Genesis 35:1 “…go up to Bethel…”
After all that had happened in the last chapter, God instructs Jacob to return to where he first met Him. A good lesson for all to learn. When we have messed up life by doing things our way and leaving God out, He is merciful with us and allows us to return to Him so He can straighten everything out.
2 “…Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, and change your garments”
Looks like Jacob is finally taking control of his affairs with regard to his family. Too bad he didn’t do so earlier.
3 “…has been with me…”
So he does acknowledge the truth of God’s presence in his life.
4 “…all the foreign gods…the earrings…”
Still had them. Commentary says the earrings were associated with idolatry.
5 “…terror of God was upon the cities that were all around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob”
Jacob’s fear of the surrounding tribes for what happened at Shechem was unfounded. God could be trusted to take care of him and his family. They traveled up to Bethel among the inhabitants like Daniel in the lion’s den.
8 “…Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died…”
Statement seems out of place. Commentary suggests she had become part of Jacob’s family at some point, perhaps when he first returned to the land. We aren’t told when this happened. Not sure of the significance of the mention, but Deborah was obviously greatly admired and respected.
9-15 God reaffirms the covenant with him.
19 “…on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem)”
Reference to the new testament mention of Rachel weeping for her children when Herod killed the children of Bethlehem.
22 “…Reuben went and lay with Bilhah…”
More scandal in the family. Nothing is said other than that Jacob heard about it. It becomes the reason Reuben loses the birthright as the firstborn.
29 “…Isaac breathed his last and died…his sons Esau and Jacob buried him”
Commentary suggests that Isaac didn’t die at the current time of the narrative, but actually died later. Nothing is mentioned in the text, but the fact is derived by comparing the years of Isaac’s, Jacob’s, and Joseph’s lives. By computation, it appears that Isaac actually died a few years after Joseph was sold into slavery. Commentary also suggests that the reason for this out of time mention is to close off the narrative of Isaac and focus on Jacob. Isaac had no more action in the story after this point. Given their terrible beginning, it is nice that Esau and Jacob were able to come together as brothers to mourn for their father in peace. The past can be forgiven and accepted if not totally forgotten.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.