Genesis 34:1-36:43 March 30 2008
Genesis 34 records a crisis in the history of Jacob’s
family . Jacob’s daughter Dinah was raped by Shechem as
Jacob’s family camped near his city. When Hamor barained
for son Shechem to marry Dinah, her brothers used the
occasion to deceive him and the men of his city by
insisting that they all be circumcised.
Simeon and Levi attacked the defenseless men and
killed them. Dinah’s other brothers looted the city and
stole the livestock. Jacob realized the calamitous
repercussions of the attack and scolded his sons Gen. 34:30).
Genesis 35 deals with the renewal at Bethel. It then
recounts the death of Rachel as Beniamin was being born,
Provides a complete list of Jacob’s family and relates the
death of Isaac . Esau and Jacob buried their father Isaac
(Gen.35:29) , just as Isaac and Ishmael had buried Abrahom
The narrative shifts in (Genesis 36:1-43 ) from Jacob’s
family to Esau’s family . Genesis 36 explains how Esau’s clan
expanded. The chapter does this in a summary fashion in order
not to divert attention from Jacob and his family , to whom
the next chapter will return.
1. Evaluate Your Actions (Gen. 34:30-31)
Gen. 34:30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have
brought trouble on me by making me a stench to the Canaanites
and Perizzites, the people living in this land. We are few in
number, and if they join forces against me and attack me, I
and my household will be destroyed.” 34:31 But they replied,
“Should he have treated our sister like a prostitute?”
Perizzites.. May refer to rural inhabitants in contrast to
Jacob realized the potential negative consequences of the
actions of Simeon and Levi. The statement you have brought
trouble on me means they had jeopardized the entire family. By
making Jacob odious to the inhabitants of the land, Simeon and
Levi provided a reason for other people to attack their family.
Their excessive response, wiping out an entire city because one
man raped their sister, raised questions about all of Jacob’s
2. Purify Yourself (Gen. 35:1-4)
Gen. 35:1 Then God said to Jacob, “Go up to Bethel and settle
there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when
you were fleeing from your brother Esau.” 35:2 So Jacob said
to his household and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the
foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change
your clothes. 35:3 Then come, let us go up to Bethel, where I
will build an altar to God, who answered me in the day of my
distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone.” 35:4
So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they had and the rings in
their ears, and Jacob buried them under the oak at Shechem.
Jacob’s command for his family to get rid of the foreign
gods among them refers to the household idols Rachel had taken
from her father and other idols his servants had in their
possession. Purify refers to ceremonial and moral cleansing ,
often symbolized by washing with water, Jacob’s people were
commanded to change their clothes.
God. . . Appeared to you when you were fleeing(Gen 35:7;
28:13). Foreign Gods you have with you. (Gen.31:19; Jos 24:23).
God. . . Who has been with me. (Gen.28:15; 26:3). Rings. Worn as
amulets or charms; a pagan religious custom ( Hos 2:13). The
oak at Shechem. Obviously a well-known tree, perhaps the
“great tree” mentioned in (Gen.12:6 ;Jos 24:26). Site of the
great tree of moreh. (Gen.35:4; Jdg 9:6,37). A famous sanctuary
was located at Shechem in central Canaan, and a large tree was
often a conspicuous feature at such holy places. But Abram
worshiped the Lord there, not the local deity.
3. Renew Your Devotion (Gen. 35:5-7)
Gen. 35:5 Then they set out, and the terror of God fell upon
the towns all around them so that no one pursued them. 35:6
Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel)
in the land of Canaan. 35:7 There he built an altar, and he
called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God
revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.
The terror of God. God protected his servant. Built and altar.
(Gen.12:7)The Lord appeared. The Lord frequently appeared visibly
to Abram and to others, but not in all his glory (Ex 33:18-20;
John 1:18). An Altar. The first of several that Abram built at
places where he had memorable spiritual experiences (Gen.35: 8;
13:18; 22:9). He acknowledged that the land of Canaan belonged to
the Lord in a special way (Ex 20:24; Jos 22:19).
4. Remember God’s Promises (Gen. 35:9-12,14-15)
Gen. 35:9 After Jacob returned from Paddan Aram, God appeared
to him again and blessed him. 35:10 God said to him, “Your name
is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be
Israel. ” So he named him Israel. 35:11 And God said to him, “I am
God Almighty ; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a
community of nations will come from you, and kings will come from
your body. 35:12 The land I gave to Abraham and Isaac I also give
to you, and I will give this land to your descendants after you.”
35:13 Then God went up from him at the place where he had talked
with him. 35:14 Jacob set up a stone pillar at the place where God
had talked with him, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he
also poured oil on it. 35:15 Jacob called the place where God had
talked with him Bethel.
Jacob returned. “Jacob’s Journeys,” . Paddan Aram. Means
“plain of Aram,” another name for Aram Naharaim (Gen. 24:10).
Jacob. . . Israel. The previous assignment of an additional
name (Gen.32:28) is here confirmed. For similar examples compare
(Gen.21:31 with 26:33, and 28:19 with 35:15. (Gen. 35:11-12) This
event climaxes the Isaac-Jacob cycle . Now that Jacob was at last
back at Bethel, where God had begun his direct relationship with
him, God confirmed to this chosen son of Isaac the covenant
promises made to Abraham (Gen.17:1-8; 28:3). His words echo his
original benediction pronounced on man in the beginning (Gen.1:28)
and renewed after the flood (Gen.9:1,7). God’s blessing on mankind
would be fulfilled in and through Jacob and his offspring. (Gen.47:27;
17:22; Ex 1:7 ). (Gen.28 :18 ) DRINK OFFERING. A liquid poured out as
a sacrifice to a deity. (Gen.28:19; 35:10). Ephrath. The older name
for Bethlehem (Gen.35:19) in Judah ( Ruth 1:2; Mic 5:2).
Jacob returned to Bethel to renew his commitment,
God referred to the promise to give him the land . This promise was
not limited to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because in each instance
that the promise is stated, their descendants are included as well.
The phrase to your descendants after you indicates God’s promises
to and purposes for His people would extend beyond the lives of the
patriarchs. the Lord was blessing Jacob, but He also was blessing