02/05/2020 - Genesis 35 Sons of Israel
Genesis Chapter 35
Verse 01. And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there
an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of
Esau thy brother.
Key Phrase: And God said unto Jacob; When Jacob was in great distress and on account of
the slaughter of the Shechemites by his sons. Not knowing what step to take or
course to steer for the safety of him and his family. God speaks to him for his
comfort and gives direction to Jacob.
Key Phrase: arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there; Jacob is bid to go in haste where it is
suggested, he would be safe, and where it would be right and proper for him to
Note: Which is said to be twenty-eight miles from Shechem. From Shechem to Bethel is an
ascent of 1000 feet. Bethel is 2890 feet above the sea.
Key Phrase: and make there an altar to God; Offer sacrifice to him, praise him for salvation
and deliverance wrought, pray to him for present and future mercies that were
needful. God is saying keep the vows he had there made to Him.
Key Phrase: that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother;
Who, resenting his getting the birthright and blessing from him, threatened to kill
him; which obliged him to flee from his father's house, and go into Mesopotamia.
On his way God appeared to him, at the place called by him from thence Bethel,
and gave him many precious promises.
Note: Jacob there had made a solemn vow, that if God would be with him, and keep him, and
give him food and raiment, and return him to his father's house, the pillar that was then
and there set up should be God's house, as well as he should be his God.
Verse 02. Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the
strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:
Key Phrase: Then Jacob said unto his household and to all that were with him; His wives and
Children, his menservants and maidservants, and such as remained with him of
the captives of Shechem, who might choose to continue with him.
Key Phrase: put away the strange gods that are among you; Meaning such as might be
among the Canaanitish servants that had been lately taken into Jacob's service,
or that were among the captives of Shechem that stayed with Jacob with the
spoil of that city.
Note: The Targum of Jonathan calls them the idols of the people, which they brought from the
idols' temple at Shechem; and the words may be rendered, "the gods of the strangers"
that is, of the Shechemites, who were Heathens and aliens, strangers to the true God,
the knowledge and worship of him.
Key Phrase: and be clean; Their hands were full of the blood of the Shechemites and needed
to be washed and purified, as the Targum of Jonathan has it, from the pollutions
of the slain, before they went to Bethel, the house of God.
Note: These outward ablutions and purifications were significative of inward cleansing by the
grace of God, and of outward reformation of life and manners; see Isaiah 1:15. It can
also be seen either by abstaining from their wives, as some interpret it, from Exodus
19:10. Or rather by washing their bodies, as Aben Ezra gives the sense of it.
Key Phrase: and change your garments; Which might be stained with blood, and therefore
not fit to appear in before God, or were old and worn out, or sordid apparel.
Changing and washing of garments were also emblems of renewing of the mind,
and cleansing of the soul, and of the change of heart and life. As well as of
pleasure, delight, and cheerfulness in appearing before God.
Verse 03. And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who
answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.
Key Phrase: And let us arise and go up to Bethel; Thus prepared and purged, their tents clear
of idols, their bodies washed with pure water, and their garments new, neat, and
clean. All of this symbolical of inward purity, and of freedom from idolatry and evil
works, as became those who go to the house of God, and are his worshippers, see
Key Phrase: I will make there an altar unto God; As God has directed and sacrifice to Him,
worship Him, give the tenth unto him and so make it a Bethel a house of God
indeed. As he Jacob now called Israel had vowed in Genesis 28:22.
Key Phrase: who answered me in the day of my distress; On account of his brother Esau,
from whose wrath he fled and feared.
Key Phrase: and was with me in the way which I went; God was with Jacob from his father's
house to Padanaram. In which journey he was alone and destitute, and exposed
to many difficulties and dangers. But God was with him, preserved him, directed
and brought him to Laban's house in safety.
Verse 04. And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all
their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which
was by Shechem.
Key Phase: They gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hands; Whether in
the hands of his servants or some of the captives taken at Shechem, or in the hand
(possession) of his sons, who had them along with the spoil they took there.
Key Phrase: and all their earrings which were in their ears; These were not the earrings that
women wore in common, such as Abraham's servant gave to Rebekah. And or
which Jacob's wives might wear, for such were not un-lawful. But either which
were worn in the ears of the strange gods or idols. For some used or wore them it
seems earrings as decoration and ornamented after the manner of the idols,
according to some writers.
