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Genesis 32

32
1#Jacob’s negotiations with Esau. Laban kisses his daughters and grandchildren good-bye but not Jacob. On leaving Mesopotamia, Jacob has an encounter with angels of God (vv. 2–3), which provokes him to exclaim, “This is God’s encampment,” just as he exclaimed upon leaving Canaan, “This is the house of God, the gateway to heaven” (28:11–17). Early the next morning, Laban kissed his grandchildren and his daughters and blessed them; then he set out on his journey back home. 2Meanwhile Jacob continued on his own way, and God’s angels encountered him. 3When Jacob saw them he said, “This is God’s encampment.” So he named that place Mahanaim.#Mahanaim: a town in Gilead (Jos 13:26, 30; 21:38; 2 Sm 2:8; etc.). The Hebrew name means “two camps.” There are other allusions to the name in vv. 8, 11.
Envoys to Esau. 4Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom,#Gn 36:6. 5ordering them: “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: ‘Thus says your servant Jacob: I have been residing with Laban and have been delayed until now. 6I own oxen, donkeys and sheep, as well as male and female servants. I have sent my lord this message in the hope of gaining your favor.’” 7When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We found your brother Esau. He is now coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”
8Jacob was very much frightened. In his anxiety, he divided the people who were with him, as well as his flocks, herds and camels, into two camps. 9“If Esau should come and attack one camp,” he reasoned, “the remaining camp may still escape.” 10Then Jacob prayed: “God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac! You, Lord, who said to me, ‘Go back to your land and your relatives, and I will be good to you.’#Gn 31:3. 11I am unworthy of all the acts of kindness and faithfulness that you have performed for your servant: although I crossed the Jordan here with nothing but my staff, I have now grown into two camps. 12Save me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau! Otherwise I fear that he will come and strike me down and the mothers with the children. 13You yourself said, ‘I will be very good to you, and I will make your descendants like the sands of the sea, which are too numerous to count.’”#Gn 28:14; 48:16; Ex 32:13; Heb 11:12.
14After passing the night there, Jacob selected from what he had with him a present for his brother Esau: 15two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats; two hundred ewes and twenty rams; 16thirty female camels and their young; forty cows and ten bulls; twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 17He put these animals in the care of his servants, in separate herds, and he told the servants, “Go on ahead of me, but keep some space between the herds.” 18He ordered the servant in the lead, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘To whom do you belong? Where are you going? To whom do these animals ahead of you belong?’ 19tell him, ‘To your servant Jacob, but they have been sent as a gift to my lord Esau. Jacob himself is right behind us.’” 20He also ordered the second servant and the third and all the others who followed behind the herds: “Thus and so you shall say to Esau, when you reach him; 21and also tell him, ‘Your servant Jacob is right behind us.’” For Jacob reasoned, “If I first appease him with a gift that precedes me, then later, when I face him, perhaps he will forgive me.” 22So the gifts went on ahead of him, while he stayed that night in the camp.
Jacob’s New Name.#As Jacob crosses over to the land promised him, worried about the impending meeting with Esau, he encounters a mysterious adversary in the night with whom he wrestles until morning. The cunning Jacob manages to wrest a blessing from the night stranger before he departs. There are folkloric elements in the tale—e.g., the trial of the hero before he can return home, the nocturnal demon’s loss of strength at sunrise, the demon protecting its river, the power gained by knowledge of an opponent’s name—but these have been worked into a coherent though elliptical narrative. The point of the tale seems to be that the ever-striving, ever-grasping Jacob must eventually strive with God to attain full possession of the blessing. 23That night, however, Jacob arose, took his two wives, with the two maidservants and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 24After he got them and brought them across the wadi and brought over what belonged to him, 25Jacob was left there alone. Then a man#A man: as with Abraham’s three visitors in chap. 18, who appear sometimes as three, two, and one (the latter being God), this figure is fluid; he loses the match but changes Jacob’s name (v. 29), an act elsewhere done only by God (17:5, 15). A few deft narrative touches manage to express intimate contact with Jacob while preserving the transcendence proper to divinity. wrestled with him until the break of dawn. 26When the man saw that he could not prevail over him, he struck Jacob’s hip at its socket, so that Jacob’s socket was dislocated as he wrestled with him.#Hos 12:5. 27The man then said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go until you bless me.” 28“What is your name?” the man asked. He answered, “Jacob.”#Gn 35:10; 1 Kgs 18:31; 2 Kgs 17:34. 29Then the man said, “You shall no longer be named Jacob, but Israel,#Israel: the first part of the Hebrew name Yisrael is given a popular explanation in the word saritha, “you contended”; the second part is the first syllable of ’elohim, “divine beings.” The present incident, with a similar allusion to the name Israel, is referred to in Hos 12:5, where the mysterious wrestler is explicitly called an angel. because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed.” 30Jacob then asked him, “Please tell me your name.” He answered, “Why do you ask for my name?” With that, he blessed him. 31Jacob named the place Peniel,#Peniel: a variant of the word Penuel (v. 32), the name of a town on the north bank of the Jabbok in Gilead (Jgs 8:8–9, 17; 1 Kgs 12:25). The name is explained as meaning “the face of God,” peni-’el. Yet my life has been spared: see note on 16:13. “because I have seen God face to face,” he said, “yet my life has been spared.”#Jgs 13:22.
32At sunrise, as he left Penuel, Jacob limped along because of his hip. 33That is why, to this day, the Israelites do not eat the sciatic muscle that is on the hip socket, because he had struck Jacob’s hip socket at the sciatic muscle.

