Jacob Moves to Bethel
35 Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you [in a distinct manifestation] when you fled [years ago] from Esau your brother.”(A) 2 Then Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the [idols and images of] foreign gods that are among you, and ceremonially purify yourselves and change [into fresh] clothes; 3 then let us get up and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4 So they gave Jacob all the [idols and images of the] foreign gods they had and the rings which were in their ears [worn as charms against evil], and Jacob buried them under the [a]oak tree near Shechem.
5 As they journeyed, there was a great [supernatural] terror [sent from God] on the cities around them, and [for that reason] the Canaanites did not pursue the sons of Jacob. 6 So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. 7 There he built an altar [to worship the Lord], and called the place El-bethel (God of the House of God), because there God had revealed Himself to him when he escaped from his brother. 8 Now Deborah, [who once was] Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried below Bethel under the oak; and the name of it was called Allon-bacuth (Oak of Weeping).
Jacob Is Named Israel
9 Then God [in a visible manifestation] appeared to Jacob again when he came out of Paddan-aram, and declared a blessing on him.(B) 10 Again God said to him,
“Your name is Jacob;
You shall no longer be called Jacob,
But Israel shall be your name.”
So he was called [b]Israel. 11 And God said to him,
“I am [c]God Almighty.
Be fruitful and multiply;
A nation and a company of nations shall come from you,
And kings shall be born of your [d]loins.
“The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac
I will give to you,
and to your descendants after you I will give the land.”
13 Then God ascended from Jacob in the place where He had spoken with him. 14 Jacob set up a pillar (memorial, monument) in the place where he had talked with God, a pillar of stone, and he poured a drink offering [of wine] on it; he also poured oil on it [to declare it sacred for God’s purpose]. 15 So Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel (the House of God).
16 Then they journeyed from Bethel; and when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath (Bethlehem), Rachel began to give birth and had difficulty and suffered severely. 17 When she was in hard labor the midwife said to her, “Do not be afraid; you now have another son.” 18 And as her soul was departing, (for she died), she named him Ben-oni (son of my sorrow); but his father called him Benjamin ([e]son of the right hand). 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20 Jacob set a pillar (memorial, monument) on her grave; that is the [f]pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day. 21 Then Israel (Jacob) journeyed on and pitched his tent on the other side of the tower of Eder [the lookout point used by shepherds].
22 While Israel was living in that land, Reuben [his eldest son] went and lay with Bilhah his father’s [g]concubine, and Israel heard about it.
The Sons of Israel
Now Jacob had twelve sons— 23 The sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, then Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun; 24 and the sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin; 25 and the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid: Dan and Naphtali; 26 and the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob born to him in Paddan-aram.
27 Jacob came to Isaac his father at Mamre of Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had lived temporarily.
28 Now the days of Isaac were a hundred and eighty years. 29 Isaac’s spirit departed and he died and was [h]gathered to his people [who had preceded him in death], an old man full of days (satisfied, fulfilled); his sons Esau and Jacob buried him [in the cave of Machpelah with his parents Abraham and Sarah].
36 Now these are the records of the descendants of Esau, (that is, Edom).
2 Esau took his [three] wives from the daughters of Canaan: Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah the daughter of Anah, the son of Zibeon the Hivite, 3 and Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebaioth. 4 Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, and Basemath bore Reuel, 5 and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. These are the sons of Esau born to him in Canaan.
6 Now Esau took his wives and his sons and his daughters and all the members of his household, and his livestock and all his cattle and all his possessions which he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and he went to a land away from his brother Jacob. 7 For their [great flocks and herds and] possessions made it impossible for them to live together [in the same region]; the land in which they lived temporarily could not support them because of their livestock. 8 So Esau lived in the hill country of Seir; Esau is Edom.
Descendants of Esau
9 These are the records of the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in the hill country of Seir. 10 These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz, the son of Adah, Esau’s wife, and Reuel, the son of Basemath, Esau’s wife. 11 And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. 12 And Timna was a [i]concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son; and she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These are the sons of Adah, Esau’s wife. 13 These are the sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These are the sons of Basemath, Esau’s wife. 14 And these are the sons of Oholibamah, Esau’s wife, the daughter of Anah, the son of Zibeon. She bore to Esau: Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.
15 These are the tribal chiefs of the sons of Esau: The sons of Eliphaz, the firstborn of Esau: Chiefs Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16 Korah, Gatam, and Amalek. These are the chiefs of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; they are the sons of Adah. 17 These are the sons of Reuel, Esau’s son: Chiefs Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, Mizzah. These are the chiefs of Reuel in the land of Edom; they are the sons of Basemath, Esau’s wife. 18 These are the sons of Oholibamah, Esau’s wife: Chiefs Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. These are the chiefs born of Oholibamah, daughter of Anah, Esau’s wife. 19 These are the sons of Esau, (that is, Edom), and these are their chiefs.
