Exit Parallel Mode
 

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.
35
1In the mean time, God said to Jacob: Arise, and go up to Bethel, and dwell there, and make there an altar to God, who appeared to thee when thou didst flee from Esau thy brother.
2And Jacob having called together all his household, said: Cast away the strange gods that are among you, and be cleansed and change your garments.
3Arise, and let us go up to Bethel, that we may make there an altar to God: who heard me in the day of my affliction, and accompanied me in my journey.
4So they gave him all the strange gods they had, and the earrings which were in their ears: and he buried them under the turpentine tree, that is behind the city of Sichem.
5And when they were departed, the terror of God fell upon all the cities round about, and they durst not pursue after them as they went away.
6And Jacob came to Luza, which is in the land of Chanaan, surnamed Bethel: he and all the people that were with him.
7And he built there an altar, and called the name of that place, The house of God: for there God appeared to him when he fled from his brother.
8At the same time Debora, the nurse of Rebecca, died, and was buried at the foot of Bethel under an oak: and the name of that place was called, The oak of weeping.
9And God appeared again to Jacob, after he returned from Mesopotamia of Syria, and he blessed him,
10Saying: Thou shalt not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name. And he called him Israel.
11And said to him: I am God Almighty. Increase thou and be multiplied. Nations and peoples of nations shall be from thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins.
12And the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give to thee, and to thy seed after thee.
13And he departed from him.
14But he set up a monument of stone, in the place where God had spoken to him: pouring drink offerings upon it, and pouring oil thereon:
15And calling the name of that place Bethel.
16And going forth from thence, he came in the springtime to the land which leadeth to Ephrata: wherein when Rachel was in travail,
17By reason of her hard labor, she began to be in danger, and the midwife said to her: Fear not, for thou shalt have this son also.
18And when her soul was departing for pain, and death was now at hand, she called the name of her son Benoni, that is, The son of my pain: but his father called him Benjamin, that is, The son of the right hand.
19So Rachel died, and was buried in the highway that leadeth to Ephrata. This is Bethlehem.
20And Jacob erected a pillar over her sepulchre. This is the pillar of Rachel's monument, to this day.
21Departing thence, he pitched his tent beyond the Flock tower.
22And when he dwelt in that country, Ruben went, and slept with Bala, the concubine of his father: which he was not ignorant of. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve.
23The sons of Lia: Ruben the firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Juda, and Issachar, and Zabulon.
24The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
25The sons of Bala, Rachel's handmaid: Dan and Nephtali.
26The sons of Zelpha, Lia's handmaid: Gad and Aser. These are the sons of Jacob, that were born to him in Mesopotamia of Syria.
27And he came to Isaac his father in Mambre, the city of Arbee, this is Hebron, wherein Abraham and Isaac sojourned.
28And the days of Isaac were a hundred and eighty years.
29And being spent with age he died, and was gathered to his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.