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Jacob’s Travels (Alternate Map)

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Jacob's Dream at Bethel

Jacob leaves Beersheba and flees to Haran in c.1703BC. Travelling north, he rests for the night at Luz (Bethel) and has an amazing dream.

Jacob Flees From Laban

Laban’s sons are furious with their cousin Jacob, so Jacob flees secretly from Haran. He puts his wives and children on camels and crosses ‘the river’ (the River Euphrates) then heads for the hill country of Gilead.

Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau

Jacob sets off from Mizpah in the hill country of Gilead and is met en route by angels (messengers) sent by God. Jacob exclaims, “This is the camp of God” and calls the place Mahanaim.

Jacob Sends Messengers Esau

Jacob remembers that, when he left Canaan twenty years earlier, his brother Esau had threatened to kill him. So he sends messengers to Esau in the land of Seir (Edom), and prepares a gift of goats, sheep and camels to pacify him.

Jacob Wrestles With God

Jacob crosses the ford of the River Jabbok (the modern River Zarqa) at Mahanaim under cover of darkness.
Jacob wrestles all night alone with God, seeking his blessing. God gives Jacob the name ‘Israel’, meaning ‘He struggles with God’. Jacob calls the place Peniel (‘face of God’) as he has seen God face to face.

Jacob Meets Esau

Jacob meets Esau by the River Jabbok. Jacob is scared because, when he was younger, he cheated Esau out of his birthright (see Genesis 27:1-40). But Esau has long since forgiven Jacob and is delighted to see him. He is persuaded to accept Jacob’s gifts.

Jacob to Succoth

Esau returns to Seir (Edom), but Jacob follows the track downstream and erects shelters for his cattle at Succoth (meaning ‘shelters’) on the floor of the Jordan Valley.

Jacob to Shechem

Jacob arrives at Shechem in c.1691BC (see Genesis 12:6-7) where he buys some land for a tomb from the sons of Hamor and sets up an altar called El Elohe Yisrael (Hebrew, meaning ‘God, the God of Israel’ or ‘God, the God of Jacob’). Jacob’s son Joseph is later buried in this tomb when his body is brought back from Egypt in c.1405BC (see Joshua 24:32). Joseph’s tomb can still be seen today in Shechem (modern-day Nablus)

Jacob Returns to Bethel

God sends Jacob to Bethel (the site of Jacob's dream - see Genesis 28:17). Before leaving Shechem, Jacob buries all the foreign gods that his wives brought from Haran under an oak tree. He arrives at Bethel (Luz) and builds an altar to God called El Bethel(‘God of Bethel’).

Isaac Dies

Jacob arrives back at his father Isaac’s home at Hebron. Shortly after, Isaac dies, and Jacob and Esau bury their father in the family tomb at Machpelah Cave.

Geolocation Coordinates – Open Bible | Narrative & Event Summary – The Bible Journey | Scripture Links – Bible Gateway

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Having fled for his life from Beersheba, Jacob settled down for the night at Luz. While asleep, he dreamed of a ladder - or stairway - leading up to heaven, with angels going up and down. In his dream, the LORD renewed his covenant promise to give the land of Canaan to Jacob and his descendants. God also promised that “all the families of the earth will be blessed” through Jacob’s offspring (Genesis 28:14). Jacob was awestruck and declared “This place ... is surely the house of God” (Genesis 28:17). He set up a stone pillar as an altar and re-named the place Bethel (‘Beth-el’ means ‘House of God’).

The site of Bethel is now occupied by the Palestinian West Bank village of Beitin, on the outskirts of Al-Bireh, 3 miles / 5 km to the northeast of RamallahBeitin was a prosperous town during Roman times, and still contains the remains of a Byzantine monastery built to commemorate Jacob’s dream. An ancient tower now marks the spot where it is believed Jacob had his vision of the ladder leading up to heaven and where, earlier, Abraham built an altar on his journey south from Shechem to the Negev Desert (see Genesis 12:8-9).

Source: The Bible Journey


Haran is one of the oldest cities on earth that is still inhabited today. Founded by settlers migrating west from Mesopotamia in the 18th century BC, the city was at its peak during the Hittite Empire, based on Central Anatolia in the 12th century BC. It was already centuries old when the Hittites fought Ramesses II of Egypt at the Battle of Kadesh in 939 BC.

Modern travellers to Harran (Haran), near Altinbaşak in eastern Turkey, can sense the antiquity of the settlement when they encounter its decaying walls, the ruins of the ancient 11th century citadel, and the remains of the Old Mosque. Haran is famous for its unique beehive-shaped mudbrick houses that originated in the 3rd century BC and which have been rebuilt in the same style many times during the intervening centuries.

Traditional bee-hive shaped houses at Harran  (Glumik)


A city in the south end of the valley of Eshcol, about midway between Jerusalem and Beersheba, from which it is distant about 20 miles in a straight line. It was built "seven years before Zoan in Egypt" ( Genesis 13:18Numbers 13:22 ). It still exists under the same name and is one of the most ancient cities in the world. Its earlier name was Kirjath-arba ( Genesis 23:2Joshua 14:1515:3 ). But "Hebron would appear to have been the original name of the city, and it was not till after Abraham's stay there that it received the name Kirjath-arba, who [i.e., Arba] was not the founder but the conqueror of the city, having led thither the tribe of the Anakim, to which he belonged. It retained this name till it came into the possession of Caleb when the Israelites restored the original name Hebron" (Keil, Com.).

The name of this city does not occur in any of the prophets or in the New Testament. It is found about forty times in the Old. It was the favorite home of Abraham. Here he pitched his tent under the oaks of Mamre, by which name it came afterward to be known; and here Sarah died, and was buried in the cave of Machpelah ( Genesis 23:17-20 ), which he bought from Ephron the Hittite. From this place, the patriarch departed for Egypt by way of Beersheba ( 37:1446:1 ). It was taken by Joshua and given to Caleb ( Joshua 10:36 Joshua 10:3712:1014:13 ). It became a Levitical city and a city of refuge ( 20:721:11 ). When David became king of Judah this was his royal residence, and he resided here for seven and a half years ( 2 Samuel 5:5 ), and here he was anointed as king over all Israel ( 2 Samuel 2:1-4 2 Samuel 2:111 Kings 2:11 ). It became the residence also of the rebellious Absalom ( 2 Samuel 15:10 ), who probably expected to find his chief support in the tribe of Judah, now called el-Khulil.In one part of the modern city is a great mosque, which is built over the grave of Machpelah.

One of the largest oaks in Palestine is found in the valley of Eshcol, about 3 miles north of the town. It is supposed by some to be the tree under which Abraham pitched his tent, and is called "Abraham's oak."

Source: The Bible Journey

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