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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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1And God saith unto Jacob, ‘Rise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there, and make there an altar to God, who appeared unto thee in thy fleeing from the face of Esau thy brother.’
2And Jacob saith unto his household, and unto all who [are] with him, ‘Turn aside the gods of the stranger which [are] in your midst, and cleanse yourselves, and change your garments;
3and we rise, and go up to Bethel, and I make there an altar to God, who is answering me in the day of my distress, and is with me in the way that I have gone.’
4And they give unto Jacob all the gods of the stranger that [are] in their hand, and the rings that [are] in their ears, and Jacob hideth them under the oak which [is] by Shechem;
5and they journey, and the terror of God is on the cities which [are] round about them, and they have not pursued after the sons of Jacob.
6And Jacob cometh in to Luz which [is] in the land of Canaan (it [is] Bethel), he and all the people who [are] with him,
7and he buildeth there an altar, and proclaimeth at the place the God of Bethel: for there had God been revealed unto him, in his fleeing from the face of his brother.
8And Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, dieth, and she is buried at the lower part of Bethel, under the oak, and he calleth its name ‘Oak of weeping.’
9And God appeareth unto Jacob again, in his coming from Padan-Aram, and blesseth him;
10and God saith to him, ‘Thy name [is] Jacob: thy name is no more called Jacob, but Israel is thy name;’ and He calleth his name Israel.
11And God saith to him, ‘I [am] God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply, a nation and an assembly of nations is from thee, and kings from thy loins go out;
12and the land which I have given to Abraham and to Isaac — to thee I give it, yea to thy seed after thee I give the land.’
13And God goeth up from him, in the place where He hath spoken with him.
14And Jacob setteth up a standing pillar in the place where He hath spoken with him, a standing pillar of stone, and he poureth on it an oblation, and he poureth on it oil;
15and Jacob calleth the name of the place where God spake with him Bethel.
16And they journey from Bethel, and there is yet a kibrath of land before entering Ephratha, and Rachel beareth, and is sharply pained in her bearing;
17and it cometh to pass, in her being sharply pained in her bearing, that the midwife saith to her, ‘Fear not, for this also [is] a son for thee.’
18And it cometh to pass in the going out of her soul (for she died), that she calleth his name Ben-Oni; and his father called him Benjamin;
19and Rachel dieth, and is buried in the way to Ephratha, which [is] Bethlehem,
20and Jacob setteth up a standing pillar over her grave; which [is] the standing pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day.
21And Israel journeyeth, and stretcheth out his tent beyond the tower of Edar;
22and it cometh to pass in Israel's dwelling in that land, that Reuben goeth, and lieth with Bilhah his father's concubine; and Israel heareth.
23And the sons of Jacob are twelve. Sons of Leah: Jacob's first-born Reuben, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun.
24Sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
25And sons of Bilhah, Rachel's maid-servant: Dan and Naphtali.
26And sons of Zilpah, Leah's maid-servant: Gad and Asher. These [are] sons of Jacob, who have been born to him in Padan-Aram.
27And Jacob cometh unto Isaac his father, at Mamre, the city of Arba (which [is] Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac have sojourned.
28And the days of Isaac are a hundred and eighty years,
29and Isaac expireth, and dieth, and is gathered unto his people, aged and satisfied with days; and bury him do Esau and Jacob his sons.