20 These are the sons of Seir the Horite, the inhabitants of the land: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21 Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. These are the chiefs of the Horites, the sons of Seir in the land of Edom. 22 The sons of Lotan are Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister is Timna. 23 The sons of Shobal are these: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. 24 These are the sons of Zibeon: Aiah and Anah. This is the Anah who found the hot springs in the wilderness as he pastured the donkeys of Zibeon his father. 25 The children of Anah are these: Dishon and Oholibamah [Esau’s wife], the daughter of Anah. 26 These are the sons of Dishon: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran. 27 Ezer’s sons are these: Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan. 28 The sons of Dishan are these: Uz and Aran. 29 The Horite chiefs are these: Chiefs Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30 Dishon, Ezer, Dishan. These are the Horite chiefs, according to their various clans in the land of Seir.
31 And these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the Israelites: 32 Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 33 Now Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned as his successor. 34 Then Jobab died, and Husham of the land of the Temanites reigned as his successor. 35 And Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the country of Moab, reigned as his successor. The name of his [walled] city was Avith. 36 Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah succeeded him. 37 Then Samlah died, and Shaul of Rehoboth on the river [Euphrates] reigned as his successor. 38 And Shaul died, and Baal-hanan son of Achbor reigned as his successor. 39 Baal-hanan the son of Achbor died, and then [j]Hadar reigned [as his successor]. His [walled] city was [k]Pau; his wife’s name was Mehetabel the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab.
40 And these are the names of the tribal chiefs of Esau, according to their families and places of residence, by their names: Chiefs Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 41 Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 42 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 43 Magdiel, and Iram. These are the tribal chiefs of Edom (that is, of Esau the father of the Edomites), according to their dwelling places in the land of their possession.
37 So Jacob (Israel) lived in the land [l]where his father [Isaac] had been a stranger (sojourner, resident alien), in the land of Canaan. 2 These are the generations of Jacob.
Joseph, when he was seventeen years old, was shepherding the flock with his brothers [Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher]; the boy was with the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, his father’s [[m]secondary] wives; and Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father. 3 Now Israel (Jacob) loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age; and he made him a [distinctive] [n]multicolored tunic. 4 His brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than all of his brothers; so they hated him and could not [find it within themselves to] speak to him on friendly terms.
5 Now Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it to his brothers, and they [o]hated him even more. 6 He said to them, “Please listen to [the details of] this dream which I have dreamed; 7 we [brothers] were binding sheaves [of grain stalks] in the field, and lo, my sheaf [suddenly] got up and stood upright and remained standing; and behold, your sheaves stood all around my sheaf and bowed down [in respect].” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you actually going to reign over us? Are you really going to rule and govern us as your subjects?” So they hated him even more for [telling them about] his dreams and for his [arrogant] words.
9 But Joseph dreamed still another dream, and told it to his brothers [as well]. He said, “See here, I have again dreamed a dream, and lo, [this time I saw] eleven stars and the sun and the moon bowed down [in respect] to me!” 10 He told it to his father as well as to his brothers; but his father rebuked him and said to him [in disbelief], “What is [the meaning of] this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers actually come to bow down to the ground [in respect] before you?” 11 Joseph’s brothers were envious and jealous of him, but his father kept the words [of Joseph] in mind [wondering about their meaning].
12 Then his brothers went to pasture their father’s flock near Shechem. 13 Israel (Jacob) said to Joseph, “Are not your brothers pasturing [the flock] at Shechem? Come, and I will send you to them.” And he said, “Here I am [ready to obey you].” 14 Then Jacob said to him, “Please go and see whether everything is all right with your brothers and all right with the flock; then bring word [back] to me.” So he sent him from the Hebron Valley, and he went to Shechem.
15 Now a certain man found Joseph, and saw that he was wandering around and had lost his way in the field; so the man asked him, “What are you looking for?” 16 He said, “I am looking for my brothers. Please tell me where they are pasturing our flocks.” 17 Then the man said, “[They were here, but] they have moved on from this place. I heard them say, ‘Let us go to [p]Dothan.’” So Joseph went after his brothers and found them at Dothan.
The Plot against Joseph
18 And when they saw him from a distance, even before he came close to them, they plotted to kill him. 19 They said to one another, “Look, here comes this [q]dreamer. 20 Now then, come and let us kill him and throw him into one of the [r]pits (cisterns, underground water storage); then we will say [to our father], ‘A wild animal killed and devoured him’; and we shall see what will become of his dreams!” 21 Now Reuben [the eldest] heard this and rescued him from their hands and said, “Let us not take his life.” 22 Reuben said to them, “Do not shed his blood, but [instead] throw him [alive] into the pit that is here in the wilderness, and do not lay a hand on him [to kill him]”—[he said this so] that he could rescue him from them and return him [safely] to his father. 23 Now when Joseph reached his brothers, they stripped him of his tunic, the [distinctive] [s]multicolored tunic which he was wearing; 24 then they took him and threw him into the pit. Now the pit was empty; there was no water in it.
