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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Genesis

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FRAMEWORKS: Genesis 35: Moving through the Land to home


v.1-6 At God's Direction Jacob Returns to Bethel

v.7-15 The Lord's Revelation & Promises to Jacob

v.16-18 The Birth of Benjamin & Death of Rachel

v.19-22 Rachel is Buried, they move on and Reuben sleeps with Bilhah

v.23-26 The Twelve Sons if Israel named again

v.27-29 Jacob returns home and Isaac dies



v.1-6 At God's Direction Jacob Returns to Bethel


v.1 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.”

v.2 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.

v.3 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.”

v.4 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.

v.5 Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.

v.6 Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan.


[Notes: While in Shechem, after his sons had killed the men of Shechem, the Lord instructs him to move south to Bethel, [v.1] the place where the Lord had appeared to him in a dream giving him a major prophecy for the future [28:12-15] and which the Lord has previously reminded him about [31:13] and there he is to build an altar [as a sign of fresh commitment to the Lord].

He sorts out his household [v.1] and gets rid of any foreign gods [we know Rachel had taken her father's household gods], acknowledging now that he realises the Lord had been with him wherever he went [a new understanding?] As they go, the sense of the Lord's presence brings fear to the neighbourhood and they leave without interference.]



v.7-15 The Lord's Revelation & Promises to Jacob


v.7 There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.

v.8 Now Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth.

v.9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him.

v.10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, [Jacob means he grasps the heel, a Hebrew idiom for he deceives.] but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel. [Israel probably means he struggles with God] ” So he named him Israel.

v.11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty [Hebrew El-Shaddai]; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants.

v.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.”

v.13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.

v.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.

v.15 Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel. [Bethel means house of God.]


[Notes: [Whether this refers to his time in the middle of the night or later on is unclear.] The Lord had made clear that he had a new name [v.10] and the Lord had spoken of Himself as ‘God Almighty' [v.11] and told him to increase and nations would come from him and kings would be his descendants. Again, He reiterates that this land is his and for his descendants.[v.12]



v.16-18 The Birth of Benjamin & Death of Rachel


v.16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty.

v.17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don't despair, for you have another son.”

v.18   As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. [Ben-Oni means son of my trouble.] But his father named him Benjamin. [12th Son: Benjamin means son of my right hand.]


[Notes: They don't stay there but set off for Hebron – see later. Rachel is pregnant again and some way off Bethlehem she gives birth to Benjamin but dies in childbirth.]



v.19-22 Rachel is Buried, they move on and Reuben sleeps with Bilhah

v.19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).

v.20 Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel's tomb.

v.21 Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder.

v.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:


[Notes: They bury Rachel there and set up a marker. The awfulness of Reuben's disrespectful behaviour, sleeping with his father's concubine, is left without comment at this point but receivers severe censure when in later days Jacob prophesies over the sons and basically imposes a curse on him for this act.]



v.23-26 The Twelve Sons if Israel named again


v.23 The sons of Leah: Reuben the firstborn of Jacob, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.

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

v.25  The sons of Rachel's servant Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali.

v.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.


[Notes: The full twelve are listed for the first time with Benjamin added to the list of the rest who were born up in Harran.]



v.27-29 Jacob returns home and Isaac dies

v.27 Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed.

v.28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years.

v.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.

[Notes: Home is Hebron where Isaac now lived and where Abraham had stayed. While he is there Isaac dies and is buried by Esau and Jacob.]



Lessons or Challenges to Ponder from Genesis Chapter 35


1. Part of Jacob's returning home and turning to God involves him instructing his whole family and ensuring they put aside all superstitious unbelief. Do we do that with our families?

2. While there, the Lord appears again to Jacob reiterating His call on his life to encourage him. Are we aware of the Lord's encouragements in our lives that help establish us and keep us on track?



Continue to Chapter 36