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פָּרָשַׁת וַיִּשְׁלַח | Parashat Vayishlaḥ (Genesis 32:4-36:43), color-coded according to its narrative layers

According to the poetry of the Midrash Tanchuma, Bereshit 1:1, the words of the Torah were inscribed “black fire on white fire.” For many years, I’ve wanted to look deeply into the black fire and visualize the full spectrum of the Torah’s sources, hidden within the black fire but revealed through a critical analysis of its layers of redaction. Below, I’ve set the text of the first Torah portion in the annual Torah reading cycle, using color-coding to distinguish the stratigraphic layers forming the composition of the Masoretic text according to the Supplementary Hypothesis presented by Tsemaḥ Yoreh in his Kernel to Canon series of books (2013-2017). As Dr. Yoreh explains,

The Supplementary Hypothesis asserts that the Pentateuch was composed by several different writers. This reflects an overwhelming academic consensus on Biblical authorship, even among scholars who do not subscribe to the Supplementary Hypothesis in particular.[….] According to the Supplementary Hypothesis, Biblical narrative is layered. No editor took a blowtorch to the parts of the Bible he disagreed with and destroyed them; if he had, we would not find these repetitions and contradictions. Instead, Biblical narrative began with a coherent, foundational bedrock, which over time accreted more and more storylines. Unlike geological processes, though, this process of addition was deliberate. What happened if one author disagreed with his predecessor’s storyline or worldview? He did not simply take an axe to the narrative; instead, he attempted to bury his predecessor’s point of view by repeating his own over and over again, thus skewing our understanding of the story in new ways. Every generation of readers sees the world differently, and thus every generation of writers seeks to adapt their predecessors’ cultural heritage to their own situation. We are not meant simply to dismiss earlier stories; rather, the intention of later writers is to transform our understanding of those stories via their additions.

⬛ The kernel of biblical text upon which all other narratives were laid is thought to have been composed in the mid- to late eighth century BCE toward the end of the heyday of the northern Kingdom of Ephraim (one of the two kingdoms that occupied Biblical Israel). This layer, commonly referred to as ‘E’, is indicated with INDIGO text. The last parashah containing text of this layer was parashat Vayera.

⬛ The next oldest layer is thought to have been composed in the late eighth or early seventh century BCE in the southern Kingdom of Judah. This layer, commonly known as ‘J’, is indicated with a BLUE text.

⬛ The next strata, thought to have been composed during the exilic to early post-exilic period (571–486 BCE) is, as Dr. Yoreh explains, “responsible for supplementing the ‘J’ narrative with dates, names, and numbers, thus ‘ordering’ and authenticating ‘J’s account.” This layer, commonly referred to as ‘P’ (for ‘Priestly’) appears here in GREEN text.

⬛ The most recent layer of text, is a post-exilic (pre-3rd century BCE) text that Dr. Yoreh refers to as the “Bridger” which supplements earlier strata with genealogies and popular myths, providing narrative bridges between distant story cycles. This ‘B’ layer is presented here in FUCHSIA.

Parashat Vayishlaḥ (Genesis 32:4-36:43) in the annual Torah reading cycle, is read on the second shabbat of the month of Kislev. The parashah is preceded by Vayetsei (Genesis 28:10-32:3); parashat Vayeshev (Genesis 37:1–40:23) follows it.

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

לב ד וַיִּשְׁלַ֨ח יַעֲקֹ֤ב מַלְאָכִים֙ לְפָנָ֔יו אֶל־עֵשָׂ֖ו אָחִ֑יו אַ֥רְצָה שֵׂעִ֖יר שְׂדֵ֥ה אֱדֽוֹם׃ ה וַיְצַ֤ו אֹתָם֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר כֹּ֣ה תֹאמְר֔וּן לַֽאדֹנִ֖י לְעֵשָׂ֑ו כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ עַבְדְּךָ֣ יַעֲקֹ֔ב עִם־לָבָ֣ן גַּ֔רְתִּי וָאֵחַ֖ר עַד־עָֽתָּה׃ ו וַֽיְהִי־לִי֙ שׁ֣וֹר וַחֲמ֔וֹר צֹ֖אן וְעֶ֣בֶד וְשִׁפְחָ֑ה וָֽאֶשְׁלְחָה֙ לְהַגִּ֣יד לַֽאדֹנִ֔י לִמְצֹא־חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינֶֽיךָ׃ ז וַיָּשֻׁ֙בוּ֙ הַמַּלְאָכִ֔ים אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹ֖ב לֵאמֹ֑ר בָּ֤אנוּ אֶל־אָחִ֙יךָ֙ אֶל־עֵשָׂ֔ו וְגַם֙ הֹלֵ֣ךְ לִקְרָֽאתְךָ֔ וְאַרְבַּע־מֵא֥וֹת אִ֖ישׁ עִמּֽוֹ׃ ח וַיִּירָ֧א יַעֲקֹ֛ב מְאֹ֖ד וַיֵּ֣צֶר ל֑וֹ וַיַּ֜חַץ אֶת־הָעָ֣ם אֲשֶׁר־אִתּ֗וֹ וְאֶת־הַצֹּ֧אן וְאֶת־הַבָּקָ֛ר וְהַגְּמַלִּ֖ים לִשְׁנֵ֥י מַחֲנֽוֹת׃ ט וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אִם־יָב֥וֹא עֵשָׂ֛ו אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶ֥ה הָאַחַ֖ת וְהִכָּ֑הוּ וְהָיָ֛ה הַמַּחֲנֶ֥ה הַנִּשְׁאָ֖ר לִפְלֵיטָֽה׃ י וַיֹּ֘אמֶר֮ יַעֲקֹב֒ אֱלֹהֵי֙ אָבִ֣י אַבְרָהָ֔ם וֵאלֹהֵ֖י אָבִ֣י יִצְחָ֑ק יְהֹוָ֞ה הָאֹמֵ֣ר אֵלַ֗י שׁ֧וּב לְאַרְצְךָ֛ וּלְמוֹלַדְתְּךָ֖ וְאֵיטִ֥יבָה עִמָּֽךְ׃ יא קָטֹ֜נְתִּי מִכֹּ֤ל הַחֲסָדִים֙ וּמִכׇּל־הָ֣אֱמֶ֔ת אֲשֶׁ֥ר עָשִׂ֖יתָ אֶת־עַבְדֶּ֑ךָ כִּ֣י בְמַקְלִ֗י עָבַ֙רְתִּי֙ אֶת־הַיַּרְדֵּ֣ן הַזֶּ֔ה וְעַתָּ֥ה הָיִ֖יתִי לִשְׁנֵ֥י מַחֲנֽוֹת׃ יב הַצִּילֵ֥נִי נָ֛א מִיַּ֥ד אָחִ֖י מִיַּ֣ד עֵשָׂ֑ו כִּֽי־יָרֵ֤א אָנֹכִי֙ אֹת֔וֹ פֶּן־יָב֣וֹא וְהִכַּ֔נִי אֵ֖ם עַל־בָּנִֽים׃ יג וְאַתָּ֣ה אָמַ֔רְתָּ הֵיטֵ֥ב אֵיטִ֖יב עִמָּ֑ךְ וְשַׂמְתִּ֤י אֶֽת־זַרְעֲךָ֙ כְּח֣וֹל הַיָּ֔ם אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹא־יִסָּפֵ֖ר מֵרֹֽב׃
32 4 Now Yaaqov sent messengers on ahead of him to Esav his brother in the land of Se’ir, in the territory of Edom, 5 and commanded them, saying: “Thus say to my lord, to Esav: ‘Thus says your servant Yaaqov: I have sojourned with Lavan and have tarried until now. 6 Ox and donkey, sheep and servant and maid have become mine. I have sent to tell my lord, to find favor in your eyes.'” 7 The messengers returned to Yaaqov, saying: “We came to your brother, to Esav – but he is already coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him!” 8 Yaaqov became exceedingly afraid and was distressed. He divided the people that were with him and the sheep and the oxen and the camels into two camps, 9 saying to himself: “Should Esav come against the one camp and strike it, the camp that is left will escape.” 10 Then Yaaqov said: “Elo’ah of my father Avraham, elo’ah of my father Yitsḥaq, YHVH, who said to me: ‘Return to your land, to your kindred, and I will deal well with you!’ 11 Too small am I for all the faithfulness and trust that you have shown your servant. For with only my rod did I cross this Yarden, and now I have become two camps. 12 Pray save me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esav! For I am in fear of him, lest he come and strike me down, mothers and children alike! 13 But you, you have said: ‘I will deal well, well with you, I will make your seed like the sand of the sea, which is too much to count!'”

שני יד וַיָּ֥לֶן שָׁ֖ם בַּלַּ֣יְלָה הַה֑וּא וַיִּקַּ֞ח מִן־הַבָּ֧א בְיָד֛וֹ מִנְחָ֖ה לְעֵשָׂ֥ו אָחִֽיו׃ טו עִזִּ֣ים מָאתַ֔יִם וּתְיָשִׁ֖ים עֶשְׂרִ֑ים רְחֵלִ֥ים מָאתַ֖יִם וְאֵילִ֥ים עֶשְׂרִֽים׃ טז גְּמַלִּ֧ים מֵינִיק֛וֹת וּבְנֵיהֶ֖ם שְׁלֹשִׁ֑ים פָּר֤וֹת אַרְבָּעִים֙ וּפָרִ֣ים עֲשָׂרָ֔ה אֲתֹנֹ֣ת עֶשְׂרִ֔ים וַעְיָרִ֖ם עֲשָׂרָֽה׃ יז וַיִּתֵּן֙ בְּיַד־עֲבָדָ֔יו עֵ֥דֶר עֵ֖דֶר לְבַדּ֑וֹ וַ֤יֹּאמֶר אֶל־עֲבָדָיו֙ עִבְר֣וּ לְפָנַ֔י וְרֶ֣וַח תָּשִׂ֔ימוּ בֵּ֥ין עֵ֖דֶר וּבֵ֥ין עֵֽדֶר׃
14 Spending the night there that night, he took a gift from what was at hand, for Esav his brother: 15 she-goats, two hundred, and kids, twenty, ewes, two hundred, and rams, twenty, 16 nursing camels and their young, thirty, cows, forty, and bulls, ten, she-asses, twenty, and colts, ten; 17 he handed them over to his servants, herd by herd separately, and said to his servants: “Cross on ahead of me, and leave room between herd and herd.”

יח וַיְצַ֥ו אֶת־הָרִאשׁ֖וֹן לֵאמֹ֑ר כִּ֣י יִֽפְגׇשְׁךָ֞ עֵשָׂ֣ו אָחִ֗י וּשְׁאֵֽלְךָ֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לְמִי־אַ֙תָּה֙ וְאָ֣נָה תֵלֵ֔ךְ וּלְמִ֖י אֵ֥לֶּה לְפָנֶֽיךָ׃ יט וְאָֽמַרְתָּ֙ לְעַבְדְּךָ֣ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב מִנְחָ֥ה הִוא֙ שְׁלוּחָ֔ה לַֽאדֹנִ֖י לְעֵשָׂ֑ו וְהִנֵּ֥ה גַם־ה֖וּא אַחֲרֵֽינוּ׃ כ וַיְצַ֞ו גַּ֣ם אֶת־הַשֵּׁנִ֗י גַּ֚ם אֶת־הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֔י גַּ֚ם אֶת־כׇּל־הַהֹ֣לְכִ֔ים אַחֲרֵ֥י הָעֲדָרִ֖ים לֵאמֹ֑ר כַּדָּבָ֤ר הַזֶּה֙ תְּדַבְּר֣וּן אֶל־עֵשָׂ֔ו בְּמֹצַאֲכֶ֖ם אֹתֽוֹ׃ כא וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֕ם גַּ֗ם הִנֵּ֛ה עַבְדְּךָ֥ יַעֲקֹ֖ב אַחֲרֵ֑ינוּ כִּֽי־אָמַ֞ר אֲכַפְּרָ֣ה פָנָ֗יו בַּמִּנְחָה֙ הַהֹלֶ֣כֶת לְפָנָ֔י וְאַחֲרֵי־כֵן֙ אֶרְאֶ֣ה פָנָ֔יו אוּלַ֖י יִשָּׂ֥א פָנָֽי׃
18 He charged the first group, saying: “When Esav my brother meets you and asks you, saying: ‘To whom do you belong, where are you going, and to whom do these ahead of you belong?’ 19 Then say: “to your servant, to Yaaqov, it is a gift sent to my lord, to Esav, and here, he himself is also behind us.” 20 Thus he charged the second, and thus the third, and thus all that were walking behind the herds, saying: “According to this word shall you speak to Esav when you come upon him: 21 You shall say: ‘Also – here, your servant Yaaqov is behind us.'” For he said to himself: “I will wipe (the anger from) his face with the gift that goes ahead of my face; afterward, when I see his face, perhaps he will lift up my face!”

