God Blesses and Renames Jacob (Ch. 35 v. 1-15)
God tells Jacob to return to the place where he had talked to God when he was running from Esau. Jacob told everyone to gather all of the other gods they were all worshiping and he hid them under a tree.
I find this interesting, of all people, Abraham and his descendants should have a firm belief in Yahweh. Why would they be worshiping other gods? Also, why hide them under a tree rather than get rid of them properly?
As they were leaving, God sent a great terror to those in the surrounding cities so Jacob and family wouldn't be pursued.
This I find pretty interesting too. Jacob's sons have done something that is very bad in the last chapter, even the Christian commentaries seemed to agree with this. And yet, God still helps them out of the consequences for their actions. Once again I ask, why is this family so favored by God? They repeatedly do terrible things and it seems like they are continually rewarded anyway.
Of course, according to Guzik it would have been fair for God to have left them to the consequences of their actions, but through his grace he saved them. Where was God's grace in yesterday's reading when all of the innocent soldiers of that city were being murdered by Jacob's sons?
God changes Jacob's name to Israel again.
Why did this happen twice?
The Deaths of Rachel and Isaac (Ch 35 v. 16-29)
As they were travelling, Rachel bore Jacob another son but died in labor. When they got to their destination they say Jacob's father Isaac and he died soon after.
Rachel’s death was in tragic fulfillment of the curse Jacob himself pronounced on the one who stole the idols of LabanBut that was forever ago! She was going to die eventually. If I curse someone and then just wait until they die and claim is was from the curse, does it mean the curse was real?
Esau's Descendants (Ch 36)
We learn that when Jacob comes back into town Esau has to leave because between the two of them, they have too much livestock and stuff for them to share the space. We also get a ton of detail about Esau's family, none of which is interesting.
Guzik points out that apparently Esau getting all bent out of shape about his father's blessing wasn't such a big deal after all.
For the verses of note post:
Genesis 35:5 God protects Jacob and his family from the consequences of their evil actions
"And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob."