Verse 3: Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up (Gen. 28:22; 35:1, 3, 7) to God to Beth-el, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine…
[And when thou hast departed thence, etc., וְחָלַפְתָּ֙ מִשָּׁ֜ם וָהָ֗לְאָה וּבָ֙אתָ֙] And thou shalt depart thence and come farther, etc. (Septuagint). Advancing thence onward, thou shalt come, etc. (Pagnine). And when thou hast departed thence, and proceeded farther, and come, etc. (Vatablus).
[Unto the oak of Tabor (thus the Septuagint)] Unto the oak (Tigurinus); unto the terebinth (Syriac, similarly the Arabic); unto Elon Tabor (Montanus); unto the plain of Tabor (Jonathan, Pagnine, Junius and Tremellius, Piscator). A plain at the foot of mount Tabor. See Judges 4:6 (Piscator, Tostatus in Lapide). [Others otherwise:] Tabor in this passage is not the name of the mountain (for that is in the tribe of Zebulun); but either of the man that was the Owner of that oak, or of the place in which the oak was situated (Menochius out of Sanchez).
To the plain of Tabor; not that at the foot of Mount Tabor, which was far from these parts; but another belonging to some other place, or man, called Tabor.
[To God to Beth-el] It is difficult to determine what this Beth-el was. Response 1: Beth-el is able to be an appellative name, signifying whatever place dedicated to the worship of God (Mendoza). Therefore, Beth-el here is the city of Jearim, where the Ark was at that time (thus Piscator and Malvenda out of Junius). Response 2: This Beth-el was in Ephraim, which was previously called Luz, Genesis 28:19 (Mendoza, thus Munster, Vatablus, Menochius, Lapide, Sanchez). Since at that time the Tabernacle was without the Ark, and the Ark in a place not its own, it was lawful, as we said, to sacrifice in other places (Sanchez, Lapide), in the high places (Munster). Indeed, even privately (Vatablus). Now, Beth-el was already reckoned as a religious site from the time of Jacob (Menochius, similarly Lapide, Sanchez). As if in that vision of God, Genesis 28, it was consecrated a place of prayer, and also of sacrifice. For this reason, Jeroboam also placed the golden calf in Beth-el (Lapide). Those men were going to sacrifice at Beth-el (Martyr).
Beth-el; properly so called, which was in Ephraim, where there was a noted high place, famous for Jacob’s vision there, Genesis 28:19, where it is probable they offered sacrifices in this confused state of things, when the ark was in one place, and the tabernacle, if not destroyed, in another. Or, to the house of God, that is, to Kirjath-jearim, where the ark, the habitation of God, now was, 1 Samuel 7:1, 2, 16.
[Three kids] These were able to be offered as sacrifices of whatever sort, Leviticus 1:10; 3:12; 4:23 (Mendoza).
[Three round loaves of bread, כִּכְּרוֹת] Others: enlongated (Junius and Tremellius, Drusius). These are larger than חַלּוֹת/cakes (Drusius). Three vessels of bread (Septuagint). Loaves were able to be offered, either by themselves alone, as in Leviticus 2:4, or together with peace offerings: Wine as a libation, as in Numbers 15:5 (Mendoza out of Lyra and Cajetan and Josephus).
Loaves of bread might be offered, either by themselves, as Leviticus 2:4, or with other sacrifices. A bottle of wine; which was poured forth in drink-offerings. See Leviticus 23:13; Numbers 15:5.