Jacob returns to Bethel as God commands him to settle there and build an altar. This is the same place where God met Jacob while he was fleeing from his brother Esau. On hearing God’s voice, Jacob immediately commands his household to get rid of all the idols and purify themselves. He deemed Bethel to be that holy, that he and his family in his current state could not enter the place where God met him.
The Jacobs set out for Luz, that is Bethel and the terror of God fell on all the towns around them so that no one would come and kill them for what Simeon and Levi did to the Shechemites.
God appeared to Jacob again and blessed him and changed his name for a second time from Jacob to Israel.
Jacob’s response is again creating idols as he set up a stone pillar and poured oil and drink offering on it.
Jacob’s family continued their journey towards Hebron, his father’s place. But while they had reached Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth but with great difficulty. In her dying moments she named her son Ben-Oni but Jacob quickly renamed him as son of my favorite one.
Rachel was buried in Ephrath and Jacob continued on his journey to his homeland. We also read about a disturbing incident about Reuben and Bilhah and Jacob found out about it. Jacob finally reached home and buried his father Isaac along with his brother Esau.
Like Jacob, it’s time for all of us to return to our Bethel, the place where we first met God.
Questions Discussed in this Podcast –
V1: Why is God asking Jacob to build an altar?
V2: What made Jacob suddenly ask his household to get rid of all the Foreign gods? Also, why did he ask them to purify themselves and change their clothes?
V5: Why did the terror of God set on all the towns around them and why were they being pursued?
V10: Why is God naming Jacob as Israel again?
V14: What is a drink offering and why is Jacob pouring this and oil on the pillar?
V18: Why is Rachel naming her son as son of my trouble, she was the one who wanted another child after Joseph?
V8 & V27: Was Rebekah staying with Jacob?