In this video Dr Woodhead discusses Jacob’s dream which produced the image of a ladder. In Hebrew this is soolam סֻלָּם֙
This is a unique word. The Jewish encyclopedia refers to it as a hapax legomena. These are words or forms of words that occur once only. There are about 1,500 of these in the Old Testament; but only 400 are, strictly, “hapax legomena”; that is, are either absolutely new coinages of roots, or cannot be derived in their formation or in their specific meaning from other occurring stems. This occurrence of the word ladder is one of the 400 strict hapax legomena. The reason it is classified in this category is it is a very unique ladder, not the type we would normally consider when we see that word. It’s meaning is actually a stairway, which is giving Jacob access to Heaven. What Jacob sees on this stairway when it appears are the angels of God. Interestingly, the appearance of these angels is when he leaves the Land and when he returns to the Land. Here the angels are seen ascending and descending on the stairway to Heaven. They are making the path for Jacob to see the physical manifestation of Jehovah God, The Shechinah Glory. He then speaks to Jacob from the top of the stairway. He says that, I am Jehovah, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. The Hebrew word for father is av אָב and it also means ancestor so God is not referring to Abraham in the strict sense of Jacob’s father. Isaac of course is his immediate father but Jehovah identifies Jacob with both of them to affirm the Covenant. He states the four provisions of the Covenant.
1. The Land is promised to him personally and individually (seed affirms Jacob’s success in finding a wife and producing offspring).
2. Jehovah says that his offspring will be innumerable.
3. He promised a Gentile blessing, which was also affirmed specifically to both Abraham and Isaac as well.
4. Finally four specific personal promises are made to Jacob.
a. God promised to be with him
b. He promised to protect Jacob (keep you wherever you go)
c. God promised to bring him again into the Land
d. He would not leave Jacob until He had fulfilled the promises of the Covenant.