Genesis 35


Jacob Moves to Bethel

35 Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau [There must be several gods because the one issuing instructions here is not the one who appeared to him when he was fleeing from his brother].” So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; and let us arise and go up to Bethel [you remember Genesis 13 and 28 we were introduced to a place by the same name. I don’t know whether we are still at the same place or there are several Bethel], and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods [my question still is, why had this god to appear to selectively? Wouldn’t be better if he appeared to everyone at once so no one would keep other gods?] which they had and the rings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem [in the last chapter, Shechem was a young man who violated Dinah and got the whole city killed, when did the transformation from person to a place occur? ].

As they journeyed, there was a great terror upon the cities which were around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob [did Jake still anything or why would someone want to pursue them?]. So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. He built an altar there, and called the place El-bethel [why rename a place that already has a name? Is he going to be renaming every place a god appears to him?], because there God had revealed Himself to him when he fled from his brother. Now Deborah, Rebekah’s[just in case you forgot, Rebekah is Isaac’s wife] nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; it was named Allon-bacuth [oak of weeping].

Jacob Is Named Israel

Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. 10 God said to him,

“Your name is Jacob;
You shall no longer be called Jacob,
But Israel shall be your name.”

Thus He called him Israel [if he has just been named thus, then to what or whom does Israel refer in the previous chapter?]. 11 God also said to him,

“I am God Almighty;
Be fruitful and multiply;
A nation and a company of nations shall come from you,
And kings shall come forth from you.

12 “The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac,
I will give it to you,
And I will give the land to your descendants after you [has the land fallen to possession of others not of Abraham and Isaac?].”

13 Then God went up from him in the place where He had spoken with him [I hope we are all agreed that this god at least ain’t omnipresent, since if he goes from place to place then where he leaves is basically without god]. 14 Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He had spoken with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15 So Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel [Please tell me, I thought we have a place called Bethel? Why keep renaming places with the same name? This reminds me of  a fun mail I read a while ago about an Indian family living in the US of A writing to their son in India and telling him they moved 10 miles closer to the city and have moved with their old address & are waiting for the previous owners to remove their address so they can put theirs! How will he even trace their new home? ].

16 Then they journeyed from Bethel; and when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and she suffered severe labor. 17 When she was in severe labor the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for now you have another son.” 18 It came about as her soul was departing (for she died),[I don’t know the pains of child-birth nor how it feels to die since these are two things I haven’t experienced, but tell me who when they are in pain and dying would think about naming a child?] that she named him Ben-oni[ son of my sorrow]; but his father called him Benjamin[son of my strength]. 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Jacob set up a pillar over her grave; that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day [if you should see this pillar in your travels, please be kind to share the photos with me!] . 21 Then Israel journeyed on and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder.

22 It came about while Israel was dwelling in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard of it [Seriously! He heard it and that’s it?].

The Sons of Israel

Now there were twelve sons of Jacob— 23 the sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, then 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 maid: Dan and Naphtali; 26 and the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram [Benjamin wasn’t born in Paddan-aram, unless the sribe here has not read the preceding verses!].

27 Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre of Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned.

28 Now the days of Isaac were one hundred and eighty years. 29 Isaac breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, an old man of ripe age; and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him [Our cardboard character, Isaac, finally takes his last at 180 years. There is a problem here though, many chapters earlier, the limit for a man’s life had been put at 120 years and as have said in many places, the many scribes involved in compiling this document didn’t care for consistency or accuracy. Where does Esau come into the picture? The brothers are living apart from each other!].

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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

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