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“… out of Tziyon will go forth Torah, the word of ADONAI from Yerushalayim.”
(Isaiah 2:3)

The summary of the entire Torah is as simple as this:
Love what HaShem loves; hate what HaShem hates. All else is commentary.

Please read the Introductory Notes to this commentary.

WARNING: The text used for my commentary is my own paraphrase and must not be
considered “a translation” or authorative in any way. It is, in fact, simply my commentary.

Maps, when used, are from Created using BibleMapper 3.0.
Additional data from
Source of Dates Used

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית • B'resheet
(“In Beginning” or “At First”)
The First Book of Moses,
Commonly Called



Parashah 8: VaYishlach(continued)
(“And He Sent Out”) • Genesis 32:3 –36:43

(Small Roman numerals in the text indicate each 'aliyah.)

~ 35 ~

C. Return to Beit-El (35:1-15)

1. God’s Instructions (35:1)

[Shechem [MAP] 1700 BCE (R), 1710 (K)]

1Then Elohim[GN] said to Ya'akov, “Arise, go up to Beit-El“House of God”, and live there. Make an altar there to the God Who appeared to you when you fled from  your brother 'Esav.

2. Rid of Idols (35:2-4)

2So Ya'akov said to his household and all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods that are among you. Purify yourselves and change your clothes. 3Let’s get up and go up to Beit-El. I will build an altar there to the God Who answered me in the day of my distress, and has been with me wherever I went.” 4So they gave Ya'akov all their foreign gods and their earrings,[4] and Ya'akov hid them under the oak tree near Shechem.

3. Events in Luz (35:5-15)

 5As they set out, a terror from Elohim fell over the surrounding cities, so they didn’t pursue Ya'akov’s sons.[5]

[Beit-El [MAP]  1700 BCE (R), 1710 (K)]

a. An Altar Erected; D’vorah Dies (35:6-8)

 6So Ya'akov and everyone with him arrived at Luz (that is, Beit-El) in the land of Kena'an. 7He built an altar there and called the place El Beth El“God of the House of God”, because it was there that Elohim had revealed Himself when eh was fleeing from his brother. 8Then Rivkah’s nurse D’vorah died, and she was buried below Beit-El under the oak they named Alon-Bakhut“oak of weeping”

b. The Land Covenant Confirmed (35:9-15)

9After he had returned from Paddan Aram [MAP], Elohim appeared to Ya'akov and blessed him. 10Elohim told him, “Your name is Ya'akov; your will no longer be called Ya'akov, but your name will be Isra'el.” So He named him Isra'el. 11And Elohim told him, “I am El Shaddai“God Almighty”. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation — indeed an assembly of nations — will descend from you, kings will be among your descendants. (A:vi) 12I will give you the land I gave to Avraham and Yitz'chak. I will give the land to you and to your descendants after you.

13Then Elohim went up from him in the place where He had spoken with him. (vi) 14So Ya'akov set up a pillar[14] in the place where He spoke with him — a stone marker — and he poured out a drink offering on it, and anointed it with oil. 15Ya'akov named the place where Elohim had spoken with him Beit-El.

[Ephrath [MAP] 1700 BCE (R), 1710 (K)]

D. Binyamin Born in Efrat, Rachel Dies (35:16-20)

16They set out from Beit-El. When they were still some distance from Efrat, Rachel went into labor, and she had a hard labor. 17When her labor was severe, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid, for now you are having another son.”

18With her last breath — for she was dying — she named him Ben-Oni“son of my trouble”, but his father named him Binyamin“son of my right hand”. 19So Rachel died and was buried on the road to Efrat“ash-heap” or “place of fruitfulness” (also called Beit-Lechem“house of bread”). 20Ya'akov set up a monument over her grave; it is the marker of Rachel’s Tomb to this day. article and video]

E. In Migdal-‘Eder (near Beith Lechem) (35:21-26) [MAP]

21Isra'el continued his travels and encamped beyond Migdal-‘Eder.[21]

1. Re’uven’s Incest With Bilhah (35:22)

22While Isra'el lived in that region, Re’uven went and slept with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Isra'el heard about it.

2. The Sons of Yisra'el (35:23-26)

Ya'akov had twelve sons: 23Le'ah’s sons were Re’uven (Ya'akov’s firstborn), Shim‘on, Levi, Y’hudah, Yissakhar, and Z’vulun; 24Rachel’s sons were Yosef and Binyamin; 25Bilhah’s sons were Dan and Naftali. 26Le'ah’s maidservant Zilpah’s sons Gad and Asher. These are Ya'akov‘s sons who were born to him in Paddan Aram.

F. Ya‘akov Returns to Mamre; Yitz’chak Dies (35:27-29)

[Hebron [MAP]   1700 BCE (R), 1710 (K)]

 27Ya'akov returned to his father Yitz'chak at Mamre, to Kiriath Arba (which is Hebron), where Avraham and Yitz'chak lived as foreigners. 28Yitz'chak lived one hundred eighty years. 29Yitz'chak breathed his last and died, and was gathered to his people, old and full of days. [1687 BCE] His sons 'Esav and Ya'akov buried him.

Chapter 36

 4. These particular earrings seem to have been worn not so much for ornament as for superstitious purposes, being regarded as talismans or amulets, as it was from their earrings that Aaron made the golden calf (Exodus 32:2-4). [BACK]

 5. That is, the men from the surrounding cities didn’t track down Ya'akov’s sons for the massacre at Shechem. [BACK]

14. Pillar: Hebrew מַצֵּבָ֗ה (maṣ·ṣê·ḇāh), as a monument, personal memorial. [BACK]

21. Migdal Eder, “the tower of the flock,” may have been only a tower and no town, and must be between Bethlehem and Hebron. Jerome says that it was one Roman mile from Bethlehem. In the Septuagint, however, 35:16 and 21 are transposed, which suggests that there may have been a tradition that Migdal Eder was between Bethel and Bethlehem. There must have been many such towers for guarding flocks against robbers. Compare "tower of the watchman" (2 Kings 18:8, etc.). The phrase "Migdal Eder" occurs in Micah 4:8 where Jerusalem is compared to such a tower. (E. W. G. Masterman)

During the Second Temple period, tens of thousands of lambs were being sacrificed every year. In addition to the two daily sacrifices, Josephus records that at Passover alone up to 265,000 lambs would be sacrificed. Those lambs had to meet the strict requirements of Torah. They had to be no more than one year old, male, and without spot or blemish. So they had to be born in controlled conditions and inspected for birth defects before being raised in protected conditions. So where did they get that many lambs? To ensure an adequate supply of unblemished, sacrifice-quality lambs, the Temple priests maintained an area in the village of Bethlehem to raise and inspect these lambs for the sacrifices, and constructed a watchtower there called Migdal Eder (Hebrew: מגדל־עדר), the tower of the flock. So Yeshua, the ultimate Paschal Lamb, was born in the same place as were all the rest of the sacrifical lambs. [BACK]

Other commentaries on Genesis 35
Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Pulpit Commentary
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Page originally posted on Wednesday, 08 September 2021
Revised and updated on Sunday, 16 October 2022

Page last updated on Monday, 02 October 2023 12:52 PM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes are identified as "Revisions”)

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