Jacob establishes worship at Bethel
1God said to Jacob, “Get up, go to Bethel, and live there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you ran away from your brother Esau.”
2Jacob said to his household and to everyone who was with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you. Clean yourselves and change your clothes. 3Then let’s rise and go up to Bethel so that I can build an altar there to the God who answered me when I was in trouble and who has been with me wherever I’ve gone.” 4So they gave Jacob all of the foreign gods they had, as well as the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the terebinth at Shechem. 5When they set out, God made all of the surrounding cities fearful so that they didn’t pursue Jacob’s sons. 6Jacob and all of the people with him arrived in Luz, otherwise known as Bethel, in the land of Canaan. 7He built an altar there and named the place El-bethel,#35.7 Or God of Bethel because God had revealed himself to him there when he ran away from his brother. 8Rebekah’s nurse Deborah died and was buried at Bethel under the oak, and Jacob named it Allon-bacuth.#35.8 Or oak of weeping
9God appeared to Jacob again, while he was on his way back from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. 10God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but your name will be Jacob no longer. No, your name will be Israel.” And he named him Israel. 11God said to him, “I am El Shaddai.#35.11 Or God Almighty or God of the Mountain Be fertile and multiply. A nation, even a large group of nations, will come from you; kings will descend from your own children. 12The land I gave to Abraham and to Isaac, I give to you; and I will give the land to your descendants after you.” 13Then God ascended, leaving him alone in the place where he spoke to him. 14So Jacob set up a sacred pillar, a stone pillar, at the place God spoke to him. He poured an offering of wine on it and then poured oil over it. 15Jacob named the place Bethel where God spoke to him.
Benjamin’s birth and Rachel’s death
16They left Bethel, and when they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel went into hard labor. 17During her difficult labor, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid. You have another son.” 18As her life faded away, just before she died, she named him Ben-oni,#35.18 Or my suffering son but his father named him Benjamin.#35.18 Or right-hand son or strong son 19Rachel died and was buried near the road to Ephrath, that is, Bethlehem. 20Jacob set up a pillar on her grave. It’s the pillar on Rachel’s tomb that’s still there today. 21Israel continued his trip and pitched his tent farther on near the tower of Eder.
22While Israel stayed in that place, Reuben went and slept with Bilhah his father’s secondary wife, and Israel heard about it.
Jacob had twelve sons. 23The sons of Leah were Reuben, Jacob’s oldest son, and 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 were Jacob’s sons born to him in Paddan-aram.
27Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, that is, Kiriath-arba. This is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac lived as immigrants. 28At the age of 180 years, 29Isaac took his last breath and died. He was buried with his ancestors after a long, satisfying life. His sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
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1God spoke to Jacob: “Go back to Bethel. Stay there and build an altar to the God who revealed himself to you when you were running for your life from your brother Esau.”
2-3Jacob told his family and all those who lived with him, “Throw out all the alien gods which you have, take a good bath and put on clean clothes, we’re going to Bethel. I’m going to build an altar there to the God who answered me when I was in trouble and has stuck with me everywhere I’ve gone since.”
4-5They turned over to Jacob all the alien gods they’d been holding on to, along with their lucky-charm earrings. Jacob buried them under the oak tree in Shechem. Then they set out. A paralyzing fear descended on all the surrounding villages so that they were unable to pursue the sons of Jacob.
6-7Jacob and his company arrived at Luz, that is, Bethel, in the land of Canaan. He built an altar there and named it El-Bethel (God-of-Bethel) because that’s where God revealed himself to him when he was running from his brother.
8And that’s when Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried just below Bethel under the oak tree. It was named Allon-Bacuth (Weeping-Oak).
9-10God revealed himself once again to Jacob, after he had come back from Paddan Aram and blessed him: “Your name is Jacob (Heel); but that’s your name no longer. From now on your name is Israel (God-Wrestler).”
I am The Strong God.
Have children! Flourish!
A nation—a whole company of nations!—
will come from you.
Kings will come from your loins;
the land I gave Abraham and Isaac
I now give to you,
and pass it on to your descendants.
13And then God was gone, ascended from the place where he had spoken with him.
14-15Jacob set up a stone pillar on the spot where God had spoken with him. He poured a drink offering on it and anointed it with oil. Jacob dedicated the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel (God’s-House).
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16-17They left Bethel. They were still quite a ways from Ephrath when Rachel went into labor—hard, hard labor. When her labor pains were at their worst, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid—you have another boy.”
18With her last breath, for she was now dying, she named him Ben-oni (Son-of-My-Pain), but his father named him Ben-jamin (Son-of-Good-Fortune).
19-20Rachel died and was buried on the road to Ephrath, that is, Bethlehem. Jacob set up a pillar to mark her grave. It is still there today, “Rachel’s Grave Stone.”
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21-22a Israel kept on his way and set up camp at Migdal Eder. While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went and slept with his father’s concubine, Bilhah. And Israel heard of what he did.
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22b-26 There were twelve sons of Jacob.
The sons by Leah:
Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn
The sons by Rachel:
The sons by Bilhah, Rachel’s maid:
The sons by Zilpah, Leah’s maid:
These were Jacob’s sons, born to him in Paddan Aram.
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27-29Finally, Jacob made it back home to his father Isaac at Mamre in Kiriath Arba, present-day Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac had lived. Isaac was now 180 years old. Isaac breathed his last and died—an old man full of years. He was buried with his family by his sons Esau and Jacob.
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THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of NavPress. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.