The Stone of Jacob appears in the Book of Genesis as the stone used as a pillow by the Israelite patriarch Jacob at the place later called Bet-El. As Jacob had a vision in his sleep, he then consecrated the stone to God. More recently, the stone has been claimed by Scottish folklore and British Israelism.

Biblical context

According to account given in Genesis (Chapter 28:10-22), Jacob was fleeing from his elder twin brother Esau, whom he had tricked out of receiving their father Isaac's blessing of the first-born. On his flight, Jacob rested at a city called Luz and used a group of stones as a pillow.

In his dreams, he then saw

... a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.

And behold, the LORD stood above it and said: “I am the LORD God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants.

Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

After waking up, Jacob exclaimed: "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!" Subsequently, he called the place Bet-El, which translates to "House of God". He set up the stone he had slept on as a pillar, and consecrated it. He also made a vow to God in reference to his eventual return.

Later role in Israelite history

Though the Stone of Jacob is not explicitly mentioned after the book of Genesis, it likely played a role in Bet-El's function as an important sacral centre, especially after the split between the southern kingdom of Judah, with Jerusalem as its politial and religious centre, and the northern kingdom of Israel, with Bet-El and Dan as the religious centres.[1] The prophet Amos for a while also lived and worked at the sanctuary of Bet-El, which was increasingly seen as a symbol of national and religious schism. Accordingly, Bet-El ceased to be a religious centre in 722, when the Assyrian Empire destroyed the northern kingdom and Judah annexed the remnants.

Other traditions

Some Scottish legends surrounding the Stone of Scone, traditionally used for coronations of Scottish kings in the High Middle Ages, have identified this stone with the Stone of Jacob. Supposedly the Stone of Jacob was brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah and from thence to Scotland.[2][3]

These legends also feature prominently in British Israelism, a set of beliefs that consider the British monarchy as the legitimate heir to the ancient Israelites. From 1308 to 1996, the Stone of Scone - identified with the Stone of Jacob - rested in the Royal throne of England at Westminster.


  1. See 1 Kings 12
  2. David Lister (June 15, 2008). "Stone of Destiny a 'fake to dupe invading English', Abbot of Scone hid real stone from Edward I, says Salmond". The Times. "The stone, said to have been used in the coronation of early Scottish monarchs and in Biblical times by Jacob as a pillow, is one of the earliest symbols of Scottish nationhood and has been an emblem of strained relations with England ever since it was stolen by Edward I in 1296. ..." 
  3. The Stone of Scone, brought to Westminster around 1300, has been confirmed by geologists to be a "lower Old Red Sandstone", quarried in the vicinity of Scone, and thus has not been transported to that place either from another place in Scotland, Ireland, let alone the Holy Land. See John Prebble, The Lion in the North. However, see also Westminster Stone theory.

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