New International Reader's Version

Genesis 35

Jacob Returns to Bethel

1Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and live there. Build an altar there to honor me. That’s where I appeared to you when you were running away from your brother Esau.”

So Jacob spoke to his family and to everyone with him. He said, “Get rid of the statues of false gods you have with you. Make yourselves pure by washing and changing your clothes. Come, let’s go up to Bethel. There I’ll build an altar to honor God. He answered me when I was in trouble. He’s been with me everywhere I’ve gone.” So they gave Jacob all the statues of false gods they had. They also gave him their earrings. Jacob buried those things under the oak tree at Shechem. Then Jacob and everyone with him started out. The terror of God fell on the towns all around them. So no one chased them.

Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz. Luz is also called Bethel. It’s in the land of Canaan. Jacob built an altar at Luz. He named the place El Bethel. There God made himself known to Jacob when he was running away from his brother.

Rebekah’s attendant Deborah died. They buried her body under the oak tree outside Bethel. So it was called Allon Bakuth.

After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again. And God blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob. But you will not be called Jacob anymore. Your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel.

11 God said to him, “I am the Mighty God. Have children so that there will be many of you. You will become the father of a nation and a community of nations. Your later family will include kings. 12 I am giving you the land I gave to Abraham and Isaac. I will also give it to your children after you.” 13 Then God left him at the place where he had talked with him.

14 Jacob set up a sacred stone at the place where God had talked with him. He poured out a drink offering on it. He also poured olive oil on it. 15 Jacob named the place Bethel. That’s where God had talked with him.

Rachel and Isaac Die

16 They moved on from Bethel. Ephrath wasn’t very far away when Rachel began to have a baby. She was having a very hard time of it. 17 The woman who helped her saw that she was having problems. So she said to Rachel, “Don’t be afraid. You have another son.” 18 But Rachel was dying. As she took her last breath, she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.

19 So Rachel died. She was buried beside the road to Ephrath. Ephrath was also called Bethlehem. 20 Jacob set up a stone marker over her tomb. To this day, the stone marks the place where Rachel was buried.

21 Israel moved on again. He set up his tent beyond Migdal Eder. 22 While Israel was living in that area, Reuben went in and slept with Bilhah. She was the concubine of Reuben’s father. And Israel heard about it.

Here are the 12 sons Jacob had.

23 Leah was the mother of

Reuben, Jacob’s oldest son.

Her other sons were Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.

24 The sons of Rachel were

Joseph and Benjamin.

25 The sons of Rachel’s female servant Bilhah were

Dan and Naphtali.

26 The sons of Leah’s female servant Zilpah were

Gad and Asher.

These were Jacob’s sons. They were born in Paddan Aram.

27 Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre. Mamre is near Kiriath Arba, where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. The place is also called Hebron. 28 Isaac lived 180 years. 29 Then he took his last breath and died. He was very old when he joined the members of his family who had already died. His sons Esau and Jacob buried him.