62. When did Jacob rename Luz to Bethel? Genesis 28:18-19 vs. Genesis 33:18 and Genesis 35:6-7
I’m not really sure what Genesis 33:18 has to do with the point, so I’m leaving it out. You can read it here.
Then Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been Luz previously.
So Jacob came to Luz (that is, Bethel), which is in the land of Canaan, he and all the people who were with him. 7 And he built an altar there and called the place El Bethel, because there God appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother.
There really isn’t much of a contradiction here.
Genesis 35 parenthetically clarifies that Luz is the place Jacob previously named Bethel. It does not say that he renamed it at that time, but that he called it “El Bethel,” which is different from “Bethel.”
In chapter 28, Jacob is running away from his angry older brother who means to kill him. He rests for the night, has a vision, hears from God, and changes the name of the place from Luz to Bethel. Verses 16 and 17 quote Jacob’s reaction to the encounter that he had. He recognized that God was in that place, so he named it, literally, “house of God.”
If we read on, we see that Jacob made a vow at Bethel, that if God would provide for him on his journey and bring him home one day in peace, the Lord would be his God (verses 20 through 22).
By Genesis 35, Jacob has returned to the land in peace, and well provided for. He has two wives, lots of children, servants, and livestock, etc. He’s a wealthy man. And when he meets his estranged brother, it’s a happy reunion and all is well. God honored Jacob’s vow.
Genesis 35 consistently refers to the place as “Bethel,” from the first verse. God tells Jacob to go back to “Bethel” to set up an altar, etc. Verse 6 clarifies that this place is still the one formerly known as Luz, and in verse 7, Jacob calls it “El Bethel,” because he is honoring the vow he made to the Lord when he was there so many years before. “El Bethel” literally means “God of the House of God.” Jacob was finishing his vow by making the Lord whom he met at Bethel his God.
Short answer: When he fled from his brother in Genesis 28