כב וַתַּעֲבֹ֥ר הַמִּנְחָ֖ה עַל־פָּנָ֑יו וְה֛וּא לָ֥ן בַּלַּֽיְלָה־הַה֖וּא בַּֽמַּחֲנֶֽה׃ כג וַיָּ֣קׇם ׀ בַּלַּ֣יְלָה ה֗וּא וַיִּקַּ֞ח אֶת־שְׁתֵּ֤י נָשָׁיו֙ וְאֶת־שְׁתֵּ֣י שִׁפְחֹתָ֔יו וְאֶת־אַחַ֥ד עָשָׂ֖ר יְלָדָ֑יו וַֽיַּעֲבֹ֔ר אֵ֖ת מַעֲבַ֥ר יַבֹּֽק׃ כד וַיִּ֨קָּחֵ֔ם וַיַּֽעֲבִרֵ֖ם אֶת־הַנָּ֑חַל וַֽיַּעֲבֵ֖ר אֶת־אֲשֶׁר־לֽוֹ׃
22 The gift crossed over ahead of his face, but he spent the night on that night in the camp. 23 He arose during that night, took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven children to cross the Yabbōk crossing. 24 He took them and brought them across the river; he brought across what belonged to him.[1]This narrative is an extended explanation of the name Mahanayim (literally “two companies or stations). Jacob splits his company into two. Note that Jacob is described as fearful in these verses, as opposed to the great strength he displays in vss. 24-30. This section is quite obviously Yahwistic, it alludes to the promise of progeny made to Jacob at Bethel in Chapter 28:13-15, and depicts Jacob as unsure of himself like in Chapter 27 when he cheats his brother out of his birthright. Note also J’s characteristic use of “the Lord” in these verse as opposed to “God” in vss. 1-2, 24-30.

כה וַיִּוָּתֵ֥ר יַעֲקֹ֖ב לְבַדּ֑וֹ וַיֵּאָבֵ֥ק אִישׁ֙ עִמּ֔וֹ עַ֖ד עֲל֥וֹת הַשָּֽׁחַר׃ כו וַיַּ֗רְא כִּ֣י לֹ֤א יָכֹל֙ ל֔וֹ וַיִּגַּ֖ע בְּכַף־יְרֵכ֑וֹ וַתֵּ֙קַע֙ כַּף־יֶ֣רֶךְ יַעֲקֹ֔ב בְּהֵאָֽבְק֖וֹ עִמּֽוֹ׃ כז וַיֹּ֣אמֶר שַׁלְּחֵ֔נִי כִּ֥י עָלָ֖ה הַשָּׁ֑חַר וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ לֹ֣א אֲשַֽׁלֵּחֲךָ֔ כִּ֖י אִם־בֵּרַכְתָּֽנִי׃ כח וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אֵלָ֖יו מַה־שְּׁמֶ֑ךָ וַיֹּ֖אמֶר יַעֲקֹֽב׃ כט וַיֹּ֗אמֶר לֹ֤א יַעֲקֹב֙ יֵאָמֵ֥ר עוֹד֙ שִׁמְךָ֔ כִּ֖י אִם־יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל כִּֽי־שָׂרִ֧יתָ עִם־אֱלֹהִ֛ים וְעִם־אֲנָשִׁ֖ים וַתּוּכָֽל׃ ל וַיִּשְׁאַ֣ל יַעֲקֹ֗ב וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ הַגִּֽידָה־נָּ֣א שְׁמֶ֔ךָ וַיֹּ֕אמֶר לָ֥מָּה זֶּ֖ה תִּשְׁאַ֣ל לִשְׁמִ֑י וַיְבָ֥רֶךְ אֹת֖וֹ שָֽׁם׃ שלישי לא וַיִּקְרָ֧א יַעֲקֹ֛ב שֵׁ֥ם הַמָּק֖וֹם פְּנִיאֵ֑ל כִּֽי־רָאִ֤יתִי אֱלֹהִים֙ פָּנִ֣ים אֶל־פָּנִ֔ים וַתִּנָּצֵ֖ל נַפְשִֽׁי׃ לב וַיִּֽזְרַֽח־ל֣וֹ הַשֶּׁ֔מֶשׁ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר עָבַ֖ר אֶת־פְּנוּאֵ֑ל וְה֥וּא צֹלֵ֖עַ עַל־יְרֵכֽוֹ׃ לג עַל־כֵּ֡ן לֹֽא־יֹאכְל֨וּ בְנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֜ל אֶת־גִּ֣יד הַנָּשֶׁ֗ה אֲשֶׁר֙ עַל־כַּ֣ף הַיָּרֵ֔ךְ עַ֖ד הַיּ֣וֹם הַזֶּ֑ה כִּ֤י נָגַע֙ בְּכַף־יֶ֣רֶךְ יַעֲקֹ֔ב בְּגִ֖יד הַנָּשֶֽׁה׃
25 And Yaaqov was left alone – Now a man wrestled with him until the coming up of dawn. 26 When he saw that he could not prevail against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; the socket of Yaaqov’s thigh had been dislocated as he wrestled with him. 27 Then he said: “Let me go, for dawn has come up!” But he said: “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 28 He said to him: “What is your name?” And he said: “Yaaqov.” 29 Then he said: “Not as Yaaqov/Heel-sneak shall your name be henceforth uttered, but rather as Yisrael/El-wrestler, for you have wrestled with elohim and men and have prevailed.” 30 Then Yaaqov asked and said: “Pray tell me your name!” But he said: “Now why do you ask after my name?” And he gave him farewell-blessing there. 31 Yaaqov called the name of the place: ‘Peniel/Face of El,’ for: “I have seen Elohim, face to face, and my life has been saved.”[2]The highly anthropomorphic quality of this episode may be one of the reasons it was split into two by the J addition. J may have been quite uncomfortable with Jacob’s ability to best a godlike being, and separates the explicit information regarding the origin of the figure fighting with Jacob as mentioned in vss. 1-2, from vss. 24-30 in order to dull the anthropomorphism, and Jacob’s otherworldly strength. 32 The sun rose on him as he crossed by Penuel, and he was limping on his thigh. 33  – Therefore the Children of Yisrael do not eat the sinew that is on the socket of the thigh until this day, for he had touched the socket of Yaaqov’s thigh at the sinew.[3]This final notice regarding the future customs of the Israelite nation, is clearly secondary, as it assumes a people not yet in existence with a codified body of customs/laws.

לג א וַיִּשָּׂ֨א יַעֲקֹ֜ב עֵינָ֗יו וַיַּרְא֙ וְהִנֵּ֣ה עֵשָׂ֣ו בָּ֔א וְעִמּ֕וֹ אַרְבַּ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת אִ֑ישׁ וַיַּ֣חַץ אֶת־הַיְלָדִ֗ים עַל־לֵאָה֙ וְעַל־רָחֵ֔ל וְעַ֖ל שְׁתֵּ֥י הַשְּׁפָחֽוֹת׃ ב וַיָּ֧שֶׂם אֶת־הַשְּׁפָח֛וֹת וְאֶת־יַלְדֵיהֶ֖ן רִֽאשֹׁנָ֑ה וְאֶת־לֵאָ֤ה וִֽילָדֶ֙יהָ֙ אַחֲרֹנִ֔ים וְאֶת־רָחֵ֥ל וְאֶת־יוֹסֵ֖ף אַחֲרֹנִֽים׃ ג וְה֖וּא עָבַ֣ר לִפְנֵיהֶ֑ם וַיִּשְׁתַּ֤חוּ אַ֙רְצָה֙ שֶׁ֣בַע פְּעָמִ֔ים עַד־גִּשְׁתּ֖וֹ עַד־אָחִֽיו׃
33 1 Yaaqov lifted up his eyes and saw: there was Esav coming, and with him, four hundred men![4]According to E, there is no animosity between Esau and Jacob – the narratives of Chapters 25 and 27 are J additions – and thus this narrative simply describes a joyous reunion of long lost brothers. Jacob displays his wealth and Esau his military might. He divided the children among Leah, Raḥel, and the two maids: 2 he put the maids and their children first, Leah and her children behind them, and Raḥel and Yosef behind them,[5]This defensive organization is part of Jacob’s overall perception of Esau as a threat in the J additions to the Jacob cycle. Note also Jacob’s two handmaidens – in E, however, Jacob has only one handmaiden. 3 while he himself advanced ahead of them.[6]In E, Jacob simply comes to his brother and embraces him, J adds the groveling demeanor throughout this chapter as part of his depiction of a fearful Jacob apprehensive of Esau’s possible revenge for cheating him out of his birthright. And he bowed low to the ground seven times,[7]See the previous comment. until he had come close to him, to his brother.

ד וַיָּ֨רׇץ עֵשָׂ֤ו לִקְרָאתוֹ֙ וַֽיְחַבְּקֵ֔הוּ וַיִּפֹּ֥ל עַל־צַוָּארָ֖ו וַׄיִּׄשָּׁׄקֵ֑ׄהׄוּׄ וַיִּבְכּֽוּ׃ ה וַיִּשָּׂ֣א אֶת־עֵינָ֗יו וַיַּ֤רְא אֶת־הַנָּשִׁים֙ וְאֶת־הַיְלָדִ֔ים וַיֹּ֖אמֶר מִי־אֵ֣לֶּה לָּ֑ךְ וַיֹּאמַ֕ר הַיְלָדִ֕ים אֲשֶׁר־חָנַ֥ן אֱלֹהִ֖ים אֶת־עַבְדֶּֽךָ׃ רביעי ו וַתִּגַּ֧שְׁןָ הַשְּׁפָח֛וֹת הֵ֥נָּה וְיַלְדֵיהֶ֖ן וַתִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוֶֽיןָ׃ ז וַתִּגַּ֧שׁ גַּם־לֵאָ֛ה וִילָדֶ֖יהָ וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲו֑וּ וְאַחַ֗ר נִגַּ֥שׁ יוֹסֵ֛ף וְרָחֵ֖ל וַיִּֽשְׁתַּחֲוֽוּ׃ ח וַיֹּ֕אמֶר מִ֥י לְךָ֛ כׇּל־הַמַּחֲנֶ֥ה הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר פָּגָ֑שְׁתִּי וַיֹּ֕אמֶר לִמְצֹא־חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינֵ֥י אֲדֹנִֽי׃ ט וַיֹּ֥אמֶר עֵשָׂ֖ו יֶשׁ־לִ֣י רָ֑ב אָחִ֕י יְהִ֥י לְךָ֖ אֲשֶׁר־לָֽךְ׃
4 Esav ran to meet him, he embraced him, flung himself upon his neck, and kissed him. And they wept. 5 Then he lifted up his eyes and saw the women and the children, and said: “What are these to you?” He said: “the children with whom Elohim has favored your servant.”[8]Note the parallelism between this episode and the emotional meeting between Jacob and Laban / Rachel in Genesis 29 (E). 6 Then the maids came close, they and their children, and bowed low. 7 Then Leah and her children came close and bowed low. Afterward Yosef and Raḥel came close and bowed low. 8 He said: “What to you is all this camp that I have met?” He said: “to find favor in my lord’s eyes.” 9 Esav said: “I have plenty, my brother, let what is yours remain yours.”[9]This pattern of groveling is part of J’s overall additions to this chapter and see comments on 33:2 and 33:3.

י וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יַעֲקֹ֗ב אַל־נָא֙ אִם־נָ֨א מָצָ֤אתִי חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ וְלָקַחְתָּ֥ מִנְחָתִ֖י מִיָּדִ֑י כִּ֣י עַל־כֵּ֞ן רָאִ֣יתִי פָנֶ֗יךָ כִּרְאֹ֛ת פְּנֵ֥י אֱלֹהִ֖ים וַתִּרְצֵֽנִי׃ יא קַח־נָ֤א אֶת־בִּרְכָתִי֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הֻבָ֣את לָ֔ךְ כִּֽי־חַנַּ֥נִי אֱלֹהִ֖ים וְכִ֣י יֶשׁ־לִי־כֹ֑ל וַיִּפְצַר־בּ֖וֹ וַיִּקָּֽח׃ יב וַיֹּ֖אמֶר נִסְעָ֣ה וְנֵלֵ֑כָה וְאֵלְכָ֖ה לְנֶגְדֶּֽךָ׃
10 Yaaqov said: “No, I pray! Pray, if I have found favor in your eyes, then take this gift from my hand. For I have, after all, seen your face, as one sees the face of Elohim, and you have been gracious to me. 11 Pray take my token-of-blessing[10]According to E the gift is simply courteous; in J it functions as graft so Esau will not exact revenge. that is brought to you,[11]This is an allusion to the gifts Jacob sent to Esau in Chapter 32 according to J. for Elohim has shown me favor – for I have everything.” And he pressed him, so he took it.[12]This urging to take the gifts in E is nothing but polite. If it is read, however, in conjunction with J’s additions it may be interpreted as part of Jacob’s overall groveling and see comment on 33:2. 12 Then he said: “Let us travel on, and I will go on at your side.”

