Genesis 35: Jacob Returns to Bethel

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 34


In Genesis 28, Jacob had a very important spiritual experience at a place he named Bethel. At that time, the Lord promised to be with Jacob so that he could return and worship the Lord again in his homeland. Twelve children and over twenty years later, he returned to that sacred spot where he had another important spiritual experience. As you read, think about all you’ve learned about Jacob, all that had happened since his last visit to Bethel, and how Jacob’s experiences might affect the way he felt about what God promised him this time at Bethel.

Understanding the Scriptures

Genesis 35

Strange gods (vv. 2, 4)Idols, statues 
Distress (v. 3)Troubles 
Terror (v. 5)Fear, respect 
A company of (v. 11)Many 
Come out of thy loins (v. 11)Be your descendants 
Pillar (vv. 14, 20)Altar 
Travailed (v. 16)Experienced the pains of having a baby 
Labour (vv. 16–17)The pain and work of giving birth 
Lay (v. 22)Had sexual relations 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Genesis 35.

Activity A iconPrepare to Go to the House of the Lord

In Hebrew, Beth-el means “House of God” (see Genesis 28, footnote 19a). Bethel was to Jacob what temples are to us today. Knowing that, what can Genesis 35:1–5 teach us about going to the temple?

Activity B iconCompare What the Lord Said to Jacob to What He Has Said to Others

Read what the Lord said to Abraham in Genesis 12:1–3; 15:17–21; 17:1–8; 22:15–18. How do those words compare to what the Lord said to Jacob in Genesis 35:9–12?