Jacob’s Travels (Alternate Map)
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’).
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.
Click colored sequential icons for summaries and scripture links.