יג וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֗יו אֲדֹנִ֤י יֹדֵ֙עַ֙ כִּֽי־הַיְלָדִ֣ים רַכִּ֔ים וְהַצֹּ֥אן וְהַבָּקָ֖ר עָל֣וֹת עָלָ֑י וּדְפָקוּם֙ י֣וֹם אֶחָ֔ד וָמֵ֖תוּ כׇּל־הַצֹּֽאן׃ יד יַעֲבׇר־נָ֥א אֲדֹנִ֖י לִפְנֵ֣י עַבְדּ֑וֹ וַאֲנִ֞י אֶֽתְנָהֲלָ֣ה לְאִטִּ֗י לְרֶ֨גֶל הַמְּלָאכָ֤ה אֲשֶׁר־לְפָנַי֙ וּלְרֶ֣גֶל הַיְלָדִ֔ים עַ֛ד אֲשֶׁר־אָבֹ֥א אֶל־אֲדֹנִ֖י שֵׂעִֽירָה׃ טו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר עֵשָׂ֔ו אַצִּֽיגָה־נָּ֣א עִמְּךָ֔ מִן־הָעָ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר אִתִּ֑י וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ לָ֣מָּה זֶּ֔ה אֶמְצָא־חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינֵ֥י אֲדֹנִֽי׃
13 But he said to him: “My lord knows that the children are frail, and the sheep and the oxen are suckling in my care; if we were to push them for a single day, all the animals would die! 14 Pray let my lord cross on ahead of his servant, while as for me, I will travel slowly, at the pace of the gear ahead of me and at the pace of the children, until I come to my lord, at Se’ir.” 15 Esav said: “Pray let me leave with you some of the people who are mine.” But he said: “For what reason? May I only find favor in my lord’s eyes!”[13]Jacob’s still overemploys hierarchical terminology fearing Esau’s revenge. Note also Jacob’s lie that he intends to join Esau in Seir (vs. 14), an event which never actually occurs. J’s negative of portrayal of Jacob is in full swing.

טז וַיָּ֩שׇׁב֩ בַּיּ֨וֹם הַה֥וּא עֵשָׂ֛ו לְדַרְכּ֖וֹ שֵׂעִֽירָה׃ יז וְיַעֲקֹב֙ נָסַ֣ע סֻכֹּ֔תָה וַיִּ֥בֶן ל֖וֹ בָּ֑יִת וּלְמִקְנֵ֙הוּ֙ עָשָׂ֣ה סֻכֹּ֔ת עַל־כֵּ֛ן קָרָ֥א שֵׁם־הַמָּק֖וֹם סֻכּֽוֹת׃
16 So Esav started back that same day on his journey to Se’ir,[14]The conclusion of the E narrative of this chapter – Esau returns to Seir, Jacob continues on his journey. 17 while Yaaqov traveled to Sukkot. He built himself a house there, and for his livestock he made sheds. Therefore they called the name of the place: ‘Sukkot/Sheds.’[15]This type of place etymology is common to sources later than E which focus on more exact information (and compare the addition of Luz, the second name for Bethel, to Chapter 28:10-21).

יח וַיָּבֹא֩ יַעֲקֹ֨ב שָׁלֵ֜ם עִ֣יר שְׁכֶ֗ם אֲשֶׁר֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן בְּבֹא֖וֹ מִפַּדַּ֣ן אֲרָ֑ם וַיִּ֖חַן אֶת־פְּנֵ֥י הָעִֽיר׃ יט וַיִּ֜קֶן אֶת־חֶלְקַ֣ת הַשָּׂדֶ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֤ר נָֽטָה־שָׁם֙ אׇהֳל֔וֹ מִיַּ֥ד בְּנֵֽי־חֲמ֖וֹר אֲבִ֣י שְׁכֶ֑ם בְּמֵאָ֖ה קְשִׂיטָֽה׃ כ וַיַּצֶּב־שָׁ֖ם מִזְבֵּ֑חַ וַיִּ֨קְרָא־ל֔וֹ אֵ֖ל אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
18 Yaaqov came home in peace to the city of Shekhem,[16]Jacob’s first station after Penuel (Chapter 32:30) according to E. which is in the land of K’naan, on his homecoming from the country of Aram,[17]The name of Laban’s city according to P. P adds specification to Jacob’s location, as is his wont. and he encamped facing the city.[18]Note the difference between Shechem and Bethel two of the major northern cities at the time of E’s composition. Bethel was established by Jacob in 28:10-21, whereas Shechem was already inhabited by Canaanites. Shechem is thus not fit to be a center of future Israelite cult and Jacob buries his family’s idols in the vicinity of the city according to E (Gen 35:4). 19 And he acquired the piece of territory where he had spread out his tent, from the men of Ḥamor, Shekhem’s father, for a hundred lambs’-worth.[19]Jacob establishes and legitimizes his right of residence in the vicinity of Shechem, indicating his plan to remain there for a protracted period of time. This verse is a precursor to the Rape of Dinah in Chapter 34, where P seeks to whitewash the massacre perpetrated by Jacob’s sons, and see our commentary on Chapter 34. 20 There he set up a place-for-slaughter and called it: ‘El, elo’ah of Yisrael.’[20]J has Jacob erecting a commemorative altar which is not sacrificed upon similar to Abraham’s commemorative altar in the vicinity of Shechem (12:7).

חמישי לד א וַתֵּצֵ֤א דִינָה֙ בַּת־לֵאָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר יָלְדָ֖ה לְיַעֲקֹ֑ב לִרְא֖וֹת בִּבְנ֥וֹת הָאָֽרֶץ׃ ב וַיַּ֨רְא אֹתָ֜הּ שְׁכֶ֧ם בֶּן־חֲמ֛וֹר הַֽחִוִּ֖י נְשִׂ֣יא הָאָ֑רֶץ וַיִּקַּ֥ח אֹתָ֛הּ וַיִּשְׁכַּ֥ב אֹתָ֖הּ וַיְעַנֶּֽהָ׃ ג וַתִּדְבַּ֣ק נַפְשׁ֔וֹ בְּדִינָ֖ה בַּֽת־יַעֲקֹ֑ב וַיֶּֽאֱהַב֙ אֶת־הַֽנַּעֲרָ֔ וַיְדַבֵּ֖ר עַל־לֵ֥ב הַֽנַּעֲרָֽ׃ ד וַיֹּ֣אמֶר שְׁכֶ֔ם אֶל־חֲמ֥וֹר אָבִ֖יו לֵאמֹ֑ר קַֽח־לִ֛י אֶת־הַיַּלְדָּ֥ה הַזֹּ֖את לְאִשָּֽׁה׃
34 1 Now Dinah, Leah’s daughter, whom she had borne to Yaaqov, went out to see the women of the land. 2 And Shekhem[21]Dinah is only a biblical character according to J and P, E does not mention her in the list of Jacob’s children in Genesis 30. According to the J narrative, Dinah goes to the city of Shechem for social interaction, Shechem the city’s leader sees her and proposes marriage to her father and brothers. The brothers agree but only on condition that all the inhabitants of Shechem circumcise themselves. This they do, and the sons of Jacob promptly take advantage of the inhabitants’ incapacity and sack the city. son of Ḥamor the Ḥivvi,[22]Hamor,Shechem’s father, does not feature in the J version of events. His addition to the tale (by P) places the marriage negotiations on a more formal footing, as a general pact between Jacob’s family/national-group and the city of Shechem. P thus attempts to justify the massacre as saving the Israelites from an assimilationist pact (assimilation is one of the reason the Israelites are commanded to annihilate the inhabitants of Canaan, and compare Exodus 34:11-16). ¶ I also think that naming Shechem as a Hivvite is a P addition attempting to justify the massacre, since the Hivvites are one of the 6-7 nations that are to be annihilated according to virtually all the post-Elohistic sources (e.g., Exodus 23:23). the prince of the land, saw her:[23]In the J version of events Shechem only saw Dinah, he did not rape her. The rape was added by P in order to justify the massacre. Indeed, the rape does not sit well in these verses. Right after Shechem rapes Dinah he speaks tenderly to her, two very different types of interpersonal contact which do not really accord with each other (especially in that order). The rape is alluded to in subsequent verses (vss. 5, 13) as defilement, a term which is more in synch with a Priestly worldview which sees the world as a dichotomy of holy and non-holy, pure and defiled. he took her and lay with her, forcing her.[24]See the previous comment. 3 But his emotions clung to Dinah, Yaaqov’s daughter – he loved the girl, and he spoke to the heart of the girl.[25]In the J version of event, right after Shechem speaks tenderly to Dinah he goes and asks for her hand in marriage (vs. 11), a natural progression of events. 4 So Shekhem said to Ḥamor his father, saying: “Take me this girl as a wife!”

ה וְיַעֲקֹ֣ב שָׁמַ֗ע כִּ֤י טִמֵּא֙ אֶת־דִּינָ֣ה בִתּ֔וֹ וּבָנָ֛יו הָי֥וּ אֶת־מִקְנֵ֖הוּ בַּשָּׂדֶ֑ה וְהֶחֱרִ֥שׁ יַעֲקֹ֖ב עַד־בֹּאָֽם׃ ו וַיֵּצֵ֛א חֲמ֥וֹר אֲבִֽי־שְׁכֶ֖ם אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹ֑ב לְדַבֵּ֖ר אִתּֽוֹ׃ ז וּבְנֵ֨י יַעֲקֹ֜ב בָּ֤אוּ מִן־הַשָּׂדֶה֙ כְּשׇׁמְעָ֔ם וַיִּֽתְעַצְּבוּ֙ הָֽאֲנָשִׁ֔ים וַיִּ֥חַר לָהֶ֖ם מְאֹ֑ד כִּֽי־נְבָלָ֞ה עָשָׂ֣ה בְיִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל לִשְׁכַּב֙ אֶת־בַּֽת־יַעֲקֹ֔ב וְכֵ֖ן לֹ֥א יֵעָשֶֽׂה׃ ח וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר חֲמ֖וֹר אִתָּ֣ם לֵאמֹ֑ר שְׁכֶ֣ם בְּנִ֗י חָֽשְׁקָ֤ה נַפְשׁוֹ֙ בְּבִתְּכֶ֔ם תְּנ֨וּ נָ֥א אֹתָ֛הּ ל֖וֹ לְאִשָּֽׁה׃ ט וְהִֽתְחַתְּנ֖וּ אֹתָ֑נוּ בְּנֹֽתֵיכֶם֙ תִּתְּנוּ־לָ֔נוּ וְאֶת־בְּנֹתֵ֖ינוּ תִּקְח֥וּ לָכֶֽם׃ י וְאִתָּ֖נוּ תֵּשֵׁ֑בוּ וְהָאָ֙רֶץ֙ תִּהְיֶ֣ה לִפְנֵיכֶ֔ם שְׁבוּ֙ וּסְחָר֔וּהָ וְהֵֽאָחֲז֖וּ בָּֽהּ׃
5 Now Yaaqov had heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter, but since his sons were with his livestock in the fields, Yaaqov kept silent until they came home. 6 Ḥamor, Shekhem’s father, went out to Yaaqov, to speak with him. 7 But Yaaqov’s sons came back from the fields when they heard, and the men were pained, they were exceedingly upset, for he had done a disgrace in Yisrael by lying with Yaaqov’s daughter, such (a thing) is not to be done! 8 Ḥamor spoke with them, saying: “My son Shekhem – his emotions are so attached to your daughter, (so) pray give her to him as a wife! 9 And make marriage-alliances with us: give us your daughters, and our daughters take for yourselves, 10 and settle among us! The land shall be before you: settle down, travel about it, obtain holdings in it!”[26]As mentioned above in the first comment, P added Hamor’s role to the narrative. Note that Hamor the father’s marriage negotiations coincide with allusion to the rape which is secondary. The Israelites are construed in these verses as a national group: 34:7: “When they heard of it, the men were indignant and very angry, because he had committed an outrage in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.” This is, of course, anachronistic since Jacob’s family merely constitutes his children and his wives, nothing broader, and see comment second comment on 34:2.

יא וַיֹּ֤אמֶר שְׁכֶם֙ אֶל־אָבִ֣יהָ וְאֶל־אַחֶ֔יהָ אֶמְצָא־חֵ֖ן בְּעֵינֵיכֶ֑ם וַאֲשֶׁ֥ר תֹּאמְר֛וּ אֵלַ֖י אֶתֵּֽן׃ יב הַרְבּ֨וּ עָלַ֤י מְאֹד֙ מֹ֣הַר וּמַתָּ֔ן וְאֶ֨תְּנָ֔ה כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר תֹּאמְר֖וּ אֵלָ֑י וּתְנוּ־לִ֥י אֶת־הַֽנַּעֲרָ֖ לְאִשָּֽׁה׃
11 And Shekhem said to her father and to her brothers: “May I only find favor in your eyes! However much you say to me, I will give-in-payment, 12 to whatever extreme you multiply the bride-price and the marriage-gift, I will give however much you say to me – only give me the girl as a wife!”

