Genesis Segment 23 (34:1-36:43)

Genesis 34:1 “And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.”

When Jacob met Esau, all his children were young and small, including Dinah. We are not told how long Jacob lived in Succoth, nor how long he was in Shechem before he bought the property there. It was long enough for his children to grow up and Dinah to become of marriageable age, that is, in her early teens. It is supposed that she was fourteen or fifteen years old when this occurred. However, the Book of Jubilees says Dinah was only twelve years old when raped by Shechem.

Dinah, whose means justice, justice, or vindication, was still under the custody of Jacob. Until she married she would not be out of her father’s household. There were no suffragists or feminists there like we have now. A woman belonged either to her father or to her husband. It is supposed that she was fourteen or fifteen years old when this occurred.

Josephus says that she went out to a festival:

Hereupon Jacob came to the place, till this day called Tents (Succoth); from whence he went to Shechem, which is a city of the Canaanites. Now as the Shechemites were keeping a festival Dina, who was the only daughter of Jacob, went into the city to see the finery of the women of that country. But when Shechem, the son of Hamor the king, saw her, he defiled her by violence; and being greatly in love with her, desired of his father that he would procure the damsel to him for a wife. (Antiquities: 1.21.1)

The festival was a Shechemite, or Canaanite festival, which is pagan. If so, where was Jacob when this happened? Where was Leah, her mother? They should not have allowed her to go out on her own at that age nor should they have allowed her to go to such a festival. Jacob and Leah bear some fault in this episode.

It is possible she went to see some of her friends; These were young women living near her, and perhaps they went in a group. She should not have been alone.

It appears that she did go out alone. Several sources including a Midrash, and Ibn Ezra, who was a scholar in Spain in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, make the claim that Dinah did go to the festival alone. Some ancient writers even made the case that Shechem laid a trap for her by enticing her out to see the dancing girls he brought out of the city to a place near her tent.

Genesis 34:2 “And when Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince of the country, saw her, he took her, and lay with her, and defiled her.”

He raped her. Hammurabi’s Code, # 130 states: “If a man violate the wife (betrothed or child-wife) of another man, who has never known a man, and still lives in her father’s house, and sleep with her and be surprised [discovered], this man shall be put to death, but the wife is blameless.

We are not told that Dinah was betrothed, but she still abode in her father’s house. Death was the penalty for his act according to the law of the day. But, being a prince, it was unlikely that he would die or be punished at all for this crime. Certainly his people were not going to execute him or even admit there was a crime committed.

This reminds us of the story of David and Bathsheba. David murdered Uriah. David was deserving of death as he stated with his own mouth, yet God forgave him, causing his sin to pass over to the love-child, who died in David’s place. There were consequences for that act, such as losing the kingdom temporarily to Absalom, but David was forgiven. Shechem was not going to be forgiven by the sons of Israel. They plotted his death.

Genesis 34:3-4 “And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel. {4} And Shechem spake unto his father Hamor, saying, Get me this damsel to wife.”

Shechem loved Dinah. His passion was supposedly an act of love, a perverted act, mind you, but his own motive was love. It is not a very good kind of love if it includes rape or any other crime committed against the object of his love. We can speculate that it was actually lust, but the Bible does not say that; it says he loved her.

Love does not give us the right to commit a crime against our loved ones. Yes, children must be disciplined, but the Bible is very specific on that discipline. When disciplining a child we are to “provoke not [our] children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

As husbands we are not given sanction to abuse our wives in any way, including physically, mentally or emotionally. Some husbands loosely cite the Bible as their license to beat their wives. That is because they are ignorant. The scriptures tell us to “love [our] wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it (Eph 5:25),” and to “love [our] wives as [our] own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself (Eph 5:28).” If beating your wife is “loving her as Christ loved the church.” Men, when is the last time Jesus Christ beat you?

