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11 He reached a certain place[a] where he decided to camp because the sun had gone down.[b] He took one of the stones[c] and placed it near his head.[d] Then he fell asleep[e] in that place

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  1. Genesis 28:11 tn Heb “the place.” The article may indicate simply that the place is definite in the mind of the narrator. However, as the story unfolds the place is transformed into a holy place. See A. P. Ross, “Jacob’s Vision: The Founding of Bethel,” BSac 142 (1985): 224-37.
  2. Genesis 28:11 tn Heb “and he spent the night there because the sun had gone down.”
  3. Genesis 28:11 tn Heb “he took from the stones of the place,” which here means Jacob took one of the stones (see v. 18).
  4. Genesis 28:11 tn Heb “and he put [it at] the place of his head.” The text does not actually say the stone was placed under his head to serve as a pillow, although most interpreters and translators assume this. It is possible the stone served some other purpose. Jacob does not seem to have been a committed monotheist yet (see v. 20-21) so he may have believed it contained some spiritual power. Note that later in the story he anticipates the stone becoming the residence of God (see v. 22). Many cultures throughout the world view certain types of stones as magical and/or sacred. See J. G. Fraser, Folklore in the Old Testament, 231-37.
  5. Genesis 28:11 tn Heb “lay down.”