change the meaning of stones by saying that Jacob took
one of the stones. The
translators have added the words "one of". Their explanation is the
result of the Hebrew word used in verse 18, the singular word "stone."
Jacob ends up with a single stone. Therefore, they assume he must have
started with a single stone. These translators entirely missed the
miracle God performed. This resulted in them forcing their own human
reasoning into the scriptures. To be true to God's word they should
have given the correct translation, even though they may not have grasped
its true meaning at the time.
We can see how this is correctly handled by Keil & Delitzsch-Commentary on
The Old Testament--page 281 of Vol.1, "As he was traveling from
Beersheba, where Isaac was then staying, to Haran, Jacob came to a place
where he was obliged to stop all night, because the sun had set. The
words "he hit (lighted) upon the place," indicate the apparently accidental,
yet really divinely appointed choice of this place for his night-quarters;
and the definite article points it out as having become well known through
the revelation of God that ensued. After making a pillow with the
stones, (Hebrew, head-place, pillow,) he fell asleep and had a dream, in
which he saw a ladder resting upon the earth, with the top reaching to
heaven; and upon it angels of God going up and down, and Jehovah
Himself standing above it. The ladder was a visible symbol of the real and
between God in heaven and His people on earth. The angels upon it carry
up the wants of men to God, and bring down the assistance and protection
of God to men. The ladder stood there upon the earth, just where Jacob
was lying in solitude, poor, helpless, and forsaken by men. Above
in heaven stood Jehovah, and explained in words the symbol which he saw.
Proclaiming Himself to Jacob as the God of his fathers, He not only
confirmed to him all the promises of the fathers in their fullest
extent, but promised him protection on his journey and a safe return to
his home (vers 13-15). However, as the fulfillment of this promise to
Jacob was still far off, God added firm assurance, "I will not leave
thee till I have done (carried out) what I have told thee"- Verse 16sqq.
Jacob gave utterance to the impression made by this vision as soon as he
awoke from sleep, in the words, "Surely Jehovah is in this place, and I
knew it not." The revelation was intended not only to stamp the
blessing, with which Isaac had dismissed him from his home, with the
seal of divine approval, but also to impress upon Jacob's mind the fact,
that although Jehovah would be near to protect and guide him even in a
foreign land, the land of promise was the holy ground on which the God
of his fathers would set up the covenant of His grace. Verse 18. In the
morning Jacob set up the stone at his head, as a monument to commemorate
the revelation he had received from God; and poured oil upon the top, to
consecrate it as a memorial of the mercy that God had shown him there."
It is obvious by what these men have written that they grasped the
tremendous spiritual implication of what God had done. However,
they completely missed the physical miracle, yet left the wording
intact. They did not try to force a humanly contrived meaning into
If we think about what God did here, it is quite easy to understand.
God knows that the reality of dreams fade from the mind, so He gave
Jacob an absolute physical miracle - the combining of many stones into
one stone. God gave Jacob something that he could see and feel;
something that he and his posterity could keep with them down through
the ages to this present time. As it was there to remind them, it is
also there to remind us of that momentous occasion.
As Paul wrote in Heb. 12:1, (NKJ) "Therefore we also, since we are
surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every
weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with
endurance the race that is set before us."
By Don Roth