God Blesses Jacob (Genesis 35) Commentary

God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. God is bringing Jacob to the land which is promised; the place Jacob was given his vision of angels;  Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau. Do not make an altar unto any other God, only the one who had spoken to you and cared for you;  So quickly men fall into idolatry, that God reminds us that He is the one true God; Heaven is my throne, the Earth is my footstool. Where the house you have built for me? (Isaiah66:1)  So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. Jacob understood the Lord and had his household dispose of idols; Jacob is the sprititual head of the family;  Clean garments to signify a clean heart  Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.”  Let us go forth and worship the true God; Jacob testifies and witnesses to his people of the power of God; So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears. The rings were symbols of pagan beliefs Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree that was near Shechem. He buried them, where no one could return to them. 
And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. The pagan tribes; God instilled a fear upon the cities of HIs divine protection. Even the unbelievers fear God! Let the believer look back on his or her life, and reflect on the presence of the protection of God throughout it. Jesus had such protection; only when he permitted it, were people able to harm him.
And Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), …and there he built an altar and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed himself to him when he fled from his brother. He called it God of Bethel, where his first encounter with the God of his father took place, where he was promised to be delivered;  And Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried under an oak below Bethel.  Deborah’s service is honored;  So he called its name Allon-bacuth.  Meaning “Oak of Weeping”. A great gift was given in the service of Deborah, and great distress at her passing.

God appeared to Jacob again, when he came from Paddan-aram, and blessed him.  To affirm his promise   And God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he called his name Israel.  This is the second time God has said this. Jacob did not fully understand the meaning, that he truly would be the father of the nation Israel.  How perfect is God’s plan, when it is revealed, though we are often confused by its steps. Faith!   And God said to him, “I am God Almighty:  there are no other gods    A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body.  Including the messiah   The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”   A renewal of the convenant, which Jacob honors by setting up the pillar.  

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