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Genesis Thirty Five

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

Genesis 35:1 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.

go up to Bethel It is strange that during all the ten years or so that Jacob had been back in Canaan he had never yet gone back to nearby Bethel to build his altar, as he had promised God he would do when he was leaving Canaan (Genesis 28:20-22). He may have been spiritually uncomfortable with how content he allowed his family to become in their compromising and worldly prosperity at Shechem.

Genesis 35:2 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:

the strange gods. His family and servants still had some of the pagan images and charms they had brought from Syria, not to mention the spoils of Shechem. These spoils had to be buried before they could really meet God at Bethel (like many modern believers who try to retain many of the accouterments of ungodliness from which they had been once delivered).

Genesis 35:3 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.

Genesis 35:4 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.

Genesis 35:5 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.

Genesis 35:6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.

Genesis 35:7 And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.

Genesis 35:8 But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.

Allon-bachuth. Allon-bachuth means “The Oak of Weeping.” Deborah was Rebekah's nurse and accompanied her when she left her home to marry Isaac. Deborah no doubt stayed with Rebekah until Rebekah's death. She had known and loved Jacob ever since he was born, and evidently had gone to live with him on the occasion of one of his trips home from Shechem to Hebron to visit his aged father Isaac. Her aged body finally yielded up its spirit after the trauma of Shechem and the arduous climb up to Bethel.

Genesis 35:9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.

Genesis 35:10 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.

Genesis 35:11 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;

Genesis 35:12 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.

Genesis 35:13 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.

Genesis 35:14 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.

Genesis 35:15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.

Genesis 35:16 And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.

Genesis 35:17 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.

Genesis 35:18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.

Genesis 35:19 And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.

Ephrath, which is Beth-lehem. It was here that Rachel died and here that Jesus was born, as prophesied in Micah 5:2. Rachel's son Benjamin (“son of my right hand,” first named by Rachel, Benoni, “son of pain”) was the progenitor of the tribe that would eventually inhabit this portion of the Promised Land. Hence the phrase, “Rachel weeping for her children” (Matthew 2:18; Jeremiah 31:15), when Herod sought to slay the male children of Bethlehem. Note also the reference to Ephratah in Psalm 132:6.

Genesis 35:20 And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day.

Genesis 35:21 And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.

Genesis 35:22 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:

Genesis 35:23 The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun:

Genesis 35:24 The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin:

Genesis 35:25 And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali:

Genesis 35:26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.

Genesis 35:27 And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned.

Genesis 35:28 And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years.

Genesis 35:29 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.