If Shechem loved Dinah with a healthy love, why did he resort to rape? He raped her and then treated here nicely! So what! The festival was a pagan fete and it more than likely included pagan fertility rites such as temple prostitution and fornication in the streets (you will see this at Mardis Gras celebrations). It is likely that Shechem was caught up in this when he raped Dinah. But that is no excuse. If he truly loved her instead of lusting after her, he would not have raped her but would have protected her from such an act.

Genesis 34:5 “And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come. 

Sometimes it is best to hold you peace until the right time, even if you have important or urgent news. Jacob wisely waited until his sons were safely home in the evening. That way he could tell them and they were not likely to make an emotional decision and rush right out for retribution. They would have the night to sleep on it. No, this scripture does not tell us that they came home in the evening, but they were out tending the cattle and it is very likely they did not come home until evening.

Genesis 34:6  And Hamor the father of Shechem went out unto Jacob to commune with him.

Before the sons got home, Hamor and Shechem (v.10) came to discuss the situation with Jacob. He was still there when the sons arrived home. Hamor was aware there Shechem had committed a heinous act and wanted to protect his son. Thus he went right to the girl’s father.

Genesis 34:7 “And the sons of Jacob came out of the field when they heard it: and the men were grieved, and they were very wroth, because he had wrought folly in Israel in lying with Jacob’s daughter; which thing ought not to be done.”

They were kind of upset. Notice that the actual outrage was against Israel (BOTH Jacob, and his family, later a nation). It is likely that Hamor’s and Shechem’s presence tempered their communications and their immediate actions; later their actions were not so temperate.

Genesis 34:8-9 “And Hamor communed with them, saying, The soul of my son Shechem longeth for your daughter: I pray you give her him to wife. {9} And make ye marriages with us, and give your daughters unto us, and take our daughters unto you.”

It is apparent that Hamor wanted to smooth things over with Jacob and his family. He knew that there was a danger of violence for his sons and also a danger of war between the families. An offer of marriage was and is a good way to make peaceable relations between otherwise opposing parties.

Genesis 34:10 “And ye shall dwell with us: and the land shall be before you; dwell and trade ye therein, and get you possessions therein.”

Hamor sweetened the pot with a financial offer—free trade and grants of land. We know that God actually forbid that later in the Law. The pattern was already set: Abraham sent Isaac to his own kindred in Mesopotamia or Haran, for Rebecca, his wife. Rebecca also wanted Jacob to marry from her kindred in Mesopotamia or Haran and Isaac agreed.

Genesis 34:11-12 “And Shechem said unto her father and unto her brethren, Let me find grace in your eyes, and what ye shall say unto me I will give. {12} Ask me never so much dowry and gift, and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife.”

Have you ever heard the expression “don’t speak unless asked to speak”? That would have been a good rule of thumb here. Shechem had no right to speak, nor should he have spoken. He said, in essence, “ask anything you want, but I will have Dinah for my wife.” It is unlikely that he would have agreed to anything less.

Genesis 34:13 “And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:”

They had obviously spoken together in private for they were in one accord about this issue. Jacob was not aware of this deceit (see Gen 34:30).

Genesis 34:14 “And they said unto them, We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one that is uncircumcised; for that were a reproach unto us:”

Before the Law was given to Moses, God had decreed that Abraham and all of his family and all of his servants were to be circumcised. This Covenant of Circumcision is outlined in Genesis 17:9-14. Therefore even if they were legitimately going to allow Dinah to marry Shechem, he would have to be circumcised. But they had no intention of allowing this marriage.

Additionally, such a marriage with pagans would not have been acceptable to the family. Remember that neither Isaac nor Jacob was allowed by the family to marry a Canaanite daughter (Gen 24:3, 28:1).

Genesis 34:15-16 “But in this will we consent unto you: If ye will be as we be, that every male of you be circumcised; {16} Then will we give our daughters unto you, and we will take your daughters to us, and we will dwell with you, and we will become one people. 

