As this paper reveals, Genesis 28. 10-22 is strategically written to manifest God’s nature of using the most frustrated and abandoned individuals to perform miracles that emphasize issues regarding hope, repentance, and forgiveness. The passage being examined contains events that occur to Jacob on his way to Haran. He is presented in this text as a “runaway” boy who escapes home fearing his brother, Esau, due to birthright-related conflicts.

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Literary Meaning

In the opening remarks, Moses, the author of this passage, summarizes Jacob’s entire journey in one sentence that captures the origin and the expected destination. In particular, Jacob is depicted leaving Beersheba for Harran (New International Version, Gen. 28. 10). However, he also reaches another unidentified point, which the bible refers to as “a certain place” (Gen. 28. 11). In this strange place, where he arrives at night very tired, starving, abandoned, disillusioned, and desperate, the reader is prepared to expect extraordinary happenings that find Jacob unaware. This passage also has several repeated words and phrases as a sign of God’s emphasis on particular messages such as His plan to fulfill the promises made to Jacob by his father, Isaac, despite his lie to him that he is indeed the firstborn.

For instance, to emphasize the issue of location that may further be interpreted as having a bearing on the earlier promised land, Genesis 28. 10-22 uses the word “place” five times. Because God’s promises to these people are meant to be fulfilled through Jacob, phrases such as “I will” appear four times in the selected passage. In addition, the issue of dialogue is evident whereby God is depicted talking to Jacob in a dream. Since he is slumbering and not aware of what is happening around him, God has to introduce himself saying, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac” (Gen. 28. 13).

Ideological Meaning

Chapter 28 of the book of Genesis presents Jacob as a fugitive child. Rebecca’s plan to have Jacob take the blessings meant for Esau, his elder brother, appear to succeed when Isaac fails to recognize that the food brought to him does not come from his firstborn son as expected. However, from another perspective, this plot fails terribly because the purportedly “blessed” boy triggers his brother’s anger after taking away his father’s blessings. As a result, despite being blessed, he immediately begins a life that does not match the blessings given to him. He has to flee home to strange places for safety purposes. Luckily, God focuses on people like Jacob who find themselves in “runaway” and lonely situations. His nature, as presented through Jesus Christ in Luke 9. 10, is to reach out to individuals who seem defiant, neglected, and disappointed in life. In Genesis 28. 10-22, the idea of God coming down to dine with His lost people is well delivered.

The “certain place” (Gen. 28. 11) mentioned in this passage carries an ideological meaning. It is indeed true that Jacob passes through many other well-known regions headed for Haran. However, the mention of an unrecognized point where the sun has to set and leave him with no option other than spending the night there lonely and using a stone as his pillowcase marks his biggest turning point. I believe that Jacob’s decision to stop at this strange place indicates the extent to which he regards himself as having reached the end of his life, despite being a young boy. Nonetheless, this situation is the ideal time for God to intervene.

Communal Meaning

Getting the message intended by God from a particular text such as Genesis 28. 10-22 requires readers to examine several other books and verses whose content bears some close semblance. In previous chapters, including Genesis 15.18-21 and Genesis 26. 3, God is seen making covenants to various other people such as Abraham, Jacob’s grandparent, and even Isaac, his father, assuring them of inheriting the much awaited land, Canaan. Such promises have to be claimed physically. The idea of Jacob encountering God in a dream for the first time and later wrestling with him physically in Genesis 32. 22-32 tells readers that people have personal responsibilities of seeking God before having their plans or dreams realized.

The text given in the 28th chapter, specifically from verses 10 to 22, is pivotal for a Christian’s life. Jacob is disillusioned, abandoned, and desperate. However, God finds this situation favorable for intervening in an unforeseen way to mark a crucial turning point for Jacob. He is depicted as answering people’s prayers at a time when they regard Him as having neglected them to the point of losing everything in their lives, including their families’ attention, light, hope, and, consequently, the essence of living.

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Moses’ book of Genesis contains crucial passages whose messages and episodes may influence people to shun their evil ways. The story of Jacob who is depicted as an escapee, pessimistic, and a frustrated boy reveals that God finds this state of affairs ideal for restoring peace and hope in people’s lives. However, this text uncovers the sole responsibility that individuals have when it comes to seeking God’s mercies.

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"Genesis 28:10-22 and Its Different Meanings." StudyCorgi, 31 Dec. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "Genesis 28:10-22 and Its Different Meanings." December 31, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "Genesis 28:10-22 and Its Different Meanings." December 31, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "Genesis 28:10-22 and Its Different Meanings." December 31, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Genesis 28:10-22 and Its Different Meanings'. 31 December.

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