Jacob Is Forced To Leave Home!
Jacob was a lonely fugitive, forced to flee from home. Even though he left with his father’s blessing (and Isaac knew what he was doing), Jacob faced an unknown future, and his brother still wanted to kill him. Not an encouraging beginning for a new chapter in his life! But God was still in control (Rom 8:28).
Isaac Directs Jacob To Take A Wife From The Family Of Laban
Isaac summoned Jacob, blessed him, and commanded him: “Don’t take a wife from the Canaanite women.
Go at once to Paddan-aram, to the house of Bethuel, your mother’s father. Marry one of the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother.
Genesis 28:1-2 (HCSB)
The events of the previous chapter could have driven a wedge so big between Isaac and Jacob that they wouldn’t have even been civil to each other. But this instance shows they had managed to at least get along with each other. The Scriptures are less clear about what the previous chapter’s events did between the relationship of Isaac and Rebekah and that of Rebekah and Esau.
Isaac Blesses Jacob And Sends Him Away
May Almighty God bless your marriage and give you many children, so that you will become the father of many nations! May he bless you and your descendants as he blessed Abraham, and may you take possession of this land, in which you have lived and which God gave to Abraham!
Genesis 28:3-4 (GNT)
This seems to be contrary to Isaac’s wishes in the previous chapter. The next verse implies that he had come to grips with the fact that Jacob was the one whom God would continue the blessing of Abraham through.
Isaac had already given his blessing to Jacob (Genesis 27), but here he spoke of God giving Jacob the blessing of Abraham in a way that suggested that hadn’t happened yet. Indeed it hadn’t. That took place later (Genesis 28:10-22). Therefore, Isaac’s blessing wasn’t really the blessing Jacob should have been so concerned about. God’s blessing was much greater.
Jacob Begins His Journey
When the Lord told Abraham to leave Haran and travel to Canaan, most of his relatives remained in Northern Mesopotamia in towns between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The area southwest of Haran becomes known as Paddan-aram (the plain of Aram). Abraham and some of the other patriarchs continue to see this land and its people as their own. This is why Jacob and his family are known as Arameans (Deuteronomy 26:5).
So Isaac sent Jacob away, and he went to Paddan-aram to Laban, son of Bethuel the Aramean and brother of Rebekah (Jacob and Esau’s mother).
Genesis 28:5 (VOICE)
Laban was Jacob’s maternal uncle, making Rachel and Leah his cousins.
Because of Rebekah’s plot with Jacob to deceive Isaac and steal Esau’s blessing, she lost both of her sons. They were still alive, but Esau was estranged and Jacob was gone for twenty years (Genesis 31:38).
Esau Marries The Daughter Of Ishmael
Now Esau saw that his father, Isaac, had again blessed Jacob and sent him to Paddan-aram to find a wife there, instructing him not to marry any of the Canaanite women. He learned, too, that Jacob had gone there just as his father and mother both wanted. So, realizing his father did not like his Canaanite wives, Esau went to see Ishmael and took Mahalath, the daughter of Ishmael (Abraham’s other son) and the sister of Nebaioth, to be his wife in addition to the two others.
Genesis 28:6-9 (VOICE)
Esau observed and listened, then went to Ishmael’s house to get for himself a wife of the family line, who would please his parents. Evidently he wanted to make some effort in the right direction. But because he was basically worldly, his career in the land of Edom fell short of behavior that could please the Lord Jehovah.
Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary
The Wycliffe Bible Commentary