Genesis 35:1 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 35:1, NIV: "Then God said to Jacob, 'Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.'"

Genesis 35:1, ESV: "God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.”"

Genesis 35:1, KJV: "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."

Genesis 35:1, NASB: "Then God said to Jacob, 'Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.'"

Genesis 35:1, NLT: "Then God said to Jacob, 'Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.'"

Genesis 35:1, CSB: "God said to Jacob, "Get up! Go to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.""

What does Genesis 35:1 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Many years prior to this moment, Jacob had fled the land of Canaan to escape the murderous anger of his brother Esau (Genesis 27:42). On his way to his Uncle Laban's home, Jacob had spent the night in a location later named Bethel. There God had appeared to Jacob in a powerful dream, assuring him that the promises given to Abraham and Isaac were Jacob's, as well. When Jacob woke up, he made vows, including a vow to make the Lord his God and to recognize Bethel as God's house (Genesis 28:16–22).

Now God is calling Jacob to move himself and his large company from Shechem to Bethel. In the previous chapter, Jacob's sons had taken terrible revenge on the men of Shechem (Genesis 34:27). In the process, they had taken their wealth, their women, and their children. Jacob expressed his fear that the people of the land would now want to kill him (Genesis 34:30). He may have been hesitant to travel in a vulnerable caravan to resettle in Bethel.

God has left no room for disobedience, however. The command includes a specific instruction to build an altar to God. It seems to be a reminder to Jacob. He needs to fulfill his previous oaths: both making the Lord his God, and making Bethel God's house.