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Genesis 32-35 Common English Bible (CEB)

Jacob prepares to meet Esau

32 Jacob went on his way, and God’s messengers approached him. When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp,” and he named that sacred place Mahanaim.[a] Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau, toward the land of Seir, the open country of Edom. He gave them these orders: “Say this to my master Esau. This is the message of your servant Jacob: ‘I’ve lived as an immigrant with Laban, where I’ve stayed till now. I own cattle, donkeys, flocks, men servants, and women servants. I’m sending this message to my master now to ask that he[b] be kind.’”

The messengers returned to Jacob and said, “We went out to your brother Esau, and he’s coming to meet you with four hundred men.”

Jacob was terrified and felt trapped, so he divided the people with him, and the flocks, cattle, and camels, into two camps. He thought, If Esau meets the first camp and attacks it, at least one camp will be left to escape.

Jacob said, “Lord, God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I’ll make sure things go well for you,’ 10 I don’t deserve how loyal and truthful you’ve been to your servant. I went away across the Jordan with just my staff, but now I’ve become two camps. 11 Save me from my brother Esau! I’m afraid he will come and kill me, the mothers, and their children. 12 You were the one who told me, ‘I will make sure things go well for you, and I will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, so many you won’t be able to count them.’”

13 Jacob spent that night there. From what he had acquired, he set aside a gift for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty nursing camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 He separated these herds and gave them to his servants. He said to them, “Go ahead of me and put some distance between each of the herds.” 17 He ordered the first group, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, ‘Who are you with? Where are you going? And whose herds are these in front of you?’ 18 say, ‘They are your servant Jacob’s, a gift sent to my master Esau. And Jacob is actually right behind us.’” 19 He also ordered the second group, the third group, and everybody following the herds, “Say exactly the same thing to Esau when you find him. 20 Say also, ‘Your servant Jacob is right behind us.’” Jacob thought, I may be able to pacify Esau with the gift I’m sending ahead. When I meet him, perhaps he will be kind to me. 21 So Jacob sent the gift ahead of him, but he spent that night in the camp.

Jacob wrestles with God

22 Jacob got up during the night, took his two wives, his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed the Jabbok River’s shallow water. 23 He took them and everything that belonged to him, and he helped them cross the river. 24 But Jacob stayed apart by himself, and a man wrestled with him until dawn broke. 25 When the man saw that he couldn’t defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob’s thigh as he wrestled with him. 26 The man said, “Let me go because the dawn is breaking.”

But Jacob said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”

27 He said to Jacob, “What’s your name?” and he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name won’t be Jacob any longer, but Israel,[c] because you struggled with God and with men and won.”

29 Jacob also asked and said, “Tell me your name.”

But he said, “Why do you ask for my name?” and he blessed Jacob there. 30 Jacob named the place Peniel,[d] “because I’ve seen God face-to-face, and my life has been saved.” 31 The sun rose as Jacob passed Penuel, limping because of his thigh. 32 Therefore, Israelites don’t eat the tendon attached to the thigh muscle to this day, because he grabbed Jacob’s thigh muscle at the tendon.

Esau forgives Jacob

33 Jacob looked up and saw Esau approaching with four hundred men. Jacob divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two women servants. He put the servants and their children first, Leah and her children after them, and Rachel and Joseph last. He himself went in front of them and bowed to the ground seven times as he was approaching his brother. But Esau ran to meet him, threw his arms around his neck, kissed him, and they wept. Esau looked up and saw the women and children and said, “Who are these with you?”

Jacob said, “The children that God generously gave your servant.” The women servants and their children came forward and bowed down. Then Leah and her servants also came forward and bowed, and afterward Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed.

Esau said, “What’s the meaning of this entire group of animals that I met?”

Jacob said, “To ask for my master’s kindness.”

Esau said, “I already have plenty, my brother. Keep what’s yours.”

10 Jacob said, “No, please, do me the kindness of accepting my gift. Seeing your face is like seeing God’s face, since you’ve accepted me so warmly. 11 Take this present that I’ve brought because God has been generous to me, and I have everything I need.” So Jacob persuaded him, and he took it.

12 Esau said, “Let’s break camp and set out, and I’ll go with you.”

13 But Jacob said to him, “My master knows that the children aren’t strong and that I am responsible for the nursing flocks and cattle. If I push them hard for even one day, all of the flocks will die. 14 My master, go on ahead of your servant, but I’ve got to take it easy, going only as fast as the animals in front of me and the children are able to go, until I meet you in Seir.”

15 Esau said, “Let me leave some of my people with you.”

But Jacob said, “Why should you do this since my master has already been so kind to me?” 16 That day Esau returned on the road to Seir, 17 but Jacob traveled to Succoth. He built a house for himself but made temporary shelters for his animals; therefore, he named the place Succoth.[e]

Dinah and the conflict at Shechem

18 Jacob arrived safely at the city of Shechem in the land of Canaan on his trip from Paddan-aram, and he camped in front of the city. 19 He bought the section of the field where he pitched his tent from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred qesitahs.[f] 20 Then he set up an altar there and named it El Elohe Israel.[g]

34 Dinah, the daughter whom Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to meet the women of that country. When Shechem the son of the Hivite Hamor and the country’s prince saw her, he took her, slept with her, and humiliated her. He was drawn to Dinah, Jacob’s daughter. He loved the young woman and tried to win her heart. Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get this girl for me as my wife.” Now Jacob heard that Shechem defiled his daughter Dinah; but his sons were with the animals in the countryside, so he decided to keep quiet until they got back. Meanwhile, Hamor, Shechem’s father, went out to Jacob to speak with him. Just then, Jacob’s sons got back from the countryside. When they heard what had happened, they were deeply offended and very angry, because Shechem had disgraced Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter. Such things are simply not done.

