Jacob Moves to Bethel
1Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you [in a distinct manifestation] when you fled [years ago] from Esau your brother.” 2 Then Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the [idols and images of] foreign gods that are among you, and ceremonially purify yourselves and change [into fresh] clothes; 3 then let us get up and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4 So they gave Jacob all the [idols and images of the] foreign gods they had and the rings which were in their ears [worn as charms against evil], and Jacob buried them under the [a]oak tree near Shechem.
5 As they journeyed, there was a great [supernatural] terror [sent from God] on the cities around them, and [for that reason] the Canaanites did not pursue the sons of Jacob. 6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. 7 There he built an altar [to worship the Lord], and called the place El-bethel (God of the House of God), because there God had revealed Himself to him when he escaped from his brother. 8 Now Deborah, [who once was] Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried below Bethel under the oak; and the name of it was called Allon-bacuth (Oak of Weeping).
Jacob Is Named Israel
9 Then God [in a visible manifestation] appeared to Jacob again when he came out of Paddan-aram, and declared a blessing on him. 10 Again God said to him,
“Your name is Jacob;
You shall no longer be called Jacob,
But Israel shall be your name.”
So he was called [b]Israel. 11 And God said to him,
“I am [c]God Almighty.
Be fruitful and multiply;
A nation and a company of nations shall come from you,
And kings shall be born of your [d]loins.
“The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac
I will give to you,
and to your descendants after you I will give the land.”
13 Then God ascended from Jacob in the place where He had spoken with him. 14 Jacob set up a pillar (memorial, monument) in the place where he had talked with God, a pillar of stone, and he poured a drink offering [of wine] on it; he also poured oil on it [to declare it sacred for God’s purpose]. 15 So Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel (the House of God).
16 Then they journeyed from Bethel; and when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath (Bethlehem), Rachel began to give birth and had difficulty and suffered severely. 17 When she was in hard labor the midwife said to her, “Do not be afraid; you now have another son.” 18 And as her soul was departing, (for she died), she named him Ben-oni (son of my sorrow); but his father called him Benjamin ([e]son of the right hand). 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Jacob set a pillar (memorial, monument) on her grave; that is the [f]pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day. 21 Then Israel (Jacob) journeyed on and pitched his tent on the other side of the tower of Eder [the lookout point used by shepherds].
22 While Israel was living in that land, Reuben [his eldest son] went and lay with Bilhah his father’s [g]concubine, and Israel heard about it.
The Sons of Israel
Now Jacob had twelve sons— 23 The sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, then Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; 24 and the sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin; 25 and the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid: Dan and Naphtali; 26 and the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob born to him in Paddan-aram.
27 Jacob came to Isaac his father at Mamre of Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had lived temporarily.
28 Now the days of Isaac were a hundred and eighty years. 29 Isaac’s spirit departed and he died and was [h]gathered to his people [who had preceded him in death], an old man full of days (satisfied, fulfilled); his sons Esau and Jacob buried him [in the cave of Machpelah with his parents Abraham and Sarah].
- Genesis 35:4 This appears to have been a special tree of uncertain type, perhaps a terebinth tree that had significance for pagan worship.
- Genesis 35:10 “He who strives with God” or “God strives” or “Prince of God.”
- Genesis 35:11 Heb El Shaddai, the sufficient and powerful One.
- Genesis 35:11 The midsection of the body between the lower ribs and the hips. Often a euphemism for the human genitals.
- Genesis 35:18 This had a positive meaning, like a “right-hand man,” a son in a position of importance and honor.
- Genesis 35:20 This pillar was still visible at the time when Moses lived.
- Genesis 35:22 See note 22:24.
- Genesis 35:29 See note 25:8.