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Genesis 35

35
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.
35
Jacob returns to Bethel
1God 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.”#Gn 28.11-17.
2Jacob said to his family and to everyone else who was travelling 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 travelling 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
9-11After 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:#Gn 32.28.#Gn 17.4-8.
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 for ever.
13After God had gone, 14Jacob 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,#Gn 28.18,19. 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 just 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, travelled to the south of Eder Tower, where he set up camp.
22During their time there, Jacob's eldest 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.#Gn 49.4.
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 firstborn 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
27Jacob went to his father Isaac at Hebron, also called Mamre or Kiriath-Arba, where Isaac's father Abraham had lived as a foreigner.#Gn 13.18. 28-29Isaac died at the ripe old age of one hundred and eighty, then his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.