יג וַיַּעֲנ֨וּ בְנֵֽי־יַעֲקֹ֜ב אֶת־שְׁכֶ֨ם וְאֶת־חֲמ֥וֹר אָבִ֛יו בְּמִרְמָ֖ה וַיְדַבֵּ֑רוּ אֲשֶׁ֣ר טִמֵּ֔א אֵ֖ת דִּינָ֥ה אֲחֹתָֽם׃ יד וַיֹּאמְר֣וּ אֲלֵיהֶ֗ם לֹ֤א נוּכַל֙ לַעֲשׂוֹת֙ הַדָּבָ֣ר הַזֶּ֔ה לָתֵת֙ אֶת־אֲחֹתֵ֔נוּ לְאִ֖ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־ל֣וֹ עׇרְלָ֑ה כִּֽי־חֶרְפָּ֥ה הִ֖וא לָֽנוּ׃ טו אַךְ־בְּזֹ֖את נֵא֣וֹת לָכֶ֑ם אִ֚ם תִּהְי֣וּ כָמֹ֔נוּ לְהִמֹּ֥ל לָכֶ֖ם כׇּל־זָכָֽר׃ טז וְנָתַ֤נּוּ אֶת־בְּנֹתֵ֙ינוּ֙ לָכֶ֔ם וְאֶת־בְּנֹתֵיכֶ֖ם נִֽקַּֽח־לָ֑נוּ וְיָשַׁ֣בְנוּ אִתְּכֶ֔ם וְהָיִ֖ינוּ לְעַ֥ם אֶחָֽד׃ יז וְאִם־לֹ֧א תִשְׁמְע֛וּ אֵלֵ֖ינוּ לְהִמּ֑וֹל וְלָקַ֥חְנוּ אֶת־בִּתֵּ֖נוּ וְהָלָֽכְנוּ׃
13 Now Yaaqov’s sons answered Shekhem[27]According to J, there is no excuse for the massacre, the sons of Jacob see their opportunity and convince Shechem to make himself and the inhabitants of his city vulnerable through circumcision. and Ḥamor his father[28]Since Hamor does not feature as an active character in J’s version of this story, it is probable that any mention of him was a later Priestly addition, and see the second comment on 34:2. with deceit,[29]Shechem’s proposal of marriage is much more natural, it is simply an offer of property, not a general pact between national groups. speaking (thus) because he had defiled Dinah their sister,[30]Note the use of the term “defiled”, all allusions to the rape are P additions to the text since the rape itself was an addition, and see above, the third comment on 34:2. 14 they said to them: “We cannot do this thing, give our sister to a man who has a foreskin, for that would be a reproach for us! 15 Only on this (condition) will we comply with you: if you become like us, by having[31]Circumcision was clearly a distinction between the Israelites and other national groups according to more than one source, as we see in the book of Judges and I Samuel (e.g. I Samuel 18:24-29) and their references to the uncircumcised Philistines. Only in P, however, is it covenantal (Genesis 17). In this narrative as well, it is the distinguishing feature between Jacob and his sons and the Shchemites. P seizes upon the theme of circumcision, and makes it the key to the more general pact suggested in his version of events. every male among[32]P may have added the expression “every male” in this verse which would make the language very similar to the P covenant of Chapter 17. P may have also wished to emphasize the totality of the massacre, and thus he makes sure we understand that all males were circumcised and that subsequently they were all massacred. you circumcised. 16 Then we will give you our daughters, and your daughters we will take for ourselves, and we will settle among you, so that we become a single people. 17 But if you do not hearken to us, to be circumcised, we will take our daughter and go.”

יח וַיִּֽיטְב֥וּ דִבְרֵיהֶ֖ם בְּעֵינֵ֣י חֲמ֑וֹר וּבְעֵינֵ֖י שְׁכֶ֥ם בֶּן־חֲמֽוֹר׃ יט וְלֹֽא־אֵחַ֤ר הַנַּ֙עַר֙ לַעֲשׂ֣וֹת הַדָּבָ֔ר כִּ֥י חָפֵ֖ץ בְּבַֽת־יַעֲקֹ֑ב וְה֣וּא נִכְבָּ֔ד מִכֹּ֖ל בֵּ֥ית אָבִֽיו׃ כ וַיָּבֹ֥א חֲמ֛וֹר וּשְׁכֶ֥ם בְּנ֖וֹ אֶל־שַׁ֣עַר עִירָ֑ם וַֽיְדַבְּר֛וּ אֶל־אַנְשֵׁ֥י עִירָ֖ם לֵאמֹֽר׃ כא הָאֲנָשִׁ֨ים הָאֵ֜לֶּה שְֽׁלֵמִ֧ים הֵ֣ם אִתָּ֗נוּ וְיֵשְׁב֤וּ בָאָ֙רֶץ֙ וְיִסְחֲר֣וּ אֹתָ֔הּ וְהָאָ֛רֶץ הִנֵּ֥ה רַֽחֲבַת־יָדַ֖יִם לִפְנֵיהֶ֑ם אֶת־בְּנֹתָם֙ נִקַּֽח־לָ֣נוּ לְנָשִׁ֔ים וְאֶת־בְּנֹתֵ֖ינוּ נִתֵּ֥ן לָהֶֽם׃ כב אַךְ־בְּ֠זֹ֠את יֵאֹ֨תוּ לָ֤נוּ הָאֲנָשִׁים֙ לָשֶׁ֣בֶת אִתָּ֔נוּ לִהְי֖וֹת לְעַ֣ם אֶחָ֑ד בְּהִמּ֥וֹל לָ֙נוּ֙ כׇּל־זָכָ֔ר כַּאֲשֶׁ֖ר הֵ֥ם נִמֹּלִֽים׃ כג מִקְנֵהֶ֤ם וְקִנְיָנָם֙ וְכׇל־בְּהֶמְתָּ֔ם הֲל֥וֹא לָ֖נוּ הֵ֑ם אַ֚ךְ נֵא֣וֹתָה לָהֶ֔ם וְיֵשְׁב֖וּ אִתָּֽנוּ׃
18 Their words seemed good in the eyes of[33]The Shechemites are guileless according to J; Shechem sincerely wishes to marry Dinah without any ulterior motive. Ḥamor and in the eyes of[34]See above, second comment on 34:2 and second comment on 34:13. Shekhem son of Ḥamor, 19 and the young man did not hesitate to do the thing, for he desired Yaaqov’s daughter. Now he carried more weight than anyone in his father’s house.[35]According to J, Shechem does not present the idea to his city and attempt to convince them, they simply accept it. The reason P repeats the conditions of the proposed pact, is to emphasize his version of events and the threat they pose to the non-assimilated future of the Israelites. 20 When Ḥamor and Shekhem his son came back to the gate of their city, they spoke to the men of their city, saying: 21 “These men are peaceably disposed toward us; let them settle in the land and travel about in it, for the land is certainly wide-reaching enough for them! Let us take their daughters as wives for ourselves, and let us give them our daughters. 22 But only on this (condition) will the men comply with us, to settle among us, to become a single people: that every male among us be circumcised, as they are circumcised. 23 Their acquired livestock, their acquired property and all their herd-animals – will they not then become ours?! Let us only comply with them, that they may settle among us!”[36]Shechem and Hamor present the pact to the inhabitants of the city in a tone tinged with avarice: “23 Will not their livestock, their property, and all their animals be ours?”, thus providing further justification for their massacre.

כד וַיִּשְׁמְע֤וּ אֶל־חֲמוֹר֙ וְאֶל־שְׁכֶ֣ם בְּנ֔וֹ כׇּל־יֹצְאֵ֖י שַׁ֣עַר עִיר֑וֹ וַיִּמֹּ֙לוּ֙ כׇּל־זָכָ֔ר כׇּל־יֹצְאֵ֖י שַׁ֥עַר עִירֽוֹ׃
24 So they hearkened to Ḥamor and to Shekhem his son, all who go out (to war) from the gate of his city:[37]See penultimate comment. all the males[38]See second comment on 34:15. were circumcised, all who go out (to war) from the gate of his city.

כה וַיְהִי֩ בַיּ֨וֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁ֜י בִּֽהְיוֹתָ֣ם כֹּֽאֲבִ֗ים וַיִּקְח֣וּ שְׁנֵֽי־בְנֵי־יַ֠עֲקֹ֠ב שִׁמְע֨וֹן וְלֵוִ֜י אֲחֵ֤י דִינָה֙ אִ֣ישׁ חַרְבּ֔וֹ וַיָּבֹ֥אוּ עַל־הָעִ֖יר בֶּ֑טַח וַיַּֽהַרְג֖וּ כׇּל־זָכָֽר׃ כו וְאֶת־חֲמוֹר֙ וְאֶת־שְׁכֶ֣ם בְּנ֔וֹ הָרְג֖וּ לְפִי־חָ֑רֶב וַיִּקְח֧וּ אֶת־דִּינָ֛ה מִבֵּ֥ית שְׁכֶ֖ם וַיֵּצֵֽאוּ׃ כז בְּנֵ֣י יַעֲקֹ֗ב בָּ֚אוּ עַל־הַ֣חֲלָלִ֔ים וַיָּבֹ֖זּוּ הָעִ֑יר אֲשֶׁ֥ר טִמְּא֖וּ אֲחוֹתָֽם׃ כח אֶת־צֹאנָ֥ם וְאֶת־בְּקָרָ֖ם וְאֶת־חֲמֹרֵיהֶ֑ם וְאֵ֧ת אֲשֶׁר־בָּעִ֛יר וְאֶת־אֲשֶׁ֥ר בַּשָּׂדֶ֖ה לָקָֽחוּ׃ כט וְאֶת־כׇּל־חֵילָ֤ם וְאֶת־כׇּל־טַפָּם֙ וְאֶת־נְשֵׁיהֶ֔ם שָׁב֖וּ וַיָּבֹ֑זּוּ וְאֵ֖ת כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֥ר בַּבָּֽיִת׃
25 But on the third day it was, when they were still hurting, that two of Yaaqov’s sons,[39]According to J all the brothers of Dinah, i.e. all the sons of Jacob massacred the inhabitants of Shchem. P, however, restricts the blame to Simeon and Levi, in order to whitewash the story and implicate a minimum number of Israelites. Simeon and Levi first appear here, and are not consistently mentioned in subsequent verses, it seems that their addition to the text was inconsistent. The reason for choosing Simeon and Levi specifically is that they are two of the older children in line for the birthright of the eldest, their shame here together with Reuben’s shame after sleeping with his father’s handmaiden (35:22), paves the way for Judah, the fourth son, to inherit the birthright. Shim’on and Levi, Dinah’s full-brothers,[40]See the above comment. took each man his sword, they came upon the city (feeling) secure, and killed all the males,[41]J’s version of events where all of Jacob’s family participated in the massacre makes more narratival sense, simply because it would be hard for two people to kill all the inhabitants of a city. 26 and Ḥamor and Shekhem his son they killed by the sword. Then they took Dinah from Shekhem’s house and went off.[42]Dinah is only in Shechem’s house in P’s version of events in which he keeps her there after he rapes her. In J’s version of events, she would still be with her family. 27 Yaaqov’s (other) sons came up upon the corpses and plundered the city,[43]“Unawares” is the key word here, there is no justification for what the sons of Jacob perpetrated according to J. because they had defiled their sister.[44]A further allusion to the rape, see third comment on 34:2. 28 Their sheep, their oxen, their donkeys – whatever was inside the city and out in the field, they took, 29 all their riches, all their little-ones and their wives they captured and plundered, as well as all that was in the houses.

ל וַיֹּ֨אמֶר יַעֲקֹ֜ב אֶל־שִׁמְע֣וֹן וְאֶל־לֵוִי֮ עֲכַרְתֶּ֣ם אֹתִי֒ לְהַבְאִישֵׁ֙נִי֙ בְּיֹשֵׁ֣ב הָאָ֔רֶץ בַּֽכְּנַעֲנִ֖י וּבַפְּרִזִּ֑י וַאֲנִי֙ מְתֵ֣י מִסְפָּ֔ר וְנֶאֶסְפ֤וּ עָלַי֙ וְהִכּ֔וּנִי וְנִשְׁמַדְתִּ֖י אֲנִ֥י וּבֵיתִֽי׃ לא וַיֹּאמְר֑וּ הַכְזוֹנָ֕ה יַעֲשֶׂ֖ה אֶת־אֲחוֹתֵֽנוּ׃
30 But Yaaqov said[45]Jacob is depicted as powerless vis-à-vis his sons and afraid of retribution, which accords with his general portrayal as a weak and cowardly individual according to J. to Shim’on and to Levi:[46]See first comment on 34:25. “You have stirred-up-trouble for me, making me reek among the settled-folk of the land, the K’naani and the Perizzi! For I have menfolk few in number; they will band together against me and strike me, and I will be destroyed, I and my household!”[47]See penultimate comment. 31 But they said: “Should our sister then be treated like a whore?”[48]See third comment on 34:2.

