Genesis 28:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 28:12, NIV: "He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it."

Genesis 28:12, ESV: "And he dreamed, and behold, there was a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it!"

Genesis 28:12, KJV: "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it."

Genesis 28:12, NASB: "And he had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it."

Genesis 28:12, NLT: "As he slept, he dreamed of a stairway that reached from the earth up to heaven. And he saw the angels of God going up and down the stairway."

Genesis 28:12, CSB: "And he dreamed: A stairway was set on the ground with its top reaching the sky, and God's angels were going up and down on it."

What does Genesis 28:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob has fled his home in Canaan, both to escape the wrath of his brother Esau (Genesis 27:41) and to find a wife among his people in Mesopotamia (Genesis 28:1–2). Apparently, Jacob either left too quickly to gather supplies, or simply did not plan well and found himself out in the wilderness at night without aid.

Sleeping with his head on a stone on the ground, Jacob begins to dream. As the Lord did with Abraham (Genesis 15:12), He will now appear to Jacob in a dream. He will reaffirm, in person to Jacob, that all of the covenant promises made to Abraham will be for him, as well.

As the dream begins, Jacob sees a structure connecting earth to heaven. The Hebrew word for this object is sul'lam, which appears only here in the Bible. The term is often translated as "ladder," but it could possibly be interpreted as a "staircase." Either way, this construction is occupied by God's angels ascending and descending. The text states this with a sense of astonishment, perhaps expressing the feelings of Jacob in the dream.