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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Genesis 35

Verses 1-29


Jacob journeys by way of Bethel to Hebron. Death of Rachel and of Isaac

1. Jacob is commanded to go to Bethel and fulfil the vow he had once made there (Genesis 28:20, Genesis 28:22).

2. Strange gods] Perhaps the idols of some of Jacob’s people who had come with him from Haran, such as the teraphim which Rachel carried off (Genesis 31:19). Be clean, and change your garments] rites symbolising purification from idolatry.

4. Earrings] worn superstitiously as charms, and often inscribed with magical formulæ. The oak] It was here perhaps that Joshua, hundreds of years later, bade the Israelites put away the strange gods which were among them (Joshua 24:23-26).

5.They were divinely protected from any revenge the Shechemites may have meditated.

7. El-beth-el] ’the God of Bethel,’ or ’the God of the House of God.’

8. Allon-ba-chuth] ’oak of weeping.’ Deborah and Eliezer (Genesis 24) are good examples of the honourable position assigned to servants in times of patriarchal simplicity. Deborah means ’bee.’

9-13. These vv. give the origin of the names ’Israel’ and ’Bethel’ from the Priestly source. Note the absence of anthropomorphisms as compared with the account in Genesis 32:22-32.

14. A pillar] see on Genesis 28:18. A drink offering] a libation of wine in token of thankfulness. Under the Law meat and drink offerings accompanied the burnt sacrifice.

16. Ephrath] or Bethlehem, 4 m. S. of Jerusalem: cp. Genesis 48:7; Micah 5:2.

18. Ben-oni] ’son of my sorrow.’ Benjamin] perhaps ’son of my right hand,’ that being the fortunate side, and so a name of better omen. Another rendering is ’son of days,’ i.e. of Jacob’s old age

21. Tower of Edar] lit. ’tower of the flock,’ probably between Bethlehem and Hebron. The name is used symbolically of Jerusalem in Micah 4:8.

22. By this crime Reuben, the eldest son, forfeited the birthright (Genesis 49:3-4) like Simeon and Levi before him: see on Genesis 34:28.

27. Jacob rejoins his father after thirty years’ separation. City of Arbah] Hebron: see Genesis 23:2.

28, 29. Isaac was buried in the cave at Machpelah, Genesis 49:31.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Genesis 35". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/genesis-35.html. 1909.