Genesis 35:2

2 So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing.

Genesis 35:2 Meaning and Commentary

Genesis 35:2

Then Jacob said unto his household
His wives and children;

and to all that [were] with him;
his menservants and maidservants, and such as remained with him of the captives of Shechem, who might choose to continue with him:

put away the strange gods that [are] among you;
meaning not the teraphim or images of Laban's, which Rachel had stolen from him; for it can hardly be thought that these should be retained so many years in Jacob's family, and used in an idolatrous manner; but rather such as might be among the Canaanitish servants that had been lately taken into Jacob's service, or that were among the captives of Shechem, or taken along with the spoil of that city; and so the Targum of Jonathan calls them the idols of the people, which they brought from the idols' temple at Shechem; and the words may be rendered, "the gods of the strangers" {s}, that is, of the Shechemites, who were Heathens and aliens, strangers to the true God, the knowledge and worship of him:

and be clean;
either by abstaining from their wives, as some interpret it, from ( Exodus 19:10 Exodus 19:15 ) ; or rather by washing their bodies, as Aben Ezra gives the sense of it; their hands were full of the blood of the Shechemites, and needed to be washed and purified, as the Targum of Jonathan has it, from the pollutions of the slain, before they went to Bethel, the house of God; and these outward ablutions and purifications were significative of inward cleansing by the grace of God, and of outward reformation of life and manners; see ( Isaiah 1:15 Isaiah 1:16 ) ;

and change your garments:
which might be stained with blood, and therefore not fit to appear in before God, or were old and worn out, or sordid apparel: changing and washing of garments were also emblems of renewing of the mind, and cleansing of the soul, and of the change of heart and life, as well as of pleasure, delight, and cheerfulness in appearing before God.


FOOTNOTES:

F19 (rknh yhla ta) "deos alenigenarum", Pagninus; "alienigenae", Montanus, Schmidt; "alieni populi", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Genesis 35:2 In-Context

1 Then God said to Jacob, “Get ready and move to Bethel and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother, Esau.”
2 So Jacob told everyone in his household, “Get rid of all your pagan idols, purify yourselves, and put on clean clothing.
3 We are now going to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who answered my prayers when I was in distress. He has been with me wherever I have gone.”
4 So they gave Jacob all their pagan idols and earrings, and he buried them under the great tree near Shechem.
5 As they set out, a terror from God spread over the people in all the towns of that area, so no one attacked Jacob’s family.