Community Development
 

Va-yishlah

Genesis 32:4 - 36:43

This translation was taken from the JPS Tanakh

4 Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, 5 and instructed them as follows, "Thus shall you say, 'To my lord Esau, thus says your servant Jacob: I stayed with Laban and remained until now; 6 I have acquired cattle, asses, sheep, and male and female slaves; and I send this message to my lord in the hope of gaining your favor.'" 7 The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to your brother Esau; he himself is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him." 8 Jacob was greatly frightened; in his anxiety, he divided the people with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, 9 thinking, "If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, the other camp may yet escape."

10 Then Jacob said, "O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, 'Return to your native land and I will deal bountifully with you'! 11 I am unworthy of all the kindness that You have so steadfastly shown Your servant: with my staff alone I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. 12 Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; else, I fear, he may come and strike me down, mothers and children alike. 13 Yet You have said, 'I will deal bountifully with you and make your offspring as the sands of the sea, which are too numerous to count.'"

14 After spending the night there, he selected from what was at hand these presents for his brother Esau: 15 200 she-goats and 20 he-goats; 200 ewes and 20 rams; 16 30 milch camels with their colts; 40 cows and 10 bulls; 20 she-asses and 10 he-asses. 17 These he put in the charge of his servants, drove by drove, and he told his servants, "Go on ahead, and keep a distance between droves." 18 He instructed the one in front as follows, "When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, 'Whose man are you? Where are you going? And whose [animals] are these ahead of you?' 19 you shall answer, 'Your servant Jacob's; they are a gift sent to my lord Esau; and [Jacob] himself is right behind us.'" 20 He gave similar instructions to the second one, and the third, and all the others who followed the droves, namely, "Thus and so shall you say to Esau when you reach him. 21 And you shall add, 'And your servant Jacob himself is right behind us.'" For he reasoned, "If I propitiate him with presents in advance, and then face him, perhaps he will show me favor." 22 And so the gift went on ahead, while he remained in camp that night.

23 That same night he arose, and taking his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children, he crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 24 After taking them across the stream, he sent across all his possessions. 25 Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. 26 When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he wrenched Jacob's hip at its socket, so that the socket of his hip was strained as he wrestled with him. 27 Then he said, "Let me go, for dawn is breaking." But he answered, "I will not let you go, unless you bless me." 28 Said the other, "What is your name?" He replied, "Jacob." 29 Said he, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with beings divine and human, and have prevailed." 30 Jacob asked, "Pray tell me your name." But he said, "You must not ask my name!" And he took leave of him there. 31 So Jacob named the place Peniel, meaning, "I have seen a divine being face to face, yet my life has been preserved." 32 The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping on his hip. 33 That is why the children of Israel to this day do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the socket of the hip, since Jacob's hip socket was wrenched at the thigh muscle.

Chapter 33
Looking up, Jacob saw Esau coming, accompanied by four hundred men. He divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two maids, 2 putting the maids and their children first, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3 He himself went on ahead and bowed low to the ground seven times until he was near his brother. 4 Esau ran to greet him. He embraced him and, falling on his neck, he kissed him; and they wept. 5 Looking about, he saw the women and the children. "Who," he asked, "are these with you?" He answered, "The children with whom God has favored your servant." 6 Then the maids, with their children, came forward and bowed low; 7 next Leah, with her children, came forward and bowed low; and last, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed low; 8 And he asked, "What do you mean by all this company which I have met?" He answered, "To gain my lord's favor." 9 Esau said, "I have enough, my brother; let what you have remain yours." 10 But Jacob said, "No, I pray you; if you would do me this favor, accept from me this gift; for to see your face is like seeing the face of God, and you have received me favorably. 11 Please accept my present which has been brought to you, for God has favored me and I have plenty." And when he urged him, he accepted.

12 And [Esau] said, "Let us start on our journey, and I will proceed at your pace." 13 But 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; if they are driven hard a single day, all the flocks will die. 14 Let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I travel slowly, at the pace of the cattle before me and at the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir."

15 Then Esau said, "Let me assign to you some of the men who are with me." But he said, "Oh no, my lord is too kind to me!" 16 So Esau started back that day on his way to Seir. 17 But Jacob journeyed on to Succoth, and built a house for himself and made stalls for his cattle; that is why the place was called Succoth.

18 Jacob arrived safe in the city of Shechem which is in the land of Canaan — having come thus from Paddan-aram — and he encamped before the city. 19 The parcel of land where he pitched his tent he purchased from the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for a hundred kesitahs. 20 He set up an altar there, and called it El-elohe-yisrael.

