January 15th Genesis 35 Jacob returns to Bethel
1: And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. 2: Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: 3: And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. 4: And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. 5: And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob. 6: So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. 7: And he built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother. 8: But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allon-bachuth. 9: And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padan-aram, and blessed him. 10: And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel. 11: And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; 12: And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land. 13: And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. 14: And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. 15: And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.
Benjamin is born as Rachel dies
16: And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. 17: And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also. 18: And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Ben-oni: but his father called him Benjamin. 19: And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. 20: And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day. 21: And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.
22: And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve: 23: The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: 24: The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: 25: And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: 26: And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padan-aram.
Isaac dies and is buried
27: And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned. 28: And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. 29: And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
The Lord spoke to Jacob to get up and go back to Bethel and make an altar but Jacob had to say to his family put away the strange gods that are among you. What are these gods? These are the gods of Laban. Rachel had stolen the gods of Laban when she left home. Jacob said we are going to go to appear before the God who answered me in the day of my distress and was with me in the way l went. So they took the gods and earrings and buried them under the oak. This reminds us of cross of calvary. The nations round about were terrified of Jacob. When he came to bethel he renamed it El-bethel. This was not just the House of God that Jacob came to but he met the God of the house of God, there God appeared to him. It was here that Deborah Rebekah’s nurse died. This was a final close to the old influence. She was buried under the oak with the Laban’s gods and the earrings. This is the chapter of burials. As they journeyed they came to Ephrath (which would later be called Bethlehem) and there Rachel gave birth at the side of the road. Her labour was difficult. As she was dying in childbirth she called the baby boy Ben-oni (which means ‘Son of my sorrow’) however Jacob called him Benjamin (Son of my right hand) It was a day of tears, tears of joy and sorrow. Jacobs weeping for Rachel was inconsolable she was the only woman he loved. He raised up an altar on her grave and worshipped the LORD. (The writer says its still there today) No-one has ever had the courage to remove it, it is sacred site. The next disgrace is that Reuben took his fathers slave wife Bilhah and lay with her. Jacob – Israel heard of it. What a terrible thing. Moses next records the family of Israel.
The sons of Leah; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun:
The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin
The sons of Bilhah, Dan, Naphtali
The sons of Zilpah, Gad, Asher
If these events were not sad enough Jacob comes to his father Isaac at Hebron. Isaac was 180 and he died, he was very old and full of days. Esau and Jacob buried him.
- What does Jacob mean by put away your strange gods?
- How many burials are there in todays readings?
- How did the death of his wife effect Jacob?