Genesis 32

32
Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau
1Jacob also left that place. While he was traveling, he saw God’s angels. 2When he saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp!” So Jacob named that place Mahanaim.#32:2 Mahanaim This name means “two camps.”
3Jacob’s brother Esau was living in the area called Seir in the hill country of Edom. Jacob sent messengers to Esau. 4He told them, “Tell this to my master Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have lived with Laban all these years. 5I have many cattle, donkeys, flocks, and servants. Sir, I am sending you this message to ask you to accept us.’”
6The messengers came back to Jacob and said, “We went to your brother Esau. He is coming to meet you. He has 400 men with him.”
7Jacob was very frightened and worried. He divided the people who were with him and all the flocks, herds, and camels into two groups. 8Jacob thought, “If Esau comes and destroys one group, the other group can run away and be saved.”
9Then Jacob said, “God of my father Abraham! God of my father Isaac! Lord, you told me to come back to my country and to my family. You said that you would do good to me. 10You have been very kind to me. You did many good things for me. The first time I traveled across the Jordan River, I owned nothing—only my walking stick. But now I own enough things to have two full groups. 11I ask you to please save me from my brother Esau. I am afraid that he will come and kill us all, even the mothers with the children. 12Lord, you said to me, ‘I will be good to you. I will increase your family and make your children as many as the sands of the sea. There will be too many to count.’”
13Jacob stayed in that place for the night. He prepared some things to give to Esau as a gift. 14He took 200 female goats and 20 male goats, 200 female sheep and 20 male sheep. 15He took 30 camels and their colts, 40 cows and 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys and 10 male donkeys. 16He gave each flock of animals to his servants. Then he said to them, “Separate each group of animals. Go ahead of me and keep some space between each herd.” 17Jacob gave them their orders. To the servant with the first group of animals he said, “When Esau my brother comes to you and asks you, ‘Whose animals are these? Where are you going? Whose servant are you?’ 18then you should answer, ‘These animals belong to your servant Jacob. He sent them as a gift to you, my master Esau. And he also is coming behind us.’”
19Jacob also ordered the second servant, the third servant, and all the other servants to do the same thing. He said, “You will say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20You will say, ‘This is a gift to you, and your servant Jacob is behind us.’”
Jacob thought, “If I send these men ahead with gifts, maybe Esau will forgive me and accept me.” 21So Jacob sent the gifts to Esau, but he stayed that night in the camp.
22During the night, Jacob got up and began moving his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven sons across the Jabbok River at the crossing. 23After he sent his family across the river, he sent across everything he had.
The Fight With God
24Jacob was left alone, and a man came and wrestled with him. The man fought with him until the sun came up. 25When the man saw that he could not defeat Jacob, he touched Jacob’s leg and put it out of joint.
26Then the man said to Jacob, “Let me go. The sun is coming up.”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go. You must bless me.”
27And the man said to him, “What is your name?”
And Jacob said, “My name is Jacob.”
28Then the man said, “Your name will not be Jacob. Your name will now be Israel.#32:28 Israel This name might mean “he fights for God,” “he fights with God,” or “God fights.” I give you this name because you have fought with God and with men, and you have won.”
29Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.”
But the man said, “Why do you ask my name?” Then the man blessed Jacob at that place.
30So Jacob named that place Peniel.#32:30 Peniel A name that means “the face of God.” He said, “At this place, I saw God face to face, but my life was spared.” 31Then the sun came up as Jacob left Peniel. He was limping because of his leg. 32So even today, the people of Israel don’t eat the muscle that is on the hip joint, because this is the muscle where Jacob was hurt.