Genesis 35:26
And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid: Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.
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(26) In Padan-aram.—The words are to be taken only generally, as Benjamin was born in Canaan.

35:21-29 What a sore affliction Reuben's sin was, is shown, and Israel heard it. No more is said, but that is enough. Reuben thought that his father would never hear of it; but those that promise themselves secrecy in sin, are generally disappointed. The age and death of Isaac are recorded, though he died not till after Joseph was sold into Egypt. Isaac lived about forty years after he had made his will, chap. 27:2. We shall not die an hour the sooner, but much the better, for timely setting our hearts and houses in order. Particular notice is taken of the agreement of Esau and Jacob at their father's funeral, to show how God had wonderfully changed Esau's mind. It is awful to behold relations, sometimes for a little of this world's goods, disputing over the graves of their friends, while they are near going to the grave themselves.Jacob's return and his father's death. The family of Jacob is now enumerated, because it has been completed by the birth of Benjamin. "In Padan-aram." This applies to all of them but Benjamin; an exception which the reader of the context can make for himself. Jacob at length arrives with his whole establishment at Hebron, the third notable station occupied by Abraham in the land Genesis 13:1. Here also his father sojourns. The life of Isaac is now closed. Joseph must have been, at the time of Jacob's return, in his thirteenth year, and therefore, his father in his hundred and fourth. Isaac was consequently in his hundred and sixty-third year. He survived the return of Jacob to Hebron about seventeen years, and the sale of Joseph his grandson about thirteen. "Esau and Jacob his sons buried him." Hence, we learn that Esau and Jacob continued to be on brotherly terms from the day of their meeting at the ford of Jabbok.

This chapter closes the ninth of the pieces or documents marked off by the phrase "these are the generations." Its opening event was the birth of Isaac Genesis 25:19, which took place in the hundreth year of Abraham, and therefore, seventy-five years before his death recorded in the seventh document. As the seventh purports to be the generations of Terah Genesis 11:27 and relates to Abraham who was his offspring, so the present document, containing the generations of Isaac, refers chiefly to the sons of Isaac, and especially to Jacob, as the heir of promise. Isaac as a son learned obedience to his father in that great typical event of his life, in which he was laid on the altar, and figuratively sacrificed in the ram which was his substitute. This was the great significant passage in his life, after which he retires into comparative tranquillity.

- Section XII - Jacob

- The History of Esau

2. <אהלבמה 'ohŏlı̂ybâmâh, Oholibamah, "tent of the high place." ענה ‛ǎnâh, 'Anah, "answering." צבעון tsı̂b‛ôn, Tsib'on, "dyer, colored."

4. אליפז 'ělı̂yphaz, Eliphaz, "God of strength." רעוּאל re‛û'êl Re'uel, "friend of God."

5. יעוּשׁ ye‛ûsh, Je'ush, "haste." יעלם ya‛lâm, Ja'lam, "hiding." קרח qôrach Qorach, "ice."

11. תימן têymân, Teman, "right-hand man." אומר 'ômār, Omar, "eloquent." צפו tsephô, Tsepho, "watch." געתם ga‛tâm Ga'tam, "touch." קנז qenaz Qenaz, "hunting."

12. תמנע tı̂mnâ( Timna', "restraint." עמלק ‛ǎmâlêq, 'Amaleq, "licking up, laboring."

13. נחת nachath, Nachath, "going down, rest." זרח zerach, Zerach, "rising" (of light). שׁמח shammâh, Shammah, "wasting." מזה mı̂zzâh, Mizzah, "fear, sprinkling."

20. ליטן lôṭân, Lotan, "covering, veiled." שׁובל shôbâl, Shobal, "flowing, a shoot."

21. דשׁון dı̂yshôn, Dishon, "a kind of gazelle, fat." אצר 'etser, Etser, "store." דישׁן dı̂yshân, Dishan, "threshing."

22. חרי chôrı̂y, Chori, "troglodyte." הימם hēmām, Hemam, "noise, commotion."

