|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
28:10-15 Jacob's conduct hitherto, as recorded, was not that of one who simply feared and trusted in God. But now in trouble, obliged to flee, he looked only to God to make him to dwell in safety, and he could lie down and sleep in the open air with his head upon a stone. Any true believer would be willing to take up with Jacob's pillow, provided he might have Jacob's vision. God's time to visit his people with his comforts, is, when they are most destitute of other comforts, and other comforters. Jacob saw a ladder which reached from earth to heaven, the angels going up and coming down, and God himself at the head of it. This represents, 1. The providence of God, by which there is a constant intercourse kept up between heaven and earth. This let Jacob know that he had both a good guide and a good guard. 2. The mediation of Christ. He is this ladder; the foot on earth in his human nature, the top in heaven in his Divine nature. Christ is the Way; all God's favours come to us, and all our services go to him, by Christ, Joh 1:51. By this way, sinners draw near to the throne of grace with acceptance. By faith we perceive this way, and in prayer we approach by it. In answer to prayer we receive all needful blessings of providence and grace. We have no way of getting to heaven but by Christ. And when the soul, by faith, can see these things, then every place will become pleasant, and every prospect joyful. He will never leave us, until his last promise is accomplished in our everlasting happiness. God now spake comfortably to Jacob. He spake from the head of the ladder. All the glad tidings we receive from heaven come through Jesus Christ. The Messiah should come from Jacob. Christ is the great blessing of the world. All that are blessed, are blessed in him, and none of any family are shut out from blessedness in him, but those that shut out themselves. Jacob had to fear danger from his brother Esau; but God promises to keep him. He had a long journey before him; to an unknown country; but, Behold, I am with thee, and God promises to bring him back again to this land. He seemed to be forsaken of all his friends; but God gives him this assurance, I will not leave thee. Whom God loves, he never leaves.
Verse 11. - And he lighted upon a certain place, - literally, he struck upon the place; i.e. either the place best suited for him to rest in (Inglis), or the place appointed for him by God (Ainsworth, Bush), or more probably the well-known place afterwards mentioned (Keil, Wordsworth, 'Speaker's Commentary'). Situated in the mountains of Ephraim, about three hours north of Jerusalem, it was not reached after one, but after several days' journey (cf. Genesis 22:4) - and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; - being either remote from the city Luz when overtaken by darkness, or unwilling to enter the town; not because he hated the inhabitants (Josephus), but because he was a stranger - and he took of the stones of that place, - i.e. one of the stones (vide ver. 18). "The track (of pilgrims) winds through an uneven valley, covered, as with gravestones, by large sheets of bare rock; some few here and there standing up like the cromlechs of Druidical monuments" (Stanley's 'Sinai and Palestine,' p. 219; cf. 'Lectures on Jewish Church,' p. 59) - and put them for his pillows, - literally, and put for his head-bolster, the word signifying that which is at the head of any one (cf. 1 Samuel 19:13; 1 Samuel 26:7, 11, 16; 1 Kings 19:6) - and lay down in that place to sleep (cf. Genesis 19:4; 1 Samuel 3:5, 6, 9).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he lighted upon a certain place,.... Without any design to take up there, but as it were casually to him, though very providentially, after he had travelled forty eight miles; for so far it seems it was from Beersheba to Luz or Bethel (k), as this place was called:
and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; which hindered his pursuing his journey any further that day, and therefore took a night's lodging here: and he took of the stones of that place; one of the stones that lay there, as Aben Ezra and Ben Melech rightly interpret it, as appears from Genesis 28:13; though the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem will have it, that these were four stones that he took, and that by a miracle they became one, and is one of the five miracles they say were done for Jacob on that day:
and put them for his pillows, and lay down in that place and slept; being weary with his journey though he had no other bed than the earth, and for his pillow a stone, and for his canopy or curtain the open heaven; a different lodging this from what he had been used to in his father's house, and under the indulgence of his mother; and one would wonder how he could sleep in such circumstances, and that he did not take cold, after such a journey: but it must be considered that it was in a warm climate, and in an age when they did not use themselves to such soft beds as now, and especially that he was under the particular care of divine Providence.
(k) Bunting's Travels, p. 72.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. he lighted upon a certain place—By a forced march he had reached Beth-el, about forty-eight miles from Beer-sheba, and had to spend the night in the open field.
he took of the stones, etc.—"The nature of the soil is an existing comment on the record of the stony territory where Jacob lay" [Clarke's Travels].
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