35 1God spoke to Jacob: “Go back to Bethel. Stay there and build an altar to the God who revealed himself to you when you were running for your life from your brother Esau.” 2Jacob told his family and all those who lived with him, “Throw out all the alien gods which you have, take a good bath and put on clean clothes, 3we’re going to Bethel. I’m going to build an altar there to the God who answered me when I was in trouble and has stuck with me everywhere I’ve gone since.” 4They turned over to Jacob all the alien gods they’d been holding on to, along with their lucky–charm earrings. Jacob buried them under the oak tree in Shechem. 5Then they set out. A paralyzing fear descended on all the surrounding villages so that they were unable to pursue the sons of Jacob. 6Jacob and his company arrived at Luz, that is, Bethel, in the land of Canaan. 7He built an altar there and named it El–Bethel (God–of–Bethel) because that’s where God revealed himself to him when he was running from his brother. 8And that’s when Rebekah’s nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried just below Bethel under the oak tree. It was named Allon–Bacuth (Weeping–Oak). 9God revealed himself once again to Jacob, after he had come back from Paddan Aram and blessed him: 10“Your name is Jacob (Heel); but that’s your name no longer. From now on your name is Israel (God–Wrestler).” 11God continued, I am The Strong God. Have children! Flourish! A nation—a whole company of nations!— will come from you. Kings will come from your loins; 12the land I gave Abraham and Isaac I now give to you, and pass it on to your descendants. 13And then God was gone, ascended from the place where he had spoken with him. 14Jacob set up a stone pillar on the spot where God had spoken with him. He poured a drink offering on it and anointed it with oil. 15Jacob dedicated the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel (God’s–House). 16They left Bethel. They were still quite a ways from Ephrath when Rachel went into labor—hard, hard labor. 17When her labor pains were at their worst, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid—you have another boy.” 18With her last breath, for she was now dying, she named him Ben–oni (Son–of–My–Pain), but his father named him Ben–jamin (Son–of–Good–Fortune). 19Rachel died and was buried on the road to Ephrath, that is, Bethlehem. 20Jacob set up a pillar to mark her grave. It is still there today, “Rachel’s Grave Stone.” 21Israel kept on his way and set up camp at Migdal Eder. 22While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went and slept with his father’s concubine, Bilhah. And Israel heard of what he did. There were twelve sons of Jacob. 23The sons by Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn Simeon Levi Judah Issachar Zebulun. 24The sons by Rachel: Joseph Benjamin. 25The sons by Bilhah, Rachel’s maid: Dan Naphtali. 26The sons by Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad Asher. These were Jacob’s sons, born to him in Paddan Aram. 27Finally, Jacob made it back home to his father Isaac at Mamre in Kiriath Arba, present–day Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac had lived. 28Isaac was now 180 years old. 29Isaac breathed his last and died—an old man full of years. He was buried with his family by his sons Esau and Jacob.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About