What does Genesis 35:11 mean?
ESV: And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come from your own body.
NIV: And God said to him, 'I am God Almighty; be fruitful and increase in number. A nation and a community of nations will come from you, and kings will be among your descendants.
NASB: God also said to him, 'I am God Almighty; Be fruitful and multiply; A nation and a multitude of nations shall come from you, And kings shall come from you.
CSB: God also said to him, "I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation, indeed an assembly of nations, will come from you, and kings will descend from you.
NLT: Then God said, 'I am El-Shaddai — ‘God Almighty.’ Be fruitful and multiply. You will become a great nation, even many nations. Kings will be among your descendants!
KJV: 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;
NKJV: Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body.
Verse Commentary:
Following Jacob's building of an altar to the Lord at Bethel (Genesis 28:10–22), God has appeared to Jacob to bless him once again. In the previous verse, God confirmed his renaming of Jacob to Israel (Genesis 32:28; 35:10). Now the Lord reconfirms His promises that a nation, a company of nations, and even kings would come from Jacob's body.

God confirms these promises by declaring Himself to be "God Almighty." This is from the Hebrew 'ēl Sad'day, also written as El Shaddai. This term is used often in Genesis (Genesis 28:3; 43:14; 48:3). The first use of this title came when God was speaking to Abraham, making similar promises (Genesis 17:1). God Almighty is known by His faithfulness and ability to keep his promises. Jacob, who already has 11 sons and at least one daughter, is commanded to be fruitful and multiply. This command, given first to Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:28) and later to Noah (Genesis 9:1) is now given to Israel and his descendants with God's promise of the nations and kings that will come as a result.
Verse Context:
Genesis 35:1–15 describes the fulfillment of Jacob's vows made to the Lord some twenty years earlier. Then, Jacob encountered God after fleeing from Esau (Genesis 27:42). Now that Jacob has returned safely to Canaan and resolved the conflict with Esau, God commands him to build an altar at the place of their earlier meeting. Jacob rids his family of all of their false idols and builds the altar. God appears to him, confirming the covenant promises once more. Jacob responds to God's appearance and blessing by building a stone pillar and pouring a drink offering and oil over it. This location is named Bethel, meaning "House of God."
Chapter Summary:
God commands Jacob to build an altar to Him at Bethel. This will fulfill vows Jacob made after encountering the Lord for the first time, as he was fleeing for his life from Esau. Jacob rids his family of all their false idols and travels to Bethel. God appears to him again, reaffirming all the covenant promises. As they travel away, Rachel dies giving birth to Jacob's twelfth son. His first son, Reuben, sleeps with Jacob's servant-wife Bilhah, losing his birthright as a result. Finally, Jacob's father Isaac dies at 180 years old.
Chapter Context:
Recent events have left Jacob fearful of the people of the land. His sons slaughtered an entire town to avenge their sister's rape. However, God apparently uses this bloodshed to inspire fear. Nobody attacks Jacob's family as they travel to Bethel, setting up an altar and renewing their covenant with God. Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin. Jacob's eldest son sleeps with one of his servant-wives, losing his birthright. Isaac dies, and Jacob and Esau bury him in the family burial cave in Mamre. The story then focuses on Jacob's sons, primarily Joseph, as the family finds themselves drawn into Egypt.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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