After encountering God in a vision, Jacob continued on his journey to his mother’s homeland probably arriving there around three weeks after leaving Canaan.[1] When he arrived, verse 2, “he saw a well in the open country, with three flocks of sheep lying near it because the flocks were watered from that well.” The opening to this well was blocked off by a large stone. The practice of the local shepherds at that time is described in verse 3: “When all the flocks were gathered there, the shepherds would roll the stone away from the well’s mouth and water the sheep. Then they would return the stone to its place over the mouth of the well.”

Upon meeting the shepherds and discovering they were from Harran, his mother’s home, Jacob asked them if they knew her brother Laban, “Nahor’s grandson” in verses 4–5. They replied they did, noting that he was well. As they were talking, they said to Jacob, “and here comes [Laban’s] daughter Rachel with the sheep,” verse 6, for she, too, “was a shepherd” verse 9. Upon seeing her, we’re told beginning in verse 10 that Jacob “went over and rolled the stone away from the mouth of the well and watered his uncle’s sheep. 11 Then Jacob kissed Rachel and began to weep aloud. 12 He had told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and a son of Rebekah. So she ran and told her father.” On a side note, though Jacob may have been “content to stay at home among the tents” rather than being a skillful hunter as his brother Esau[2] was, Jacob clearly was quite strong for normally more than one man would have been required to roll the stone away from the mouth of the well.

Be that as it may, this fortuitous reunion may have reminded Laban of the day decades earlier when the head servant of his great uncle Abraham arrived at the home of Bethuel, his father, as he sought to take Rebekah[3] back to Canaan that she might marry Isaac.[4] Laban’s initial response to his nephew Jacob was similar to how he had responded to Abraham’s servant.[5] As we read beginning in verse 13, “13 As soon as Laban heard the news about Jacob, his sister’s son, he hurried to meet him. He embraced him and kissed him and brought him to his home, and there Jacob told him all these things. 14 Then Laban said to him, ‘You are my own flesh and blood.’” Though missing the earlier component of commenting upon God’s providence in bringing Jacob to him, at this point Laban was clearly grateful to welcome and embrace his nephew into his home. One scholar commenting on the two incidents observes, “The similarity of this meeting at the well with the meeting in 24:11–33”—that is, the one between Abraham’s servant and Rebekah—“suggests the benevolence of divine providence, but also highlights the contrast between the prayerful servant and the prayerless patriarch.”[6] As we noted last week, at this point in his life Jacob had not yet embraced the God of his grandfather Abraham and of his father Isaac as his own.

Now after hardy Jacob had been with Laban for a month, apparently working for free, Laban said to him, verse 15, “Just because you are a relative of mine, should you work for me for nothing? Tell me what your wages should be.” This is where Rachel re-entered the picture. First we’re told, verse 17, that she had an older sister, Leah who had “weak eyes,” whereas Rachel “had a lovely figure and was beautiful.”[7] Then we’re told, verse 18, that “Jacob was in love with Rachel.” Therefore, when Laban asked Jacob what his wages for working for him might be, Jacob answered, “I’ll work for you seven years in return for your younger daughter Rachel.” Laban agreed, stating, verse 19, “It’s better that I give her to you than to some other man. Stay here with me.” And so Jacob did. And his love was such that the seven years of work, verse 20, “seemed like only a few days.”

What happened next was that Jacob who had grasped Esau’s heel, that is, who had deceived Esau,[8] was himself deceived as Laban delivered Leah to him rather than Rachel as per their agreement. One commentator notes the irony in this: “Having deceived his father by pretending to be the firstborn, Jacob himself is now deceived by his uncle Laban into marrying his firstborn daughter, Leah.”[9] For when the seven years of work for Rachel were complete, Jacob asked for his bride that they might consummate their marriage, verse 21. Laban seemed to oblige by throwing the equivalent of a wedding reception as he “brought together all the people of the place and gave a feast,” verse 22. But then Laban carried out a “bait and switch” for, as stated in verse 23, “when evening came, he took his daughter Leah and brought her to Jacob, and Jacob made love to her.” Concerning this deception another commentator similarly notes, “Jacob, the deceiver in name…had himself been deceived. The one who had tried everything to obtain the benefits of the firstborn had now, against his will, received the firstborn….”[10] Worth mentioning as well is that in verse 24 we’re told that Laban gave Leah one of his servants, Zilpah, as her attendant.