לה א וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹ֔ב ק֛וּם עֲלֵ֥ה בֵֽית־אֵ֖ל וְשֶׁב־שָׁ֑ם וַעֲשֵׂה־שָׁ֣ם מִזְבֵּ֔חַ לָאֵל֙ הַנִּרְאֶ֣ה אֵלֶ֔יךָ בְּבׇ֨רְחֲךָ֔ מִפְּנֵ֖י עֵשָׂ֥ו אָחִֽיךָ׃ ב וַיֹּ֤אמֶר יַעֲקֹב֙ אֶל־בֵּית֔וֹ וְאֶ֖ל כׇּל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר עִמּ֑וֹ הָסִ֜רוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהֵ֤י הַנֵּכָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּתֹכְכֶ֔ם וְהִֽטַּהֲר֔וּ וְהַחֲלִ֖יפוּ שִׂמְלֹתֵיכֶֽם׃ ג וְנָק֥וּמָה וְנַעֲלֶ֖ה בֵּֽית־אֵ֑ל וְאֶֽעֱשֶׂה־שָּׁ֣ם מִזְבֵּ֗חַ לָאֵ֞ל הָעֹנֶ֤ה אֹתִי֙ בְּי֣וֹם צָֽרָתִ֔י וַיְהִי֙ עִמָּדִ֔י בַּדֶּ֖רֶךְ אֲשֶׁ֥ר הָלָֽכְתִּי׃ ד וַיִּתְּנ֣וּ אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹ֗ב אֵ֣ת כׇּל־אֱלֹהֵ֤י הַנֵּכָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּיָדָ֔ם וְאֶת־הַנְּזָמִ֖ים אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּאׇזְנֵיהֶ֑ם וַיִּטְמֹ֤ן אֹתָם֙ יַעֲקֹ֔ב תַּ֥חַת הָאֵלָ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר עִם־שְׁכֶֽם׃
35 1 Now Elohim said to Yaaqov: “Arise, go up to Bet-El and stay there, and construct a place-for-slaughter there to El who was seen by you when you fled from Esav your brother.”[49]Since no animosity exists between Jacob and Esau according to E, this verse is post-Elohistic, and since the name Elohim (God) is used, it is likely the Priestly author who added this line. 2 Yaaqov said to his household and to all who were with him: “Put away the foreign gods that are in your midst! Purify yourselves! Change your garments! 3 Let us arise and go up to Bet-El, there I will construct a place-for-slaughter to El who answered me on the day of my distress – he was with me on the way that I went!” 4 So they gave Yaaqov all the foreign gods that were in their hand, along with the sacred-rings that were in their ears, and Yaaqov concealed them under the oak/elah that is near Shekhem.[50]Jacob defiles Shechem by burying idols under what may have been a holy tree.

ה וַיִּסָּ֑עוּ וַיְהִ֣י ׀ חִתַּ֣ת אֱלֹהִ֗ים עַל־הֶֽעָרִים֙ אֲשֶׁר֙ סְבִיב֣וֹתֵיהֶ֔ם וְלֹ֣א רָֽדְפ֔וּ אַחֲרֵ֖י בְּנֵ֥י יַעֲקֹֽב׃ ו וַיָּבֹ֨א יַעֲקֹ֜ב ל֗וּזָה אֲשֶׁר֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן הִ֖וא בֵּֽית־אֵ֑ל ה֖וּא וְכׇל־הָעָ֥ם אֲשֶׁר־עִמּֽוֹ׃ ז וַיִּ֤בֶן שָׁם֙ מִזְבֵּ֔חַ וַיִּקְרָא֙ לַמָּק֔וֹם אֵ֖ל בֵּֽית־אֵ֑ל כִּ֣י שָׁ֗ם נִגְל֤וּ אֵלָיו֙ הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים בְּבׇרְח֖וֹ מִפְּנֵ֥י אָחִֽיו׃ ח וַתָּ֤מׇת דְּבֹרָה֙ מֵינֶ֣קֶת רִבְקָ֔ה וַתִּקָּבֵ֛ר מִתַּ֥חַת לְבֵֽית־אֵ֖ל תַּ֣חַת הָֽאַלּ֑וֹן וַיִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ אַלּ֥וֹן בָּכֽוּת׃
5 Then they moved on. Now a dread from Elohim lay upon the towns that were around them, so that they did not pursue Yaaqov’s sons.[51]The verse alludes to the sacking of Shchem by the sons of Jacob and uses the name Elohim, it was thus likely added by P. 6 So Yaaqov came back to Luz, which is in the land of K’naan – that is now Bet-El – and all the people that were with him. 7 There he built a place-for-slaughter and called the place: El of Bet-El![52]Jacob returns to Bethel fulfilling his vow of 28:20-22. ¶ Luz is an additional name for Bethel, also added in by a later author when the place is named in 28:17. ¶ According to E Jacob founds a center of cult in Bethel; in 28:10-22 he erects a pillar, and here he builds an altar. For there had Elohim been revealed to him, when he fled from his brother. 8 Now Devorah, Rivqa’s nurse, died. She was buried below Bet-El, beneath the oak; they called its name: Allon Bakhut/Oak of Weeping.[53]In the same way E defiled Shechem by having Jacob bury idols there, J defiles Bethel by using it as a burial site for Deborah, Rebecca’s nursemaid (Rebecca is not mentioned in the E narrative).

ט וַיֵּרָ֨א אֱלֹהִ֤ים אֶֽל־יַעֲקֹב֙ ע֔וֹד בְּבֹא֖וֹ מִפַּדַּ֣ן אֲרָ֑ם וַיְבָ֖רֶךְ אֹתֽוֹ׃ י וַיֹּֽאמֶר־ל֥וֹ אֱלֹהִ֖ים שִׁמְךָ֣ יַעֲקֹ֑ב לֹֽא־יִקָּרֵא֩ שִׁמְךָ֨ ע֜וֹד יַעֲקֹ֗ב כִּ֤י אִם־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ יִהְיֶ֣ה שְׁמֶ֔ךָ וַיִּקְרָ֥א אֶת־שְׁמ֖וֹ יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ יא וַיֹּ֩אמֶר֩ ל֨וֹ אֱלֹהִ֜ים אֲנִ֨י אֵ֤ל שַׁדַּי֙ פְּרֵ֣ה וּרְבֵ֔ה גּ֛וֹי וּקְהַ֥ל גּוֹיִ֖ם יִהְיֶ֣ה מִמֶּ֑ךָּ וּמְלָכִ֖ים מֵחֲלָצֶ֥יךָ יֵצֵֽאוּ׃ ששי יב וְאֶת־הָאָ֗רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֥ר נָתַ֛תִּי לְאַבְרָהָ֥ם וּלְיִצְחָ֖ק לְךָ֣ אֶתְּנֶ֑נָּה וּֽלְזַרְעֲךָ֥ אַחֲרֶ֖יךָ אֶתֵּ֥ן אֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ יג וַיַּ֥עַל מֵעָלָ֖יו אֱלֹהִ֑ים בַּמָּק֖וֹם אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר אִתּֽוֹ׃ יד וַיַּצֵּ֨ב יַעֲקֹ֜ב מַצֵּבָ֗ה בַּמָּק֛וֹם אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר אִתּ֖וֹ מַצֶּ֣בֶת אָ֑בֶן וַיַּסֵּ֤ךְ עָלֶ֙יהָ֙ נֶ֔סֶךְ וַיִּצֹ֥ק עָלֶ֖יהָ שָֽׁמֶן׃ טו וַיִּקְרָ֨א יַעֲקֹ֜ב אֶת־שֵׁ֣ם הַמָּק֗וֹם אֲשֶׁר֩ דִּבֶּ֨ר אִתּ֥וֹ שָׁ֛ם אֱלֹהִ֖ים בֵּֽית־אֵֽל׃
9 Elohim was seen by Yaaqov again, when he came back from the country of Aram, and he gave him blessing: 10 Elohim said to him: “Yaaqov is your name, Yaaqov shall your name be called no more, for your name shall be Yisrael!” And he called his name: ‘Yisrael.’ 11 Elohim said further to him: “I am El Shaddai. Bear fruit and be many! Nation, yes, a host of nations shall come from you, kings shall go out from your loins! 12 The land that I gave to Avraham and to Yitsḥaq, to you I give it, and to your seed after you I give the land.” 13 Elohim went up from beside him, at the place where he had spoken with him. 14 And Yaaqov set up a standing-pillar at the place where he had spoken with him, a pillar of stone, he poured out a poured-offering on it and cast oil upon it. 15 And Yaaqov called the name of the place where Elohim had spoken with him: ‘Bet-El/House of El!’[54]This episode is attributed to P based on characteristic vocabulary (Paddan Aram [vs. 9] as Laban’s dwelling place and El Shaddai [God Almighty] [vs. 11]). The function of this short passage is twofold. The name change in E is a highly anthropomorphic episode and thus likely problematic for P. Therefore, P presents a non-anthropomorphic version of the name change at a prominent position at the conclusion of the Jacob cycle. ¶ It also presents an alternative to the consecration of Bethel as told in 28:10-22, purging any special connection between the deity and specific objects.

טז וַיִּסְעוּ֙ מִבֵּ֣ית אֵ֔ל וַֽיְהִי־ע֥וֹד כִּבְרַת־הָאָ֖רֶץ לָב֣וֹא אֶפְרָ֑תָה וַתֵּ֥לֶד רָחֵ֖ל וַתְּקַ֥שׁ בְּלִדְתָּֽהּ׃ יז וַיְהִ֥י בְהַקְשֹׁתָ֖הּ בְּלִדְתָּ֑הּ וַתֹּ֨אמֶר לָ֤הּ הַמְיַלֶּ֙דֶת֙ אַל־תִּ֣ירְאִ֔י כִּֽי־גַם־זֶ֥ה לָ֖ךְ בֵּֽן׃ יח וַיְהִ֞י בְּצֵ֤את נַפְשָׁהּ֙ כִּ֣י מֵ֔תָה וַתִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ בֶּן־אוֹנִ֑י וְאָבִ֖יו קָֽרָא־ל֥וֹ בִנְיָמִֽין׃ יט וַתָּ֖מׇת רָחֵ֑ל וַתִּקָּבֵר֙ בְּדֶ֣רֶךְ אֶפְרָ֔תָה הִ֖וא בֵּ֥ית לָֽחֶם׃ כ וַיַּצֵּ֧ב יַעֲקֹ֛ב מַצֵּבָ֖ה עַל־קְבֻרָתָ֑הּ הִ֛וא מַצֶּ֥בֶת קְבֻֽרַת־רָחֵ֖ל עַד־הַיּֽוֹם׃
16 They departed from Bet-El. But when there was still a stretch of land to come to Efrat, Raḥel began to give birth, and she had a very hard birthing. 17 It was, when her birthing was at its hardest, that the midwife said to her: “Do not be afraid, for this one too is a son for you!” 18 It was, as her life was slipping away – for she was dying – that she called his name: ‘Ben-oni/Son-of-my-woe.’ But his father called him: ‘Binyamin/Son-of-the-right-hand.’ 19 So Raḥel died; she was buried along the way to Efrat – that is now Bet-laḥem. 20 Yaaqov set up a standing-pillar over her burial-place, that is Raḥel’s burial pillar of today.[55]Benjamin is Jacob’s seventh son according to E.

כא וַיִּסַּ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל וַיֵּ֣ט אׇֽהֳלֹ֔ה מֵהָ֖לְאָה לְמִגְדַּל־עֵֽדֶר׃ ↓↑ כב וַיְהִ֗י בִּשְׁכֹּ֤ן יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ בָּאָ֣רֶץ הַהִ֔וא וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ רְאוּבֵ֗‍֔ן וַיִּשְׁכַּ֕ב֙ אֶת־בִּלְהָ֖ה֙ פִּילֶ֣גֶשׁ אָבִ֑֔יו וַיִּשְׁמַ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵ֑‍ֽל[56]זה הטעמה “מדרשית”. הטעמה “פשוטה”: וַיְהִ֗י בִּשְׁכֹּ֤ן יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ בָּאָ֣רֶץ הַהִ֔וא וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ רְאוּבֵ֔ן וַיִּשְׁכַּ֕ב אֶת־בִּלְהָ֖ה פִּילֶ֣גֶשׁ אָבִ֑יו וַיִּשְׁמַ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
21 Now Yisrael departed and spread his tent beyond Migdal-eder/Herd-tower. 22 And it was when Yisrael was dwelling in that land: Re’uven went and lay with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. And Yisrael heard.

וַיִּֽהְי֥וּ בְנֵֽי־יַעֲקֹ֖ב שְׁנֵ֥ים עָשָֽׂר׃ כג בְּנֵ֣י לֵאָ֔ה בְּכ֥וֹר יַעֲקֹ֖ב רְאוּבֵ֑ן וְשִׁמְעוֹן֙ וְלֵוִ֣י וִֽיהוּדָ֔ה וְיִשָּׂשכָ֖ר וּזְבֻלֽוּן׃ כד בְּנֵ֣י רָחֵ֔ל יוֹסֵ֖ף וּבִנְיָמִֽן׃ כה וּבְנֵ֤י בִלְהָה֙ שִׁפְחַ֣ת רָחֵ֔ל דָּ֖ן וְנַפְתָּלִֽי׃ כו וּבְנֵ֥י זִלְפָּ֛ה שִׁפְחַ֥ת לֵאָ֖ה גָּ֣ד וְאָשֵׁ֑ר אֵ֚לֶּה בְּנֵ֣י יַעֲקֹ֔ב אֲשֶׁ֥ר יֻלַּד־ל֖וֹ בְּפַדַּ֥ן אֲרָֽם׃
Now the sons of Yaaqov were twelve: 23 The sons of Leah: Yaaqov’s firstborn, Re’uven; Shim’on, Levi and Yehudah, Yissakhar and Zevulun. 24 The sons of Raḥel: Yosef and Binyamin. 25 The sons of Bilhah, Raḥel’s maid: Dan and Naftali. 26 The sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid: Gad and Asher.[57]The genealogical list marks this passage as Priestly. ¶ Reuben sleeps with Bilhah, thus shaming himself and losing his rights as first born, along with Shimon and Levi (the second and third born) who massacred the inhabitants of Shchem. Judah, the fourth son, thus inherits the rights of the firstborn. These (were) Yaaqov’s sons, who were born to him in the country of Aram.[58]The final verse of the genealogy may have been added by the Bridger since it uses the qal passive yuldu (were born to).

