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Genesis 35:9-15

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.” 35:13 Then God went up from the place 6  where he spoke with him. 35:14 So Jacob set up a sacred stone pillar in the place where God spoke with him. 7  He poured out a drink offering on it, and then he poured oil on it. 8  35:15 Jacob named the place 9  where God spoke with him Bethel. 10 

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.”

6 tn Heb “went up from upon him in the place.”

7 tn Heb “and Jacob set up a sacred pillar in the place where he spoke with him, a sacred pillar of stone” (see the notes on the term “sacred stone” in Gen 28:18). This passage stands parallel to Gen 28:18-19, where Jacob set up a sacred stone, poured oil on it, and called the place Bethel. Some commentators see these as two traditions referring to the same event, but it is more likely that Jacob reconsecrated the place in fulfillment of the vow he had made here earlier. In support of this is the fact that the present narrative alludes to and is built on the previous one.

8 tn The verb נָסַךְ (nasakh) means “to pour out, to make libations,” and the noun נֶסֶךְ (nesekh) is a “drink-offering,” usually of wine or of blood. The verb יָצַק (yatsaq) means “to pour out,” often of anointing oil, but of other elements as well.

9 sn Called the name of the place. In view of the previous naming of Bethel in Gen 28:19, here Jacob was confirming or affirming the name through an official ritual marking the fulfillment of the vow. This place now did become Bethel, the house of God.

10 tn The name Bethel means “house of God” in Hebrew.

map For location see Map4 G4; Map5 C1; Map6 E3; Map7 D1; Map8 G3.



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