Now we may wonder how it was that Jacob didn’t catch on to Laban’s deceit given that the sisters looked so different from one another. But for starters, it’s likely that Leah wore a veil when she went to Jacob. Perhaps more to the point, we ask this from the perspective of those who have always had the luxury of electricity. Therefore we ask as those for whom darkness has never been an impediment to seeing. But in the case of Jacob, it was only when morning arrived that he was able to realize what had occurred. So he asked Laban, verse 25, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?” Laban answered according to the practices of his day stating simply, verse 26, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one.” Concerning this one scholar observes, “As Jacob took advantage of his father’s blindness to deceive him, so Laban used the cover of night to outwit Jacob.”[11]

However once Jacob’s honeymoon, or “bridal week,” with Leah was complete, Laban did agree to let him have Rachel as well, allowing Jacob to marry her prior to his working seven more years as he had worked for Leah. As stated in verse 28, “He finished the week with Leah, and then Laban gave him his daughter Rachel to be his wife.” And as he had done with Leah, Laban also gave Rachel an attendant whose name was Bilhah. Yet the favoritism that had marked Jacob’s childhood—recall that his mother favored him but his father favored Esau[12]—tragically continued for as stated in verse 30, “Jacob made love to Rachel also, and his love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah. And he worked for Laban another seven years” (emphasis added).

What follows in the remainder of chapter 29 into chapter 30 of Genesis is a description of the sibling rivalry precipitated by Jacob’s preference, a rivalry between Jacob’s two wives, Leah and Rachel, that is as fraught with tension as was that between Jacob and his twin brother Esau. Consequently we see God’s compassion for Leah expressed, verses 31–32: “31 When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. 32 Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben.” Verse 31 is a touching reminder that absent human love, God’s love is ever present. As the psalmist teaches, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”[13] For in the ancient world, even more so than in today’s world in which women have privileges and opportunities that weren’t available then, a woman’s worth was often measured by whether or not she bore children. Though Jacob didn’t love Leah as he did Rachel, in Leah’s mind he just might come to value her more if she could bear him children. And so did God enable her.

What follows next in this sisterly rivalry is a battle of the babies in which each child born is granted a name understood to be in keeping with the circumstances under which he was born:

Thus the name Reuben, Leah’s firstborn, sounds like the Hebrew for “he has seen my misery” and literally means, “See, a son.” Therefore Leah declared, verse 32, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now;”

Simeon—her second-born—probably means “one who hears.” Thus did Leah say, verse 33, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too;”

Leah’s third son’s name, Levi, may be derived from the Hebrew for “attached.” Thus did Leah pronounce, verse 34, “Now at last my husband will become attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” So we see how desperately Leah longed for Jacob’s love, mistakenly assuming that by bearing his children, he would love her more. Again, her comments following the birth of each son are heartbreaking—“Surely my husband will love me now” (verse 32); “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved…” (verse 33); “Now at last my husband will become attached to me” (verse 34).

Judah, Leah’s fourth son, may be derived from the Hebrew for “praise.” Hence she exclaimed, verse 35, “This time I will praise the Lord.”

Well, in case you’re keeping track—as the sisters no doubt were—the score at this point was: Leah—4; Rachel—0. Therefore did Rachel demand from Jacob in the opening verse of Chapter 30, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Jacob, understandably, became angry. But rather than pray as his father Isaac had done in the face of Rebekah’s seeming barrenness,[14] this “prayerless patriarch” instead rhetorically asked, verse 2, “Am I in the place of God, who has kept you from having children?” Rachel then chose to step into the shoes of Sarah, Jacob’s grandmother, by offering Jacob her servant, Bilhah[15]—a custom that though common at this time is never sanctioned in Scripture. Her plan worked for Bilhah conceived and began to even the score for Rachel, the head wife. For as we noted when Sarah did this with her servant Hagar, children of the servant wife were understood as belonging to the head wife. The name of the son Bilhah bore was Dan—which in this context means “he has vindicated.” Therefore did Rachel announce, verse 6, “God has vindicated me; he has listened to my plea and given me a son.”

Naphtali was Bilhah’s second—and Jacob’s sixth—son. His name means “struggle.” Therefore Rachel said, verse 8, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won.”—although I’m not sure that two sons by way of Bilhah actually won out over the four sons Leah had had. But, again, we do see in this how Rachel, like her sister Leah, viewed childbearing as a competition.