Chapter 34
Now Dinah, the daughter whom Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the daughters of the land. 2 Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, chief of the country, saw her, and took her and lay with her by force. 3 Being strongly drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and in love with the maiden, he spoke to the maiden tenderly. 4 So Shechem said to his father Hamor, "Get me this girl as a wife." 5 Jacob heard that he had defiled his daughter Dinah; but since his sons were in the field with his cattle, Jacob kept silent until they came home. 6 Then Shechem's father Hamor came out to Jacob to speak to him. 7 Meanwhile Jacob's sons, having heard the news, came in from the field. The men were distressed and very angry, because he had committed an outrage in Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter — a thing not to be done.

8 And Hamor spoke with them, saying, "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 You will dwell among us, and the land will be open before you; settle, move about, and acquire holdings in it." 11 Then Shechem said to her father and brothers, "Do me this favor, and I will pay whatever you tell me. 12 Ask of me a bride-price ever so high, as well as gifts, and I will pay what you tell me; only give me the maiden for a wife."

13 Jacob's sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor — speaking with guile because he had defiled their sister Dinah — 14 and said to them, "We cannot do this thing, to give our sister to a man who is uncircumcised, for that is a disgrace among us. 15 Only on this condition will we agree with you; that you will become like us in that every male among you is circumcised. 16 Then we will give our daughters to you and take your daughters to ourselves; and we will dwell among you and become as one kindred. 17 But if you will not listen to us and become circumcised, we will take our daughter and go."

18 Their words pleased Hamor and Hamor's son Shechem. 19 And the youth lost no time in doing the thing, for he wanted Jacob's daughter. Now he was the most respected in his father's house. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the public place of their town and spoke to their fellow townsmen, saying, 21 "These people are our friends; let them settle in the land and move about in it, for the land is large enough for them; we will take their daughters to ourselves as wives and give our daughters to them. 22 But only on this condition will the men agree with us to dwell among us and be as one kindred: that all our males become circumcised as they are circumcised. 23 Their cattle and substance and all their beasts will be ours, if we only agree to their terms, so that they will settle among us." 24 All who went out of the gate of his town heeded Hamor and his son Shechem, and all males, all those who went out of the gate of his town, were circumcised.

25 On the third day, when they were in pain, Simeon and Levi, two of Jacob's sons, brothers of Dinah, took each his sword, came upon the city unmolested, and slew all the males. 26 They put Hamor and his son Shechem to the sword, took Dinah out of Shechem's house, and went away. 27 The other sons of Jacob came upon the slain and plundered the town, because their sister had been defiled. 28 They seized their flocks and herds and asses, all that was inside the town and outside; 29 all their wealth, all their children, and their wives, all that was in the houses, they took as captives and booty. 30 Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, "You have brought trouble on me, making me odious among the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites; my men are few in number, so that if they unite against me and attack me, I and my house will be destroyed." 31 But they answered, "Should our sister be treated like a whore?"

Chapter 35
1 God said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel and remain there; and build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau." 2 So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Rid yourselves of the alien gods in your midst, purify yourselves, and change your clothes. 3 Come, let us go up to Bethel, and I will build an altar there to the God who answered me when I was in distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone." 4 They gave to Jacob all the alien gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears, and Jacob buried them under the terebinth that was near Shechem. 5 As they set out, a terror from God fell on the cities round about, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.

6 Thus Jacob came to Luz — that is, Bethel — in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. 7 There he built an altar and named the site El-bethel, for it was there that God had revealed Himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.

8 Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and was buried under the oak below Bethel; so it was named Allon-bacuth. 9 God appeared again to Jacob on his arrival from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. 10 God said to him,

"You whose name is Jacob,
You shall be called Jacob no more,
But Israel shall be your name."
Thus He named him Israel.
11 And God said to him,
"I am El Shaddai.
Be fertile and increase;
A nation, yea an assembly of nations,
Shall descend from you.
Kings shall issue from your loins.
12 The land that I assigned to Abraham and Isaac
I assign to you;
And to your offspring to come
Will I assign the land."
13 God parted from him at the spot where He had spoken to him; 14 and Jacob set up a pillar at the site where He had spoken to him, a pillar of stone, and he offered a libation on it and poured oil upon it. 15 Jacob gave the site, where God had spoken to him, the name of Bethel.

16 They set out from Bethel; but when they were still some distance short of Ephrath, Rachel was in childbirth, and she had hard labor. 17 When her labor was at its hardest, the midwife said to her, "Have no fear, for it is another boy for you." 18 But as she breathed her last — for she was dying — she named him Ben-oni; but his father called him Benjamin. Thus Rachel died. She was buried on the road to Ephrath — now Bethlehem. 20 Over her grave Jacob set up a pillar; it is the pillar at Rachel's grave to this day. 21 Israel journeyed on, and pitched his tent beyond Migdal-eder.

