A Daily Genesis

Genesis 35:6-12

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 35:6-7 . .Thus Jacob came to Luz-- that is, Bethel --in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. There he built an altar and named the site El-bethel, for it was there that God had revealed Himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.[/B]

Bethel is located approximately 11 miles directly north of Jerusalem. Jacob erected a stone cairn there when he left home; and gave the site its name: Bethel (House Of God). At least thirty years have gone by since then. He stayed twenty years with Laban, and had lived for an undisclosed number of years in the vicinity of Schechem. Jacob was 75 when he left home, and was now easily over 100. He is not only older now, but he's a lot wiser too. The experience at Shechem changed Jacob in a remarkable way.

This time he builds an altar instead of a cairn, and names the site El-bethel (the god of the House Of God). So Jacob's focus has shifted. Previously his emphasis was upon a special site to worship God. This time, Jacob puts the emphasis where it should have been in the first place: upon the object of his worship. Because, unless God is actually present during worship, then designating a special place for worship is futile. In Rev 3:14-22, the church of the Laodicians is so entirely christless that Jesus isn't even a member, no, he's depicted on the outside of the building banging on the door trying to get someone's attention to let him in. That was a solid Christian church at one time; but as time went by; it somehow became quite christless.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 35:8a . . Deborah, Rebecca's nurse, died, and was buried under the oak below Bethel;[/B]

By now, Deborah was very aged; older than Rebecca, and had come south with her to Canaan twenty years prior to Jacob's birth (Gen 24:59, 25:20, 25:26). Deborah was already a mature woman when she came south with Rebecca because the word for nurse-- [I]yanaq[/I] (yaw-nak') --indicates a wet nurse. So Deborah did the surrogate task of breast feeding the infant Rebecca, whose biological mom, for reasons unknown, couldn't do it herself. Jacob knew Deborah quite well, having grown up with her in his own home, and remained with her a good number of years before leaving home himself at 75.

There's pretty good reason to believe that Rebecca had died prior to Gen 35:8 because it's extremely doubtful Deborah would leave her to join Jacob's troupe otherwise.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 35:8b . . so it was named Allon-bacuth.[/B]

[I]Allon-bacuth[/I] means: oak of weeping. Deborah's passing was surely as emotionally painful a loss to Jacob as the loss of his own mother.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 35:9a . . God appeared again to Jacob on his arrival from Paddan-aram,[/B]

Paddam-aram was the region up north, in and around where Laban lived, and from whence Jacob fled a number of years prior to Gen 35:9. But God reckoned Jacob still on-route for the simple reason that he had yet to strictly comply with the order to "Return to the land of your fathers where you were born" and "arise and leave this land and return to your native land." (Gen 31:3, 31:13). Instead of going directly to Bethel, as God apparently expected Jacob to do, he settled in the region around Shechem-- where his daughter became promiscuous, his sons became murderers and thieves, and Jacob alienated his neighbors: thus; he, and his whole family, had become quite useless as a witness to the knowledge of the one true God in that region.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 35:9b-10 . . and He blessed him. God said to him: You whose name is Jacob, you shall be called Jacob no more, but Israel shall be your name. Thus He named him Israel.[/B]

This wasn't news to Jacob. He was renamed Israel by the angel (Gen 32:29). But Jacob wasn't living up to his new identity. He needed urging to live as who he now is, not live as who he once was before meeting God face to face.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 35:11a . . And God said to him: I am El Shaddai.[/B]

The patriarchs were aware of God's other name Yhvh, and often referred to Him by it; but El Shaddai is a name of God that they knew Him by in a personal way. It means: God of all might; viz; the all-power god; or the god who invented, created, and controls all natural and supernatural powers. El Shaddai is the god who can make things happen, even things that are impossible by natural means, and things that are above and beyond Man's mortal imagination; so that El Shaddai is "the" god of providence who is easily strong enough to meet any, and all, human need.

The name El Shaddai relates to Jacob's vow in Gen 28:20-21 where he said: If God remains with me, if He protects me on this journey that I am making, and gives me bread to eat and clothing to wear, and if I return safe to my father's house-- Yhvh shall be my God.

God did remain with Jacob, protected him, provided for him, and got him back home. Time to make good on that vow.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 35:11b . . Be fertile and increase;[/B]

At this point in his life, Jacob was just about done reproducing. He had one more to go: Joseph. But Jacob's increase went way beyond his twelve sons were just the beginning.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 35:11c . . A nation, yea an assembly of nations, shall descend from you. Kings shall issue from your loins.[/B]

That's pretty much what God promised Abraham back in chapter 17. The most important kings were those of Israel, and in particular, the ones in David's line who preceded Messiah.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 35:12 . .The land that I assigned to Abraham and Isaac I assign to you; and to your offspring to come will I assign the land.[/B]

Ownership of the land didn't pass from Abraham down to Isaac, and then to Jacob as if it were an heirloom. God promised each patriarch full ownership along with their progeny. We might call that kind of ownership tenancy in common, community property, or joint-heirship. However, there's yet a fourth tenant in common: Christ. (Gal 3:16)

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