Note: The earrings that the idolaters themselves was worn by them in a superstitious way,
having the images of these idols on them. As we see in the Targum of Jonathan "and the
earrings which were in the ears of the inhabitants of the city of Shechem, in which were
formed the likeness of their idols:"
Key Phrase: and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem; That is, the idols,
which, after he had collected that he dug a hole under an oak, and there buried
them. That they might be no more made use of in an idolatrous way. He chose to
put them under an oak, because it is a tree which often stands many years before
it is cut down, and besides was used for religious purposes, and had in great
veneration, and therefore seldom felled.
Note: The Jews say, that the idol Jacob hid under the oak was in the form of a dove, which the
Samaritans after some time found, and set it on the top of Mount Gerizim. Some take
this oak to be the same with that mentioned in Joshua 24:26 There can be no certainty,
since Jacob, laid these images alone, never intended any should know here they were.
Verse 05. And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round
about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.
Key Phrase: And they journeyed; Jacob and his family, with all that were with them, from
Shechem to Bethel:
Key Phrase: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them; This is
seen as an exceeding great panic seized the inhabitants of the cities of the land of
Canaan, all about Shechem, which was from God himself impressing it on their
minds, through what the sons of Jacob had done to that city.
Key Phrase: and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob; It might have been thought they
would take revenge on them for their slaughter of the inhabitants of a neigh-
boring city. Instead they were afraid they should be used in the same manner.
So Jacob and his family journeyed in safety, and came to Bethel in peace.
Verse 06. So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the
people that were with him.
Key Phrase: So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is Bethel; The place
Jacob had called Bethel, when he was there before, was formerly called Luz,
Genesis 28:19; and is here said to be in the land of Canaan, that is, in that part of
the land which was inhabited by those who were properly called Canaanites, to
distinguish it from another Luz, which was in the land of the Hittites; Judges 1:26.
Key Phrase: he and all the people that were with him; His wives, his children, servants, or
whoever else came from Shechem, these all came safe to Luz without any
molestation or loss.
Verse 07. And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God
appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.
Key Phrase: and called the place Elbethel; Meaning the “God of Bethel”; a title which God
takes to himself as seen in Genesis 31:13; Jacob called the place with respect God
of because of his appearance to him there.
Verse 08. But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an
oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.
Key Phrase: But Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died; That is, when, and quickly after they had
come to Bethel.
Note: Jacob had now been six years lingering in Sukkoth and Sleekem. There seems have been
some contact between him and his father's house during this interval. The presence of
Deborah, Rebekah's nurse (Jacob’s mother), in his family, is confirmation of this.
Key Phrase: and she was buried beneath Bethel; At the bottom of the hill or mountain on
which Bethel stood.
Key Phrase: under an oak; Which there were many about Bethel, 1 Kings 13:14 2 Kings 2:23;
and it was not unusual to bury the dead under trees, see 1 Samuel 31:13.
Note: The next six verses are a recap some of the experiences of Jacob in this area.
Verse 09. And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed
Verse 10. And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more
Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.
Verse 11. And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a
company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins;
Verse 12. And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed
after thee will I give the land.
Verse 13. And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.
Verse 14. And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of
stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon.
Verse 15. And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.
Note: The continuation of this chapter begins with verse 16.
Verse 16. And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath:
and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour.
Key Phrase: And they journeyed from Bethel; No doubt Jacob had stayed in the area and
enjoyed the renewing of his faith but with his family and flocks it was time to
move on, Bethel was never meant to be a home for Jacob.
Key Phrase: and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath; Literally, there was yet a
space of land; probably a few furlongs (Murphy), about four English miles (Gerlach). The
Vulgate translates, "in the spring-time," 5.
Note: The name Ephrath: Means Fruitful; It is also the ancient name of Bethlehem.
Key Phrase: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour; The time of childbirth was come,
and which came suddenly upon her. She had painful or laborious effort even
while journeying, which obliged them to stop. These very sharp and severe not
normal as she had experienced before,, so she had a difficult time of it.
Verse 17. And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her,
Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.
Key Phrase: And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour; In the midst of it, and at the
Key Phrase: that the midwife said unto her, fear not; For Rachel was big with child, it was
necessary to take a midwife with them in the journey; comforting her under her
pains, giving her hopes they would soon be over, and that she would have a safe
delivery, and do well.
Note: Perhaps this might be one that was always kept in the family, and had been assisting to
all Jacob's wives and concubines at their labors.
Key Phrase: thou shalt have this son also; As she had one before, at whose birth she said,
"the Lord shall add to me another son"; and therefore called his name Joseph,
Genesis 30:24. This the midwife remembered, and endeavors to comfort her with
the accomplishment of it.
Verse 18. And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his
name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.
Key Phrase: And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, for she died; In childbirth, she
had most passionately desired children, without which she could not live with ease
and peace of mind, and now she dies by having one; see Genesis 30:1.
