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. This was 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. Make yourselves clean, and change your clothes. 3We will leave here and go to Bethel. There I will build an altar to God. He 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 they gave him the earrings they were wearing. 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 the sons of Jacob. 6And Jacob and all the people who were with him went to Luz. It is now called Bethel. It is in the land of Canaan. 7There Jacob built an altar. He named the place Bethel, after God, because God had appeared to him there. That was when he was running from his brother.
8Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak tree at Bethel. They named that place Oak of Crying.
Jacob’s New Name
9When Jacob came back from Northwest Mesopotamia, God appeared to him again. And God 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 All-Powerful. Have many children and grow in number as a nation. You will be the ancestor of many nations and kings. 12I gave Abraham and Isaac land. I will give that same land 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 with this birth. 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 died. As she lay dying, she named the boy Son of My Suffering. But Jacob called him Benjamin.# This name means “right-hand son” or “favorite son.”
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 today. 21Then Israel, also called Jacob, continued his journey. He camped just south of Migdal Eder.
22While Israel was in that land Reuben had physical relations with Israel’s slave woman Bilhah. And Israel heard about it.
The Family of Israel
Jacob had 12 sons. 23He had 6 sons by his wife Leah. Reuben was his first son. Then Leah had Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.
24He had 2 sons by his wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
25He had 2 sons by Rachel’s slave girl Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali.
26And he had 2 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. This is where Abraham and Isaac had lived. 28Isaac lived 180 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 Return to Bethel
1Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.”
2So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing. 3We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.”
4So they gave Jacob all their pagan idols and earrings, and he buried them under the great tree near Shechem. 5As they set out, a terror from God spread over the people in all the towns of that area, so no one attacked Jacob’s family.
6Eventually, Jacob and his household arrived at Luz (also called Bethel) in Canaan. 7Jacob built an altar there and named the place El-bethel (which means “God of Bethel”), because God had appeared to him there when he was fleeing from his brother, Esau.
8Soon after this, Rebekah’s old nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried beneath the oak tree in the valley below Bethel. Ever since, the tree has been called Allon-bacuth (which means “oak of weeping”).
9Now that Jacob had returned from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him again at Bethel. God blessed him, 10saying, “Your name is Jacob, but you will not be called Jacob any longer. From now on your name will be Israel.”#35:10 Jacob sounds like the Hebrew words for “heel” and “deceiver.” Israel means “God fights.” So God renamed him Israel.
11Then God said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Be fruitful and multiply. You will become a great nation, even many nations. Kings will be among your descendants! 12And I will give you the land I once gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give it to you and your descendants after you.” 13Then God went up from the place where he had spoken to Jacob.
14Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place where God had spoken to him. Then he poured wine over it as an offering to God and anointed the pillar with olive oil. 15And Jacob named the place Bethel (which means “house of God”), because God had spoken to him there.
The Deaths of Rachel and Isaac
16Leaving Bethel, Jacob and his clan moved on toward Ephrath. But Rachel went into labor while they were still some distance away. Her labor pains were intense. 17After a very hard delivery, the midwife finally exclaimed, “Don’t be afraid—you have another son!” 18Rachel was about to die, but with her last breath she named the baby Ben-oni (which means “son of my sorrow”). The baby’s father, however, called him Benjamin (which means “son of my right hand”). 19So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20Jacob set up a stone monument over Rachel’s grave, and it can be seen there to this day.
21Then Jacob#35:21 Hebrew Israel; also in 35:22a. The names “Jacob” and “Israel” are often interchanged throughout the Old Testament, referring sometimes to the individual patriarch and sometimes to the nation. traveled on and camped beyond Migdal-eder. 22While he was living there, Reuben had intercourse with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and Jacob soon heard about it.
These are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob:
23The sons of Leah were Reuben (Jacob’s oldest son), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
24The sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin.
25The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, were Dan and Naphtali.
26The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s servant, were Gad and Asher.
These are the names of the sons who were born to Jacob at Paddan-aram.
27So Jacob returned to his father, Isaac, in Mamre, which is near Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had both lived as foreigners. 28Isaac lived for 180 years. 29Then he breathed his last and died at a ripe old age, joining his ancestors in death. And his sons, Esau and Jacob, buried him.
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