Genesis 35

Jacob in Bethel

35 God said to Jacob, “Go to the city of Bethel and live there. Make an altar to the God who appeared to you there when you were running away from your brother Esau.”

2 So Jacob said to his family and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods you have, and make yourselves clean, and change your clothes. 3 We will leave here and go to Bethel. There I will build an altar to God, who has helped me during my time of trouble. He has been with me everywhere I have gone.” 4 So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had, and the earrings they were wearing, and he hid them under the great tree near the town of Shechem. 5 Then Jacob and his sons left there. But God caused the people in the nearby cities to be afraid, so they did not follow them. 6 And Jacob and all the people who were with him went to Luz, which is now called Bethel, in the land of Canaan. 7 There Jacob built an altar and named the place Bethel, after God, because God had appeared to him there when he was running from his brother.

8 Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak tree at Bethel, so they named that place Oak of Crying.

Jacob’s New Name

9 When Jacob came back from Northwest Mesopotamia, God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will not be called Jacob any longer. Your new name will be Israel.” So he called him Israel. 11 God said to him, “I am God Almighty. Have many children and grow in number as a nation. You will be the ancestor of many nations and kings. 12 The same land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you and your descendants.” 13 Then God left him. 14 Jacob set up a stone on edge in that place where God had talked to him, and he poured a drink offering and olive oil on it to make it special for God. 15 And Jacob named the place Bethel.

Rachel Dies Giving Birth

16 Jacob and his group left Bethel. Before they came to Ephrath, Rachel began giving birth to her baby, 17 but she was having much trouble. When Rachel’s nurse saw this, she said, “Don’t be afraid, Rachel. You are giving birth to another son.” 18 Rachel gave birth to the son, but she herself died. As she lay dying, she named the boy Son of My Suffering, but Jacob called him Benjamin.[a]

19 Rachel was buried on the road to Ephrath, a district of Bethlehem, 20 and Jacob set up a rock on her grave to honor her. That rock is still there. 21 Then Israel[b] continued his journey and camped just south of Migdal Eder.

22 While Israel was there, Reuben had sexual relations with Israel’s slave woman Bilhah, and Israel heard about it.

The Family of Israel

Jacob had twelve sons. 23 He had six sons by his wife Leah: Reuben, his first son, then Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.

24 He had two sons by his wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.

25 He had two sons by Rachel’s slave girl Bilhah: Dan and Naphtali.

26 And he had two sons by Leah’s slave girl Zilpah: Gad and Asher.

These are Jacob’s sons who were born in Northwest Mesopotamia.

27 Jacob went to his father Isaac at Mamre near Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac had lived. 28 Isaac lived one hundred eighty years. 29 So Isaac breathed his last breath and died when he was very old, and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.


  1. 35:18 Benjamin This name means “right-hand son” or “favorite son.”
  2. 35:21 Israel Also called Jacob.

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