Genesis 35:1-16

A. 1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there:

B. and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.

C. 2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:

D. 3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.

C’. 4 And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.

B’. 5 And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob.

 A’/2A. 6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.

2B. 7 And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother. 8 But Deborah Rebekah’s nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak:and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.

2C.9 And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram,

2D. and blessed him.


i. 10 And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob:

ii. thy name shall not be called any more Jacob,

ii’. but Israel shall be thy name:

i’. and he called his name Israel.

2D’. 11 And God said unto him, I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; 12 And the land which I gave Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.

2C’. 13 And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.

2B’. 14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he talked with him, even a pillar of stone: and he poured a drink offering thereon, and he poured oil thereon. 15 And Jacob called the name of the place where God spake with him, Bethel.

2A’. 16 And they journeyed from Bethel ...

Note: The first chiasm centres on Jacob’s recognition of the faithfulness of God who had promised at Bethel always to be with him. The second chiasm may seem clumsy. I think verse 10 is the centre –  the change of name from Jacob to Israel – which is also the centre of a chiasm in Genesis 32. The change of name is hugely significant since it identifies the change from natural to spiritual.  Verse 9 says God blessed Jacob, and I suggest that verse 11-12 is that blessing because it echoes very closely the blessing that Isaac asks forJacob in 28:3-4, as well as the blessing that Abraham received in Genesis 17:1-8. 

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