Jacob in Bethel
1God said to Jacob, “Go to the city of Bethel and live there. Make an altar to the God who appeared to you there when you were running away from your brother Esau.”
2So Jacob said to his family and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods you have, and make yourselves clean, and change your clothes. 3We will leave here and go to Bethel. There I will build an altar to God, who has helped me during my time of trouble. He has been with me everywhere I have gone.” 4So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had, and the earrings they were wearing, and he hid them under the great tree near the town of Shechem. 5Then Jacob and his sons left there. But God caused the people in the nearby cities to be afraid, so they did not follow them. 6And Jacob and all the people who were with him went to Luz, which is now called Bethel, in the land of Canaan. 7There Jacob built an altar and named the place Bethel, after God, because God had appeared to him there when he was running from his brother.
8Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak tree at Bethel, so they named that place Oak of Crying.
Jacob’s New Name
9When Jacob came back from Northwest Mesopotamia, God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will not be called Jacob any longer. Your new name will be Israel.” So he called him Israel. 11God said to him, “I am God Almighty. Have many children and grow in number as a nation. You will be the ancestor of many nations and kings. 12The same land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you and your descendants.” 13Then God left him. 14Jacob set up a stone on edge in that place where God had talked to him, and he poured a drink offering and olive oil on it to make it special for God. 15And Jacob named the place Bethel.
Rachel Dies Giving Birth
16Jacob and his group left Bethel. Before they came to Ephrath, Rachel began giving birth to her baby, 17but she was having much trouble. When Rachel’s nurse saw this, she said, “Don’t be afraid, Rachel. You are giving birth to another son.” 18Rachel gave birth to the son, but she herself died. As she lay dying, she named the boy Son of My Suffering, but Jacob called him Benjamin.
19Rachel was buried on the road to Ephrath, a district of Bethlehem, 20and Jacob set up a rock on her grave to honor her. That rock is still there. 21Then Israel continued his journey and camped just south of Migdal Eder.
22While Israel was there, Reuben had sexual relations with Israel’s slave woman Bilhah, and Israel heard about it.
The Family of Israel
Jacob had twelve sons. 23He had six sons by his wife Leah: Reuben, his first son, then Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
24He had two sons by his wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
25He had two sons by Rachel’s slave girl Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali.
26And he had two sons by Leah’s slave girl Zilpah: Gad and Asher.
These are Jacob’s sons who were born in Northwest Mesopotamia.
27Jacob went to his father Isaac at Mamre near Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac had lived. 28Isaac lived one hundred eighty years. 29So Isaac breathed his last breath and died when he was very old, and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
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Jacob’s Fifth Encounter with God
1Then God said to Jacob, “Go to Bethel and live there. Make an altar there. I am the God who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”
2So Jacob said to his family and those who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods which you have, wash yourselves until you are ritually clean,#35:2 “Clean” refers to anything that is presentable to God. and change your clothes. 3Then let’s go to Bethel. I will make an altar there to God, who answered me when I was troubled and who has been with me wherever I’ve gone.” 4So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods that they had in their possession as well as the earrings that they had on. Jacob buried these things under the oak tree near Shechem.
5As they moved on, God made the people of the cities that were all around them terrified so that no one pursued them. 6Jacob and all the people who were with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. 7He built an altar there and called that place El Bethel [God of the House of God]. That’s where God had revealed himself to Jacob when he was fleeing from his brother. 8Rebekah’s nurse Deborah died and was buried under the oak tree outside Bethel. So Jacob called it the Tree of Crying.
Jacob’s Sixth Encounter with God—His Name Changed to Israel
9Then God appeared once more to Jacob after he came back from Paddan Aram, and he blessed him. 10God said to him, “Your name is Jacob. You will no longer be called Jacob, but your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel.
11God also said to him, “I am God Almighty. Be fertile, and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from you. 12I will give you the land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac. I will also give this land to your descendants.” 13Then God went up from him at the place where he had spoken with him. 14So Jacob set up a memorial, a stone marker, to mark the place where God had spoken with him. He poured a wine offering and olive oil on it. 15Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him Bethel [House of God].
Jacob’s [Israel’s] Sons
(1 Chronicles 2:1–2)
16Then they moved on from Bethel. When they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel went into labor and was having severe labor pains. 17During one of her pains, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid! You’re having another son!” 18Rachel was dying. As she took her last breath, she named her son Benoni [Son of My Sorrow], but his father named him Benjamin [Son of My Right Hand].
19Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20Then Jacob set up a stone as a marker for her grave. The same marker is at Rachel’s grave today.
21Israel moved on again and put up his tent beyond Migdal Eder. 22While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went to bed with his father’s concubine #35:22 A concubine is considered a wife except she has fewer rights under the law. Bilhah, and Israel heard about it.
Jacob had 12 sons.
23The sons of Leah were
Jacob’s firstborn Reuben, then Simeon,
Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
24The sons of Rachel were
Joseph and Benjamin.
25The sons of Rachel’s slave Bilhah were
Dan and Naphtali.
26The sons of Leah’s slave Zilpah were
Gad and Asher.
These were Jacob’s sons, who were born in Paddan Aram.
27Jacob came home to his father Isaac to Mamre’s city, Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron). Abraham and Isaac had lived there for a while. 28Isaac was 180 years old 29when he took his last breath and died. He joined his ancestors in death at a very old age. His sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
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