For her part, Leah accepted Rachel’s challenge and followed in kind as she, too, offered Jacob her servant, Zilpah, who bore him Gad. His name can mean either “fortune” or “troop.” Therefore did Leah say, verse 11, “What good fortune!” (or perhaps “A troop is coming!”)

Also born to Zilpah was Asher whose name means “happy.” Therefore Leah announced, verse 13, “How happy I am! The women will call me happy.”

Next we have an interlude in which Leah was able to again sleep with Jacob in exchange for some mandrakes Rachel wanted from her.[16] Her desire for mandrakes was possibly due to a superstitious belief that they would enable her to conceive.[17] Regardless, this exchange resulted in another son for Leah, Issachar, whose name sounds like the Hebrew word for “reward.” Thus did Leah pronounce, verse 18, “God has rewarded me for giving my servant to my husband.”

Then Leah bore yet another son, Zebulun, whose name probably means “honor.” Therefore Leah said, verse 20, “God has presented me with a precious gift. This time my husband will treat me with honor, because I have borne him six sons.”

After noting the birth of a daughter to Leah, Dinah in verse 21, verse 22 records the birth of Rachel’s first son—that is, first to her rather than to her servant. His name is Joseph, possibly meaning “may he add.” Thus did Rachel declare, verse 24, “May the Lord add to me another son.” This the LORD did but, tragically, Rachel would die in giving birth to her final son. As later recounted in Genesis 35, while on a journey to Ephrath—or Bethlehem—with Jacob, “While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, ‘Don’t despair, for you have another son.’ 18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.” Ben-oni means “son of my trouble” whereas Benjamin means “son of my right hand.” Tragically, she who had demanded children of Jacob, lest she die,[18] died herself in giving birth to her second child.

Well, what we have summarized in these two chapters of Genesis, at a breathtaking pace, is the birth not only of Jacob’s twelve sons, but also of the twelve tribes of Israel for each of the twelve sons born to Jacob will develop into a future tribe[19]—although as we’ll later see, Joseph and the tribe of Levi are switched out for Joseph’s two sons,[20] Manasseh and Ephraim,[21] since the tribe of Levi was singled out for the priesthood and therefore had no inheritance of land since the LORD was their inheritance.[22] And what we see happen once the twelve tribes are established is that much like Popes within Catholicism trace their spiritual ancestry back to one of the twelve apostles, so did Jewish believers trace their Jewish ancestry back to one of the twelve tribes of Israel. Some of the most prominent examples include:

David and his father Jesse,[23] Joseph, and Mary[24] were all from the tribe of Judah;

Moses[25] and John the Baptist[26] were from the tribe of Levi;

Samson was from the tribe of Dan;[27]

Joshua[28] and Samuel[29] were from the tribe of Ephraim;

King Saul[30] and the apostle Paul[31] were from the tribe of Benjamin.

But most important of all is the fact that Jesus, like David, Jesse, and his parents, was from the tribe of Judah,[32] Leah’s fourth son.

Now as we turn to our New Testament passage, we should note that at this point in his life, Paul had been brought to trial for the “crime” of proclaiming Christ.[33] What we find in Acts 26 is his self-defense before King Agrippa. First Paul presented his bona fides stating, verses 4–5, “The Jewish people all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that I conformed to the strictest sect of our religion, living as a Pharisee.” As one connected with the sect of the Pharisees, “the strictest sect” among the Jewish people, Paul had the training, practice, and expertise to properly interpret the Scriptures.

Next Paul stated the reason for his being brought before King Agrippa in the first place, verses 6­–8, “And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our ancestors that I am on trial today. This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. King Agrippa, it is because of this hope that these Jews are accusing me. Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead?” Now it’s important to note Paul’s point that all Jewish believers, having descended from the twelve tribes of Israel—that is, Jacob whom we’ve just considered—were looking for Messiah. And the promise to which Paul alludes was initially part of Jacob’s later blessing to Judah which stated in part, “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.”[34] What is more, concerning this ruler Isaiah later prophesied, “1 A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit…. 10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.”[35] These promises in the Old Testament find their fulfillment in the New for the ruler to whom the scepter and obedience of all nations belonged; the root of Jesse, promised to the twelve tribes, was none other than Jesus Christ—that is, Jesus Messiah (Messiah being the Hebrew form of the Greek Christ) who came, suffered, died, and rose from death for the salvation of all who believed and received him as their Savior and Lord. Therefore did Paul proclaim that this hope of being raised from the dead is “the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night.”