Hamor said to them, “My son Shechem’s heart is set on your daughter. Please let him marry her. Arrange marriages with us: give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 Live with us. The land is available to you: settle down, travel through it, and buy property in it.”

11 Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “If you approve of me, tell me what you want, and I will give it to you. 12 Make the bride price and marriage gifts as large as you like, and I will pay whatever you tell me. Then let me marry the young woman.”

13 Jacob’s sons responded deviously to Shechem and his father Hamor because Shechem defiled their sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We can’t do this, allowing our sisters to marry uncircumcised men, because it’s disgraceful to us. 15 We can only agree to do this if you circumcise every male as we do. 16 Then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves. We will live with you and be one people. 17 But if you don’t listen to us and become circumcised, we will take our daughter and leave.”

18 Their idea seemed like a good one to Hamor and Hamor’s son Shechem. 19 The young man didn’t waste any time doing this because he liked Jacob’s daughter so much. He was more respected than anyone else in his father’s household. 20 Hamor and his son Shechem went to their city’s gate and spoke to the men of their city: 21 “These men want peace with us. Let them live in the land and travel through it; there’s plenty of land for them. We will marry their daughters and give them our daughters. 22 But the men will agree to live with us and become one people only if we circumcise every male just as they do. 23 Their livestock, their property, and all of their animals—won’t they be ours? Let’s agree with them and let them live with us.” 24 Everyone at the city gate agreed with Hamor and his son Shechem, so every able-bodied male in the city was circumcised.

25 On the third day, when they were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons and Dinah’s brothers Simeon and Levi took their swords, came into the city, which suspected nothing, and killed every male. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with their swords, took Dinah from Shechem’s household, and left. 27 When Jacob’s other sons discovered the dead, they looted the city that had defiled their sister. 28 They took their flocks, their cattle, and their donkeys, whether in the city or in the fields nearby. 29 They carried off their property, their children, and their wives. They looted the entire place. 30 Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You’ve put me in danger by making me offensive to those who live here in the land, to the Canaanites and the Perizzites. I have only a few men. They may join forces, attack me, and destroy me, me and my household.”

31 They said, “But didn’t he treat our sister like a prostitute?”

Jacob establishes worship at Bethel

35 God said to Jacob, “Get up, go to Bethel, and live there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you ran away from your brother Esau.”

Jacob said to his household and to everyone who was with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you. Clean yourselves and change your clothes. Then let’s rise and go up to Bethel so that I can build an altar there to the God who answered me when I was in trouble and who has been with me wherever I’ve gone.” So they gave Jacob all of the foreign gods they had, as well as the rings in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the terebinth at Shechem. When they set out, God made all of the surrounding cities fearful so that they didn’t pursue Jacob’s sons. Jacob and all of the people with him arrived in Luz, otherwise known as Bethel, in the land of Canaan. He built an altar there and named the place El-bethel,[h] because God had revealed himself to him there when he ran away from his brother. Rebekah’s nurse Deborah died and was buried at Bethel under the oak, and Jacob named it Allon-bacuth.[i]

God appeared to Jacob again, while he was on his way back from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but your name will be Jacob no longer. No, your name will be Israel.” And he named him Israel. 11 God said to him, “I am El Shaddai.[j] Be fertile and multiply. A nation, even a large group of nations, will come from you; kings will descend from your own children. 12 The land I gave to Abraham and to Isaac, I give to you; and I will give the land to your descendants after you.” 13 Then God ascended, leaving him alone in the place where he spoke to him. 14 So Jacob set up a sacred pillar, a stone pillar, at the place God spoke to him. He poured an offering of wine on it and then poured oil over it. 15 Jacob named the place Bethel where God spoke to him.

Benjamin’s birth and Rachel’s death

16 They left Bethel, and when they were still some distance from Ephrath, Rachel went into hard labor. 17 During her difficult labor, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid. You have another son.” 18 As her life faded away, just before she died, she named him Ben-oni,[k] but his father named him Benjamin.[l] 19 Rachel died and was buried near the road to Ephrath, that is, Bethlehem. 20 Jacob set up a pillar on her grave. It’s the pillar on Rachel’s tomb that’s still there today. 21 Israel continued his trip and pitched his tent farther on near the tower of Eder.

Jacob’s family

22 While Israel stayed in that place, Reuben went and slept with Bilhah his father’s secondary wife, and Israel heard about it.

Jacob had twelve sons. 23 The sons of Leah were Reuben, Jacob’s oldest son, and Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. 24 The sons of Rachel were Joseph and Benjamin. 25 The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s servant, were Dan and Naphtali. 26 The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s servant, were Gad and Asher. These were Jacob’s sons born to him in Paddan-aram.

Isaac’s death

27 Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, that is, Kiriath-arba. This is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac lived as immigrants. 28 At the age of 180 years, 29 Isaac took his last breath and died. He was buried with his ancestors after a long, satisfying life. His sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 32:2 Or two camps
  2. Genesis 32:5 Or you
  3. Genesis 32:28 Or God struggles or one who struggles with God
  4. Genesis 32:30 Or face of God
  5. Genesis 33:17 Or temporary shelters
  6. Genesis 33:19 A monetary weight
  7. Genesis 33:20 Or El, God of Israel
  8. Genesis 35:7 Or God of Bethel
  9. Genesis 35:8 Or oak of weeping
  10. Genesis 35:11 Or God Almighty or God of the Mountain
  11. Genesis 35:18 Or my suffering son
  12. Genesis 35:18 Or right-hand son or strong son
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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