Genesis 35:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 35:2, NIV: "So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, 'Get rid of the foreign gods you have with you, and purify yourselves and change your clothes."

Genesis 35:2, ESV: "So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments."

Genesis 35:2, KJV: "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:"

Genesis 35:2, NASB: "So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, 'Remove the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments;"

Genesis 35:2, NLT: "So Jacob told everyone in his household, 'Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing."

Genesis 35:2, CSB: "So Jacob said to his family and all who were with him, "Get rid of the foreign gods that are among you. Purify yourselves and change your clothes."

What does Genesis 35:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

More than 20 years have passed since Jacob made vows to make the Lord his God and to recognize Bethel as God's house (Genesis 28:16–22). Now God has commanded Jacob to resettle his large company several miles south of their current location. They are to move to the unique location where the Lord had appeared to Jacob in a dream as he was fleeing the land of Canaan and his brother Esau (Genesis 27:42).

Jacob quickly sets about obeying God's commands. Before they go, however, Jacob issues commands of his own to his large company of family and servants. First, they are to gather up all their foreign gods. This would include house idols of the type that Jacob's wife Rachel had stolen from her father Laban (Genesis 31:19). Many people and households of the day would have had a collection of idols to worship as gods in the hopes of receiving blessing and protection. Jacob, however, had vowed to the Lord in Bethel to make the Lord his God, with the implication that he would have no other gods. Later, God would explicitly command Jacob's descendants, the people of Israel, to have absolutely no other gods or idols of any kind (Exodus 20:3).

Next, Jacob commands his company to purify themselves and change their clothes. In other words, they were to wash and put on clean garments in preparation for worshiping the Lord at Bethel.