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Genesis 35

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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.
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1Then God sayde to Iaakob, Arise, goe vp to Beth-el and dwell there, and make there an altar vnto God, that appeared vnto thee, when thou fleddest from Esau thy brother. 2Then saide Iaakob vnto his houshold and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and clense your selues, and change your garments: 3For we will rise and goe vp to Beth-el, and I will make an altar there vnto God, which heard me in the day of my tribulation, and was with me in the way which I went. 4And they gaue vnto Iaakob all the strange gods, which were in their hands, and all their earings which were in their eares, and Iaakob hidde them vnder an oke, which was by Shechem. 5Then they went on their iourney, and the feare of God was vpon the cities that were roud about them: so that they did not follow after the sonnes of Iaakob. 6So came Iaakob to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan: (the same is Beth-el) hee and all the people that was with him. 7And he built there an altar, and had called the place, The God of Beth-el, because that God appeared vnto him there, when he fled from his brother. 8Then Deborah Rebekahs nourse dyed, and was buried beneath Beth-el vnder an oke: and he called the name of it Allon Bachuth. 9Againe God appeared vnto Iaakob, after he came out of Padan Aram, and blessed him. 10Moreouer God said vnto him, Thy name is Iaakob: thy name shalbe no more called Iaakob, but Israel shalbe thy name: and hee called his name Israel. 11Againe God said vnto him, I am God all sufficient. growe, and multiplie. a nation and a multitude of nations shall spring of thee, and Kings shall come out of thy loynes. 12Also I will giue the lande, which I gaue to Abraham and Izhak, vnto thee: and vnto thy seede after thee will I giue that land. 13So God ascended from him in the place where he had talked with him. 14And Iaakob set vp a pillar in the place where he talked with him, a pillar of stone, and powred drinke offring thereon: also hee powred oyle thereon. 15And Iaakob called the name of the place, where God spake with him, Beth-el. 16Then they departed from Beth-el, and when there was about halfe a daies iourney of ground to come to Ephrath, Rahel trauailed, and in trauailing she was in perill. 17And whe she was in paines of her labour, the midwife saide vnto her, Feare not: for thou shalt haue this sonne also. 18Then as she was about to yeelde vp the Ghost (for she died) she called his name Ben-oni, but his father called him Beniamin. 19Thus died Rahel, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Beth-lehem. 20And Iaakob set a pillar vpon her graue: This is the pillar of Rahels graue vnto this day. 21Then Israel went forwarde, and pitched his tent beyond Migdal-eder. 22Now, when Israel dwelt in that land, Reuben went, and lay with Bilhah his fathers concubine, and it came to Israels eare. And Iaakob had twelue sonnes. 23The sonnes of Leah: Reuben Iaakobs eldest sonne, and Simeon, and Leui, and Iudah, and Issachar, and Zebulun. 24The sonnes of Rahel: Ioseph and Beniamin. 25And the sonnes of Bilhah Rahels maide: Dan and Naphtali. 26And the sonnes of Zilpah Leahs maide: Gad and Asher. These are the sonnes of Iaakob, which were borne him in Padan Aram. 27Then Iaakob came vnto Izhak his father to Mamre a citie of Arbah: this is Hebron, where Abraham and Izhak were strangers. 28And the daies of Izhak were an hundreth and fourescore yeeres. 29And Izhak gaue vp the ghost and died, and was gathered vnto his people, being olde and full of daies: and his sonnes Esau and Iaakob buried him.