What does Genesis 28:14 mean?
ESV: Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
NIV: Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.
NASB: Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
CSB: Your offspring will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out toward the west, the east, the north, and the south. All the peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.
NLT: Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions — to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants.
KJV: And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
Verse Commentary:
Jacob has fled his homeland in Canaan, avoiding his enraged brother (Genesis 27:41) and seeking a wife in his family's ancestral territory (Genesis 28:1–2). While sleeping alone in the wilderness with a rock for a pillow, Jacob experiences a fantastic dream, showing him a ladder, or staircase, full of angels (Genesis 28:10–12). Through this dream, God speaks to Jacob and delivers promises much like those given to Abraham and Isaac.

One has to wonder if Jacob has heard these words before. Had Abraham or Isaac ever quoted to Jacob these promises from God? We don't know, though Isaac had said somewhat similar things to him in delivering the blessing of Abraham before sending Jacob off on this journey. In any case, the Lord does say to Jacob nearly the exact words He said to Abraham. Jacob's offspring will become as the dust of the earth (Genesis 13:16). They will spread in every direction across the land. However, they will not only conquer and occupy. Through Jacob's descendants, all the people of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3).

Many interpreters see this promise—to bless all the people of the earth through the descendants of Abraham and Jacob—as the Lord pointing forward to Jesus Christ. Jesus, the Savor and Messiah, will make it possible for people of every family and nation to become the people of God. Jesus will be one of the direct descendants of Abraham, Jacob, and their offspring.
Verse Context:
Genesis 28:10–22 describes the Lord's appearance in a dream, given to Jacob while on the road to Haran in Mesopotamia, the region where Rebekah's brother Laban lives. Forced by nightfall to sleep on the ground with a rock for a pillow, Jacob dreams of a ladder, connecting earth to heaven, and full of angels going in both directions. Atop the ladder, the Lord stands and gives to Jacob the very promises He gave to Abraham. He also promises to be with Jacob on his journey from and back to the land of promise. Jacob wakes up and worships the Lord, vowing to make the Lord his God.
Chapter Summary:
Isaac sends Jacob away from his household to find a wife in Mesopotamia, in Paddan-aram, where Rebekah's brother lives. First, though, he gives to Jacob the full blessing of the promises of Abraham. Esau marries one of the daughters of Ishmael to try to please Isaac. The Lord appears to Jacob in a dream, giving to him the promises of Abraham personally, along with the assurance that He will be with Jacob to Mesopotamia and back again. Jacob vows that if the Lord does this, he will make the Lord his God and will worship Him and tithe to Him.
Chapter Context:
The previous chapter concluded with Rebekah urging Jacob to run for his life to her brother's household in Mesopotamia to escape the wrath of Esau. Now Isaac, too, sends Jacob to Laban, except to find a non-Canaanite wife. Hearing this, Esau marries one of the daughters of Ishmael. On the road to Mesopotamia, the Lord appears to Jacob in a dream. God personally delivers the covenant promises of Abraham and assurances to be with Jacob. In awe and fear, Jacob renames the place Bethel, ''house of God,'' and vows to worship the Lord as his God. In the next chapter, Jacob will get a taste of his own deceptive medicine, as he seeks a wife.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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