1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
f l 32:3-5. Reconciliation desired. m 32:6. Approach of Esau announced. n o 32:7,8. The Present resolved on. p 32:9-12. Prayer. n o 32:13-23. The present prepared. p 32:24-32. Prayer. m 33:1-. Approach of Esau seen. l 33:-1-17. Reconciliation effected.
3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother to the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
4 And he commanded them, saying, "Thus shall you all speak to my lord Esau; 'Your servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:
5 And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and women-servants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in your sight.' "
6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to your brother Esau, and also he comes to meet you, and four hundred men with him."
(Note in vv.7-34 that Jacob alternately uses means as though there were no such thing as prayer; and then prays as though there were no such thing as means. We may use means, but not trust in them.)
7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed (the many "ands" shows the care with which he prepared): and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;
8 And said, "If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape."
9 And Jacob said, "O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord Which said to me (Jacob's first prayer acknowledges both Elohim and Yahaveh) 'Return to your country, and to your kindred, and I will deal well with you:' (cp. v.12 and 31:13. Not an exact quote)
10 I am not worthy of the least of all Your mercies, and of all the truth, which You have showed to your servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan (Having nothing and deserving nothing but chastisement. Hence, the God Who met him there, the God of Beth-el, is "the God of Jacob", and is "the God of all grace"-1 Pet. 5:10. Cp. Ps. 146:5); and now I am become two bands.
11 Deliver me, I pray You, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children. (As though sons slain first and mothers falling upon them)
12 And You said, 'I will surely do you good, and make your seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.' " (cp. v.9 and 28:13-15 another miss-quote)
13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present (= a meal offering. See Lev. 2:1) for Esau his brother;
14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,
15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.
16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said to his servants, "Pass over before me, and put a space between drove and drove."
17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, "When Esau my brother meets you, and asks you, saying, 'Whose are you? and to which place do you go? and whose are these before you?'
18 Then you shall say, 'They are your servant Jacob's; it is a present (meal offering) sent to my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.' "
19 And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, "On this manner shall you all speak to Esau, when you all find him.
20 And say you all moreover, 'Behold, your servant Jacob is behind us.' " For he said, "I will appease him (= I will hide my offense from him) with the present (meal offering) that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept of me."
21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the camp.
22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women-servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok (= pouring out, or emptying).
23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.
24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a Man (called "God"-vv.28,30, an "Angel", and the Lord God, Hos.12:4,5) with him until the breaking of the day.
25 And when He saw that he prevailed not against him (not that God was weak, He was just playing with him), He touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as He wrestled with him.
26 And He said, "Let me go, for the day breaks". And he said, "I will not let you go, except You bless me."
27 And He said to him, "What is your name?" (Fig. of Speech, for He knew his name) And he said, "Jacob."
28 And He said, "Your name shall be called no more Jacob (= contender-25:22. Used of the Natural seed), but Israel (= "God commands, orders, or rules". Man attempts it but always, in the end, fails. Out of of some 40 Hebrew names compounded with "el" or "jah", God is always the Doer of whatever the verb means. Cp. Dani-el = God judges): for as a prince (here used not to dignify but to reproach. Cp. Gen.12:15, princes=courtiers; 26:26 chief of soldiers; 39:1 officer; 40:2 chief, 3 jailer; 47:6 herdsmen; Ex. 1:11 task-masters, &ct., here commander, order) have you power (= contended. Jacob had contended with Esau in the womb, and thus got his name Jacob, which is referred to here in reproach, not in eulogy) with God and with men, and have prevailed." (= succeeded. He had contended for his birthright and succeeded. He had contended for the blessing of Abraham and succeeded. He had contended with Laban and succeeded. He had contended with "men" and succeeded. Now he contends with God-and fails. Hence his name was changed to Isra-el=God commands, to teach him the greatly needed lesson of dependence upon God.)
29 And Jacob asked Him, and said, "Tell me, I pray You, Your name." And he said, "Why is it that you do ask after My name?" And He blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel (=God's face): "for I have seen (cp.16:13) God face to face, and my life is preserved."
31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. (= he limped. Emphatic to call attention to the fact that he was not only late but limping. The sign that it is God Who commands, and has real power to overcome. Typical of the National humiliation required before entering on the blessing)
32: Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, to this day: because He touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew (= the ligament of the hip joint) that shrank.