Genesis 35

Jacob goes back to Bethel

1 After these things had happened, God said to Jacob, ‘Go to Bethel and live there. Build an altar to worship me. I am the God who appeared to you when you were running away from Esau.’ 2 So Jacob told the people in his house and everyone who was with him, ‘Throw out all the foreign idols that you have with you. Wash your body very well and put on clean clothes. 3 Then we will go to Bethel. I will build an altar there to worship God. He is the one who answered me when I was in trouble. And he has been with me everywhere that I went.’

4 So the people gave to Jacob all their idols and the rings that were in their ears. Jacob buried these things under the oak tree near Shechem city. 5 Then they began their journey. All the towns near there were afraid of God's power. So no one attacked Jacob and his people.

6 Jacob and everyone with him arrived at Luz, now called Bethel. That is in the land of Canaan. 7 Jacob built an altar there. He called the place El Bethel, because that was where God appeared to him. God had appeared to him when he was running away from his brother Esau.

35:7El Bethel means ‘God of Bethel’.

8 Rebekah's nurse, Deborah, died at that time. Jacob buried her under the oak tree near Bethel. That is why they call the place Allon Bacuth.

35:8Allon Bacuth means ‘oak tree where people wept’.

9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again. God blessed Jacob. 10 He said to Jacob, ‘Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob. Instead, your name will be Israel.’ So God gave the name Israel to Jacob.

35:10See Genesis 32:28.

11 Then God said to him, ‘I am Almighty God. Give birth to many children so that your descendants become very many. They will become many nations and some of them will be kings. 12 I give to you the land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give this land to your descendants that come after you.’

35:12God is telling Jacob about the promise that he made to Abraham (Genesis 17:1-8) and to Isaac (Genesis 26:3).

13 Then God went away from the place where he spoke to Jacob. 14 Jacob set up a special stone on the ground. It showed the place where God had spoken to him. He poured a drink offering on the stone. He also poured olive oil on it. 15 In that way, Jacob called the place where God spoke to him Bethel.

16 Then they left Bethel and they continued to travel. When they were still a long way from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth. She had a lot of pain. 17 As she was having even more pain, the woman who was helping her said, ‘Do not be afraid. You have another son!’ 18 But Rachel was dying. With her last breath, she gave to her son the name Ben-Oni. But Jacob, his father, called him Benjamin.

35:18Ben-Oni means ‘son of my pain’. Benjamin means ‘son of my right hand’.

19 After Rachel died, they buried near the road that goes to Ephrath. 20 Jacob set up a special stone over the place where they buried Rachel. This stone still shows the place.

35:19Ephrath is now called Bethlehem.

21 Israel then travelled on again. He put up his tents beyond Migdal Eder. 22 While Israel stayed there, his son Reuben had sex with Bilhah. She was Israel's slave wife, and Israel heard what had happened.

35:21Jacob is now called Israel, but the Bible uses both names.

Jacob had 12 sons:

23 The sons of Leah were Jacob's firstborn, Reuben, then Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.

24 The sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin.

25 The sons of Rachel's servant, Bilhah, were Dan and Naphtali.

26 The sons of Leah's servant, Zilpah, were Gad and Asher.

Those were Jacob's sons who were born to him in Paddan Aram.

27 Jacob arrived back at his father Isaac's home. This was in Mamre, also called Kiriath Arba, or Hebron. It was the place where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. 28 Isaac lived for 180 years. 29 Then he died and he joined his ancestors. He was an old man who had lived a long life. His sons, Esau and Jacob, buried him.