According to Israel’s sons, all the men of Shechem must be circumcised for the marriage to take place. To make this more palatable to the men of Shechem, they offered to allow their daughters to intermarry with their men. This would truly have made them one people. But it was not to be nor was it God’s will for that to happen.

Genesis 34:17 But if ye will not hearken unto us, to be circumcised; then will we take our daughter, and we will be gone.”

In other words, take it or leave it. Remember all the promises were lies. They had no intention to allow Dina to marry Shechem. The lies were made to deceive the men of Shechem.

Genesis 34:18-19 “And their words pleased Hamor, and Shechem Hamor’s son. {19} And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob’s daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father.”

They were pleased because in their minds this agreement saved them much grief, and in their minds prevented war between them and Jacob’s family. Shechem was the most honored son in the household. His father was intent on giving Shechem what he wanted. However, they were thoroughly deceived.

Genesis 34:20-23 “And Hamor and Shechem his son came unto the gate of their city, and communed with the men of their city, saying,”

(The gate in the cities was not like gates we have today. Ours are usually chain link, or wood, or cattle gates and not very thick—perhaps a few inches. Gates in ancient walled cities not only had strong walls, but they were much wider that the wider than the actual city walls and they had rooms in them. It was at those gates then men came together to deliberate. In other words the city’s business took place in the gate—kind of like in modern city halls.)

Genesis 34:21-23These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them; let us take their daughters to us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. {22} Only herein will the men consent unto us for to dwell with us, to be one people, if every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. {23} Shall not their cattle and their substance and every beast of theirs be ours? only let us consent unto them, and they will dwell with us.”

It was necessary to sell the men of the city on the idea. The men of Shechem were probably not at all pleased the King’s son had raped a daughter of Jacob. Jacob had wealth from his sojourn with Laban, and therefore strong and could have done great harm to Shechemites, which eventually happened anyway. They made it look like a sweet deal. It would have been if it had not been bogus.

Genesis 34:24 “And unto Hamor and unto Shechem his son hearkened all that went out of the gate of his city; and every male was circumcised, all that went out of the gate of his city.”

They all listened and were circumcised. Babies do not consciously remember circumcision. Who remembers that far back in their lives? That does not mean that babies do not feel the pain. Some babies are circumcised without anesthesia though this practice is lessening. Israeli babies were circumcised on the eighth day and we are not told in scripture if there is any type of painkiller used. It is likely that there was no anesthesia for infants or adults back then. There is, however, evidence that local anesthesia was used in some ancient circumcisions.

There are Egyptian depictions of ancient circumcision with anesthesia. But you can rest assured that even if there was a local anesthetic applied (or a general anesthetic in the form of alcohol or some other drug), after its effects wore off, they were in plenty of pain and would be for several days. The men of Shechem were in enough pain to sorely curtail their ability to move around; certainly they could not effectively fight a battle. They were not expecting a battle anyway and were thus off their guard.

Genesis 34:25-26 “And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males. {26} And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out.”

This does not specifically state that only two men went and killed all the men of Shechem. Levi and Simeon each brought a posse of their men with them to accomplish this deed. So there were several men involved in this massacre. After killing all of them, they rescued Dinah, but Rabbinic literature claims she was hesitant leave and had a son with Shechem.

Apparently, Shechem did not restrain himself from further sexual contact with Dinah when she was in his house, because we see from Rabbinic literature that they had a son. It does not say so, but Dinah more than likely spent a good portion of her life in the household of one of her brothers. Rabbinic literature tell us she was later married to a man named Job (This occurred many years after the Biblical Job lived).

