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Jacob's Ladder

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Silk, Jun 21, 2014.

  1. I know what it says in scripture - that Jacob dreamt of a ladder with the foot on earth and the top in heaven, with angels going up and down - but I always feel as if I am missing the significance in this passage. Can anyone help? Thoughts?
  2. I like reading commentaries so I looked it in a couple ...

    The verses
    Matthew Henry's comments
    Albert Barnes notes on the Bible
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  3. Hmmmm....Jesus as the ladder makes alot of sense to me and while I have even used this image before - I never connected it to Jacob's ladder. Thanx for the post!
  4. I think Christians commonly believe it to represent Jesus.. Interested read from Wikipedia.. On what Jews believe it to represent.. Of course not Jesus!! This is straight from Wikipedia

    The classic Torah commentaries offer several interpretations of Jacob's ladder. According to theMidrash, the ladder signified the exiles which the Jewish people would suffer before the coming of the Messiah. First the angel representing the 70-year exile of Babylonia climbed "up" 70 rungs, and then fell "down". Then the angel representing the exile of Persia went up a number of steps, and fell, as did the angel representing the exile of Greece. Only the fourth angel, which represented the final exile of Rome/Edom (whose guardian angel was Esau himself), kept climbing higher and higher into the clouds. Jacob feared that his children would never be free of Esau's domination, but God assured him that at the End of Days, Edom too would come falling down.[citation needed]

    Another interpretation of the ladder keys into the fact that the angels first "ascended" and then "descended". The Midrash explains that Jacob, as a holy man, was always accompanied by angels. When he reached the border of the land of Canaan (the future land of Israel), the angels who were assigned to the Holy Land went back up to Heaven and the angels assigned to other lands came down to meet Jacob. When Jacob returned to Canaan he was greeted by the angels who were assigned to the Holy Land.

    The place at which Jacob stopped for the night was in reality Mount Moriah, the future home of the Temple in Jerusalem.[citation needed] The ladder therefore signifies the "bridge" between Heaven and earth, as prayers and sacrifices offered in the Holy Temple soldered a connection between God and the Jewish people. Moreover, the ladder alludes to the giving of the Torah as another connection between heaven and earth. The Hebrew word for ladder, sulam (סלם) and the name for the mountain on which the Torah was given, Sinai (סיני) have the same gematria(numerical value of the letters).

    The Hellenistic Jewish Biblical philosopher Philo Judaeus, born in Alexandria, (d. ca. 50 CE) presents his allegorical interpretation of the ladder in the first book of his De somniis. There he gives four interpretations, which are not mutually exclusive:[2]

    • The angels represent souls descending to and ascending from bodies (some consider this to be Philo's clearest reference to the doctrine of reincarnation).
    • In the second interpretation the ladder is the human soul and the angels are God's logoi, pulling the soul up in distress and descending in compassion.
    • In the third view the dream depicts the ups and downs of the life of the "practiser" (of virtue vs. sin).
    • Finally the angels represent the continually changing affairs of men.
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  5. Wow, I loved that post Rav. (and yours too Porcupine). I just learned a whole bunch of stuff. I liked all the different interpetations, too. Wondering if that is wrong? Could they all be kinda right?
  6. Theologically speaking, people call it as typology.. I don't think there is anything wrong with this.. As long as the message does not contradict to rest of the Bible and does not add to rest of the Bible, it is okay! That would be the key for me :)
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  7. I guess I was too lazy to google it - but I had something happen a while ago, where the term "Jacob's Ladder" came up and as much as I read the passage, I gained no significance to it other than angels going up and down. My younger brother and I were closest, thru most of our lives, but there had come a time when we fell out and I also felt he was "too toxic" to me and broke off relations, altogether. It's too long a story - but I got breast cancer (stage 4) and altho I told my older brother not to tell him - he did. My younger brother left a "peace offering" on my porch - a bag of shiny gold buckels with costume stones. About 100 of them. So I strung them on a ribbon, clipped it to my ceiling and called it (why I don't know) Jacob's Ladder. Your post connected to several points in the whole story. Thanks again. My brother passed about a year and a half after.

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