Jacob Returns to Bethel
Gn 28.11-17. God told Jacob, “Return to Bethel, where I appeared to you when you were running from your brother Esau. Make your home there and build an altar for me.”
2Jacob said to his family and to everyone else who was traveling with him:
Get rid of your foreign gods! Then make yourselves acceptable to worship God and put on clean clothes. 3Afterwards, we'll go to Bethel. I will build an altar there for God, who answered my prayers when I was in trouble and who has always been at my side.
4So everyone gave Jacob their idols and their earrings,#35.4 earrings: These would have had symbols of foreign gods on them. and he buried them under the oak tree near Shechem.
5While Jacob and his family were traveling through Canaan, God terrified the people in the towns so much that no one dared bother them. 6Finally, they reached Bethel, also known as Luz. 7Jacob built an altar there and called it “God of Bethel,” because that was the place where God had appeared to him when he was running from Esau. 8While they were there, Rebekah's personal servant Deborah#35.8 Deborah: See 24.59 and the note there. died. They buried her under an oak tree and called it “Weeping Oak.”
God Blesses Jacob at Bethel
Gn 32.28. #Gn 17.4-8. After Jacob came back to the land of Canaan, God appeared to him again. This time he gave Jacob a new name and blessed him by saying:
I am God All-Powerful, and from now on your name will be Israel#35.9-11 Israel: See the note at 32.28. instead of Jacob. You will have many children. Your descendants will become nations, and some of the men in your family will even be kings. 12I will give you the land that I promised Abraham and Isaac, and it will belong to your family forever.
13After God had gone, 14#Gn 28.18,19. Jacob set up a large rock, so that he would remember what had happened there. Then he poured wine and olive oil on the rock to show that it was dedicated to God, 15and he named the place Bethel.#35.15 Bethel: See the note at 28.19.
Benjamin Is Born
16Jacob and his family had left Bethel and were still a long way from Ephrath, when the time came for Rachel's baby to be born. 17She was having a rough time, but the woman who was helping her said, “Don't worry! It's a boy.” 18Rachel was at the point of death, and right before dying, she said, “I'll name him Benoni.”#35.18 Benoni: In Hebrew “Benoni” means “Son of my Sorrow.” But Jacob called him Benjamin.#35.18 Benjamin: In Hebrew “Benjamin” can mean “Son at my Right Side” (the place of power).
19Rachel was buried beside the road to Ephrath, which is also called Bethlehem. 20Jacob set up a tombstone over her grave, and it is still there. 21Jacob, also known as Israel, traveled to the south of Eder Tower, where he set up camp.
Gn 49.4. During their time there, Jacob's oldest son Reuben slept with Bilhah, who was one of Jacob's other wives.#35.22 other wives: See the note at 22.24. Bilhah had been Rachel's servant woman (see 29.28-30). And Jacob found out about it.
Jacob's Twelve Sons
23-26Jacob had twelve sons while living in northern Syria.#35.23-26 northern Syria: See the note at 24.10. His first-born Reuben was the son of Leah, who later gave birth to Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. Leah's servant Zilpah had two sons: Gad and Asher.
Jacob and his wife Rachel had Joseph and Benjamin. Rachel's servant woman Bilhah had two more sons: Dan and Naphtali.
Gn 13.18. Jacob went to his father Isaac at Hebron, also called Mamre or Kiriath-Arba, where Isaac's father Abraham had lived as a foreigner. 28-29Isaac died at the ripe old age of 180, then his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)
© 2006 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.
1 About this time, God said to Jacob, "Arise and go up to Bethel, and live there, and make an altar to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau."
2 In truth, Jacob, having called together all his house, said: "Cast away the foreign gods that are in your midst and be cleansed, and also change your garments.
3 Arise, and let us go up to Bethel, so that we may make an altar there to God, who heeded me in the day of my tribulation, and who accompanied me on my journey."
4 Therefore, they gave him all the foreign gods which they had, and the earrings which were in their ears. And then he buried them under the terebinth tree, which is beyond the city of Shechem.
5 And when they had set out, the terror of God invaded all the surrounding cities, and they dared not pursue them as they withdrew.
6 And so, Jacob arrived at Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, also named Bethel: he and all the people with him.
7 And he built an altar there, and he called the name of that place, 'House of God.' For there God appeared to him when he fled from his brother.
8 About the same time, Deborah, the nurse of Rebekah, died, and she was buried at the base of Bethel, under an oak tree. And the name of that place was called, 'Oak of Weeping.'
9 Then God appeared again to Jacob, after he returned from Mesopotamia of Syria, and he blessed him,
10 saying: "You will no longer be called Jacob, for your name shall be Israel." And he called him Israel,
11 and he said to him: "I am Almighty God: increase and multiply. Tribes and peoples of nations will be from you, and kings will go forth from your loins.
12 And the land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give to you, and to your offspring after you."
13 And he withdrew from him.
14 In truth, he set up a monument of stone, in the place where God had spoken to him, pouring out libations over it, and pouring oil,
15 and he called the name of that place, 'Bethel.'
16 Then, departing from there, he arrived in springtime at the land that leads to Ephrath. And there, when Rachel was giving birth,
17 because it was a difficult birth, she began to be in danger. And the midwife said to her, "Do not be afraid, for you will have this son also."
18 Then, when her life was departing because of the pain, and death was now imminent, she called the name of her son Benoni, that is, the son of my pain. Yet truly, his father called him Benjamin, that is, the son of the right hand.
19 And so Rachel died, and she was buried in the way that leads to Ephrath: this place is Bethlehem.
20 And Jacob erected a monument over her sepulcher. This is the monument to Rachel's tomb, even to the present day.
21 Departing from there, he pitched his tent beyond the Tower of the Flock.
22 And when he was living in that region, Reuben went out, and he slept with Bilhah the concubine of his father, which was not such a small matter as to be hidden from him. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve.
23 The sons of Leah: Reuben the first born, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun.
24 The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
25 The sons of Bilhah, handmaid of Rachel: Dan and Naphtali.
26 The sons of Zilpah, handmaid of Leah: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Mesopotamia of Syria.
27 And then he went to his father Isaac in Mamre, the city of Arba: this place is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned.
28 And the days of Isaac were completed: one hundred and eighty years.
29 And being consumed by old age, he died. And he was placed with his people, being old and full of days. And his sons, Esau and Jacob, buried him.