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Genesis 35

35
Jacob Returns to Bethel
1God said to Jacob, “Arise, go at once to Bethel, and settle there. Build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.” # 35:1 Jacob fulfilled the vow he had made to God thirty years previously. See Gen. 28:20–22.
2So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, # 35:2 Those “with him” included the captives he took at Shechem. “Get rid of every foreign god you have, purify yourselves, and change your clothes. # 35:2 Our old clothes symbolize the old life that must be laid aside as we put on Christ (see Isa. 64:6; Rev. 3:18). To change our garments is to change our manner of life and put on a new man (see Rom. 13:14). 3Then come with me; let us go up to Bethel. I will build an altar there to God who answered my prayer when I was in distress # 35:3 See Ps. 20:1. and whose presence has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4Then they surrendered all the foreign gods they had as well as their earrings. # 35:4 Most scholars consider these earrings to have been religious objects, perhaps amulets or magical charms. Jacob buried them under the oak tree near Shechem.
5As they made their way to Bethel, a tremendous fear of God fell upon all the cities around them, and no one dared pursue them. 6Jacob and all the people who were with him arrived in the land of Canaan at Luz, # 35:6 Luz means “departure” or “almond tree.” now known as Bethel. 7He built an altar there and named it El-Bethel, # 35:7 That is, “God of the House of God.” because it was the place that God had unveiled himself when Jacob was running from his brother. 8During that time, Rebekah’s nurse Deborah died. They buried her under an oak tree near # 35:8 Or “below.” Bethel, and they named the place Weeping Oak. # 35:8 Or “Allon-Bacuth.”
9After Jacob returned from Paddan-Aram, God appeared to him once again # 35:9 “Once again” may refer to either Jacob’s earlier encounter with God at Mahanaim (see Gen. 32:1–2) or the one at Penuel (see Gen. 32:29–30), but more likely it refers to a new experience. God revealed himself many times to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and he will reveal himself to this generation also. and blessed him, 10saying, “Your name was once Jacob, but no longer. Your new name is Israel!” # 35:10 See Gen. 32:28. God named him Israel 11and said to him, “I am the God who is more than enough. # 35:11 Or “El Shaddai.” Some translate El Shaddai as “Almighty God” or “Sovereign God.” However, in this context, God blessed Jacob and gave him the power of life and multiplication. See Gen. 17:1–4; 28:3. See also T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 69–72; R. Gordis, “The Biblical Root sdy-sd,” Journal of Biblical Studies, 54 (1935): 173–210. Go and have many children, and they will multiply. A nation and a gathering of many nations will come from you; and you will be the ancestor of kings. 12I will give you the land which I gave to Abraham and to Isaac, and after you are gone, to your descendants.”
13Then God ascended # 35:13 Or “Elohim ascended from upon him.” into heaven from the place where he had spoken to him. 14Jacob set up a stone pillar to memorialize the place where he had met # 35:14 Or “where God had spoken to him [Jacob].” with God. He poured over it a drink offering # 35:14 Literally “he poured a pouring.” One may assume that it was a drink offering of wine. Jacob poured an offering once again over the pillar at Bethel, the House of God, as he had in Gen. 28. See Ex. 29:40–41; Num. 6:17; 15:1–5; 28:7–10; 2 Sam. 23:16. The drink offering was a unique offering that was offered by a priest in gratitude for the firstfruits of harvest (see Lev. 23:10–13). Often, it was poured out upon other offerings. Jacob himself was the drink offering that was poured out to God. The pillar becomes a picture of the victorious life (see Rev. 3:12). and anointed the pillar with oil. 15Jacob called the place where God had spoken with him Bethel.
Rachel Dies in Childbirth
16From Bethel, they journeyed on, and as they were approaching Ephrath, Rachel went into very hard and painful labor. 17As she was having great difficulty in giving birth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for you’re having another son!” 18With her dying breath, Rachel said, “His name is Son of My Sorrow,” # 35:18 Or, in Hebrew, “Ben-oni,” which means “son of my sorrow” or possibly “son of my strength.” but his father called him Son of My Right Hand. # 35:18 Or, in Hebrew, “Ben-yamin” [Benjamin], which means “son of my right hand” or possibly “son of the south.” In the entire universe, there is only one Son that is both the “Son of Sorrow” and the “Son of the Right Hand”! Jesus is his name! Christ is a wonderful person with these two aspects to his name. Isa. 53:3 describes him as the “man of deep sorrows,” and Acts 2:33 tells us that “God exalted him to his right hand.” His mother Mary, like Rachel, experienced pain as Simeon prophesied: “a painful sword will one day pierce your inner being” (Luke 2:34–35). When her Son was raised from the dead, he rose to be at God’s right hand (see Eph. 1:20). 19Rachel died and was buried on the road to Ephrath (now Bethlehem). # 35:19 See Gen. 48:7. 20Jacob set up a pillar to mark her burial site, and it is known as The Marker of Rachel’s Tomb to this day. # 35:20 This was the fourth pillar Jacob set up. The first was at Bethel to symbolize the end of his fleshly self-confidence, which was replaced with a new revelation of God and his faithfulness (see Gen. 28:5, 10–22). The second was a pillar at Mizpah to symbolize that God was watching over Jacob and could be trusted (see Gen. 31:49). The third was at Bethel as a pillar of his confidence in the Living God (see Gen. 35:1–15). 21Israel journeyed on and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder. # 35:21 Or “Watchtower of the Flock.” This was the place where shepherds watched over the sacred flocks meant for temple sacrifice and where the Passover lamb was selected. Migdal Eder is mentioned in Mic. 4:8 as the possible birthplace of Jesus, Israel’s Messiah. See also Mic. 5:2. 22While Israel was living in that land, Reuben went and slept with Bilhah, # 35:22 Why would Reuben have slept with Rachel’s servant girl, his father’s concubine? Since Rachel had been Jacob’s favorite wife before her death, Reuben hoped that by having sex with Bilhah, he would prevent her from taking Rachel’s place. Reuben wanted his mother Leah to be the favored wife of Jacob and take over the leadership of his clan. That this episode happened immediately following Rachel’s death seems to imply that this was at least part of Reuben’s motivation for lying with Bilhah. his father’s concubine, and Israel found out.
Jacob had twelve sons.
23Leah’s sons were Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
24Rachel’s sons were Joseph and Benjamin.
25The sons of Rachel’s maidservant Bilhah were Dan and Naphtali.
26The sons of Leah’s maidservant Zilpah were Gad and Asher.
These were the sons of Jacob born to him in Paddan-Aram.
The Death of Isaac
27Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had lived as foreigners. 28Isaac was one hundred and eighty when he breathed his last and died. # 35:28 Isaac died years after Joseph was sold into Egypt as a slave. Isaac lived the longest of all the patriarchs. 29He died an old man and had lived a full life when he joined his ancestors. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him there.

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