5 And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob. 

6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Beth-el, he and all the people that were with him.

7 And he built there an altar, and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.

Jacob had been concerned how the neighbors would react to his sons killing the men of Shalem. There was a legitimate fear that the local might destroy the small household, and I would imagine especially so while they were out on the road without cover. Fortunately the people recognized that God walked with Jacob’s household, and restrained themselves from any violence.

And so Jacob’s wars were being fought for him, won before they even started. In peace he arrived at his destination, and there he made a new altar, just as he had when he first rested at this place.

Jacob also christened the land with a new name. Previously he had called it “Beth-el” which meant “the house of God”. Now he named it “El-beth-el” which means “the God of the house of God.” A bit of an unconventional name by our modern standards, and I admit I don’t understand the redundant use of “God,” but it does make for an interesting palindrome.

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