כז וַיָּבֹ֤א יַעֲקֹב֙ אֶל־יִצְחָ֣ק אָבִ֔יו מַמְרֵ֖א קִרְיַ֣ת הָֽאַרְבַּ֑ע הִ֣וא חֶבְר֔וֹן אֲשֶׁר־גָּֽר־שָׁ֥ם אַבְרָהָ֖ם וְיִצְחָֽק׃ כח וַיִּֽהְי֖וּ יְמֵ֣י יִצְחָ֑ק מְאַ֥ת שָׁנָ֖ה וּשְׁמֹנִ֥ים שָׁנָֽה׃ כט וַיִּגְוַ֨ע יִצְחָ֤ק וַיָּ֙מׇת֙ וַיֵּאָ֣סֶף אֶל־עַמָּ֔יו זָקֵ֖ן וּשְׂבַ֣ע יָמִ֑ים וַיִּקְבְּר֣וּ אֹת֔וֹ עֵשָׂ֥ו וְיַעֲקֹ֖ב בָּנָֽיו׃
27 Yaaqov came home to Yitsḥaq his father at Mamré, in the city of Arba – that is now Ḥevron, where Avraham and Yitsḥaq had sojourned. 28 And the days of Yitsḥaq were a hundred years and eighty years, 29 then Yitsḥaq expired. He died and was gathered to his kinspeople, old and satisfied in days. Esav and Yaaqov his sons buried him.[59]Isaac’s death notice, almost identical in form to Sarah’s death notice in 23:1 (P).

לו א וְאֵ֛לֶּה תֹּלְד֥וֹת עֵשָׂ֖ו ה֥וּא אֱדֽוֹם׃ ב עֵשָׂ֛ו לָקַ֥ח אֶת־נָשָׁ֖יו מִבְּנ֣וֹת כְּנָ֑עַן אֶת־עָדָ֗ה בַּת־אֵילוֹן֙ הַֽחִתִּ֔י וְאֶת־אׇהֳלִֽיבָמָה֙ בַּת־עֲנָ֔ה בַּת־צִבְע֖וֹן הַֽחִוִּֽי׃ ג וְאֶת־בָּשְׂמַ֥ת בַּת־יִשְׁמָעֵ֖אל אֲח֥וֹת נְבָיֽוֹת׃ ד וַתֵּ֧לֶד עָדָ֛ה לְעֵשָׂ֖ו אֶת־אֱלִיפָ֑ז וּבָ֣שְׂמַ֔ת יָלְדָ֖ה אֶת־רְעוּאֵֽל׃ ה וְאׇהֳלִֽיבָמָה֙ יָֽלְדָ֔ה אֶת־יְע֥וּשׁ [יעיש] וְאֶת־יַעְלָ֖ם וְאֶת־קֹ֑רַח אֵ֚לֶּה בְּנֵ֣י עֵשָׂ֔ו אֲשֶׁ֥ר יֻלְּדוּ־ל֖וֹ בְּאֶ֥רֶץ כְּנָֽעַן׃ ו וַיִּקַּ֣ח עֵשָׂ֡ו אֶת־נָ֠שָׁ֠יו וְאֶת־בָּנָ֣יו וְאֶת־בְּנֹתָיו֮ וְאֶת־כׇּל־נַפְשׁ֣וֹת בֵּיתוֹ֒ וְאֶת־מִקְנֵ֣הוּ וְאֶת־כׇּל־בְּהֶמְתּ֗וֹ וְאֵת֙ כׇּל־קִנְיָנ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר רָכַ֖שׁ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ אֶל־אֶ֔רֶץ מִפְּנֵ֖י יַעֲקֹ֥ב אָחִֽיו׃ ז כִּֽי־הָיָ֧ה רְכוּשָׁ֛ם רָ֖ב מִשֶּׁ֣בֶת יַחְדָּ֑ו וְלֹ֨א יָֽכְלָ֜ה אֶ֤רֶץ מְגֽוּרֵיהֶם֙ לָשֵׂ֣את אֹתָ֔ם מִפְּנֵ֖י מִקְנֵיהֶֽם׃ ח וַיֵּ֤שֶׁב עֵשָׂו֙ בְּהַ֣ר שֵׂעִ֔יר עֵשָׂ֖ו ה֥וּא אֱדֽוֹם׃ ט וְאֵ֛לֶּה תֹּלְד֥וֹת עֵשָׂ֖ו אֲבִ֣י אֱד֑וֹם בְּהַ֖ר שֵׂעִֽיר׃ י אֵ֖לֶּה שְׁמ֣וֹת בְּנֵֽי־עֵשָׂ֑ו אֱלִיפַ֗ז בֶּן־עָדָה֙ אֵ֣שֶׁת עֵשָׂ֔ו רְעוּאֵ֕ל בֶּן־בָּשְׂמַ֖ת אֵ֥שֶׁת עֵשָֽׂו׃ יא וַיִּהְי֖וּ בְּנֵ֣י אֱלִיפָ֑ז תֵּימָ֣ן אוֹמָ֔ר צְפ֥וֹ וְגַעְתָּ֖ם וּקְנַֽז׃ יב וְתִמְנַ֣ע ׀ הָיְתָ֣ה פִילֶ֗גֶשׁ לֶֽאֱלִיפַז֙ בֶּן־עֵשָׂ֔ו וַתֵּ֥לֶד לֶאֱלִיפַ֖ז אֶת־עֲמָלֵ֑ק אֵ֕לֶּה בְּנֵ֥י עָדָ֖ה אֵ֥שֶׁת עֵשָֽׂו׃ יג וְאֵ֙לֶּה֙ בְּנֵ֣י רְעוּאֵ֔ל נַ֥חַת וָזֶ֖רַח שַׁמָּ֣ה וּמִזָּ֑ה אֵ֣לֶּה הָי֔וּ בְּנֵ֥י בָשְׂמַ֖ת אֵ֥שֶׁת עֵשָֽׂו׃ יד וְאֵ֣לֶּה הָי֗וּ בְּנֵ֨י אׇהֳלִיבָמָ֧ה בַת־עֲנָ֛ה בַּת־צִבְע֖וֹן אֵ֣שֶׁת עֵשָׂ֑ו וַתֵּ֣לֶד לְעֵשָׂ֔ו אֶת־יְע֥וּשׁ [יעיש] וְאֶת־יַעְלָ֖ם וְאֶת־קֹֽרַח׃
36 1 And these are the progeny of Esav – that is Edom.[60]A typical Priestly introduction to genealogical lists, found for example, in Genesis 2:4, 5:1, 25:19, 37:1, etc. Following the narrative conclusion of the Jacob cycle P appends information regarding Esau, and compare the addendum to the Abraham cycle in Genesis 25:12, which lists Ishmael’s sons. 2 Esav took his wives from the women of K’naan: Adah, daughter of Elon the Ḥitti, and Oholivamah, daughter of Anah (and) granddaughter of Tsiv’on the Ḥivvi, 3 and Ba’semat, daughter of Yishmael and sister of Nevayot. 4 Adah bore Elifaz to Esav, Ba’semat bore Re’uel, 5 Oholivamah bore Ye’ush, Ya’lam, and Qoraḥ. These are Esav’s sons, who were born to him in the land of K’naan. 6 Esav took his wives, his sons and his daughters, and all the persons in his household, as well as his acquired-livestock, all his animals, and all his acquisitions that he had gained in the land of K’naan, and went to (another) land, away from Yaaqov his brother; 7 for their property was too much for them to settle together, the land of their sojourning could not support them, on account of their acquired-livestock. 8 So Esav settled in the hill-country of Se’ir-Esav, that is Edom. 9 And these are the progeny of Esav, the tribal-father of Edom, in the hill-country of Se’ir:[61]Note the resumptive repetition in 36:9 (“This is the History of Generations of Esau”), which echoes 36:1, this indicates the insertion of later material. The question here, is since the lists are essentially the same why would a later source just add a doublet? The answer is elaboration. The first and later list elaborates the second list. ¶ B, the supplementer here, arbitrates between two traditions: On the one hand there are the H additions to Chapters 26-28, which indicate that Esau took two Canaanite wives, Judith the Daughter of Beeri, Basemat the Daughter of Elon – both of whom are Hittite, and that following his parents displeasure he took a third wife, Yishmael’s daughter, Machalat, thereby echoing his brother, who also marries his first cousins. On the other hand there is P’s tradition which also speaks of Basemat, but has Esau marrying the hitherto unknown Adah (their nationality is not recorded in P). B enters into the fray, accepting H’s essential contention that Esau married women of the Land (Hittite and Hivvite), and that Esau married his cousin, but relying upon the Priestly names – Adah and Basemat (Perhaps he dismisses Judith as too Judean of a name). In B, Basemat, and not Machalat is Ishmael’s daughter. ¶ B, however, adds his own international flavor to this genealogy, adding Oholibama the daughter of Anna the Daughter of Tzivon the Horrite (the Hebrew text and its English translation are in error here and should be emended to Horrite rather than Hivvite). B, tells us of Esau’s intermarriage with the Horrites who lived in Seir, and adds a short historical excerpt about them in vss. 20-30. B also mention the Horrites in Genesis 14:6 and in Deut 2:12, as part of his internationalization of the biblical text. Two further concretize the connection between Esau and the Horrites. Esau’s eldest son Elifaz, marries Timna, the daughter of Lotan the Horrite (vs. 22) according to B (and see vs. 12.). ¶ Note also the use of the Qal Passive Yuldu in vs. 5, which often marks B’s genealogies. 10 These are the names of the sons of Esav: Elifaz son of Adah, Esav’s wife, Re’uel, son of Ba’semat, Esav’s wife. 11 The sons of Elifaz were Teman, Omar, Ts’fo, Ga’tam, and Q’naz.[62]This short list includes Esau’s two wives, who each had one child, and then who in turn had children of their own. 12 Now Timna was concubine to Elifaz son of Esav, and she bore Amaleq to Elifaz.[63]See comment on 36:9, Elifaz’s marriage to Timna concretizes Esau’s connection to the Horrites of Seir. Moreover, B, neatly connects Amalek and Esau, (Elifaz father’s Amalek through Timna), thus genetically tying between two of Israel’s ancient enemies. These are the sons of Adah, Esav’s wife. 13 And these are the sons of Re’uel: Naḥat and Zeraḥ, Shammah and Mizzah. These were the sons of Ba’semat, Esav’s wife.[64]See penultimate comment. 14 And these were the sons of Oholivamah, daughter of Anah, (and) granddaughter of Tsiv’on (and) Esav’s wife: She bore Ye’ush and Ya’lam and Qoraḥ to Esav.

טו אֵ֖לֶּה אַלּוּפֵ֣י בְנֵֽי־עֵשָׂ֑ו בְּנֵ֤י אֱלִיפַז֙ בְּכ֣וֹר עֵשָׂ֔ו אַלּ֤וּף תֵּימָן֙ אַלּ֣וּף אוֹמָ֔ר אַלּ֥וּף צְפ֖וֹ אַלּ֥וּף קְנַֽז׃ טז אַלּֽוּף־קֹ֛רַח אַלּ֥וּף גַּעְתָּ֖ם אַלּ֣וּף עֲמָלֵ֑ק אֵ֣לֶּה אַלּוּפֵ֤י אֱלִיפַז֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ אֱד֔וֹם אֵ֖לֶּה בְּנֵ֥י עָדָֽה׃ יז וְאֵ֗לֶּה בְּנֵ֤י רְעוּאֵל֙ בֶּן־עֵשָׂ֔ו אַלּ֥וּף נַ֙חַת֙ אַלּ֣וּף זֶ֔רַח אַלּ֥וּף שַׁמָּ֖ה אַלּ֣וּף מִזָּ֑ה אֵ֣לֶּה אַלּוּפֵ֤י רְעוּאֵל֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ אֱד֔וֹם אֵ֕לֶּה בְּנֵ֥י בָשְׂמַ֖ת אֵ֥שֶׁת עֵשָֽׂו׃ יח וְאֵ֗לֶּה בְּנֵ֤י אׇהֳלִֽיבָמָה֙ אֵ֣שֶׁת עֵשָׂ֔ו אַלּ֥וּף יְע֛וּשׁ אַלּ֥וּף יַעְלָ֖ם אַלּ֣וּף קֹ֑רַח אֵ֣לֶּה אַלּוּפֵ֞י אׇהֳלִֽיבָמָ֛ה בַּת־עֲנָ֖ה אֵ֥שֶׁת עֵשָֽׂו׃ יט אֵ֧לֶּה בְנֵי־עֵשָׂ֛ו וְאֵ֥לֶּה אַלּוּפֵיהֶ֖ם ה֥וּא אֱדֽוֹם׃
15 These are the families of Esav’s sons: From the sons of Elifaz, Esav’s firstborn, are: the Family Teman, the Family Omar, the Family Ts’fo, the Family Qenaz, 16 the Family Qoraḥ, the Family Ga’tam, the Family Amaleq; these are the families from Elifaz in the land of Edom, these are the sons of Adah. 17 And these are the Children of Re’uel, Esav’s son: the Family Naḥat, the Family Zeraḥ, the Family Shammah, the Family Mizzah; these are the families from Re’uel in the land of Edom, these the Children of Ba’semat, Esav’s wife. 18 And these are the Children of Oholivamah, Esav’s wife: the Family Ye’ush, the Family Ya’lam, the Family Koraḥ; these are the families from Oholivamah, daughter of Anah, Esav’s wife.[65]The list of chiefs who are all sons of Esau is meant to displace P’s list of chiefs which includes only two of Esau’s children, and thus is a little disjointed. B has two distinct lists of chiefs one of Horrites in vss 20-30 and another of Esau-ites in vss. 15-18. 19 These are the Children of Esav and these are their families. – That is Edom.[66]The conclusion to P’s list was separated from the body, by B’s lengthy insertion.

