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35 “Move on to Bethel now, and settle there,” God said to Jacob, “and build an altar to worship me—the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.”

So Jacob instructed all those in his household to destroy the idols they had brought with them, and to wash themselves and to put on fresh clothing. “For we are going to Bethel,” he told them, “and I will build an altar there to the God who answered my prayers in the day of my distress, and was with me on my journey.”

So they gave Jacob all their idols and their earrings, and he buried them beneath the oak tree near Shechem. Then they started on again. And the terror of God was upon all the cities they journeyed through, so that they were not attacked. Finally they arrived at Luz (also called Bethel), in Canaan. And Jacob erected an altar there and named it “the altar to the God who met me here at Bethel”[a] because it was there at Bethel that God appeared to him when he was fleeing from Esau.

Soon after this[b] Rebekah’s old nurse, Deborah, died and was buried beneath the oak tree in the valley below Bethel. And ever after it was called “The Oak of Weeping.”

Upon Jacob’s arrival at Bethel, en route from Paddan-aram, God appeared to him once again and blessed him. 10 And God said to him, “You shall no longer be called Jacob (‘Grabber’), but Israel (‘One who prevails with God’). 11 I am God Almighty,” the Lord said to him, “and I will cause you to be fertile and to multiply and to become a great nation, yes, many nations; many kings shall be among your descendants. 12 And I will pass on to you the land I gave to Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give it to you and to your descendants.”

13-14 Afterwards Jacob built a stone pillar at the place where God had appeared to him; and he poured wine over it as an offering to God and then anointed the pillar with olive oil. 15 Jacob named the spot Bethel (“House of God”), because God had spoken to him there.

16 Leaving Bethel, he and his household traveled on toward Ephrath (Bethlehem). But Rachel’s pains of childbirth began while they were still a long way away. 17 After a very hard delivery, the midwife finally exclaimed, “Wonderful—another boy!” 18 And with Rachel’s last breath (for she died) she named him “Ben-oni” (“Son of my sorrow”); but his father called him “Benjamin” (“Son of my right hand”).

19 So Rachel died, and was buried near the road to Ephrath (also called Bethlehem). 20 And Jacob set up a monument of stones upon her grave, and it is there to this day.

21 Then Israel journeyed on and camped beyond the Tower of Eder. 22 It was while he was there that Reuben slept with Bilhah, his father’s concubine, and someone told Israel about it.

Here are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob:

23 The sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s oldest child, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun.

24 The sons of Rachel: Joseph, Benjamin.

25 The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant girl: Dan, Naphtali.

26 The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s servant girl: Gad, Asher.

All these were born to him at Paddan-aram.

27 So Jacob came at last to Isaac his father at Mamre in Kiriath-arba (now called Hebron), where Abraham too had lived. 28-29 Isaac died soon afterwards, at the ripe old age of 180. And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.


  1. Genesis 35:7 the God who met me here at Bethel, literally, “the God of Bethel.”
  2. Genesis 35:8 Soon after this, implied.
Living Bible (TLB)

The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Jacob Returns to Bethel

35 Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel(A) and settle there, and build an altar(B) there to God,(C) who appeared to you(D) when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.”(E)

So Jacob said to his household(F) and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods(G) you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes.(H) Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I will build an altar to God,(I) who answered me in the day of my distress(J) and who has been with me wherever I have gone.(K) So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in their ears,(L) and Jacob buried them under the oak(M) at Shechem.(N) Then they set out, and the terror of God(O) fell on the towns all around them so that no one pursued them.(P)

Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz(Q) (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan.(R) There he built an altar,(S) and he called the place El Bethel,[a](T) because it was there that God revealed himself to him(U) when he was fleeing from his brother.(V)

Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse,(W) died and was buried under the oak(X) outside Bethel.(Y) So it was named Allon Bakuth.[b]

After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram,[c](Z) God appeared to him again and blessed him.(AA) 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob,[d] but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel.[e](AB) So he named him Israel.

11 And God said to him, “I am God Almighty[f];(AC) be fruitful and increase in number.(AD) A nation(AE) and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants.(AF) 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.(AG)(AH) 13 Then God went up from him(AI) at the place where he had talked with him.

14 Jacob set up a stone pillar(AJ) at the place where God had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering(AK) on it; he also poured oil on it.(AL) 15 Jacob called the place where God had talked with him Bethel.[g](AM)

The Deaths of Rachel and Isaac(AN)

16 Then they moved on from Bethel. While they were still some distance from Ephrath,(AO) Rachel(AP) began to give birth and had great difficulty. 17 And as she was having great difficulty in childbirth, the midwife(AQ) said to her, “Don’t despair, for you have another son.”(AR) 18 As she breathed her last—for she was dying—she named her son Ben-Oni.[h](AS) But his father named him Benjamin.[i](AT)

19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath(AU) (that is, Bethlehem(AV)). 20 Over her tomb Jacob set up a pillar, and to this day(AW) that pillar marks Rachel’s tomb.(AX)

21 Israel moved on again and pitched his tent beyond Migdal Eder.(AY) 22 While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went in and slept with his father’s concubine(AZ) Bilhah,(BA) and Israel heard of it.

Jacob had twelve sons:

23 The sons of Leah:(BB)

Reuben the firstborn(BC) of Jacob,

Simeon, Levi, Judah,(BD) Issachar and Zebulun.(BE)

24 The sons of Rachel:

Joseph(BF) and Benjamin.(BG)

25 The sons of Rachel’s servant Bilhah:(BH)

Dan and Naphtali.(BI)

26 The sons of Leah’s servant Zilpah:(BJ)

Gad(BK) and Asher.(BL)

These were the sons of Jacob,(BM) who were born to him in Paddan Aram.(BN)

27 Jacob came home to his father Isaac(BO) in Mamre,(BP) near Kiriath Arba(BQ) (that is, Hebron),(BR) where Abraham and Isaac had stayed.(BS) 28 Isaac lived a hundred and eighty years.(BT) 29 Then he breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people,(BU) old and full of years.(BV) And his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.(BW)


  1. Genesis 35:7 El Bethel means God of Bethel.
  2. Genesis 35:8 Allon Bakuth means oak of weeping.
  3. Genesis 35:9 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia; also in verse 26
  4. Genesis 35:10 Jacob means he grasps the heel, a Hebrew idiom for he deceives.
  5. Genesis 35:10 Israel probably means he struggles with God.
  6. Genesis 35:11 Hebrew El-Shaddai
  7. Genesis 35:15 Bethel means house of God.
  8. Genesis 35:18 Ben-Oni means son of my trouble.
  9. Genesis 35:18 Benjamin means son of my right hand.
New International Version (NIV)

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