Genesis 33:18Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. 19He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. 20Then he erected there an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.
Jacob had a top priority after coming to a new land, and that was to secure a proper place to pray. We hear scriptural references to “pray without ceasing”, but there also are numerous times when the people of the Bible went to a special place to pray. Regular prayer is one of the most important disciplines a Christian can develop. Establishing a regular place as well as a regular time will help develop that discipline. It might be as simple as a special chair, or a desk, the kitchen table, even the proverbial “prayer closet”. A regular place. A regular time. A habit. A habit of time with God, learning to walk.
Jacob Meets Esau
1Then Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. 2He put the maids and their children in front, and Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
4Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. 5He lifted his eyes and saw the women and the children, and said, “Who are these with you?” So he said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” 6Then the maids came near with their children, and they bowed down. 7Leah likewise came near with her children, and they bowed down; and afterward Joseph came near with Rachel, and they bowed down. 8And he said, “What do you mean by all this company which I have met?” And he said, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.” 9But Esau said, “I have plenty, my brother; let what you have be your own.” 10Jacob said, “No, please, if now I have found favor in your sight, then take my present from my hand, for I see your face as one sees the face of God, and you have received me favorably. 11“Please take my gift which has been brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me and because I have plenty.” Thus he urged him and he took it.
12Then Esau said, “Let us take our journey and go, and I will go before you.” 13But he said to him, “My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds which are nursing are a care to me. And if they are driven hard one day, all the flocks will die. 14“Please let my lord pass on before his servant, and I will proceed at my leisure, according to the pace of the cattle that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord at Seir.”
15Esau said, “Please let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.” 16So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir. 17Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built for himself a house and made booths for his livestock; therefore the place is named Succoth.
Jacob Settles in Shechem
18Now Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram, and camped before the city. 19He bought the piece of land where he had pitched his tent from the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money. 20Then he erected there an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.
The Treachery of Jacob’s Sons
1Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the daughters of the land. 2When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her, he took her and lay with her by force. 3He was deeply attracted to Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke tenderly to her. 4So Shechem spoke to his father Hamor, saying, “Get me this young girl for a wife.” 5Now Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter; but his sons were with his livestock in the field, so Jacob kept silent until they came in. 6Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. 7Now the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very angry because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.
8But Hamor spoke with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem longs for your daughter; please give her to him in marriage. 9“Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us and take our daughters for yourselves. 10“Thus you shall live with us, and the land shall be open before you; live and trade in it and acquire property in it.” 11Shechem also said to her father and to her brothers, “If I find favor in your sight, then I will give whatever you say to me. 12“Ask me ever so much bridal payment and gift, and I will give according as you say to me; but give me the girl in marriage.”
13But Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor with deceit, because he had defiled Dinah their sister. 14They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to one who is uncircumcised, for that would be a disgrace to us. 15“Only on this condition will we consent to you: if you will become like us, in that every male of you be circumcised, 16then we will give our daughters to you, and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live with you and become one people. 17“But if you will not listen to us to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go.”
18Now their words seemed reasonable to Hamor and Shechem, Hamor’s son. 19The young man did not delay to do the thing, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was more respected than all the household of his father. 20So Hamor and his son Shechem came to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city, saying, 21“These men are friendly with us; therefore let them live in the land and trade in it, for behold, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters in marriage, and give our daughters to them. 22“Only on this condition will the men consent to us to live with us, to become one people: that every male among us be circumcised as they are circumcised. 23“Will not their livestock and their property and all their animals be ours? Only let us consent to them, and they will live with us.” 24All who went out of the gate of his city listened to Hamor and to his son Shechem, and every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city.
25Now it came about on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came upon the city unawares, and killed every male. 26They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went forth. 27Jacob’s sons came upon the slain and looted the city, because they had defiled their sister. 28They took their flocks and their herds and their donkeys, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field; 29and they captured and looted all their wealth and all their little ones and their wives, even all that was in the houses. 30Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me by making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, among the Canaanites and the Perizzites; and my men being few in number, they will gather together against me and attack me and I will be destroyed, I and my household.” 31But they said, “Should he treat our sister as a harlot?”
Jacob Moves to Bethel
1Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and live there, and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” 2So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign gods which are among you, and purify yourselves and change your garments; 3and let us arise and go up to Bethel, and I will make an altar there to God, who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” 4So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods which they had and the rings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem.
5As they journeyed, there was a great terror upon the cities which were around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Jacob. 6So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. 7He built an altar there, and called the place El-bethel, because there God had revealed Himself to him when he fled from his brother. 8Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the oak; it was named Allon-bacuth.
Jacob Is Named Israel
9Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. 10God said to him,
“Your name is Jacob;
You shall no longer be called Jacob,
But Israel shall be your name.”
Thus He called him Israel. 11God also said to him,
“I am God Almighty;
Be fruitful and multiply;
A nation and a company of nations shall come from you,
And kings shall come forth from you.
12 “The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac,
I will give it to you,
And I will give the land to your descendants after you.”
13Then God went up from him in the place where He had spoken with him. 14Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He had spoken with him, a pillar of stone, and he poured out a drink offering on it; he also poured oil on it. 15So Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel.
16Then they journeyed from Bethel; and when there was still some distance to go to Ephrath, Rachel began to give birth and she suffered severe labor. 17When she was in severe labor the midwife said to her, “Do not fear, for now you have another son.” 18It came about as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. 19So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). 20Jacob set up a pillar over her grave; that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day. 21Then Israel journeyed on and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder.
22It came about while Israel was dwelling in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Israel heard of it.
The Sons of Israel
Now there were twelve sons of Jacob—23the sons of Leah: Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, then Simeon and Levi and Judah and Issachar and Zebulun; 24the sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin; 25and the sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid: Dan and Naphtali; 26and the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.
27Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre of Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned.
28Now the days of Isaac were one hundred and eighty years. 29Isaac breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, an old man of ripe age; and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.
A Prayer for the Overthrow of the Wicked.
1 Why do You stand afar off, O LORD?
Why do You hide Yourself in times of trouble?
2 In pride the wicked hotly pursue the afflicted;
Let them be caught in the plots which they have devised.
3 For the wicked boasts of his heart’s desire,
And the greedy man curses and spurns the LORD.
4 The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him.
All his thoughts are, “There is no God.”
5 His ways prosper at all times;
Your judgments are on high, out of his sight;
As for all his adversaries, he snorts at them.
6 He says to himself, “I will not be moved;
Throughout all generations I will not be in adversity.”
7 His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression;
Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.
8 He sits in the lurking places of the villages;
In the hiding places he kills the innocent;
His eyes stealthily watch for the unfortunate.
9 He lurks in a hiding place as a lion in his lair;
He lurks to catch the afflicted;
He catches the afflicted when he draws him into his net.
10 He crouches, he bows down,
And the unfortunate fall by his mighty ones.