Genesis chapter 35

Jacob returns to Bethel. Rachel dies. Isaac dies.





VERSE 1. God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel, and live there. Make there an altar to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.”

and live there. After Jacob moves to Bethel, he is to remain there for a while. It is to be a time of stability.

Make there an altar to God. In this new place of Bethel, Jacob is to return to his roots. He is to return to the LORD God.


VERSE 2. Then Jacob said to his household, and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, change your garments.

foreign gods that are among you. They had brought idols with them from Paddan-aram. They were idolaters.

purify yourselves. They were to stop their idolatry.


VERSE 3. Let’s arise, and go up to Bethel. I will make there an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me on the way which I went.”

The LORD God instructed Jacob to do two things. Now he is acting upon them both:

Let’s arise, and go up to Bethel. Jacob announces his intention to move the household to the new location.

I will make there an altar to God. Jacob announces his intention to return to the LORD God.


VERSE 4. They gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the rings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.

They gave to Jacob all the foreign gods. The people of Jacob’s household acted upon his instructions. They purified themselves of their idolatry.


VERSE 5. They traveled, and a terror of God was on the cities that were around them, and they didn’t pursue the sons of Jacob.

terror of God was on the cities. In return for the heinous crime committed against Dinah, her family slaughtered all the men of an entire tribe.

Now everyone is afraid of them.


VERSE 6. So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him.

Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel):

  • The LORD God told Jacob to move to Bethel (verse 1)
  • Jacob announced that he would do this thing (verse 3)
  • He actually did it (verse 6)


VERSE 7. He built an altar there, and called the place El Beth El; because there God was revealed to him, when he fled from the face of his brother.


VERSE 8. Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; and its name was called Allon Bacuth.

under the oak. The oak was an important tree.

Allon Bacuth. That means “Oak of Weeping.”


VERSE 9. God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan Aram, and blessed him.


VERSE 10. God said to him, “Your name is Jacob. Your name shall not be Jacob any more, but your name will be Israel.” He named him Israel.

Israel. The word means “God fights.”


VERSE 11. God said to him, “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations will be from you, and kings will come out of your body.

God. The Hebrew word is אֵ֤ל (“El”). It means God. Or gods.

Almighty. The Hebrew word is שַׁדַּי֙ (“šad·day”). It means Almighty.

Those two words combine to form the name “El Shaddai.” It appears 48 times in the Bible.

Years later, Jacob repeats this blessing to Joseph:

Genesis 48:4. and said to me, ‘Behold, I will make you fruitful, and multiply you, and I will make of you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your offspring after you for an everlasting possession.’


VERSE 12. The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, and to your offspring after you I will give the land.”


VERSE 13. God went up from him in the place where he spoke with him.


VERSE 14. Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he spoke with him, a pillar of stone. He poured out a drink offering on it, and poured oil on it.


VERSE 15. Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him “Bethel”.




VERSE 16. They traveled from Bethel. There was still some distance to come to Ephrath, and Rachel travailed. She had hard labor.


VERSE 17. When she was in hard labor, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for now you will have another son.”

Don’t be afraid. Fear is a natural emotion. We can’t turn it off. Most people are held back by fear. But the Bible says “Do not be afraid.” That means to move forward anyway. Read more »


VERSE 18. As her soul was departing (for she died), she named him Benoni, but his father named him Benjamin.

Benoni. This word means “son of my trouble.”

Benjamin. This word means “son of my right hand.”

The Bible often mentions “the right hand” of God. That is a position of power and honor. We believe it refers to Jesus Christ. More verses about the right hand.


VERSE 19. Rachel died, and was buried on the way to Ephrath (also called Bethlehem).


VERSE 20. Jacob set up a pillar on her grave. The same is the Pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day.


VERSE 21. Israel traveled, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Eder.


VERSE 22. While Israel lived in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and Israel heard of it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve.

Reuben went and lay with Bilhah. Reuben had sex with his father’s concubine Bilhah. For that reason, he fell from divine favor:

1 Chronicles 5:1. The sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s couch, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph the son of Israel; and the genealogy is not to be listed according to the birthright.


VERSE 23. The sons of Leah: Reuben (Jacob’s firstborn), Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.


VERSE 24. The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.


VERSE 25. The sons of Bilhah (Rachel’s servant): Dan and Naphtali.


VERSE 26. The sons of Zilpah (Leah’s servant): Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob, who were born to him in Paddan Aram.


VERSE 27. Jacob came to Isaac his father, to Mamre, to Kiriath Arba (which is Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac lived as foreigners.




VERSE 28. The days of Isaac were one hundred eighty years.


VERSE 29. Isaac gave up the spirit and died, and was gathered to his people, old and full of days. Esau and Jacob, his sons, buried him.


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.


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