In verses 9–21 which I’ve skipped, Paul relates how when he was persecuting Christians, the risen Christ had appeared to him[36] saying in part, verses 17–18, “17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles.[37] I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” This is why God sent Messiah, his Son. And thus did Paul go on to serve and proclaim him.

As we jump ahead to the end of Paul’s testimony starting in verse 22 we see him concluding, “22 But God has helped me to this very day; so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen— 23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.” Paul’s hope—and the hope of Jewish believers descended from the twelve tribes of Israel that formed from Jacob’s twelve children—and the hope of all who lived in Paul’s time—and the hope of all who live today, is to be found in none other than Jesus Christ, Jesus Messiah, Jesus the root of Jesse, Jesus descended from the tribe of Judah whose name, as noted earlier, appropriately enough means “praise”! The apostle John testified in his Revelation concerning Jesus, descendant of Judah, how a mighty angel asked, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?”[38] When “no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it,”[39] John wept.[40] But then, he notes how “one of the elders said to me, ‘Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.’”[41]

Dear sisters and brothers, because of the triumph of Jesus, our Savior and Lord, over sin, Satan, evil, and death, we have a sure hope;

Because of the triumph of Jesus, our Savior and Lord, our eyes have been turned from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to the power of God;

Because of the triumph of Jesus, our Savior and Lord, we can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified—those who are set aside and made holy—by placing our faith in him;

So let us join the twelve tribes of Jacob, of Israel, patriarch not only of the Jews but of all who believe in Christ, the Messiah, and earnestly serve him day and night;

So let us praise, today and always, Jesus, Messiah, Lion of Judah—our Hope!

Let us pray.

 

 

 

 

[1] Genesis 1:1: “Then Jacob continued on his journey and came to the land of the eastern peoples.” The Crossway ESV Study Bible note on Genesis 29:1 notes that “the people of the east…is an unusual way of referring to the inhabitants of Paddan-aram in northwest Mesopotamia. In Genesis, however, the ‘east’ is often associated with those who are expelled or move away from God’s presence (3:23–24; 4:16: 21:14; 25:6). This brief comment possibly signals that Jacob’s relatives do not worship the Lord.” Lending credence to this interpretation is the fact that later Rachel stole the idols from her father Laban’s house and lied about having done so. See Genesis 31:19, 34–35: 19  When Laban had gone to shear his sheep, Rachel stole her father’s household gods.” She later lied about having done so…. 34 Now Rachel had taken the household gods and put them inside her camel’s saddle and was sitting on them. Laban searched through everything in the tent but found nothing.35 Rachel said to her father, “Don’t be angry, my lord, that I cannot stand up in your presence; I’m having my period.” So he searched but could not find the household gods.

[2] Genesis 25:27: The boys grew up, and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was content to stay at home among the tents.

[3] Genesis 22:23: Bethuel became the father of Rebekah. Milkah [Bethuel’s wife] bore these eight sons to Abraham’s brother Nahor.

[4] See sermon preached on September 13, 2020, God Knows before We Ask, on Genesis 24.

[5] Laban’s response to Abraham’s servant is found in Genesis 24:50–51: 50 Laban and Bethuel answered, “This is from the Lord; we can say nothing to you one way or the other. 51 Here is Rebekah; take her and go, and let her become the wife of your master’s son, as the Lord has directed.”

[6] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Genesis 29:2.

[7] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Genesis 29:16 observes that Leah’s name may mean “wild cow” or “wild ox.” Rachel’s name means “ewe.”

[8] Jacob means he grasps the heel a Hebrew idiom for he deceives.

[9] Crossway ESV Study Bible note on Genesis 29:15–30.

[10] Zondervan NIV Study Bible note on Genesis 29:25.

[11] Reformation ESV Study Bible note on Genesis 29:23.

[12] Genesis 25:28: Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob.

[13] Psalm 147:3. See also Psalm 34:18: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

[14] Genesis 25:21: Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife, because she was childless. The Lord answered his prayer, and his wife Rebekah became pregnant.

[15] See sermon preached on July 26, 2020, The God Who Hears, Sees—and Cares, on Genesis 16:1–16.