22 While Israel stayed in that land, Reuben went and lay with Bilhah, his father's concubine; and Israel found out.

Now the sons of Jacob were twelve in number. 23 The sons of Leah: Reuben — Jacob's first-born — Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. 24 The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 25 The sons of Bilhah, Rachel's maid: Dan and Naphtali. 26 And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's maid: Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob who were born to him in Paddan-aram.

27 And Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre, at Kiriath-arba — now Hebron — where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned. 28 Isaac was a hundred and eighty years old 29 when he breathed his last and died. He was gathered to his kin in ripe old age; and he was buried by his sons Esau and Jacob.

Chapter 36 1 This is the line of Esau — that is, Edom.

2 Esau took his wives from among the Canaanite women — Adah daughter of Elon the Hittite, and Oholibamah daughter of Anah daughter of Zibeon the Hivite — 3 and also Basemath daughter of Ishmael and sister of Nebaioth. 4 Adah bore to Esau Eliphaz; Basemath bore Reuel; 5 and Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah. Those were the sons of Esau, who were born to him in the land of Canaan.

6 Esau took his wives, his sons and daughters, and all the members of his household, his cattle and all his livestock, and all the property that he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to another land because of his brother Jacob. 7 For their possessions were too many for them to dwell together, and the land where they sojourned could not support them because of their livestock. 8 So Esau settled in the hill country of Seir — Esau being Edom. 9 This, then, is the line of Esau, the ancestor of the Edomites, in the hill country of Seir.

10 These are the names of Esau's sons: Eliphaz, the son of Esau's wife Adah; Reuel, the son of Esau's wife Basemath. 11 The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. 12 Timna was a concubine of Esau's son Eliphaz; she bore Amalek to Eliphaz. Those were the descendants of Esau's wife Adah. 13 And these were the sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. Those were the descendants of Esau's wife Basemath. 14 And these were the sons of Esau's wife Oholibamah, daughter of Anah daughter of Zibeon: she bore to Esau Jeush, Jalam, and Korah.

15 These are the clans of the children of Esau. The descendants of Esau's first-born Eliphaz: the clans Teman, Omar, Zepho, Kenaz, 16 Korah, Gatam, and Amalek; these are the clans of Eliphaz in the land of Edom. Those are the descendants of Adah. 17 And these are the descendants of Esau's son Reuel: the clans Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah; these are the clans of Reuel in the land of Edom. Those are the descendants of Esau's wife Basemath. 18 And these are the descendants of Esau's wife Oholibamah: the clans Jeush, Jalam, and Korah; these are the clans of Esau's wife Oholibamah, the daughter of Anah. 19 Those were the sons of Esau — that is, Edom — and those are their clans.

20 These were the sons of Seir the Horite, who were settled in the land: Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21 Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. Those are the clans of the Horites, the descendants of Seir, in the land of Edom.

22 The sons of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; and Lotan's sister was Timna. 23 The sons of Shobal were these: Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. 24 The sons of Zibeon were these: Aiah and Anah — that was the Anah who discovered the hot springs in the wilderness while pasturing the asses of his father Zibeon. 25 The children of Anah were these: Dishon and Anah's daughter Oholibamah. 26 The sons of Dishon were these: Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran. 27 The sons of Ezer were these: Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan. 28 And the sons of Dishan were these: Uz and Aran.

29 These are the clans of the Horites: the clans Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 30 Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. Those are the clans of the Horites, clan by clan, in the land of Seir.

31 These are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the Israelites. 32 Bela son of Beor reigned in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 33 When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah, from Bozrah, succeeded him as king. 34 When Jobab died, Husham of the land of the Temanites succeeded him as king. 35 When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated the Midianites in the country of Moab, succeeded him as king; the name of his city was Avith. 36 When Hadad died, Samlah of Masrekah succeeded him as king. 37 When Samlah died, Saul of Rehoboth-on-the-river succeeded him as king. 38 When Saul died, Baal-hanan son of Achbor succeeded him as king. 39 And when Baal-hanan son of Achbor died, Hadar succeeded him as king; the name of his city was Pau, and his wife's name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred daughter of Me-zahab.

40 These are the names of the clans of Esau, each with its families and locality, name by name: the clans Timna, Alvah, Jetheth, 41 Oholibamah, Elah, Pinon, 42 Kenaz, Teman, Mibzar, 43 Magdiel, and Iram. Those are the clans of Edom — that is, of Esau, father of the Edomites — by their settlements in the land which they hold.

Taken from Tanakh, The Holy Scriptures, (Philadelphia, Jerusalem: Jewish Publication Society) 1985.
Used by permission of the Jewish Publication Society. Copyright ©1962, 1992
Third Edition by the Jewish Publication Society. No part of this text can be reproduced or forwarded without written permission.
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