23. עלון ‛alvân, 'Alvan, "lofty." מנחת mânachath, Manachath, "rest." עיבל ‛êybâl, 'Ebal, "stripped of leaves." שׁפו shephô, Shepho, "bare." אונם 'ônâm, Onam, "strong."


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 Mt 19:28; Joh 20:24; Heb 11:13). Here is an example, for Benjamin was born in Canaan [Ge 35:16-18]. All but Benjamin, who must in all reason be supposed to be excepted here, because he is said to be born elsewhere, above, Genesis 35:16. But it is a usual synecdoche, whereby that is ascribed to all in gross which belongs to the greatest part. See Genesis 15:13 46:15 Exodus 12:40 Judges 20:46 John 20:24 1 Corinthians 15:5. And the sons of Zilpah,.... And lastly, the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid, which were two also, Gad and Asher; it is added:

these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram, all excepting Benjamin; and because they were by far the greater part, even all but one, that were born there, this is said in general; and there having been given in the context such a particular account of the birth of Benjamin, and of the place of it, them was no need for the historian particularly to except him, since the reader would be in no danger of being led into a mistake.

And the sons of Zilpah, Leah's handmaid: Gad, and Asher: these are the sons of Jacob, which were born to him in Padanaram.
Birth of Benjamin and Death of Rachel. - Jacob's departure from Bethel was not in opposition to the divine command, "dwell there" (Genesis 35:1). For the word שׁב does not enjoin a permanent abode; but, when taken in connection with what follows, "make there an altar," it merely directs him to stay there and perform his vow. As they were travelling forward, Rachel was taken in labour not far from Ephratah. הארץ כּברת is a space, answering probably to the Persian parassang, though the real meaning of כּברה is unknown. The birth was a difficult one. בּלדתּהּ תּקשׁ: she had difficulty in her labour (instead of Piel we find Hiphil in Genesis 35:17 with the same signification). The midwife comforted her by saying: "Fear not, for this also is to thee a son," - a wish expressed by her when Joseph was born (Genesis 30:24). But she expired; and as she was dying, she called him Been-oni, "son of my pain." Jacob, however, called him Ben-jamin, probably son of good fortune, according to the meaning of the word jamin sustained by the Arabic, to indicate that his pain at the loss of his favourite wife was compensated by the birth of this son, who now completed the number twelve. Other explanations are less simple. He buried Rachel on the road to Ephratah, or Ephrath (probably the fertile, from פּרה), i.e., Bethlehem (bread-house), by which name it is better known, though the origin of it is obscure. He also erected a monument over her grave (מצּבה, στήλη), on which the historian observes, "This is the pillar of Rachel's grave unto this day:" a remark which does not necessarily point to a post-Mosaic period, but which could easily have been made even 10 or 20 years after its erection. For the fact that a grave-stone had been preserved upon the high road in a foreign land, the inhabitants of which had no interest whatever in it, might appear worthy of notice even though only a single decennary had passed away.

(Note: But even if this Mazzebah was really preserved till the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites, i.e., more than 450 years, and the remark referred to that time, it might be an interpolation by a later hand. The grave was certainly a well-known spot in Samuel's time (1 Samuel 10:2); but a monumentum ubi Rachel posita est uxor Jacob is first mentioned again by the Bordeaux pilgrims of a.d. 333 and Jerome. The Kubbet Rahil (Rachel's grave), which is now shown about half an hour's journey to the north of Bethlehem, to the right of the road from Jerusalem to Hebron, is merely "an ordinary Muslim wely, or tomb of a holy person, a small square building of stone with a dome, and within it a tomb in the ordinary Mohammedan form" (Rob. Pal. 1, p. 322). It has been recently enlarged by a square court with high walls and arches on the eastern side (Rob. Bibl. Researches. p. 357). Now although this grave is not ancient, the correctness of the tradition, which fixes upon this as the site of Rachel's grave, cannot on the whole be disputed. At any rate, the reasons assigned to the contrary by Thenius, Kurtz, and others are not conclusive.)

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