Study Guide

Book of Genesis Chapters 35 – 36

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Chapters 35 – 36

Epiphany, Death, and Sex

  • God commands Jacob to build an altar at Bethel. By this point, he knows to trust God, so he does what he's told. When Rebekah's nurse Deborah dies, she's buried near Bethel under an oak which is called Allon-bakuth or "oak of weeping." 
  • God appears to Jacob again, and reiterates his name change to Israel. Oh, yeah, we'd almost forgotten about that
  • Rachel goes into labor and bears a son with the help of a midwife, who encourages her with the good news that she's bearing a son. 
  • Rachel dies in childbirth, and Jacob names his son Benjamin.
    The final score in the Leah-Rachel child-bearing contest is Leah 8, Rachel 4. That's quite a blowout. 
  • Rachel is buried on the road to Bethlehem, and Jacob sets up a pillar to mark her grave, which is still there, "to this day" (35:20 NRSV). 
  • The narrator inserts a little who's who of Jacob's four wives and twelve sons. We'll let you check that part out.
  • Jacob visits Isaac in Hebron, and Isaac dies at the ripe old age of 180. Esau and Jacob bury him.
  • The narrator reminds us that Esau took foreign wives and had foreign children in Canaan. This is a big no-no in Genesis (24:2-4; 26:34-35; 27:46; 28:1-9).
  • And now, for the thrilling finale: their descendants are listed.

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