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia in, Rabbinical Literature Dinah was at fault for going out alone. She did not want to leave Shechem, and had to be dragged out of his tent. Simeon offered to marry her:

“Dinah is blamed for the affair with Shechem because she “went out” (Gen. xxxiv. 1), and her brothers had to drag her away from Shechem by force (Eccl. R. x. 8; Gen. R. lxxx.). When Jacob went to meet Esau, he first locked Dinah in a box, for fear that Esau would wish to marry her. Such action of his brought out the rebuke from God: “If thou hadst married off thy daughter in time she would not have been tempted to sin, and might, moreover, have exerted a beneficial influence upon her husband” (Gen. R. lxxx.).  Her brother Simeon promised to marry her; but she did not wish to leave, Shechem, fearing that after her disgrace no one would take her to wife (Gen. R. l.c.); she was later married to Job however (B. B. 16b; Gen. R. l.c.)she was later married to Job however (B. B. 16b; Gen. R. l.c.). When she died, Simeon buried her in the land of Canann. She is therefore referred to as “the Canaanitish woman” (Gen. xlvi. 10). Shaul (ib.) was her son by Shechem (Gen. R. l.c.).” DINAH,  By: Eduard König, Emil G. Hirsch, Louis Ginzberg, Caspar Levias, ©2002-2011,, Vol 4 Page 605, All rights reserved.

Genesis 34:28-29 “They took their sheep, and their oxen, and their asses, and that which was in the city, and that which was in the field, {29} And all their wealth, and all their little ones, and their wives took they captive, and spoiled even all that was in the house.”

The spoils included the women and children of Shechem who probably became servants and slaves. That was usual in such conflicts.

Genesis 34:30 “And Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites: and I being few in number, they shall gather themselves together against me, and slay me; and I shall be destroyed, I and my house.”

Jacob was right about being loathsome to the other Canaanites. Israel is still loathsome to the peoples surrounding them today. He was wrong about their killing him, though; God was Jacob’s protector and Jacob had nothing to worry about in that respect.

Gen 34:31  But they answered, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?”

Obviously, the answer is no. However, the vigilantism of Levi and Simeon, Jacob’s second and third sons, was also wrong. Also, according to Commentator Albert Barnes (1798-1870), “The employment of circumcision, too, which was the sign of the covenant of grace, as a means of deception, was a heinous aggravation of their offence.”

The covenant of circumcision is still in effect, but now it is circumcision of the heart:

Rom 2:28-29 (CSB)  For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh.  (29)  On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter. That person’s praise is not from people but from God.

Why is the story of Dinah in the Word at all? It seems out of place. Not many women are discussed in such detail in the Bible. Dinah means justice. Was justice done here? No. It was unjust for a young lady out on her own. It was wrong that she went to a pagan festival. It was unjust that Shechem raped her. It was unjust that he kept her in his house. It wasn’t smart to treat the daughter of a rich and powerful man in such a way. It was also unjust that the entire male population of Shechem was slain because of one man’s crime. The man who committed the crime had offered restitution in any amount. Yet the people in his entire city were put to death. This whole sordid affair is included in the Bible to show the injustice of men and their actions. True justice comes from God. Men can dispense true good justice with the help of God, but taken into their own hands, justice is perverted. This is just like a lynching. Vigilantism was the game here. Vigilantism is never just. Emotions are involved and true justice must be dispensed with a cool head. Dinah’s name was justice but there was no justice in this story.

Genesis 35:1 “And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.”

Dinah fades into history. There are plenty of tales about what happened to Dinah after this incident. You can find many of them on the net. I especially recommend Jewish sites. A novel has even been written about her life after the rape (The Red Tent by Anita Diamant). Now the Bible abruptly changes course and we are told the story of how Jacob returned to Bethel for worship. It starts with the command of God. Jacob obeyed.

Genesis 35:2 “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:”

Since they were among Pagans, it is easy to see how they could have gotten hold of these gods. But we must also remember that Rachel and Leah both brought teraphim with them from Haran. See Genesis 31:19. Jacob, who knew about these gods, was going to Worship the Lord God Almighty at Bethel so he told them to get rid of the idols. He also instructed them to wash and clean up and put on clean clothes.

