ImmerseBeginnings NLT - Page 66


So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols,
purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing. We are now going to Bethel,
where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I
was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.”
So they gave Jacob all their pagan idols and earrings, and he buried them
under the great tree near Shechem. As they set out, a terror from God
spread over the people in all the towns of that area, so no one attacked
Jacob’s family.
Eventually, Jacob and his household arrived at Luz (also called Bethel)
in Canaan. Jacob built an altar there and named the place ­El-­bethel (which
means “God of Bethel”), because God had appeared to him there when he
was fleeing from his brother, Esau.
Soon after this, Rebekah’s old nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried beneath the oak tree in the valley below Bethel. Ever since, the tree has been
called A
­ llon-­bacuth (which means “oak of weeping”).
Now that Jacob had returned from ­Paddan-­aram, God appeared to him
again at Bethel. God blessed him, saying, “Your name is Jacob, but you will
not be called Jacob any longer. From now on your name will be Israel.” So
God renamed him Israel.
Then God said, “I am E
­ l-­Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Be fruitful and
multiply. You will become a great nation, even many nations. Kings will
be among your descendants! And I will give you the land I once gave to
Abraham and Isaac. Yes, I will give it to you and your descendants after
you.” Then God went up from the place where he had spoken to Jacob.
Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place where God had spoken
to him. Then he poured wine over it as an offering to God and anointed
the pillar with olive oil. And Jacob named the place Bethel (which means
“house of God”), because God had spoken to him there.
Leaving Bethel, Jacob and his clan moved on toward Ephrath. But Rachel
went into labor while they were still some distance away. Her labor pains
were intense. After a very hard delivery, the midwife finally exclaimed,
“Don’t be a­ fraid—­you have another son!” Rachel was about to die, but
with her last breath she named the baby ­Ben-­oni (which means “son of my
sorrow”). The baby’s father, however, called him Benjamin (which means
“son of my right hand”). So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). Jacob set up a stone monument over Rachel’s
grave, and it can be seen there to this day.
Then Jacob traveled on and camped beyond ­Migdal-­eder. While he was
living there, Reuben had intercourse with Bilhah, his father’s concubine,
and Jacob soon heard about it.
These are the names of the twelve sons of Jacob:

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