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Jacob was upset last week. He did not know what he would do after his sons massacred all the men of Shechem. But this week starts with God telling him to take his family to a place called Bethel, which means "house of God", and to make an alter (Meezbe-ach) to the God that appeared to him when he was running from Esau.
Jacob tells his family to change their clothes and to give up all the plunder, especially the foreign gods they had taken from the city. He told them where they would be going and why. He took the silver, gold, and idols then hid them under an oak tree in Shechem.
Then God made the other cities afraid of Jacob and his sons so that they would not be attacked as they went through them.
God said to Jacob, "Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau." So Jacob said to his household and to all who were with him, "Put away the foreign gods that are among you and purify yourselves and change your garments. Then let us arise and go up to Bethel, so that I may make there an altar to the God who answers me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone." So they gave to Jacob all the foreign gods that they had, and the rings that were in their ears. Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree that was near Shechem. And as they journeyed, a terror from God fell upon the cities that were around them, so that they did not pursue the sons of Jacob.
The story continues next week as they arrive in Luz...
Info on each letter starting at the beginning
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