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If a man voweth a vow, and he does not fulfil it in good time, he will stumble through three grave sins, idolatry, unchastity, and bloodshed. Jacob had been guilty of not accomplishing promptly the vow he had taken upon himself at Beth-el, and therefore punishment overtook him--his daughter was dishonored, his sons slew men, and they kept the idols found among the spoils of Shechem.[293] Therefore, when Jacob prostrated himself before God after the bloody outrage at Shechem, He bade him arise, and go to Beth-el and accomplish the vow he had vowed there.[294] Before Jacob set out for the holy place to do the bidding of God, he took the idols which were in the possession of his sons, and the teraphim which Rachel had stolen from her father, and he shivered them in pieces, and buried[295] the bits under an oak upon Mount Gerizim,[296] uprooting the tree with one hand, concealing the remains of the idols in the hollow left in the earth, and planting the oak again with one hand.[297]

Among the destroyed idols was one in the form of a dove, and this the Samaritans dug up later and worshipped.

On reaching Beth-el he erected an altar to the Lord, and on a pillar he set up the stone whereon he had rested his head during the night which he had passed there on his journey to Haran.[298] Then he bade his parents come to Beth-el and take part in his sacrifice. But Isaac sent him a message, saying, "O my son Jacob, that I might see thee before I die," whereupon Jacob hastened to his parents, taking Levi and Judah with him. When his grandchildren stepped before Isaac, the darkness that shrouded his eyes dropped away, and he said, "My son, are these thy children, for they resemble thee?" And the spirit of prophecy entered his mouth, and he grasped Levi with his right hand and Judah with his left in order to bless them, and he spoke these words to Levi: "May the Lord bring thee and thy seed nigh unto Him before all flesh, that ye serve in His sanctuary like the Angel of the Face and the Holy Angels. Princes, judges, and rulers shall they be unto all the seed of the children of Jacob. The word of God they will proclaim in righteousness, and all His judgments they will execute in justice, and they will make manifest His ways unto the children of Jacob, and unto Israel His paths." And unto Judah he spake, saying: "Be ye princes, thou and one of thy sons, over the sons of Jacob. In thee shall be the help of Jacob, and the salvation of Israel shall be found in thee. And when thou sittest upon the throne of the glory of thy justice, perfect peace shall reign over all the seed of the children of my beloved Abraham."

On the morrow, Isaac told his son that he would not accompany him to Beth-el on account of his great age, but he bade him not delay longer to fulfil his vow, and gave him permission to take his mother Rebekah with him to the holy place. And Rebekah and her nurse Deborah went to Beth-el with Jacob.[299]

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