New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Jacob’s Family. 16 Then they departed from Bethel; but while they still had some distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel went into labor and suffered great distress. 17 When her labor was most intense, the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for now you have another son.” 18 With her last breath—for she was at the point of death—she named him Ben-oni;[a] but his father named him Benjamin. 19 Thus Rachel died; and she was buried on the road to Ephrath (now Bethlehem).[b](A) 20 Jacob set up a sacred pillar on her grave, and the same pillar marks Rachel’s grave to this day.
21 Israel moved on and pitched his tent beyond Migdal-eder. 22 While Israel was encamped in that region, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. When Israel heard of it, he was greatly offended.[c](B)
The sons of Jacob were now twelve. 23 The sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; 24 [d]the sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin; 25 the sons of Rachel’s maidservant Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali; 26 the sons of Leah’s maidservant Zilpah: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.Read full chapter
- 35:18 Ben-oni: means either “son of my vigor” or, more likely in the context, “son of affliction.” Benjamin: “son of the right hand,” meaning a son who is his father’s help and support.
- 35:19 Bethlehem: the gloss comes from a later tradition that identified the site with Bethlehem, also called Ephrath or Ephratha (Jos 15:59; Ru 4:11; Mi 5:1). But Rachel’s grave was actually near Ramah (Jer 31:15), a few miles north of Jerusalem, in the territory of Benjamin (1 Sm 10:2).
- 35:22 The genealogy in vv. 23–29 is prefaced by a notice about Reuben’s sleeping with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. Such an act is a serious challenge to the authority of the father (cf. 2 Sm 3:7 and 16:21). In his final testament in chap. 49, Jacob cites this act of Reuben as the reason for Reuben’s loss of the authority he had as firstborn son (49:4). Reuben’s act is one more instance of strife in the family and of discord between father and son.
- 35:24–26 Benjamin is here said to have been born in Paddan-aram, apparently because all twelve sons of Jacob are considered as a unit.