In order to come into God’s presence we must be clean. We are clean by the vicarious (substitutionary) death of Christ on the Cross, in our place. Our belief brings us the righteousness of God. Our sin is the filth, but the blood of Christ cleanses us. That is clean. In Jacob’s time and in the time before the New Covenant, this cleanliness from sin was symbolized by cleaning, washing, and changing clothes. In the times of the Tabernacle and Temple, ritual washing was observed to symbolize the cleansing from sin. The priests accomplished this. Later, during the synagogue worship period after the captivity, the Pharisees developed a system of laws that included ritual washing. This was a very stylized ritual washing that went beyond the Law.

Genesis 35:3-4 “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. {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.”

He did the right thing. He left the gods behind. It may have been his intention to go back and get them when he returned. On the other hand, perhaps he hid them so they would never be used again. The earrings were probably used in pagan rites so they were idols too.

Genesis 35:5 “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.”

Jacob’s group was not accosted. It must have been dangerous for a tribe of people to travel in Canaan. They were liable to be confronted by other tribes and perhaps attacked and killed or taken captive. In fact there was a teaching in the Oral Torah (B’reishis Rabah 80:12), that Israel would become invincible when their numbers reached 600,000. This had not yet happened giving the Canaanites incentive to attack Jacob to prevent his becoming invincible. But this did not happen to Jacob’s group. God prevented it just as He will help you and me through dangerous situations. No doubt the people had heard about the slaughter of the Shechemites.

Genesis 35:6 “So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.”

Luz is Hebrew for “almond-tree.” Jacob renamed it Beth-El, house of God, when he had his dream of the ladder to heaven. He and his whole family including servants were present with him there at Bethel.

Genesis 35:7 “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.”

Elbethel is the combination of two words. Separated it looks like this: El Beth El. Literally, it means God of God’s House. According to Adam Clarke, it can also mean House of the Strong God.

Genesis 35:8 “But Deborah Rebekah’s nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth.”

This seems to be a mystery. Deborah was Jacob’s mother’s nurse. She went to Canaan with Rebekah when Rebekah went with Abraham’s servant to marry Isaac. Allonbachuth is the oak of mourning or the oak of weeping. The question is, why does the Holy Spirit mention Deborah here and by name? Well, as Rebekah’s nurse, she must have also been Jacob’s nurse. Jacob would have been raised by her and would have a great love for her. Her death caused much grief and sorrow and produced many tears. Since she died at Bethel and caused grief there, she was included in scripture at this place.

Genesis 35:9 “And God appeared unto Jacob again, when he came out of Padanaram, and blessed him.”

God appeared to Jacob the first time at Bethel. Here He appears again to reaffirm the covenant made with Abraham and Isaac.

Genesis 35:10 “And God said unto him, Thy name is Jacob: thy name shall not be called any more Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name: and he called his name Israel.”

First God reaffirmed Jacob’s new name, Israel, prince of God.

Genesis 35:11-12 “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.”

This is a brief restatement of the Abrahamic covenant of Genesis 12. See Genesis Segment 10.

Genesis 35:13 “And God went up from him in the place where he talked with him.”

Jacob had seen God face to face, a Theophany. Jacob saw God ascend into the heavens right in front of him. What an impression this must have made upon Jacob.

Genesis 35:14 “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.”

The pouring out of a drink offering symbolized pouring out one’s life or dedicating one’s life to God. Pouring olive oil on it was an anointing. To anoint means to designate or set apart (sanctify); that which is anointed is to a specific purpose. Here Jacob anointed the pillar to be set apart to God as an altar.

There are those who suppose this stone to be the Stone of Destiny, or Lia Fail, the British and Scottish coronation stone. That is unlikely but possible. I mention this in passing. There are plenty of sites dedicated to Lia Fail. Just use a search engine to study it.