Note: This account of her death it is the first recorded in scripture, that death is the separation
and disunion of soul and body. That at death the soul departs from the body; that the
soul does not die with it, but goes elsewhere, and lives in a separate state and never
dies. That goes even unto God that gave it, Ecclesiastes 12:7.
Key Phrase: that she called his name Benoni; which signifies "the son of my sorrow", having
borne and brought him forth in sorrow, that she would not be there for him.
Key Phrase: but his father called him Benjamin; That is, "the son of the right hand", being as
dear to him, and as beloved by him as his right hand; or who would be as the right
hand to him, his staff and support in his old age; or else as being the son of her
who was as his right hand, dear and assisting to him.
Verse 19. And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem.
Verse 20. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this
Key Phrase: And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave; A sepulchral monument erected in
memory of her; this according to Benjamin of Tudela was made of twelve stones,
according to the number of the sons of Jacob, and over it was a vault or roof,
supported by four pillars.
Key Phrase: that is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day; It continued to the times of
Moses, the writer of this history, and to the times of Samuel, as appears from
1 Samuel 10:2; and even travelers of late times affirm it to be seen still, to the
north of Bethlehem, on the right hand of the way as you go from Bethlehem to
Note: The present sepulchral monument, none of that which Jacob erected, for it appears
plainly to be a modern Turkish structure. Near the grave are found some little black
stones, which strangers pick up, and are fancied to be helpful to women, to give them
an easier birth, which is more pagan than Christian. The Jews that pass by it were used
to engrave their names on the stones, of the pillar.
Verse 21. And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.
Note: This is the first time in scripture the God given name of Israel for Jacob is used.
Key Phrase: and spread his tent beyond the tower of Eder; Which was a place of pasturage,
and fit for his flocks, see Micah 4:8. It was about a mile from Bethlehem to the
south, and is supposed to be the place where the shepherds were watching there
flocks, when the angel reported to them the birth of Christ, Luke 2:8;
Verse 22. And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with
Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were
Key Phrase: that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine; She was the maid
that Rachel gave him, and this added to his affliction, and made it double.
To lose Rachel by death, and to have her favorite maid, his concubine, defiled by
his own son. This, though a very heinous sin of his son's, yet might be suffered as a
chastisement to Jacob, for making use of concubines.
Key Phrase: and Israel heard it; Though the crime was committed secretly and was thought it
would have been concealed. But by some means or other Jacob heard of it and no
doubt severely reproved his son for it.
Note: Though nothing is here related, as said by him on this occasion, it is certain it gave him
great offence, grief and trouble. He remembered it to his dying day and took away the
birthright from Reuben on account of it, Genesis 49:3.
Key Phrase; now the sons of Jacob were twelve; Who were to become the heads of twelve
tribes, Benjamin the last being born, and Jacob having afterwards no more
children, they were all reckoned up under their respective mothers, excepting
Dinah, a daughter, from whom there was no tribe, in the following verses.
Verse 23. The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob's firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and
Issachar, and Zebulun:
Verse 24. The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin:
Verse 25. And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali:
Verse 26. And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of
Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.
See Attachment on the Sons of Israel
Verse 27. And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is
Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned.
Key Phrase: And Jacob came unto Isaac his father; Isaac being alone, very old and the time of
his death drawing nigh, he might send for Jacob to come with his family and be
with him; ,n order to abide with him.
Key Phrase: unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron; Mamre was a plain, so
called from the name of a man, a friend and confederate of Abraham, Genesis
Note: Near which, stood a city, called Kirjath Arbah, or the city of the four, Arbah and his three
sons; so that it might be called Tetrapolls, and was later called Hebron.
Key Phrase: where Abraham and Isaac sojourned; Lived good part of their days, it was about
twenty miles from Bethlehem, and the tower of Eder, where Jacob was last.
Verse 28. And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years.
Note: This would have been a total of 140 years. He lived the longest of all the patriarchs, even
five years longer than Abraham.
Verse 29. And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old
and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
Note: The good relationship of Esau and Jacob had continued.
Sons of Israel
Jacob: Meaning; “Undermines, supplants, the heel”
Israel: Meaning; “Prince that prevails with God, soldier of God”
Leah: Meaning; “weary”
Rueben: Meaning; “Behold a son”
Simeon: Meaning; “To hear or listen”
Levi: Meaning; “United, joined, adhered”
Judah: Meaning; “Praise the Lord, confession”
Issachar: Meaning; “Laborer”
Zebulun: Meaning; “Exalted”
Rachel: Meaning; “ewe or female sheep”