Genesis 35

Jacob goes home and Isaac dies

1 After these things had happened, God said to Jacob, ‘Go to Bethel. Live there. Build an altar to worship the God who appeared to you. He appeared to you when you were running from Esau.’ 2 So Jacob told his household. He told everyone who was with him, ‘Throw out all the foreign gods that you have with you. Wash your body. And change your clothes.’ 3 ‘Then we will go to Bethel. There I will build an altar to worship God. We will worship the God who answered me. He answered me when I was in trouble. And he has been with me everywhere that I went.’ 4 So the people gave all their foreign gods to Jacob. And they gave him the rings from their ears. And Jacob buried them under the oak tree at the place called Shechem.

35:4To wear rings in their ears sometimes meant that they worshipped foreign gods.

5 Then they began their journey. And the fear of God fell on all the towns near to them. So, no one attacked or followed them.

35:5The fear of God can mean that God caused something to happen in the towns. Or it might mean this. The people there knew that God was with Jacob. God kept Jacob and his household safe on their journey.

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

35:7El Bethel means God of Bethel.

8 Deborah was Rebekah's nurse. (She was travelling with Jacob.) Deborah died. Jacob buried her under the oak tree below Bethel. That is why they call the place Allon Bacuth.

35:8An oak tree is a tall strong tree. Allon Bacuth means ‘oak tree of weeping’.

9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again. And God blessed Jacob. 10 God said to Jacob ‘Your name is Jacob. But your name will no longer be Jacob Your name will be Israel.’ So God called Jacob Israel.

35:10God tells Jacob what he told him in 32:28.

11 And God said to Jacob, ‘I am Almighty God. You will have many descendants. Your descendants will be a great people. Some of your descendants will be kings. 12 I give 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 making to Jacob the promise that he made to Abraham (17:1-8) and to Isaac (26:3).

13 Then God went from Jacob. He went from that place. It was the place where he spoke with Jacob. 14 Jacob set up a stone. This was at the place where God spoke to him. He poured a drink offering on the stone. He also poured oil on it. 15 Jacob called the place where God talked to him Bethel.

16 Then they left Bethel. When they were still several miles from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth. She had a lot of difficulty. 17 As she was having so much difficulty, the woman helping her said, ‘Do not be afraid. You have another son.’ 18 Rachel was dying. And with her last breath, she gave a name to her son. The name was Ben-Oni. But Jacob, his father, called him Benjamin.

35:18Ephrath is now called Bethlehem.
35:18Ben-Oni means ‘son of my trouble.’
35:18Benjamin means ‘son of my right hand.’

19 Rachel died. They buried her on the way to Ephrath. 20 Jacob set up a stone over the place where he buried her. This stone shows where Jacob buried Rachel.

21 Israel moved on again. He put up his tents beyond Migdal Eder.

35:21Ephrath became Bethlehem. Israel in verse 21 is the other name for Jacob.

22 Israel stayed in that place. And Reuben went to Bilhah and had sex with her. Bilhah was his father's concubine. And Israel heard what had happened.

Jacob had 12 sons:

23 The sons of Leah were Reuben, who was the first of her sons, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. 24 The sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. 25 The sons of Rachel's female servant, Bilhah were Dan and Naphtali. 26 The sons of Leah's female servant, Zilpah were Gad and Asher. These were the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram.

27 Jacob arrived home. He arrived at his father Isaac's home. This is in Mamre near Kiriath Arba (that is Hebron.) This is where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. 28 Isaac was alive for 180 years. 29 Then he died. And he joined his people who had died before him. He was an old man when he died. And his sons, Esau and Jacob buried him.