The Story of the Ladder That Reached Heaven

The Story of the Ladder That Reached Heaven
After Esau discovered that he had lost his birthright as well as his blessing, he became very angry with his brother Jacob. He said to himself and to others: “Jacob stole my birthright and my blessing.”

“My father, Isaac, is quite elderly and likely does not have much longer to live.” “As soon as dad passes away, I will take my vengeance on Jacob for taking away my privilege by killing him.”

When Rebekah heard of this, she addressed Jacob as follows: “Can you leave your home as quickly as possible and get out of Esau’s sight before it’s too late?” You may be able to return home once Esau has forgotten why he was so angry with you as he is unable to see you. “You should go to Haran to pay a visit to your uncle, my brother Laban, and spend some time with him there.”

It is important to keep in mind that Rebekah was born into the family of Nahor, Abraham’s younger brother, who resided in Haran, which is located to the north of Canaan, and that Laban, Rebekah’s brother, was also a member of Abraham’s family.

Therefore, Jacob left Beersheba, which was on the outskirts of the desert, and set out on his journey alone, dragging his staff behind him. In the late afternoon of one day, as the sun was about to set, he arrived at a location in the mountains that was more than sixty miles from his home. And since there was no bed for him to lay down on, he picked up a rock, placed it under his head like a pillow, and then laid down to get some sleep.

And when he was sleeping that night, Jacob had a wonderful dream in his sleep. He saw a staircase that led from the place on earth where he was lying, all the way up to heaven, and on the ladder, angels were ascending and descending. And he looked up and saw the Lord God standing atop the staircase. And God spoke to Jacob, saying,

“I am the Lord, the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac, your father, and I will be your God as well.” Isaac was the one who gave you life. The place where you are sleeping all by yourself will belong to you and your offspring after you, and your children will spread out throughout the lands, east and west, north and south, like the dust of the ground, and your family will be the foundation of a blessing for the whole world. “And I am with you while you go, and I will keep you moving in the direction you are headed, and I will bring you back to this place at the end of your journey.” “I pledge that I will honor my word to you and that I will never, ever abandon you.”

And when Jacob awoke from his slumber early in the morning, he spoke these words:

“Undoubtedly, the Lord is present here, although I was unaware of his presence. I had the impression that I was all by myself, yet God has been with me the entire day. “This location is the abode of God; indeed, it is the entrance to paradise!”

And Jacob took the stone that he had rested his head on and raised it up as a pillar, and he poured oil as a sacrifice on top of it to give to God. And Jacob gave that location the name Bethel, which means “The House of God” in the language that Jacob spoke.

And it was at that time that Jacob made a pledge to God, and he said:
“If God really will go with me and will keep me in the way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and will bring me to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God; and this stone shall be the house of God; and of all that God gives me, I will give back to God one-tenth as an offering.”

Then Jacob continued on his way, which was a very long one. After climbing mountains and traveling down the edge of the vast desert to the east, he eventually arrived at the city of Haran. He had crossed the Jordan River by walking over a shallow part of the river and navigating with his staff. Near the city was a well, which is where Abraham’s servant had first come into contact with Rebekah, Jacob’s mother. There, after Jacob had waited for some time, he spotted a young lady approaching with her sheep in order to give them water.

Thereafter, Jacob removed the flat stone that had been covering the opening of the well, drew some water, and gave it to the sheep. And when he learned that this young lady was his own cousin Rachel, the daughter of Laban, he was overjoyed to the point that he cried for joy. And it was at that very same moment that he started to develop feelings of affection and love for Rachel, and he wished to have her as his wife.

Laban, who was the father of Rachel, Jacob’s cousin, welcomed and invited his nephew Jacob into his home.

And Jacob begged Laban to give his daughter Rachel to him as a bride, and Jacob said to Laban, “If you give me Rachel, I will work for you for seven years.” And Laban responded by saying, “It is preferable that you should have her rather than that a foreigner should marry her.” Laban agreed to Jacob’s conditions.

As a result, Jacob stayed in Laban’s home for seven years, during which he was responsible for taking care of his flock of sheep, oxen, and camels; nonetheless, the years passed quickly for him because of his love for Rachel.

In the end, the day of the wedding arrived, and when they brought in the bride, she was wearing a heavy veil in accordance with the customs of that region, so that no one could see her face. And she was married to Jacob, and when Jacob drew off her veil, he discovered that he had married not Rachel but rather Rachel’s elder sister Leah, who was not beautiful and whom Jacob did not love at all.

Jacob was quite upset that he had been tricked, despite the fact that he was the one who had tricked his own father and defrauded his brother Esau in the past. However, according to his uncle Laban:
“In our culture, the elder daughter is always given priority when it comes to marriage over the younger daughter.” “You are to marry Leah, and if you continue to serve me as my servant for another seven years, I will give you Rachel as well.”

Because, as we’ve seen, in those days, men often had two or even more wives at the same time. So, Jacob stayed there for another seven years, making a total of fourteen years there before he got married to Rachel.

Jacob’s family expanded to include eleven boys while he was still residing in Haran. But just one of them was Rachel’s kid, and Jacob adored every single one of Rachel’s children. This son’s name was Joseph, and Jacob loved him more than any of his other children, partially due to the fact that he was the youngest of all of Jacob’s children and also due to the fact that he was Rachel’s baby.


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