And God said unto Jacob
When he was in great distress, on account of the slaughter of the Shechemites by his sons, not knowing what step to take, or course to steer for the safety of him and his family; then God, for his comfort and direction, appeared and spoke to him, either in a dream or vision, or by an impulse on his mind, or by an articulate voice: perhaps this was the Son of God, the second Person, who might appear in an human form, as he often did; since he afterwards speaks of God as of another divine Person, distinct from him, even his divine Father:
arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there;
which is said to be twenty eight miles from Shechem F18; hither he is bid to go in haste, and where, it is suggested, he would be safe, and where it would be right and proper for him to dwell awhile:
and make there an altar to God;
and offer sacrifice to him, praise him for salvation and deliverance wrought, pray to him for present and future mercies that were needful, and pay the vows he had there made, even to that God,
that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy
who, resenting his getting the birthright and blessing from him, threatened to kill him; which obliged him to flee from his father's house, and go into Mesopotamia, and in his way thither God appeared to him, at the place called by him from thence Bethel, and gave him many precious promises; and Jacob there made a solemn vow, that if God would be with him, and keep him, and give him food and raiment, and return him to his father's house, the pillar that was then and there set up should be God's house, as well as he should be his God. Jacob had now been nine or ten years in the land of Canaan, and had all done for him he desired, and much more abundantly, and yet had not been at Bethel to make good his vow, either through forgetfulness or neglect; and therefore, as Jarchi thinks, was chastised for it in the affair of Dinah; or rather, for one can hardly think so good a man could forget, or would wilfully neglect such a vow as this, that he wanted opportunity of going thither, or waited for a divine order, and now he had both, which he readily embraced.
F18 Bunting's Travels, p. 72.