Jacob makes a second kind of preparation in his return to Bethel—purification. Jacob told his household, “Purify yourselves” (Gen. 35:2). To purify oneself is to take a physical bath. It really means, to sanctify yourself by taking a bath. It symbolizes confession of sin. Purify yourself—confess your sin before God.
Note that they must put away the idols first, before they purify themselves. That is what repentance means—put away your idols first, put away your sins first, and then confess your sins to God.
Is there some secret sin in your life? That sin is keeping you from returning to Bethel. You need to be clean. You need to confess it. 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” To return to God, you must repent your sin and confess it.