3732. And Jacob vowed a vow. That this signifies a state of Providence, is evident from the signification of "vowing a vow," as being in the internal sense to will that the Lord shall provide, and therefore in the supreme sense, in which the Lord is treated of, a state of Providence. That in the internal sense "to vow a vow" signifies to will that the Lord shall provide, is from the fact that in vows there is the desire and affection that what is willed may come to pass; thus that the Lord shall provide. There is also implied somewhat of stipulation, and at the same time somewhat of obligation on the part of man, which he takes upon himself if he comes to possess the object of his wish; as here on the part of Jacob, that Jehovah should be to him for a God, and the stone which he set up for a pillar should be the house of God, and that he would tithe all that was given him, provided that Jehovah would keep him in the way, and would give him bread to eat and raiment to put on, and that he should return in peace to his father's house. This shows that in those days vows were special compacts, especially as regards the acknowledging of God as being their God if He would provide for them what they desired, and as regards the repaying of Him by some gift if He would so provide.
 From all this it is very evident what was the quality of the fathers of the Jewish nation, as here that of Jacob, who as yet did not acknowledge Jehovah, and was still undetermined in his choice as to whether he should acknowledge Him or another for his God. It was a peculiarity of that nation, even from the time of their fathers, that everyone desired to have his own God, and that if anyone worshiped Jehovah, it was only that he worshiped some god called Jehovah, and who by this name was distinguished from the gods of other nations, so that their worship even in this respect was idolatrous; for the worship of a mere name, even of the name Jehovah, is nothing but idolatry (n. 1094). The case is the same with those who call themselves Christians and say they worship Christ, but do not live according to His precepts; such worship Him with idolatry, because they worship His name alone, since it is a false Christ whom they worship; concerning which false Christ see Matthew 24:23, 24 (n. 3010).