שביעי כ אֵ֤לֶּה בְנֵֽי־שֵׂעִיר֙ הַחֹרִ֔י יֹשְׁבֵ֖י הָאָ֑רֶץ לוֹטָ֥ן וְשׁוֹבָ֖ל וְצִבְע֥וֹן וַעֲנָֽה׃ כא וְדִשׁ֥וֹן וְאֵ֖צֶר וְדִישָׁ֑ן אֵ֣לֶּה אַלּוּפֵ֧י הַחֹרִ֛י בְּנֵ֥י שֵׂעִ֖יר בְּאֶ֥רֶץ אֱדֽוֹם׃ כב וַיִּהְי֥וּ בְנֵי־לוֹטָ֖ן חֹרִ֣י וְהֵימָ֑ם וַאֲח֥וֹת לוֹטָ֖ן תִּמְנָֽע׃ כג וְאֵ֙לֶּה֙ בְּנֵ֣י שׁוֹבָ֔ל עַלְוָ֥ן וּמָנַ֖חַת וְעֵיבָ֑ל שְׁפ֖וֹ וְאוֹנָֽם׃ כד וְאֵ֥לֶּה בְנֵֽי־צִבְע֖וֹן וְאַיָּ֣ה וַעֲנָ֑ה ה֣וּא עֲנָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר מָצָ֤א אֶת־הַיֵּמִם֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר בִּרְעֹת֥וֹ אֶת־הַחֲמֹרִ֖ים לְצִבְע֥וֹן אָבִֽיו׃ כה וְאֵ֥לֶּה בְנֵֽי־עֲנָ֖ה דִּשֹׁ֑ן וְאָהֳלִיבָמָ֖ה בַּת־עֲנָֽה׃ כו וְאֵ֖לֶּה בְּנֵ֣י דִישָׁ֑ן חֶמְדָּ֥ן וְאֶשְׁבָּ֖ן וְיִתְרָ֥ן וּכְרָֽן׃ כז אֵ֖לֶּה בְּנֵי־אֵ֑צֶר בִּלְהָ֥ן וְזַעֲוָ֖ן וַעֲקָֽן׃ כח אֵ֥לֶּה בְנֵֽי־דִישָׁ֖ן ע֥וּץ וַאֲרָֽן׃ כט אֵ֖לֶּה אַלּוּפֵ֣י הַחֹרִ֑י אַלּ֤וּף לוֹטָן֙ אַלּ֣וּף שׁוֹבָ֔ל אַלּ֥וּף צִבְע֖וֹן אַלּ֥וּף עֲנָֽה׃ ל אַלּ֥וּף דִּשֹׁ֛ן אַלּ֥וּף אֵ֖צֶר אַלּ֣וּף דִּישָׁ֑ן אֵ֣לֶּה אַלּוּפֵ֧י הַחֹרִ֛י לְאַלֻּפֵיהֶ֖ם בְּאֶ֥רֶץ שֵׂעִֽיר׃
20 These are the sons of Se’ir the Ḥori, the settled-folk of the land: Lotan and Shoval and Tsiv’on and Anah 21 and Dishon and Etser and Dishan. These are the Ḥori families, the Children of Se’ir in the land of Edom. 22 The sons of Lotan were Ḥori and Hemam, and Lotan’s sister was Timna. 23 And these are the sons of Shoval: Alvan and Manaḥat and Eval, Sh’fo and Onam. 24 And these are the sons of Tsiv’on: Ayya and Anah. – That is the Anah who found the yemim in the wilderness, as he was tending the donkeys of Tsiv’on his father. 25 And these are the sons of Anah: Dishon – and Oholivamah was Anah’s daughter. 26 And these are the sons of Dishon: Ḥemdan and Eshban and Yitran and Kheran. 27 These are the sons of Etser: Bilhan and Zaavan and Aqan. 28 These are the sons of Dishan: Uts and Aran. 29 These are the Ḥori families: the Family Lotan, the Family Shoval, the Family Tsiv’on, the Family Anah, 30 the Family Dishon, the Family Etser, the Family Dishan. These are the families of the Ḥori, according to their families in the land of Se’ir.

לא וְאֵ֙לֶּה֙ הַמְּלָכִ֔ים אֲשֶׁ֥ר מָלְכ֖וּ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ אֱד֑וֹם לִפְנֵ֥י מְלׇךְ־מֶ֖לֶךְ לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃ לב וַיִּמְלֹ֣ךְ בֶּאֱד֔וֹם בֶּ֖לַע בֶּן־בְּע֑וֹר וְשֵׁ֥ם עִיר֖וֹ דִּנְהָֽבָה׃ לג וַיָּ֖מׇת בָּ֑לַע וַיִּמְלֹ֣ךְ תַּחְתָּ֔יו יוֹבָ֥ב בֶּן־זֶ֖רַח מִבׇּצְרָֽה׃ לד וַיָּ֖מָת יוֹבָ֑ב וַיִּמְלֹ֣ךְ תַּחְתָּ֔יו חֻשָׁ֖ם מֵאֶ֥רֶץ הַתֵּימָנִֽי׃ לה וַיָּ֖מׇת חֻשָׁ֑ם וַיִּמְלֹ֨ךְ תַּחְתָּ֜יו הֲדַ֣ד בֶּן־בְּדַ֗ד הַמַּכֶּ֤ה אֶת־מִדְיָן֙ בִּשְׂדֵ֣ה מוֹאָ֔ב וְשֵׁ֥ם עִיר֖וֹ עֲוִֽית׃ לו וַיָּ֖מׇת הֲדָ֑ד וַיִּמְלֹ֣ךְ תַּחְתָּ֔יו שַׂמְלָ֖ה מִמַּשְׂרֵקָֽה׃ לז וַיָּ֖מׇת שַׂמְלָ֑ה וַיִּמְלֹ֣ךְ תַּחְתָּ֔יו שָׁא֖וּל מֵרְחֹב֥וֹת הַנָּהָֽר׃ לח וַיָּ֖מׇת שָׁא֑וּל וַיִּמְלֹ֣ךְ תַּחְתָּ֔יו בַּ֥עַל חָנָ֖ן בֶּן־עַכְבּֽוֹר׃ לט וַיָּ֘מׇת֮ בַּ֣עַל חָנָ֣ן בֶּן־עַכְבּוֹר֒ וַיִּמְלֹ֤ךְ תַּחְתָּיו֙ הֲדַ֔ר וְשֵׁ֥ם עִיר֖וֹ פָּ֑עוּ וְשֵׁ֨ם אִשְׁתּ֤וֹ מְהֵֽיטַבְאֵל֙ בַּת־מַטְרֵ֔ד בַּ֖ת מֵ֥י זָהָֽב׃ מפטיר מ וְ֠אֵ֠לֶּה שְׁמ֞וֹת אַלּוּפֵ֤י עֵשָׂו֙ לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֔ם לִמְקֹמֹתָ֖ם בִּשְׁמֹתָ֑ם אַלּ֥וּף תִּמְנָ֛ע אַלּ֥וּף עַֽלְוָ֖ה אַלּ֥וּף יְתֵֽת׃ מא אַלּ֧וּף אׇהֳלִיבָמָ֛ה אַלּ֥וּף אֵלָ֖ה אַלּ֥וּף פִּינֹֽן׃ מב אַלּ֥וּף קְנַ֛ז אַלּ֥וּף תֵּימָ֖ן אַלּ֥וּף מִבְצָֽר׃ מג אַלּ֥וּף מַגְדִּיאֵ֖ל אַלּ֣וּף עִירָ֑ם אֵ֣לֶּה ׀ אַלּוּפֵ֣י אֱד֗וֹם לְמֹֽשְׁבֹתָם֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ אֲחֻזָּתָ֔ם ה֥וּא עֵשָׂ֖ו אֲבִ֥י אֱדֽוֹם׃
31 Now these are the kings who served as king in the land of Edom, before any king of the Children of Yisrael served as king: 32 In Edom, Bela son of Be’or was king; the name of his city was Dinhavah. 33 When Bela died, Yovav son of Zeraḥ of Botsrah became king in his stead. 34 When Yovav died, Ḥusham from the land of the Temani became king in his stead. 35 When Ḥusham died, Hadad son of Bedad became king in his stead – who struck Midyan in the territory of Mo’av, and the name of his city was Avit. 36 When Hadad died, Samlah of Masreqah became king in his stead. 37 When Samlah died, Sha’ul of Rehovot-by-the-river became king in his stead. 38 When Sha’ul died, Baal-Ḥanan son of Akhbor became king in his stead. 39 When Baal-Ḥanan son of Akhbor died, Hadar became king in his stead; the name of his city was Pa’u, and the name of his wife, M’hetavel daughter of Matred, daughter of Mei-zahav.[67]Note the two lists one of Horrite chieftans and the other of Edomite Kings, both have a distinct international flavor. B is the only narrative source in the Pentateuch which makes a point of adding stories of Israel’s neighbors. Note the snippets of narrative weaved into the lists, typical to B. We find out that Ana found water in the desert while he was shepherding for his father (vs. 24), and we find out the exotic name of the final Edomite king, Mehetabel, Daughter of Matred, Daughter of Mei-Zahab (vs. 39). 40 Now these are the names of the families from Esav, according to their clans, according to their local-places, by their names: The Family Timna, the Family Alvah, the Family Y’tet, 41 the Family Oholivamah, the Family Elah, the Family Pinon, 42 the Family Q’naz, the Family Teman, the Family Mivtsar, 43 the Family Magdiel, the Family Iram. These are the families of Edom according to their settlements in the land of their holdings. That is Esav, the tribal-father of Edom.[68]This is a very interesting list, only two names therein are of Esau’s children (Kenaz and Teman), some of the list was used by B as a basis for his Horrite genealogy (Timna, Oholibama, Alva). The last three names (Mibzar, Magdiel, Iram) seem to be completely fabricated, since they translate as Fortification, Tower, and City respectively. Note that Esau has eleven chiefs, this is not accidental – Jacob his younger brother has twelve children.

The Masoretic text presented here is from Rabbi Dr. Seth (Avi) Kadish’s Miqra al pi ha-Mesorah. For the translation in English, I have adapted the translation of Everett Fox in the Schocken Bible (1997), mostly to re-Hebraize divine names, place names, and personal names, but I have made other changes. In place of “slaughter-site,” I have offered “place-for-slaughter” and in place of “begettings” I have “progeny.” Aside from these, I have made minor punctuation changes.

