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Genesis 35:9-12

Context

35:9 God appeared to Jacob again after he returned from Paddan Aram and blessed him. 35:10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but your name will no longer be called Jacob; Israel will be your name.” So God named him Israel. 1  35:11 Then God said to him, “I am the sovereign God. 2  Be fruitful and multiply! A nation – even a company of nations – will descend from you; kings will be among your descendants! 3  35:12 The land I gave 4  to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you. To your descendants 5  I will also give this land.”

1 tn Heb “and he called his name Israel.” The referent of the pronoun “he” (God) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

sn The name Israel means “God fights” (although some interpret the meaning as “he fights [with] God”). See Gen 32:28.

2 tn The name אֵל שַׁדַּי (’el shadday, “El Shaddai”) has often been translated “God Almighty,” primarily because Jerome translated it omnipotens (“all powerful”) in the Latin Vulgate. There has been much debate over the meaning of the name. For discussion see W. F. Albright, “The Names Shaddai and Abram,” JBL 54 (1935): 173-210; R. Gordis, “The Biblical Root sdy-sd,” JTS 41 (1940): 34-43; and especially T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 69-72. Shaddai/El Shaddai is the sovereign king of the world who grants, blesses, and judges. In the Book of Genesis he blesses the patriarchs with fertility and promises numerous descendants. Outside Genesis he both blesses/protects and takes away life/happiness. The patriarchs knew God primarily as El Shaddai (Exod 6:3). While the origin and meaning of this name are uncertain its significance is clear. The name is used in contexts where God appears as the source of fertility and life. For a fuller discussion see the note on “sovereign God” in Gen 17:1.

3 tn Heb “A nation and a company of nations will be from you and kings from your loins will come out.”

sn A nation…will descend from you. The promise is rooted in the Abrahamic promise (see Gen 17). God confirms what Isaac told Jacob (see Gen 28:3-4). Here, though, for the first time Jacob is promised kings as descendants.

4 tn The Hebrew verb translated “gave” refers to the Abrahamic promise of the land. However, the actual possession of that land lay in the future. The decree of the Lord made it certain; but it has the sense “promised to give.”

5 tn Heb “and to your offspring after you.”



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