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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.[a](A)

The sons of Jacob were now twelve.

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Footnotes

  1. 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.

Chapter 5

Reuben. [a]The sons of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel. (He was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled the couch of his father his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, son of Israel, so that he is not listed in the family records according to his birthright.(A) Judah, in fact, became powerful among his brothers, so that the ruler came from him, though the birthright had been Joseph’s.)(B)

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Footnotes

  1. 5:1–26 Genealogies of the Transjordanian tribes, Reuben, Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh.

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