Your descendants shall be like the dust of the earth…(Genesis 28:14). The ancient Aramaic translation of Onkelos adjusts this straightforward verse and reads: Your descendants shall be many like the dust of the earth…Why add the word “many”? R. Jacob Zevi Meklenburg explains that it is impossible for the number of people to equal “the dust of the earth.” Onkelos is making the point that this verse is not literal but using a simile; Jacob’s descendants will be numerous – many like the dust of the earth. R. Meklenburg adds that this verse is making a different point. The earth has an eternal quality – and the earth lasts forever (Ecclesiastes 1:4) – and this quality will animate the descendants of Jacob.