Genesis 35:1-15 . REMOVAL TO BETHEL.
Genesis 35:16-27 . BIRTH OF BENJAMIN--DEATH OF RACHEL, &c.
16. And they journeyed from Beth-el--There can be no doubt that much enjoyment was experienced at Beth-el, and that in the religious observances solemnized, as well as in the vivid recollections of the glorious vision seen there, the affections of the patriarch were powerfully animated and that he left the place a better and more devoted servant of God. When the solemnities were over, Jacob, with his family, pursued a route directly southward, and they reached Ephrath, when they were plunged into mourning by the death of Rachel, who sank in childbirth, leaving a posthumous son [ Genesis 35:18 ]. A very affecting death, considering how ardently the mind of Rachel had been set on offspring (compare Genesis 30:1 ).
18. She called his name Ben-oni--The dying mother gave this name to her child, significant of her circumstances; but Jacob changed his name into Benjamin. This is thought by some to have been originally Benjamin, "a son of days," that is, of old age. But with its present ending it means "son of the right hand," that is, particularly dear and precious.
19. Ephrath, which is Beth-lehem--The one, the old name; the other, the later name, signifying "house of bread."
20. and Jacob set a pillar on her grave . . . unto this day--The spot still marked out as the grave of Rachel exactly agrees with the Scriptural record, being about a mile from Beth-lehem. Anciently it was surmounted by a pyramid of stones, but the present tomb is a Mohammedan erection.
26. Sons of Jacob . . . born to him in Padan-aram--It is a common practice of the sacred historian to say of a company or body of men that which, though true of the majority, may not be applicable to every individual. (See Matthew 19:28 , John 20:24 , Hebrews 11:13 ). Here is an example, for Benjamin was born in Canaan [ Genesis 35:16-18 ].
29. Isaac gave up the ghost--The death of this venerable patriarch is here recorded by anticipation for it did not take place till fifteen years after Joseph's disappearance. Feeble and blind though he was, he lived to a very advanced age; and it is a pleasing evidence of the permanent reconciliation between Esau and Jacob that they met at Mamre to perform the funeral rites of their common father.