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Genesis 35

35
Jacob Returns to Bethel
1 # Gn 28.11-17. God told Jacob, “Return to Bethel, where I appeared to you when you were running from your brother Esau. Make your home there and build an altar for me.”
2Jacob said to his family and to everyone else who was traveling with him:
Get rid of your foreign gods! Then make yourselves acceptable to worship God and put on clean clothes. 3Afterwards, we'll go to Bethel. I will build an altar there for God, who answered my prayers when I was in trouble and who has always been at my side.
4So everyone gave Jacob their idols and their earrings,#35.4 earrings: These would have had symbols of foreign gods on them. and he buried them under the oak tree near Shechem.
5While Jacob and his family were traveling through Canaan, God terrified the people in the towns so much that no one dared bother them. 6Finally, they reached Bethel, also known as Luz. 7Jacob built an altar there and called it “God of Bethel,” because that was the place where God had appeared to him when he was running from Esau. 8While they were there, Rebekah's personal servant Deborah#35.8 Deborah: See 24.59 and the note there. died. They buried her under an oak tree and called it “Weeping Oak.”
God Blesses Jacob at Bethel
9-11 # Gn 32.28. #Gn 17.4-8. After Jacob came back to the land of Canaan, God appeared to him again. This time he gave Jacob a new name and blessed him by saying:
I am God All-Powerful, and from now on your name will be Israel#35.9-11 Israel: See the note at 32.28. instead of Jacob. You will have many children. Your descendants will become nations, and some of the men in your family will even be kings. 12I will give you the land that I promised Abraham and Isaac, and it will belong to your family forever.
13After God had gone, 14#Gn 28.18,19. Jacob set up a large rock, so that he would remember what had happened there. Then he poured wine and olive oil on the rock to show that it was dedicated to God, 15and he named the place Bethel.#35.15 Bethel: See the note at 28.19.
Benjamin Is Born
16Jacob and his family had left Bethel and were still a long way from Ephrath, when the time came for Rachel's baby to be born. 17She was having a rough time, but the woman who was helping her said, “Don't worry! It's a boy.” 18Rachel was at the point of death, and right before dying, she said, “I'll name him Benoni.”#35.18 Benoni: In Hebrew “Benoni” means “Son of my Sorrow.” But Jacob called him Benjamin.#35.18 Benjamin: In Hebrew “Benjamin” can mean “Son at my Right Side” (the place of power).
19Rachel was buried beside the road to Ephrath, which is also called Bethlehem. 20Jacob set up a tombstone over her grave, and it is still there. 21Jacob, also known as Israel, traveled to the south of Eder Tower, where he set up camp.
22 # Gn 49.4. During their time there, Jacob's oldest son Reuben slept with Bilhah, who was one of Jacob's other wives.#35.22 other wives: See the note at 22.24. Bilhah had been Rachel's servant woman (see 29.28-30). And Jacob found out about it.
Jacob's Twelve Sons
23-26Jacob had twelve sons while living in northern Syria.#35.23-26 northern Syria: See the note at 24.10. His first-born Reuben was the son of Leah, who later gave birth to Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. Leah's servant Zilpah had two sons: Gad and Asher.
Jacob and his wife Rachel had Joseph and Benjamin. Rachel's servant woman Bilhah had two more sons: Dan and Naphtali.
Isaac Dies
27 # Gn 13.18. Jacob went to his father Isaac at Hebron, also called Mamre or Kiriath-Arba, where Isaac's father Abraham had lived as a foreigner. 28-29Isaac died at the ripe old age of 180, then his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
35
1Then God told Jacob, “Get ready to go to Bethel and live there. Build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were running away from your brother Esau.”#35:1. See 28:11 and on. 2So Jacob told his family and everyone who was with him, “Get rid of the pagan idols you have with you. Purify yourselves and change your clothes. 3We have to get ready and go to Bethel so I can build an altar to God who answered me in my time of trouble. He has been with me wherever I went.”
4They handed over to Jacob all the pagan idols they had, as well as their earrings,#35:4. “Earrings”: some commentators believe that these earrings also had some religious associations. and he buried them under the oak tree at Shechem. 5As they left on their journey, the terror of God spread over all the surrounding towns, so nobody tried to retaliate against Jacob's sons.
6Jacob and everyone with him arrived at Luz (also known as Bethel) in the country of Canaan. 7He built an altar there and called the place El-Bethel,#35:7. “El-Bethel”: meaning “the God of Bethel.” Bethel in turn means “the house of God” (see 28:19). because that was where God had appeared to him when he was running away from his brother Esau.
8Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died and was buried under the oak near Bethel. So it was named “the oak of weeping.”
9God appeared to Jacob again and blessed him after his return from Paddan-aram. 10God told him, “Jacob will not be your name any longer. Instead of Jacob your name will be Israel.” So God called him Israel.
11Then God said, “I am God Almighty! Reproduce, increase, and you will become a nation—in fact a group of nations—and kings will be among your descendants. 12I will give to you and to your descendants the land I also gave to Abraham and Isaac.” 13Then God left the place where he had been speaking to Jacob. 14Afterwards Jacob set up a stone pillar where God had spoken with him. He poured out a drink offering on it, and also olive oil. 15Jacob called the place Bethel, because he had spoken with God there.
16Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel went into labor and had great difficulty giving birth. 17When she was in the worst birth-pains, the midwife told her, “Don't give up—you have another son!” 18But she was dying, and with her last breath she named him Benoni.#35:18. “Benoni” means “son of my suffering.” But his father named him Benjamin.#35:18. “Benjamin” means “son of my right hand.” The right hand was considered more favorable. 19Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (also known as Bethlehem). 20Jacob set up a stone memorial over Rachel's grave, and it's still there to this day.
21Israel#35:21. “Israel”: referring of course to Jacob after his name change. moved on and camped beyond the watch tower at Eder. 22During the time he was living there, Reuben went and slept with Bilhah, his father's concubine, and Israel found out about it.#35:22. The Septuagint adds, “and it was very distressing to him.”
These were the twelve sons of Jacob:
23The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob's firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
24The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
25The sons of Rachel's personal maid Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali.
26The sons of Leah's personal maid Zilpah: Gad and Asher.
These were the sons of Jacob, who were born to him while in Paddan-aram.
27Jacob returned home to his father Isaac at Mamre, near Kiriath-arba (also known as Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had lived. 28Isaac lived to be 180 29when he breathed his last and died at an old age. He had lived a full life, and now he joined his forefathers in death. His sons Esau and Jacob buried him.