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Genesis 32

32
Jacob prepares to meet Esau
1Jacob went on his way, and God’s messengers approached him. 2When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp,” and he named that sacred place Mahanaim.#32.2 Or two camps 3Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau, toward the land of Seir, the open country of Edom. 4He gave them these orders: “Say this to my master Esau. This is the message of your servant Jacob: ‘I’ve lived as an immigrant with Laban, where I’ve stayed till now. 5I own cattle, donkeys, flocks, men servants, and women servants. I’m sending this message to my master now to ask that he#32.5 Or you be kind.’”
6The messengers returned to Jacob and said, “We went out to your brother Esau, and he’s coming to meet you with four hundred men.”
7Jacob was terrified and felt trapped, so he divided the people with him, and the flocks, cattle, and camels, into two camps. 8He thought, If Esau meets the first camp and attacks it, at least one camp will be left to escape.
9Jacob said, “LORD, God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I’ll make sure things go well for you,’ 10I don’t deserve how loyal and truthful you’ve been to your servant. I went away across the Jordan with just my staff, but now I’ve become two camps. 11Save me from my brother Esau! I’m afraid he will come and kill me, the mothers, and their children. 12You were the one who told me, ‘I will make sure things go well for you, and I will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, so many you won’t be able to count them.’”
13Jacob spent that night there. From what he had acquired, he set aside a gift for his brother Esau: 14two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15thirty nursing camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16He separated these herds and gave them to his servants. He said to them, “Go ahead of me and put some distance between each of the herds.” 17He ordered the first group, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, ‘Who are you with? Where are you going? And whose herds are these in front of you?’ 18say, ‘They are your servant Jacob’s, a gift sent to my master Esau. And Jacob is actually right behind us.’” 19He also ordered the second group, the third group, and everybody following the herds, “Say exactly the same thing to Esau when you find him. 20Say also, ‘Your servant Jacob is right behind us.’” Jacob thought, I may be able to pacify Esau with the gift I’m sending ahead. When I meet him, perhaps he will be kind to me. 21So Jacob sent the gift ahead of him, but he spent that night in the camp.
Jacob wrestles with God
22Jacob got up during the night, took his two wives, his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed the Jabbok River’s shallow water. 23He took them and everything that belonged to him, and he helped them cross the river. 24But Jacob stayed apart by himself, and a man wrestled with him until dawn broke. 25When the man saw that he couldn’t defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob’s thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob’s thigh as he wrestled with him. 26The man said, “Let me go because the dawn is breaking.”
But Jacob said, “I won’t let you go until you bless me.”
27He said to Jacob, “What’s your name?” and he said, “Jacob.” 28Then he said, “Your name won’t be Jacob any longer, but Israel,#32.28 Or God struggles or one who struggles with God because you struggled with God and with men and won.”
29Jacob also asked and said, “Tell me your name.”
But he said, “Why do you ask for my name?” and he blessed Jacob there. 30Jacob named the place Peniel,#32.30 Or face of God “because I’ve seen God face-to-face, and my life has been saved.” 31The sun rose as Jacob passed Penuel, limping because of his thigh. 32Therefore, Israelites don’t eat the tendon attached to the thigh muscle to this day, because he grabbed Jacob’s thigh muscle at the tendon.
32
1#32:1 Verses 32:1-32 are numbered 32:2-33 in Hebrew text.As Jacob started on his way again, angels of God came to meet him. 2When Jacob saw them, he exclaimed, “This is God’s camp!” So he named the place Mahanaim.#32:2 Mahanaim means “two camps.”
Jacob Sends Gifts to Esau
3Then Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother, Esau, who was living in the region of Seir in the land of Edom. 4He told them, “Give this message to my master Esau: ‘Humble greetings from your servant Jacob. Until now I have been living with Uncle Laban, 5and now I own cattle, donkeys, flocks of sheep and goats, and many servants, both men and women. I have sent these messengers to inform my lord of my coming, hoping that you will be friendly to me.’”
6After delivering the message, the messengers returned to Jacob and reported, “We met your brother, Esau, and he is already on his way to meet you—with an army of 400 men!” 7Jacob was terrified at the news. He divided his household, along with the flocks and herds and camels, into two groups. 8He thought, “If Esau meets one group and attacks it, perhaps the other group can escape.”
9Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’ 10I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! 11O Lord, please rescue me from the hand of my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to attack me, along with my wives and children. 12But you promised me, ‘I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore—too many to count.’”
13Jacob stayed where he was for the night. Then he selected these gifts from his possessions to present to his brother, Esau: 14200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, 1530 female camels with their young, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys, and 10 male donkeys. 16He divided these animals into herds and assigned each to different servants. Then he told his servants, “Go ahead of me with the animals, but keep some distance between the herds.”
17He gave these instructions to the men leading the first group: “When my brother, Esau, meets you, he will ask, ‘Whose servants are you? Where are you going? Who owns these animals?’ 18You must reply, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob, but they are a gift for his master Esau. Look, he is coming right behind us.’”
19Jacob gave the same instructions to the second and third herdsmen and to all who followed behind the herds: “You must say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20And be sure to say, ‘Look, your servant Jacob is right behind us.’”
Jacob thought, “I will try to appease him by sending gifts ahead of me. When I see him in person, perhaps he will be friendly to me.” 21So the gifts were sent on ahead, while Jacob himself spent that night in the camp.
Jacob Wrestles with God
22During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two servant wives, and his eleven sons and crossed the Jabbok River with them. 23After taking them to the other side, he sent over all his possessions.
24This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until the dawn began to break. 25When the man saw that he would not win the match, he touched Jacob’s hip and wrenched it out of its socket. 26Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27“What is your name?” the man asked.
He replied, “Jacob.”
28“Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel,#32:28 Jacob sounds like the Hebrew words for “heel” and “deceiver.” Israel means “God fights.” because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”
29“Please tell me your name,” Jacob said.
“Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there.
30Jacob named the place Peniel (which means “face of God”), for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared.” 31The sun was rising as Jacob left Peniel,#32:31 Hebrew Penuel, a variant spelling of Peniel. and he was limping because of the injury to his hip. 32(Even today the people of Israel don’t eat the tendon near the hip socket because of what happened that night when the man strained the tendon of Jacob’s hip.)