Notes   [ + ]

1. This narrative is an extended explanation of the name Mahanayim (literally “two companies or stations). Jacob splits his company into two. Note that Jacob is described as fearful in these verses, as opposed to the great strength he displays in vss. 24-30. This section is quite obviously Yahwistic, it alludes to the promise of progeny made to Jacob at Bethel in Chapter 28:13-15, and depicts Jacob as unsure of himself like in Chapter 27 when he cheats his brother out of his birthright. Note also J’s characteristic use of “the Lord” in these verse as opposed to “God” in vss. 1-2, 24-30.
2. The highly anthropomorphic quality of this episode may be one of the reasons it was split into two by the J addition. J may have been quite uncomfortable with Jacob’s ability to best a godlike being, and separates the explicit information regarding the origin of the figure fighting with Jacob as mentioned in vss. 1-2, from vss. 24-30 in order to dull the anthropomorphism, and Jacob’s otherworldly strength.
3. This final notice regarding the future customs of the Israelite nation, is clearly secondary, as it assumes a people not yet in existence with a codified body of customs/laws.
4. According to E, there is no animosity between Esau and Jacob – the narratives of Chapters 25 and 27 are J additions – and thus this narrative simply describes a joyous reunion of long lost brothers. Jacob displays his wealth and Esau his military might.
5. This defensive organization is part of Jacob’s overall perception of Esau as a threat in the J additions to the Jacob cycle. Note also Jacob’s two handmaidens – in E, however, Jacob has only one handmaiden.
6. In E, Jacob simply comes to his brother and embraces him, J adds the groveling demeanor throughout this chapter as part of his depiction of a fearful Jacob apprehensive of Esau’s possible revenge for cheating him out of his birthright.
7, 24. See the previous comment.
8. Note the parallelism between this episode and the emotional meeting between Jacob and Laban / Rachel in Genesis 29 (E).
9. This pattern of groveling is part of J’s overall additions to this chapter and see comments on 33:2 and 33:3.
10. According to E the gift is simply courteous; in J it functions as graft so Esau will not exact revenge.
11. This is an allusion to the gifts Jacob sent to Esau in Chapter 32 according to J.
12. This urging to take the gifts in E is nothing but polite. If it is read, however, in conjunction with J’s additions it may be interpreted as part of Jacob’s overall groveling and see comment on 33:2.
13. Jacob’s still overemploys hierarchical terminology fearing Esau’s revenge. Note also Jacob’s lie that he intends to join Esau in Seir (vs. 14), an event which never actually occurs. J’s negative of portrayal of Jacob is in full swing.
14. The conclusion of the E narrative of this chapter – Esau returns to Seir, Jacob continues on his journey.
15. This type of place etymology is common to sources later than E which focus on more exact information (and compare the addition of Luz, the second name for Bethel, to Chapter 28:10-21).
16. Jacob’s first station after Penuel (Chapter 32:30) according to E.
17. The name of Laban’s city according to P. P adds specification to Jacob’s location, as is his wont.
18. Note the difference between Shechem and Bethel two of the major northern cities at the time of E’s composition. Bethel was established by Jacob in 28:10-21, whereas Shechem was already inhabited by Canaanites. Shechem is thus not fit to be a center of future Israelite cult and Jacob buries his family’s idols in the vicinity of the city according to E (Gen 35:4).
19. Jacob establishes and legitimizes his right of residence in the vicinity of Shechem, indicating his plan to remain there for a protracted period of time. This verse is a precursor to the Rape of Dinah in Chapter 34, where P seeks to whitewash the massacre perpetrated by Jacob’s sons, and see our commentary on Chapter 34.
20. J has Jacob erecting a commemorative altar which is not sacrificed upon similar to Abraham’s commemorative altar in the vicinity of Shechem (12:7).
21. Dinah is only a biblical character according to J and P, E does not mention her in the list of Jacob’s children in Genesis 30. According to the J narrative, Dinah goes to the city of Shechem for social interaction, Shechem the city’s leader sees her and proposes marriage to her father and brothers. The brothers agree but only on condition that all the inhabitants of Shechem circumcise themselves. This they do, and the sons of Jacob promptly take advantage of the inhabitants’ incapacity and sack the city.
22. Hamor,Shechem’s father, does not feature in the J version of events. His addition to the tale (by P) places the marriage negotiations on a more formal footing, as a general pact between Jacob’s family/national-group and the city of Shechem. P thus attempts to justify the massacre as saving the Israelites from an assimilationist pact (assimilation is one of the reason the Israelites are commanded to annihilate the inhabitants of Canaan, and compare Exodus 34:11-16). ¶ I also think that naming Shechem as a Hivvite is a P addition attempting to justify the massacre, since the Hivvites are one of the 6-7 nations that are to be annihilated according to virtually all the post-Elohistic sources (e.g., Exodus 23:23).
23. In the J version of events Shechem only saw Dinah, he did not rape her. The rape was added by P in order to justify the massacre. Indeed, the rape does not sit well in these verses. Right after Shechem rapes Dinah he speaks tenderly to her, two very different types of interpersonal contact which do not really accord with each other (especially in that order). The rape is alluded to in subsequent verses (vss. 5, 13) as defilement, a term which is more in synch with a Priestly worldview which sees the world as a dichotomy of holy and non-holy, pure and defiled.
25. In the J version of event, right after Shechem speaks tenderly to Dinah he goes and asks for her hand in marriage (vs. 11), a natural progression of events.
26. As mentioned above in the first comment, P added Hamor’s role to the narrative. Note that Hamor the father’s marriage negotiations coincide with allusion to the rape which is secondary. The Israelites are construed in these verses as a national group: 34:7: “When they heard of it, the men were indignant and very angry, because he had committed an outrage in Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing ought not to be done.” This is, of course, anachronistic since Jacob’s family merely constitutes his children and his wives, nothing broader, and see comment second comment on 34:2.
27. According to J, there is no excuse for the massacre, the sons of Jacob see their opportunity and convince Shechem to make himself and the inhabitants of his city vulnerable through circumcision.
28. Since Hamor does not feature as an active character in J’s version of this story, it is probable that any mention of him was a later Priestly addition, and see the second comment on 34:2.
29. Shechem’s proposal of marriage is much more natural, it is simply an offer of property, not a general pact between national groups.
30. Note the use of the term “defiled”, all allusions to the rape are P additions to the text since the rape itself was an addition, and see above, the third comment on 34:2.
31. Circumcision was clearly a distinction between the Israelites and other national groups according to more than one source, as we see in the book of Judges and I Samuel (e.g. I Samuel 18:24-29) and their references to the uncircumcised Philistines. Only in P, however, is it covenantal (Genesis 17). In this narrative as well, it is the distinguishing feature between Jacob and his sons and the Shchemites. P seizes upon the theme of circumcision, and makes it the key to the more general pact suggested in his version of events.
32. P may have added the expression “every male” in this verse which would make the language very similar to the P covenant of Chapter 17. P may have also wished to emphasize the totality of the massacre, and thus he makes sure we understand that all males were circumcised and that subsequently they were all massacred.
33. The Shechemites are guileless according to J; Shechem sincerely wishes to marry Dinah without any ulterior motive.
34. See above, second comment on 34:2 and second comment on 34:13.
35. According to J, Shechem does not present the idea to his city and attempt to convince them, they simply accept it. The reason P repeats the conditions of the proposed pact, is to emphasize his version of events and the threat they pose to the non-assimilated future of the Israelites.
36. Shechem and Hamor present the pact to the inhabitants of the city in a tone tinged with avarice: “23 Will not their livestock, their property, and all their animals be ours?”, thus providing further justification for their massacre.
37, 47, 64. See penultimate comment.
38. See second comment on 34:15.
39. According to J all the brothers of Dinah, i.e. all the sons of Jacob massacred the inhabitants of Shchem. P, however, restricts the blame to Simeon and Levi, in order to whitewash the story and implicate a minimum number of Israelites. Simeon and Levi first appear here, and are not consistently mentioned in subsequent verses, it seems that their addition to the text was inconsistent. The reason for choosing Simeon and Levi specifically is that they are two of the older children in line for the birthright of the eldest, their shame here together with Reuben’s shame after sleeping with his father’s handmaiden (35:22), paves the way for Judah, the fourth son, to inherit the birthright.
40. See the above comment.
41. J’s version of events where all of Jacob’s family participated in the massacre makes more narratival sense, simply because it would be hard for two people to kill all the inhabitants of a city.
42. Dinah is only in Shechem’s house in P’s version of events in which he keeps her there after he rapes her. In J’s version of events, she would still be with her family.
43. “Unawares” is the key word here, there is no justification for what the sons of Jacob perpetrated according to J.
44. A further allusion to the rape, see third comment on 34:2.
45. Jacob is depicted as powerless vis-à-vis his sons and afraid of retribution, which accords with his general portrayal as a weak and cowardly individual according to J.
46. See first comment on 34:25.
48. See third comment on 34:2.
49. Since no animosity exists between Jacob and Esau according to E, this verse is post-Elohistic, and since the name Elohim (God) is used, it is likely the Priestly author who added this line.
50. Jacob defiles Shechem by burying idols under what may have been a holy tree.
51. The verse alludes to the sacking of Shchem by the sons of Jacob and uses the name Elohim, it was thus likely added by P.
52. Jacob returns to Bethel fulfilling his vow of 28:20-22. ¶ Luz is an additional name for Bethel, also added in by a later author when the place is named in 28:17. ¶ According to E Jacob founds a center of cult in Bethel; in 28:10-22 he erects a pillar, and here he builds an altar.
53. In the same way E defiled Shechem by having Jacob bury idols there, J defiles Bethel by using it as a burial site for Deborah, Rebecca’s nursemaid (Rebecca is not mentioned in the E narrative).
54. This episode is attributed to P based on characteristic vocabulary (Paddan Aram [vs. 9] as Laban’s dwelling place and El Shaddai [God Almighty] [vs. 11]). The function of this short passage is twofold. The name change in E is a highly anthropomorphic episode and thus likely problematic for P. Therefore, P presents a non-anthropomorphic version of the name change at a prominent position at the conclusion of the Jacob cycle. ¶ It also presents an alternative to the consecration of Bethel as told in 28:10-22, purging any special connection between the deity and specific objects.
55. Benjamin is Jacob’s seventh son according to E.
56. זה הטעמה “מדרשית”. הטעמה “פשוטה”: וַיְהִ֗י בִּשְׁכֹּ֤ן יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ בָּאָ֣רֶץ הַהִ֔וא וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ רְאוּבֵ֔ן וַיִּשְׁכַּ֕ב אֶת־בִּלְהָ֖ה פִּילֶ֣גֶשׁ אָבִ֑יו וַיִּשְׁמַ֖ע יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
57. The genealogical list marks this passage as Priestly. ¶ Reuben sleeps with Bilhah, thus shaming himself and losing his rights as first born, along with Shimon and Levi (the second and third born) who massacred the inhabitants of Shchem. Judah, the fourth son, thus inherits the rights of the firstborn.
58. The final verse of the genealogy may have been added by the Bridger since it uses the qal passive yuldu (were born to).
59. Isaac’s death notice, almost identical in form to Sarah’s death notice in 23:1 (P).
60. A typical Priestly introduction to genealogical lists, found for example, in Genesis 2:4, 5:1, 25:19, 37:1, etc. Following the narrative conclusion of the Jacob cycle P appends information regarding Esau, and compare the addendum to the Abraham cycle in Genesis 25:12, which lists Ishmael’s sons.
61. Note the resumptive repetition in 36:9 (“This is the History of Generations of Esau”), which echoes 36:1, this indicates the insertion of later material. The question here, is since the lists are essentially the same why would a later source just add a doublet? The answer is elaboration. The first and later list elaborates the second list. ¶ B, the supplementer here, arbitrates between two traditions: On the one hand there are the H additions to Chapters 26-28, which indicate that Esau took two Canaanite wives, Judith the Daughter of Beeri, Basemat the Daughter of Elon – both of whom are Hittite, and that following his parents displeasure he took a third wife, Yishmael’s daughter, Machalat, thereby echoing his brother, who also marries his first cousins. On the other hand there is P’s tradition which also speaks of Basemat, but has Esau marrying the hitherto unknown Adah (their nationality is not recorded in P). B enters into the fray, accepting H’s essential contention that Esau married women of the Land (Hittite and Hivvite), and that Esau married his cousin, but relying upon the Priestly names – Adah and Basemat (Perhaps he dismisses Judith as too Judean of a name). In B, Basemat, and not Machalat is Ishmael’s daughter. ¶ B, however, adds his own international flavor to this genealogy, adding Oholibama the daughter of Anna the Daughter of Tzivon the Horrite (the Hebrew text and its English translation are in error here and should be emended to Horrite rather than Hivvite). B, tells us of Esau’s intermarriage with the Horrites who lived in Seir, and adds a short historical excerpt about them in vss. 20-30. B also mention the Horrites in Genesis 14:6 and in Deut 2:12, as part of his internationalization of the biblical text. Two further concretize the connection between Esau and the Horrites. Esau’s eldest son Elifaz, marries Timna, the daughter of Lotan the Horrite (vs. 22) according to B (and see vs. 12.). ¶ Note also the use of the Qal Passive Yuldu in vs. 5, which often marks B’s genealogies.
62. This short list includes Esau’s two wives, who each had one child, and then who in turn had children of their own.
63. See comment on 36:9, Elifaz’s marriage to Timna concretizes Esau’s connection to the Horrites of Seir. Moreover, B, neatly connects Amalek and Esau, (Elifaz father’s Amalek through Timna), thus genetically tying between two of Israel’s ancient enemies.
65. The list of chiefs who are all sons of Esau is meant to displace P’s list of chiefs which includes only two of Esau’s children, and thus is a little disjointed. B has two distinct lists of chiefs one of Horrites in vss 20-30 and another of Esau-ites in vss. 15-18.
66. The conclusion to P’s list was separated from the body, by B’s lengthy insertion.
67. Note the two lists one of Horrite chieftans and the other of Edomite Kings, both have a distinct international flavor. B is the only narrative source in the Pentateuch which makes a point of adding stories of Israel’s neighbors. Note the snippets of narrative weaved into the lists, typical to B. We find out that Ana found water in the desert while he was shepherding for his father (vs. 24), and we find out the exotic name of the final Edomite king, Mehetabel, Daughter of Matred, Daughter of Mei-Zahab (vs. 39).
68. This is a very interesting list, only two names therein are of Esau’s children (Kenaz and Teman), some of the list was used by B as a basis for his Horrite genealogy (Timna, Oholibama, Alva). The last three names (Mibzar, Magdiel, Iram) seem to be completely fabricated, since they translate as Fortification, Tower, and City respectively. Note that Esau has eleven chiefs, this is not accidental – Jacob his younger brother has twelve children.

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