Genesis 35:16-17 “And they journeyed from Bethel; and there was but a little way to come to Ephrath: and Rachel travailed, and she had hard labour. {17} And it came to pass, when she was in hard labour, that the midwife said unto her, Fear not; thou shalt have this son also.”

When they reached Bethlehem, Rachel went into labor. The long trip must have helped begin labor. Her labor was difficult and resulted in her death. But though the labor was difficult the midwife helped Rachel by assuring her that the baby would live. This probably gave Rachel the strength to deliver the child.

Genesis 35:18 “And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.”

The child was delivered, Rachel was dying, and she pronounced his name. She must have realized she was dying for the name was reminiscent of her dying in childbirth. She called him Benoni, the Son of My Sorrow. The implication is that Jacob changed his name to Benjamin after she died. Benjamin means The Son of My Right Hand. Rachel was Jacob’s favorite wife and the child she delivered in death became his favorite, always reminding him of Rachel.

Genesis 35:19-20 “And Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Ephrath, which is Bethlehem. {20} And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.”

And it is still there until this day in the Twenty-first Century, at least by tradition. Rachel’s tomb in Bethlehem is a modern attraction in the Holy Land. It is built into a shrine enclosed in a building. There is a Yeshiva or rabbinical college there. Many go there to pray, especially on the anniversary of her death. It was closed on the anniversary this year, 2001, because of terrorist threats, which still exist today. For a more complete discussion of the tomb, see the discussion Genesis Segment 34.

Genesis 35:21 “And Israel journeyed, and spread his tent beyond the tower of Edar.”

Edar means flock, drove, or herd. The Tower of Edar, the tower of the flock, was supposedly located near Bethlehem. The Targum of Jonathan mentions the Tower of Edar and says “It is the place in which the King Messiah shall be manifested in the end of days.” Thus many think that this may have been the place where the heavenly hosts appeared to the shepherds after the birth of Jesus:

Luke 2:8-14 “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. {9} And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. {10} And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. {11} For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. {12} And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. {13} And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, {14} Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

In the field in Bethlehem known as the Shepherd’s Field are the remains of the Tower of Edar. There is a Greek Church at the spot. The Franciscan Church of the Angels is built over a cave in which the shepherds are supposed to have lived. The ruins of the tower are near the Franciscan church. It was a watchtower from which the shepherds could watch over their flocks. It is supposed to be the tower mentioned here in Genesis. Jacob camped there.

Genesis 35:22 “And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:”

Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn, the son of Leah. Bilhah was Rachel’s handmaid and later Jacob’s concubine or lesser wife. Sordid as it may have been, the Bible tells us it happened. Reuben lay with a woman his mother’s age and a woman who was his father’s lesser wife, a woman who was the mother of his brothers Dan and Naphtali. Since Rachel had just died, Bilhah would have been grieved. I wonder if, on the pretext of comforting her, Rueben forced his affections on her? The Bible does not elaborate. It does say that Jacob found out about it.

Here occurs the completed list of the twelve sons of Israel.

Genesis 35:23-26 “The sons of Leah; Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Zebulun: {24} The sons of Rachel; Joseph, and Benjamin: {25} And the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s handmaid; Dan, and Naphtali: {26} And the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s handmaid; Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.”

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad and Asher. There were thirteen tribes. Joseph became two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim. Levi, the thirteenth tribe was sanctified unto God and had no inheritance in the land of Israel. The remaining tribes became the twelve tribes of the nation-state of Israel.

Genesis 35:27-29 “And Jacob came unto Isaac his father unto Mamre, unto the city of Arbah, which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac sojourned. {28} And the days of Isaac were an hundred and fourscore years. {29} And Isaac gave up the ghost, and died, and was gathered unto his people, being old and full of days: and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.”

Isaac was 180 years old. He was 60 when Jacob was born. Jacob was now 120. This is the last place that Jacob and Esau are shown together. This is placed here out of chronological order so that the story of Joseph would be unbroken. Isaac died after Joseph was sold into slavery.

