Genesis 35:7 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 35:7, NIV: "There he built an altar, and he called the place El Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother."

Genesis 35:7, ESV: "and there he built an altar and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed himself to him when he fled from his brother."

Genesis 35:7, KJV: "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."

Genesis 35:7, NASB: "Then he built an altar there, and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed Himself to him when he fled from his brother."

Genesis 35:7, NLT: "Jacob built an altar there and named the place El-bethel (which means 'God of Bethel'), because God had appeared to him there when he was fleeing from his brother, Esau."

Genesis 35:7, CSB: "Jacob built an altar there and called the place El-bethel because it was there that God had revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother."

What does Genesis 35:7 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This fulfills both God's command given recently to Jacob (Genesis 35:1), as well as Jacob's own vow made more than 20 years earlier. At that time, he was fleeing (Genesis 27:42) through Luz on the way out of the land of Canaan (Genesis 28:18–22). After a vision and special blessing, he built an altar to the Lord.

In describing the earlier encounter, Scripture noted that Jacob had called the place Bethel. It's possible he thought of that title at the time but did not seek to "rename" the location. Or, that he did and what's described here is a re-dedication. In either case, El Bethel, which means something like "God in Bethel" fits well. This is the place God showed Himself to Jacob in a powerful dream as he slept with a rock for a pillow. Jacob's immediate response upon waking was, "Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it." And, "How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God" (Genesis 28:16–17). Given that reaction, Jacob's promise to recognize the place as God's house is understandable.