[16] Genesis 30:14–16: 14 During wheat harvest, Reuben went out into the fields and found some mandrake plants, which he brought to his mother Leah. Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s mandrakes.” 15 But she said to her, “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?” “Very well,” Rachel said, “he can sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s mandrakes.” 16 So when Jacob came in from the fields that evening, Leah went out to meet him. “You must sleep with me,” she said. “I have hired you with my son’s mandrakes.” So he slept with her that night.

[17] As noted in the Zondervan NIV Bible Study note on Genesis 30:14: “The mandrake has fleshy, forked roots that resemble the lower part of a human body and were therefore superstitiously thought to induce pregnancy when eaten (see SS 7:13). Rachel, like Jacob (vv. 37–43), tried to obtain what she wanted by magical means.”

[18] Genesis 30:1: When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”

[19] Israel (formerly known as Jacob) blesses the twelve in Genesis 49:1–2, 3a, 5a, 8a, 13a, 14a, 16a, 19a, 20a, 21a, 22a, 27a: 1 Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come. “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel. Reuben, you are my firstborn,… 5 “Simeon and Levi are brothers…. 8 “Judah, your brothers will praise you…. 13 “Zebulun will live by the seashore…. 14 “Issachar is a rawboned donkey…. 16 “Dan will provide justice for his people…. 19 Gad will be attacked by a band of raiders…. 20 “Asher’s food will be rich…. 21 “Naphtali is a doe set free…. 22 “Joseph is a fruitful vine…. 27 “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf….

[20] Joshua 14:3–4: Moses had granted the two and a half tribes their inheritance east of the Jordan but had not granted the Levites an inheritance among the rest, for Joseph’s descendants had become two tribes—Manasseh and Ephraim. The Levites received no share of the land but only towns to live in, with pasturelands for their flocks and herds.; Ezekiel 47:13: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: “These are the boundaries of the land that you will divide among the twelve tribes of Israel as their inheritance, with two portions for Joseph….

[21] Genesis 48:5 [Jacob is speaking to Joseph]: Now then, your two sons born to you in Egypt before I came to you here will be reckoned as mine; Ephraim and Manasseh will be mine, just as Reuben and Simeon are mine.

[22] Numbers 18:20–21: 20 The Lord said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any share among them; I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites. 21 I give to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as their inheritance in return for the work they do while serving at the tent of meeting.”

[23] Matthew 1:6: and Jesse the father of King David.

[24] Matthew 1:16: and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.

[25] Describing Moses’ birth, we read in Exodus 2:1–3: 1 Now a man of the tribe of Levi married a Levite woman, and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basketfor him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile.

[26] John’s parents were from the priestly class which would have been the Levites. See Luke 1:5: In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron.

[27] Judges 13:2, 24–25: A certain man of Zorah, named Manoah, from the clan of the Danites, had a wife who was childless, unable to give birth…. 24 The woman gave birth to a boy and named him Samson. He grew and the Lord blessed him, 25 and the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he was in Mahaneh Dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

[28] Numbers 13:8, 16b: from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun;… 16b …(Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua.)

[29] Elkanah is Samuel’s father. See 1 Samuel 1:1, 19–20: 1 There was a certain man from Ramathaim, a Zuphite from the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite…. 19 Early the next morning they arose and worshiped before the Lord and then went back to their home at Ramah. Elkanah made love to his wife Hannah, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.”

[30] 1 Samuel 9:21: Saul answered, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?”

[31] Philippians 3:4–6:though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.

[32] Matthew 1:1–3ff: 1 This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers, Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar, Perez the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram,….

[33] See Acts 22:14–23: 14 “Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

17 “When I returned to Jerusalem and was praying at the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 “‘Lord,’ I replied, ‘these people know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in you. 20 And when the blood of your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ” 22 The crowd listened to Paul until he said this. Then they raised their voices and shouted, “Rid the earth of him! He’s not fit to live!” 23 As they were shouting and throwing off their cloaks and flinging dust into the air, 24 the commander ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks.

[34] Genesis 49:10. Emphasis added.

[35] Isaiah 11:1, 10. Paul also saw this Isaiah’s prophecy being fulfilled in Jesus. See Rom 15:8–9, 12: For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy…. 12 And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; in him the Gentiles will hope.”

[36] This event is recorded in Acts 9:1–18.

[37] Paul also testifies to this in Acts 22:21: “Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’”

[38] Revelation 5:2.

[39] Revelation 5:3.

[40] Revelation 5:4.

[41] Revelation 5:5.