Before we begin the story of Joseph, the Bible places the genealogy of Esau in chapter 36:

Genesis 36 “Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom. {2} Esau took his wives of the daughters of Canaan; Adah the daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon the Hivite; {3} And Bashemath Ishmael’s daughter, sister of Nebajoth. {4} And Adah bare to Esau Eliphaz; and Bashemath bare Reuel; {5} And Aholibamah bare Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah: these are the sons of Esau, which were born unto him in the land of Canaan. {6} And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob. {7} For their riches were more than that they might dwell together; and the land wherein they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle. {8} Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau is Edom. {9} And these are the generations of Esau the father of the Edomites in mount Seir: {10} These are the names of Esau’s sons; Eliphaz the son of Adah the wife of Esau, Reuel the son of Bashemath the wife of Esau. {11} And the sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, and Gatam, and Kenaz. {12} And Timna was concubine to Eliphaz Esau’s son; and she bare to Eliphaz Amalek: these were the sons of Adah Esau’s wife. {13} And these are the sons of Reuel; Nahath, and Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah: these were the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife. {14} And these were the sons of Aholibamah, the daughter of Anah the daughter of Zibeon, Esau’s wife: and she bare to Esau Jeush, and Jaalam, and Korah. {15} These were dukes of the sons of Esau: the sons of Eliphaz the firstborn son of Esau; duke Teman, duke Omar, duke Zepho, duke Kenaz, {16} Duke Korah, duke Gatam, and duke Amalek: these are the dukes that came of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these were the sons of Adah. {17} And these are the sons of Reuel Esau’s son; duke Nahath, duke Zerah, duke Shammah, duke Mizzah: these are the dukes that came of Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the sons of Bashemath Esau’s wife. {18} And these are the sons of Aholibamah Esau’s wife; duke Jeush, duke Jaalam, duke Korah: these were the dukes that came of Aholibamah the daughter of Anah, Esau’s wife. {19} These are the sons of Esau, who is Edom, and these are their dukes. {20} These are the sons of Seir the Horite, who inhabited the land; Lotan, and Shobal, and Zibeon, and Anah, {21} And Dishon, and Ezer, and Dishan: these are the dukes of the Horites, the children of Seir in the land of Edom. {22} And the children of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan’s sister was Timna. {23} And the children of Shobal were these; Alvan, and Manahath, and Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. {24} And these are the children of Zibeon; both Ajah, and Anah: this was that Anah that found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the asses of Zibeon his father. {25} And the children of Anah were these; Dishon, and Aholibamah the daughter of Anah. {26} And these are the children of Dishon; Hemdan, and Eshban, and Ithran, and Cheran. {27} The children of Ezer are these; Bilhan, and Zaavan, and Akan. {28} The children of Dishan are these; Uz, and Aran. {29} These are the dukes that came of the Horites; duke Lotan, duke Shobal, duke Zibeon, duke Anah, {30} Duke Dishon, duke Ezer, duke Dishan: these are the dukes that came of Hori, among their dukes in the land of Seir. {31} And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel. {32} And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom: and the name of his city was Dinhabah. {33} And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead. {34} And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead. {35} And Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab, reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Avith. {36} And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his stead. {37} And Samlah died, and Saul of Rehoboth by the river reigned in his stead. {38} And Saul died, and Baalhanan the son of Achbor reigned in his stead. {39} And Baalhanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Pau; and his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab. {40} And these are the names of the dukes that came of Esau, according to their families, after their places, by their names; duke Timnah, duke Alvah, duke Jetheth, {41} Duke Aholibamah, duke Elah, duke Pinon, {42} Duke Kenaz, duke Teman, duke Mibzar, {43} Duke Magdiel, duke Iram: these be the dukes of Edom, according to their habitations in the land of their possession: he is Esau the father of the Edomites.”

Updated 8/12/2022

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