God spoke to Jacob: "Go back to Bethel. Stay there and build an altar to the God who revealed himself to you when you were running for your life from your brother Esau."
Jacob told his family and all those who lived with him, "Throw out all the alien gods which you have, take a good bath and put on clean clothes,
we're going to Bethel. I'm going to build an altar there to the God who answered me when I was in trouble and has stuck with me everywhere I've gone since."
They turned over to Jacob all the alien gods they'd been holding on to, along with their lucky-charm earrings. Jacob buried them under the oak tree in Shechem.
Then they set out. A paralyzing fear descended on all the surrounding villages so that they were unable to pursue the sons of Jacob.
Jacob and his company arrived at Luz, that is, Bethel, in the land of Canaan.
He built an altar there and named it El-Bethel (God-of-Bethel) because that's where God revealed himself to him when he was running from his brother.
And that's when Rebekah's nurse, Deborah, died. She was buried just below Bethel under the oak tree. It was named Allon-Bacuth (Weeping-Oak).
God revealed himself once again to Jacob, after he had come back from Paddan Aram and blessed him:
"Your name is Jacob (Heel); but that's your name no longer. From now on your name is Israel (God-Wrestler)."
God continued, I am The Strong God. Have children! Flourish! A nation - a whole company of nations! - will come from you. Kings will come from your loins;
the land I gave Abraham and Isaac I now give to you, and pass it on to your descendants.
And then God was gone, ascended from the place where he had spoken with him.
Jacob set up a stone pillar on the spot where God had spoken with him. He poured a drink offering on it and anointed it with oil.
Jacob dedicated the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel (God's-House).
They left Bethel. They were still quite a ways from Ephrath when Rachel went into labor - hard, hard labor.
When her labor pains were at their worst, the midwife said to her, "Don't be afraid - you have another boy."
With her last breath, for she was now dying, she named him Ben-oni (Son-of-My-Pain), but his father named him Ben-jamin (Son-of-Good-Fortune).
Rachel died and was buried on the road to Ephrath, that is, Bethlehem.
Jacob set up a pillar to mark her grave. It is still there today, "Rachel's Grave Stone."
Israel kept on his way and set up camp at Migdal Eder.
While Israel was living in that region, Reuben went and slept with his father's concubine, Bilhah. And Israel heard of what he did. There were twelve sons of Jacob.
The sons by Leah: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn Simeon Levi Judah Issachar Zebulun.
The sons by Rachel: Joseph Benjamin.
The sons by Bilhah, Rachel's maid: Dan Naphtali.
The sons by Zilpah, Leah's maid: Gad Asher. These were Jacob's sons, born to him in Paddan Aram.
Finally, Jacob made it back home to his father Isaac at Mamre in Kiriath Arba, present-day Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac had lived.
Isaac was now 180 years old.
Isaac breathed his last and died - an old man full of years. He was buried with his family by his sons Esau and Jacob.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)