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Genesis 35 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 35

Bethel Revisited. [a]God said to Jacob: Go up now to Bethel. Settle there and build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau. So Jacob told his household and all who were with him: “Get rid of the foreign gods[b] among you; then purify yourselves and change your clothes. Let us now go up to Bethel so that I might build an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” They gave Jacob all the foreign gods in their possession and also the rings they had in their ears[c] and Jacob buried them under the oak that is near Shechem. Then, as they set out, a great terror fell upon the surrounding towns, so that no one pursued the sons of Jacob.

Thus Jacob and all the people who were with him arrived in Luz (now Bethel) in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar and called the place El-Bethel,[d] for it was there that God had revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.

Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died. She was buried under the oak below Bethel, and so it was named Allon-bacuth.[e]

On Jacob’s arrival from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him:

Your name is Jacob.
You will no longer be named Jacob,
    but Israel will be your name.

So he was named Israel. 11 Then God said to him: I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply. A nation, indeed an assembly of nations, will stem from you, and kings will issue from your loins. 12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you; and to your descendants after you I will give the land.

13 Then God departed from him. 14 In the place where God had spoken with him, Jacob set up a sacred pillar, a stone pillar, and upon it he made a libation and poured out oil. 15 Jacob named the place where God spoke to him Bethel.

Jacob’s Family. 16 Then they departed from Bethel; but while they still had some distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel went into labor and suffered great distress. 17 When her labor was most intense, the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for now you have another son.” 18 With her last breath—for she was at the point of death—she named him Ben-oni;[f] but his father named him Benjamin. 19 Thus Rachel died; and she was buried on the road to Ephrath (now Bethlehem).[g] 20 Jacob set up a sacred pillar on her grave, and the same pillar marks Rachel’s grave to this day.

21 Israel moved on and pitched his tent beyond Migdal-eder. 22 While Israel was encamped in that region, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. When Israel heard of it, he was greatly offended.[h]

The sons of Jacob were now twelve. 23 The sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; 24 [i]the sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin; 25 the sons of Rachel’s maidservant Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali; 26 the sons of Leah’s maidservant Zilpah: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.

27 Jacob went home to his father Isaac at Mamre, in Kiriath-arba (now Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had resided. 28 The length of Isaac’s life was one hundred and eighty years; 29 then he breathed his last. He died as an old man and was gathered to his people. After a full life, his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Footnotes:

  1. 35:1–7 Jacob returns to Bethel and founds the sanctuary, an event that forms a “bookend” to the first visit to Bethel in 28:10–22. To enter the Lord’s sanctuary, one must purify oneself and get rid of all signs of allegiance to other gods (Jos 24:23; Jgs 10:16). Jacob also seems to initiate the custom of making a pilgrimage to Bethel (see Ps 122:1 and Is 2:3, 5).
  2. 35:2 Foreign gods: divine images, including those of household deities (see note on 31:19), that Jacob’s people brought with them from Paddan-aram.
  3. 35:4 Rings…their ears: the earrings may have belonged to the gods because earrings were often placed on statues.
  4. 35:7 El-Bethel: probably to be translated “the god of Bethel.” This is one of several titles of God in Genesis that begin with El (= God), e.g., El Olam (21:33), El Elyon (14:18), El the God of Israel (33:20), El Roi (16:13), and El Shaddai. Most of these (except El Shaddai) are tied to specific Israelite shrines.
  5. 35:8 Allon-bacuth: the Hebrew name means “oak of weeping.”
  6. 35:18 Ben-oni: means either “son of my vigor” or, more likely in the context, “son of affliction.” Benjamin: “son of the right hand,” meaning a son who is his father’s help and support.
  7. 35:19 Bethlehem: the gloss comes from a later tradition that identified the site with Bethlehem, also called Ephrath or Ephratha (Jos 15:59; Ru 4:11; Mi 5:1). But Rachel’s grave was actually near Ramah (Jer 31:15), a few miles north of Jerusalem, in the territory of Benjamin (1 Sm 10:2).
  8. 35:22 The genealogy in vv. 23–29 is prefaced by a notice about Reuben’s sleeping with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. Such an act is a serious challenge to the authority of the father (cf. 2 Sm 3:7 and 16:21). In his final testament in chap. 49, Jacob cites this act of Reuben as the reason for Reuben’s loss of the authority he had as firstborn son (49:4). Reuben’s act is one more instance of strife in the family and of discord between father and son.
  9. 35:24–26 Benjamin is here said to have been born in Paddan-aram, apparently because all twelve sons of Jacob are considered as a unit.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Genesis 35 New International Version (NIV)

Jacob Returns to Bethel

35 Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”

So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone. So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem. Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.

Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel,[a] because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.

Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth.[b]

After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram,[c] God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob,[d] but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.[e] So he named him Israel.

11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty[f]; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you. 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.

14 Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15 Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel.[g]

The Deaths of Rachel and Isaac

16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” 18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni.[h] But his father named him Benjamin.[i]

19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.

21 Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder. 22 While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it.

Jacob had twelve sons:

23 The sons of Leah:

Reuben the firstborn of Jacob,

Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.

24 The sons of Rachel:

Joseph and Benjamin.

25 The sons of Rachel’s servant Bilhah:

Dan and Naphtali.

26 The sons of Leah’s servant Zilpah:

Gad and Asher.

These were the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram.

27 Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. 28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. 29 Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, old and full of years. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 35:7 El Bethel means God of Bethel.
  2. Genesis 35:8 Allon Bakuth means oak of weeping.
  3. Genesis 35:9 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia; also in verse 26
  4. Genesis 35:10 Jacob means he grasps the heel, a Hebrew idiom for he deceives.
  5. Genesis 35:10 Israel probably means he struggles with God.
  6. Genesis 35:11 Hebrew El-Shaddai
  7. Genesis 35:15 Bethel means house of God.
  8. Genesis 35:18 Ben-Oni means son of my trouble.
  9. Genesis 35:18 Benjamin means son of my right hand.
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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