New Defender's Study Bible Notes
28:1 blessed him. At this point, Isaac repeated and expanded his blessing to Jacob, indicating his full realization that God’s will had been accomplished.
28:1 daughters of Canaan. Jacob was probably seventy-five years old, and Isaac had been inexcusably negligent in not attempting long before this (as Abraham had done for him) to find suitable wives among his home countrymen for his sons. Esau’s bigamous marriage to two Hittite women had been one tragic consequence of his negligence.
28:9 unto Ishmael. Esau, finally realizing his troubles were of his own doing, and realizing that his father no longer supported his position, was belatedly trying to help matters by marrying an Ishmaelite woman. Even Ishmael, however, was outside the scope of God’s promises regarding the Seed.
28:9 Mahalath. There is an apparent contradiction between the names of Esau’s wives in Genesis 26:34 and 28:9. The probable resolution of this problem is discussed in the note on Genesis 36:3.
28:12 reached to heaven. This was a theophany, the first of about eight Jacob would experience. It happened in the form of a remarkable dream. Jacob was assured of God’s intense interest and of his own key role in God’s plan. The great ladder with ascending and descending angels, bridging the gulf between earth and heaven, symbolized Christ Himself (John 1:51; 3:13; Ephesians 4:8-10), as well of assuring Jacob of his own access to God through prayer and obedience.
28:20 If God. The word “if” here should be read with the connotation of “since.” Jacob was not bargaining with God, as some think, but gratefully accepting God’s promised blessing as just outlined by Him (Genesis 28:13-15). He was reciprocating by vowing that the Lord would always be his God and that he would serve Him.
28:22 the tenth. This is the second reference to tithing in the Bible. Abraham had given tithes to Melchizedek, as God’s priest (Genesis 14:20), and Jacob evidently intended to do the same, although it is not clear at this stage in history just how this could be done, since the Aaronic priesthood had not yet been established. Jacob had built an altar here at Bethel (“the house of God”) as his first effort in this direction.