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Genesis 35

35
Bethel Revisited. 1#Jacob returns to Bethel and founds the sanctuary, an event that forms a “bookend” to the first visit to Bethel in 28:10–22. To enter the Lord’s sanctuary, one must purify oneself and get rid of all signs of allegiance to other gods (Jos 24:23; Jgs 10:16). Jacob also seems to initiate the custom of making a pilgrimage to Bethel (see Ps 122:1 and Is 2:3, 5). God said to Jacob: Go up now to Bethel. Settle there and build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.#Gn 28:12–13. 2So Jacob told his household and all who were with him: “Get rid of the foreign gods#Foreign gods: divine images, including those of household deities (see note on 31:19), that Jacob’s people brought with them from Paddan-aram. among you; then purify yourselves and change your clothes. 3Let us now go up to Bethel so that I might build an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4They gave Jacob all the foreign gods in their possession and also the rings they had in their ears#Rings…their ears: the earrings may have belonged to the gods because earrings were often placed on statues. and Jacob buried them under the oak that is near Shechem. 5Then, as they set out, a great terror fell upon the surrounding towns, so that no one pursued the sons of Jacob.
6Thus Jacob and all the people who were with him arrived in Luz (now Bethel) in the land of Canaan.#Gn 28:19; Jos 18:13; Jgs 1:22–23. 7There he built an altar and called the place El-Bethel,#El-Bethel: probably to be translated “the god of Bethel.” This is one of several titles of God in Genesis that begin with El (= God), e.g., El Olam (21:33), El Elyon (14:18), El the God of Israel (33:20), El Roi (16:13), and El Shaddai. Most of these (except El Shaddai) are tied to specific Israelite shrines. for it was there that God had revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.#Gn 28:12–13.
8Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died. She was buried under the oak below Bethel, and so it was named Allon-bacuth.#Allon-bacuth: the Hebrew name means “oak of weeping.”
9On Jacob’s arrival from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10God said to him:
Your name is Jacob.
You will no longer be named Jacob,
but Israel will be your name.#1 Kgs 18:31; 2 Kgs 17:34.
So he was named Israel. 11Then God said to him: I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply. A nation, indeed an assembly of nations, will stem from you, and kings will issue from your loins. 12The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you; and to your descendants after you I will give the land.#Ex 32:13; Heb 11:9.
13Then God departed from him. 14In the place where God had spoken with him, Jacob set up a sacred pillar, a stone pillar, and upon it he made a libation and poured out oil.#Gn 28:18; 31:45. 15Jacob named the place where God spoke to him Bethel.
Jacob’s Family. 16Then they departed from Bethel; but while they still had some distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel went into labor and suffered great distress. 17When her labor was most intense, the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for now you have another son.” 18With her last breath—for she was at the point of death—she named him Ben-oni;#Ben-oni: means either “son of my vigor” or, more likely in the context, “son of affliction.” Benjamin: “son of the right hand,” meaning a son who is his father’s help and support. but his father named him Benjamin. 19Thus Rachel died; and she was buried on the road to Ephrath (now Bethlehem).#Bethlehem: the gloss comes from a later tradition that identified the site with Bethlehem, also called Ephrath or Ephratha (Jos 15:59; Ru 4:11; Mi 5:1). But Rachel’s grave was actually near Ramah (Jer 31:15), a few miles north of Jerusalem, in the territory of Benjamin (1 Sm 10:2). #Gn 48:7; 1 Sm 10:2; Mi 5:1. 20Jacob set up a sacred pillar on her grave, and the same pillar marks Rachel’s grave to this day.
21Israel moved on and pitched his tent beyond Migdal-eder. 22While Israel was encamped in that region, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. When Israel heard of it, he was greatly offended.#The genealogy in vv. 23–29 is prefaced by a notice about Reuben’s sleeping with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. Such an act is a serious challenge to the authority of the father (cf. 2 Sm 3:7 and 16:21). In his final testament in chap. 49, Jacob cites this act of Reuben as the reason for Reuben’s loss of the authority he had as firstborn son (49:4). Reuben’s act is one more instance of strife in the family and of discord between father and son. #Gn 49:4; 1 Chr 5:1.
The sons of Jacob were now twelve. 23The sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; 24#Benjamin is here said to have been born in Paddan-aram, apparently because all twelve sons of Jacob are considered as a unit. the sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin; 25the sons of Rachel’s maidservant Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali; 26the sons of Leah’s maidservant Zilpah: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.
27Jacob went home to his father Isaac at Mamre, in Kiriath-arba (now Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had resided. 28The length of Isaac’s life was one hundred and eighty years; 29then he breathed his last. He died as an old man and was gathered to his people. After a full life, his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Genesis 35

35
Jacob’s Return to Bethel
1Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.”
2So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing. 3We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.”
4So they gave Jacob all their pagan idols and earrings, and he buried them under the great tree near Shechem. 5As they set out, a terror from God spread over the people in all the towns of that area, so no one attacked Jacob’s family.
6Eventually, Jacob and his household arrived at Luz (also called Bethel) in Canaan. 7Jacob built an altar there and named the place El-bethel (which means “God of Bethel”), because God had appeared to him there when he was fleeing from his brother, Esau.
8Soon after this, Rebekah’s old nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried beneath the oak tree in the valley below Bethel. Ever since, the tree has been called Allon-bacuth (which means “oak of weeping”).
9Now that Jacob had returned from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him again at Bethel. God blessed him, 10saying, “Your name is Jacob, but you will not be called Jacob any longer. From now on your name will be Israel.”#35:10 Jacob sounds like the Hebrew words for “heel” and “deceiver.” Israel means “God fights.” So God renamed him Israel.
11Then God said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Be fruitful and multiply. You will become a great nation, even many nations. Kings will be among your descendants! 12And I will give you the land I once gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give it to you and your descendants after you.” 13Then God went up from the place where he had spoken to Jacob.
14Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place where God had spoken to him. Then he poured wine over it as an offering to God and anointed the pillar with olive oil. 15And Jacob named the place Bethel (which means “house of God”), because God had spoken to him there.
The Deaths of Rachel and Isaac
16Leaving Bethel, Jacob and his clan moved on toward Ephrath. But Rachel went into labor while they were still some distance away. Her labor pains were intense. 17After a very hard delivery, the midwife finally exclaimed, “Don’t be afraid—you have another son!” 18Rachel was about to die, but with her last breath she named the baby Ben-oni (which means “son of my sorrow”). The baby’s father, however, called him Benjamin (which means “son of my right hand”). 19So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20Jacob set up a stone monument over Rachel’s grave, and it can be seen there to this day.
21Then Jacob#35:21 Hebrew Israel; also in 35:22a. The names “Jacob” and “Israel” are often interchanged throughout the Old Testament, referring sometimes to the individual patriarch and sometimes to the nation. traveled on and camped beyond Migdal-eder. 22While he was living there, Reuben had intercourse with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and Jacob soon heard about it.
These are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob:
23The sons of Leah were Reuben (Jacob’s oldest son), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
24The sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin.
25The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, were Dan and Naphtali.
26The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s servant, were Gad and Asher.
These are the names of the sons who were born to Jacob at Paddan-aram.
27So Jacob returned to his father, Isaac, in Mamre, which is near Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had both lived as foreigners. 28Isaac lived for 180 years. 29Then he breathed his last and died at a ripe old age, joining his ancestors in death. And his sons, Esau and Jacob, buried him.