In Part 1, we were introduced to Jacob in his youth. He had grabbed and deceived whatever he could from his twin brother until Esau’s revenge had become dangerous. As we re-enter Jacob’s story, we find him alone for the first time in his life and traveling 500 miles on foot to live with his uncle. God appears to him in a vivid dream (often called “Jacob’s Ladder”), promising that his descendants would become a nation, and he would always be protected. God said that, when the time was right, He would bring him home and all His promises would be fulfilled. In this life-changing dream, God also promised that Jacob would never be alone. Suddenly God’s presence became more intimate; Jacob awakes changed, marks the spot with rocks, and prays his first prayer.
Jacob then continues his long journey and comes to a well, visited by shepherds from Haran where his uncle Laban lives. Thus begins the second significant chapter of Jacob’s life. He meets his future wife, Rachel, and discovers that scheming deceitfulness runs in his family as Laban tricks him into first marrying Rachel’s older sister—and working for his uncle for at least 14 years. Finally, Jacob told his uncle (also his father-in-law) that he wanted to leave with his wives and children. Laban entered a business partnership with Jacob and, although structured for his own benefit, God intervened—ultimately growing Jacob’s flocks until he became at least as wealthy as Laban.
The young man who fled from home decades earlier, alone and running for his life, is now a middle-aged family man of great means and resources. Jacob is ready to assume his destined role as a patriarch. But something is wrong: he is in the wrong place. God’s promise could only be fulfilled if he returns to the land of his birth.