25 Then they sat down to eat their meal. When they looked up, they saw a caravan of [t]Ishmaelites coming from Gilead [east of the Jordan], with their camels bearing ladanum resin [for perfume] and balm and [u]myrrh, going on their way to carry the cargo down to Egypt. 26 Judah said to his brothers, “What do we gain if we kill our brother and cover up his blood (murder)? 27 Come, let us [instead] sell him to these Ishmaelites [and [v]Midianites] and not lay our hands on him, because he is our brother and our flesh.” So his brothers listened to him and agreed.(C) 28 Then as the [w]Midianite [and Ishmaelite] traders were passing by, the brothers pulled Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and they sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. And so they took Joseph [as a captive] into Egypt.
29 Now Reuben [unaware of what had happened] returned to the pit, and [to his great alarm found that] Joseph was not in the pit; so he tore his clothes [in deep sorrow]. 30 He rejoined his brothers and said, “The boy is not there; as for me, where shall I go [to hide from my father]?” 31 Then they took Joseph’s tunic, slaughtered a male goat and dipped the tunic in the blood; 32 and they brought the multicolored tunic to their father, saying, “We have found this; please examine it and decide whether or not it is your son’s tunic.” 33 He recognized it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild animal has devoured him; Joseph is without doubt torn in pieces!” 34 So Jacob tore his clothes [in grief], put [x]on sackcloth and mourned many days for his son. 35 Then all his sons and daughters attempted to console him, but he refused to be comforted and said, “I will go down to Sheol (the place of the dead) in mourning for my son.” And his father wept for him. 36 Meanwhile, in Egypt the Midianites sold Joseph [as a slave] to Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh and the captain of the [royal] guard.
- Genesis 35:4 This appears to have been a special tree of uncertain type, perhaps a terebinth tree that had significance for pagan worship.
- Genesis 35:10 “He who strives with God” or “God strives” or “Prince of God.”
- Genesis 35:11 Heb El Shaddai, the sufficient and powerful One.
- Genesis 35:11 The midsection of the body between the lower ribs and the hips. Often a euphemism for the human genitals.
- Genesis 35:18 This had a positive meaning, like a “right-hand man,” a son in a position of importance and honor.
- Genesis 35:20 This pillar was still visible at the time when Moses lived.
- Genesis 35:22 See note 22:24.
- Genesis 35:29 See note 25:8.
- Genesis 36:12 See note 22:24.
- Genesis 36:39 In 1 Chr 1:50, Hadad.
- Genesis 36:39 In 1 Chr 1:50, Pai.
- Genesis 37:1 Lit of his father’s sojournings.
- Genesis 37:2 I.e. concubines (see note 22:24).
- Genesis 37:3 The meaning of this word is uncertain; some sources indicate that it refers to a long-sleeved tunic that reaches the ankles, essentially a light robe. In any case, the tunic was a visible reminder to Joseph’s brothers of their father’s favoritism toward him.
- Genesis 37:5 In both vv 5 and 8 “hated him even more” is properly translated, but there is an interesting play on words. The literal Hebrew says, “they added to hate”—the Hebrew word for “added” is the same for the word for Joseph—“they ‘Josephed’ their hate for him.”
- Genesis 37:17 Located about twelve miles north of Shechem.
- Genesis 37:19 Lit master of dreams.
- Genesis 37:20 These were earthen tanks that were dug or carved into rocky ground (perhaps limestone), designed to collect rainwater in the desert during winters. Some were cavernous, with a staircase carved into one of the walls for access to the bottom. The cistern selected by Joseph’s brothers must have been deep enough to make escape very difficult for someone of his size, but constructed without a staircase or other means of access (other than a rope).
- Genesis 37:23 See note v 3.
- Genesis 37:25 Descendants of Abraham and Hagar (Sarah’s maid, 16:15).
- Genesis 37:25 A valuable tree resin.
- Genesis 37:27 Descendants of Abraham and Keturah, his concubine.
- Genesis 37:28 The relationship between the Midianites and the Ishmaelites as they are mentioned here is unclear. It is possible, as some have suggested, that “Ishmaelites” came to be used as a general term for desert tribes, and that the same merchants are called by both names in this verse. This would also explain the reference to the “Midianites” in v 36. Another explanation, which was offered by the rabbis, is that Joseph was sold first to the Ishmaelites, who then sold him to the Midianites. Another possibility is that they were Ishmaelites from the area of Midian.
- Genesis 37:34 An uncomfortable material woven from goat hair and worn in mourning.