Jacob in Bethel
1God said to Jacob, “Go to the town of Bethel.#35:1 Bethel A town in Israel. This name means “God’s house.” That is where I appeared to you when you were running away from your brother Esau. Live there and make an altar to honor me as El,#35:1 El A Hebrew name for God. the God who appeared to you.”
2So Jacob told his family and all the other people with him, “Destroy all these foreign gods that you have. Make yourselves pure. Put on clean clothes. 3We will leave here and go to Bethel. There I will build an altar to the God who has always helped me during times of trouble. He has been with me wherever I have gone.”
4So the people gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had, and they gave him all the rings they were wearing in their ears. He buried everything under an oak tree near the town called Shechem.
5Then Jacob and his sons left that place. The people in the surrounding cities wanted to follow and kill them, but God filled them with such great fear that they did not go after them. 6So Jacob and his people went to Luz, which is now called Bethel. It is in the land of Canaan. 7Jacob built an altar there. He named the place “El Bethel.”#35:7 El Bethel A name that means “the God of Bethel.” Jacob chose this name because that is the place where God first appeared to him when he was running from his brother.
8Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died there. They buried her under the oak tree at Bethel. They named that place Allon Bacuth.#35:8 Allon Bacuth This name means “the oak tree of sadness.”
Jacob’s New Name
9When Jacob came back from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again. God blessed Jacob 10and said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but I will change that name. You will no longer be called Jacob. Your new name will be Israel.#35:10 Israel This name might mean “he fights for God,” “he fights with God,” or “God fights.”” So God named him Israel.
11God said to him, “I am God All-Powerful,#35:11 God All-Powerful Literally, “El Shaddai.” and I give you this blessing: Have many children and grow into a great nation. Other nations and other kings will come out of you. 12I gave Abraham and Isaac some special land. Now I give the land to you and to all your people who will live after you.” 13Then God left that place. 14-15Jacob set up a memorial stone there. He made the rock holy by pouring wine and oil on it. This was a special place because God spoke to Jacob there, and Jacob named the place Bethel.
Rachel Dies Giving Birth
16Jacob and his group left Bethel. Before they came to Ephrath, Rachel began giving birth to her baby. 17She was having a lot of trouble with this birth. She was in great pain. When her nurse saw this, she said, “Don’t be afraid, Rachel. You are giving birth to another son.”
18Rachel died while giving birth to the son. Before dying, she named the boy Benoni.#35:18 Benoni This name means “son of my suffering.” But Jacob called him Benjamin.#35:18 Benjamin This name means “right-hand” or “favorite son.”
19Rachel was buried on the road to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20Jacob put a special rock on Rachel’s grave to honor her. That special rock is still there today. 21Then Israel continued his journey. He camped just south of Eder tower.#35:21 Eder tower Or “Migdal Eder.”
22Israel stayed there for a short time. While he was there, Reuben slept with Israel’s slave woman Bilhah. Israel heard about this, and he was very angry.#35:22 and he was very angry These words are from the ancient Greek translation. They are not in the standard Hebrew text. See Gen. 49:4.
The Family of Israel (Jacob)
These are the names of Jacob’s twelve sons:
23His firstborn son was Reuben, whose mother was Leah. Jacob’s other sons by Leah were Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
24His sons by Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin.
25His sons by Bilhah, Rachel’s maid, were Dan and Naphtali.
26His sons by Zilpah, Leah’s maid, were Gad and Asher.
These were Jacob’s sons who were born in Paddan Aram.
27Jacob went to his father Isaac at Mamre in Kiriath Arba (Hebron). This is where Abraham and Isaac had lived. 28Isaac lived 180 years. 29Then Isaac became weak and died and went to be with his people. He had lived a long and full life. His sons Esau and Jacob buried him.