Genesis 35.1-8  Go up to Bethel

            Gen. 35:1 “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. 2 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: 3 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. 4 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. 5 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. 6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him. 7 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. 8 But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.”

            “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.”  There are times in our lives, as children of God, when seems to be out of control and there are many problems, especially, in our families, that it is necessary to go back to where we started our journey of discipleship.  Jacob saw that his children were out of control and doing great wicked things contrary to the walk of God.  No doubt, he felt powerless and ignorant as to what he should do.  Yet, God who is merciful gave Jacob and ultimately us instruction as to what we should do.  God told Jacob to go back to where he had started and God had first appeared unto him and to make an altar unto God. 

            Jacob would have had many memories of the time that God had appeared unto him and the dread that he had of his brother Esau who had purposed to kill Jacob.  In going back to Bethel, Jacob would have recalled the dream that he had whereby he saw the angels of God ascending and descending from heaven on a ladder.  Also, he would have recalled the promises that God had made to him and now how that God had fulfilled those promises.  When we can recall our experiences with the Lord and the times He has delivered us in the past and we can recall the precious promises of God, then it encourages us when we confronted with the many problems, trials and tribulations of life.

            “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…”  Jacob knew that the place to which he was instructed to travel was a holy place and that there would be no room for filthiness or strange gods, thus he wisely instructed his family to put away their strange gods and to change their filthy garments for clean garments.  Since the name bethel literally means house of God, we should approach our worship in the church the same way.  We should put away all strange gods and change our garments from pride and filthy conversation of the wicked to humility and seeking to walk uprightly.

            “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.”  A father should lead his house in worship and should recall to his children how that the Lord has delivered him in time past and also to encourage his children in worship.  Here we see Jacob setting an example for us by doing these things.

            “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.”  Obviously, the children did not rebel against their father and they followed his instruction to put away the strange gods.  They also put away the earrings in their ears.  Now we know that Jacob had many sons and they were wearing earrings in their ears.  To worship God, they put away those earrings.  What a good example that is for young men today.  Earrings in men’s ears are a sign of rebellion and God hates rebellion. 

            “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.”  Here we see the amazing mercy of God.  Surely the actions of the sons of Jacob was such that they deserved to be destroyed by the inhabitants of the cities about them, but God placed his protective shield about them and the inhabitants were terrified of God and did not pursue after the sons of Jacob even though their deeds were awful.  Truly, if God were to take judgment upon us for what our sins deserved, then we would be destroyed in the lake of fire forever.  Yet, God is merciful to his elect children and spares them from eternal judgment.  His judgment of our sins was rendered upon our elder brother.

            “So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.”  Jacob obeyed the command of the Lord and he led his family to obey as well.  Again, this is an example to all the fathers who are God’s children.

            “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.”  Jacob had made a promise to God based on the fulfillment of the promises that God had made to him.  Now Jacob has come and fulfilled his promise and built an altar of worship to God.  This should teach us to thank and praise God for his blessings upon us and for his fulfilled promises to us.

            “But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.”  The word, “Allonbachuth,” means “oak of weeping.”  In the same place where Jacob and his family came to give praise and thanksgiving to God, there previously had been weeping for the loss of a loved one.  Ps. 30:5 “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”  In the place where weeping had endured for a night, joy has now come in the morning.  Likewise, when we as children of God come to a knowledge of our sinful nature and have a deep conviction of sin, we weep.  However, when we later come to understand that Jesus died for our sins and heaven will subsequently be our home, then we rejoice.   


Gen. 35.9-15 God Blesses Jacob

            Gen. 35:9 “And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him. 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. 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; 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. 13 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him. 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. 15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.”

            “And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.”  God had appeared to Jacob when he was journeying from Canaan to Padanaram and revealed himself to Jacob and made great promises to Jacob.  Jacob had promised: Gen. 28:20 “And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, 21 So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God: 22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.”  God had indeed done what he had promised to Jacob and God has brought Jacob back to the same placed where Jacob vowed. 

            “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.”  This is the second time that God has told of Jacob’s name change: Gen. 32:28 “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.”  Israel means prince of God.  Israel was not only Jacob’s name but also became the name of the nation that came out of his loins.  His name had gone from one that meant supplanter to one that meant prince of God.  God had completely changed the life of Jacob and richly blessed him and now he had or was soon to have 12 sons who would be the start of the 12 tribes of Israel. 

            “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; 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. 13 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.”  Once again we see God reiterating the promises that he had previously made to Jacob.  Israel was indeed to become a nation and a company of nations and kings did come out of his loins.  His progeny did indeed come later into possession of the land of Canaan as God had promised.  God had fulfilled the promises to bring Jacob back safely, and now is confirming again the greater promises to Israel.

            “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. 15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.”  The word, Bethel, means house of God.  Jacob had come again to the place where God had first appeared unto him and to the spot where he had first worshipped God and here at the same place he worshipped God again and called the place as he had before Bethel. 


Genesis Chapter 36 Genealogy of Esau

            This chapter details the genealogy of Esau, the brother of Jacob.  It also details the genealogy of the inhabitants of Seir who occupied Seir before Esau and his descendants drove them out.  These were known as the Horites.  They were the descendants of Hori, the son of Seir.  The Horites were of the aboriginals and were giants.  Esau and his descendants were blessed of God to drive out the Horites and occupy the land of Seir as God gave this land to the Edomites: Deu. 2:5 “Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.” 

                        22 “And the children of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan's sister was Timna.”

                        12 “And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau's son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau's wife.”

            As can be seen by the above Timna was a Horite but she was also concubine to an Edomite.  Amalek came of both the Horites and the Edomites.  It was Amalek and his descendants that were continually in war against the children of Israel.  It was the Amalekites that attacked the children of Israel in the wilderness. 

            The heads of the tribes of Edom and the heads of the Horites were known as Dukes.  The name duke means a bull.  The dukes were also called kings.  There were eleven dukes listed in Edom and they were the descending sons and grandsons of Edom.  There were seven dukes listed of the descendants of Hori. 

            Names of some of the descendants of Esau are found later in the scriptures and this chapter gives us a genealogical reference to those individuals.