Genesis 35 – February 4
Posted by DiscoverOneThing
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Genesis 35 – Jacob Returns to Bethel
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.”
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. 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.” 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. 5 Then they set out, and the terror of God fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.
6 Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. 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.
8 Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel. So it was named Allon Bakuth.
9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.” So he named him Israel.
11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants. 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.” 13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked with him.
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. 15 Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel.
The Deaths of Rachel and Isaac
16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.” 18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni. But his father named him Benjamin.
19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.
21 Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder. 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:
23 The sons of Leah: Reuben the firstborn of Jacob, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun.
24 The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
25 The sons of Rachel’s servant Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali.
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.
27 Jacob came home to his father Isaac in Mamre, near Kiriath Arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had stayed. 28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years. 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.
Astray | Becky Newman
After all of this wrestling with God and still trying to do life without Him, Jacob seems to be turning a page at the beginning of today’s reading. God tells him to go to Bethel and settle there, and he doesn’t just go; he takes the time to cleanse himself and his family for the holy mission God is sending them on. Perhaps he’s seeing how his ways have been leading his family astray, first his wives then his sons over the last several chapters. He’s making an initial commitment to follow God’s way this time, though it appears from verse 16 that he chose not to obey God’s command to settle there.
My best intentions are to follow Your way, but often I don’t even realize that I’ve strayed onto my own way and excluded you. Dealing with woman issues the last several days, I have strayed so far in a different direction from You, with old sinful habits creeping back in that I thought I was free from. Every month, I get so angry at myself for letting hormones have control instead of You. Bottom line, I need You in control all of the time.
God, firmly place me back on Your way and help me remain there, no matter the circumstance, no matter my hormone levels. In this time with You, cleanse me from my sins when I was astray and prepare me for Your holy mission. Help me to give You control all of the time.
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