Genesis 32

32:1,2. Jacob's Vision At Mahanaim.

(This second vision, corresponding with that of Bethel: see 28:10-22. See Structure that is at Chapter 27.)

1739 B.C.

Genesis 32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.

(Remember when Jacob was on his way to Haran to get his wife, and he had his vision of the angels of God ascending and descending from the throne of God? Jacob had another encounter with these angels of God on His way home. A host of the angels of God were above him.)

2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, "This is God's host:" and he called the name of that place Mahanaim (= the host of the two camps).

(Jacob was doing what God had instructed him to do, and was within the will of God, and now when things go a little bad, God will lead you through it. This is what faith is all about.

While Laban was accusing Jacob and threatening him, all the time right above Jacob was a host of God's protective angels. When God makes a promise to you, how strong is your faith in God, to rely on Him to keep His promise to you.)

32:3-32. The Reconciliation of Esau.

3-5. Reconciliation desired.
6. Approach of Esau announced.
7,8. The Present resolved on.
9-12. Prayer.
13-23. The present prepared.
24-32. Prayer.

3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.

(The Word "Edom" means "red", and Esau's people are known as the red nation to this day. The name of Red, or Edom was given to Esau when he sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of red pottage, as recorded in Genesis 25:30.

The last time Jacob left the land of Canaan, Esau was intending to kill Jacob for taking what was rightly his, Isaac's blessing to be passed on to the next generation. So now Jacob is sending an ambassador to Esau because he has threatened to kill him.)

4 And he commanded them, saying, "Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; 'Thy 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 womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.' "

(Jacob wants Esau to know that in the past twenty years that he has been gone God has blessed him well.)

1738 B.C

6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him."

("four hundred men with him", means that Esau is either going to set the score right, or help him on his journey back home. Esau is going to bring enough help to make it a pleasant journey. However Jacob has his doubts about that. Is Esau bringing four hundred men to say brother I love you, or is he bringing the men to kill Jacob's entire household.

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: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;

(God still expects us to use good judgment in times of stress, where danger is around.)

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 saidst unto me, 'Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:'

10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.

(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.)

11 Deliver me, I pray Thee, 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. Jacob is either being too careful, or lacking faith, but Jacob is laying it all out before the Lord. Jacob has already been assured of safe passage, however he is seeking reassurance here.)

12 And Thou saidst, 'I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.' "

(cp. v.9 and 28:13-15 another miss-quote. God is reassuring His promises to Jacob, just like a father does all the time with his little child. We must be careful when we reason with ourselves over our Heavenly Father's promises. Out of that reason comes doubt. With this reassurance God is giving to Jacob, will create trust in his mind.)

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 unto his servants, "Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove."

17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, "When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, 'Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?'

18 Then thou shalt say, 'They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present (meal offering) sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.' "

(Did you catch that, "They be thy servant Jacob's"; Jacob is submitting himself completely to Esau, and showing respect. We know that in the years to come the roles will be completely reversed, with Esau's generations serving and seeking protection through Jacob's generations.)

19 And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, "On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.

(Jacob is stretching his caravan out in front of himself for protection, with many droves of animals spread apart, and Jacob and his wives and children in the far rear. Would you go to that much trouble if you knew and saw the host of God was just over your head.)

20 And say ye moreover, 'Behold, thy 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 goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me."

21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.

22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, 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 with him until the breaking of the day.

(In the night Jacob sent all the animals and servants and his family across the river, and he stayed behind to wrestle with "a man". All night long the fight went on, until the sun arose in the morning. Let's find out who that man was who wrestled with Jacob.

This fight is referred to in Hosea 12:3 - 5; "He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: [3] Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he found him in Beth'-el, and there he spake with us; [4] Even the lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial. [5]"

Bethel is the place where Jacob had his vision of the ladder and the angels ascending and descending upon it into heaven; while the identity of the man Jacob struggled with through the night was the Lord.)

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.

(God had a special love for Jacob, yet Jacob is trying God's patience, for even after God had shown him the army of angels over him, and verbally promised him, Jacob still could not move out in faith. Jacob was a fighter and contender, and God wanted to test the man that His plan was to rely upon.

God could have done him in at any moment, but Jacob just wouldn't quite fighting. That is the type of man that he was. God just touched Jacob in the brawl, and through his hip out of joint, and God became very pleased with the one He had chosen. God now knew that His chosen one was not a person to hid behind the children and women's skirts, but one that would stand his ground.)

26 And He said, "Let me go, for the day breaketh." And he said, "I will not let thee go, except Thou bless me."

(This is God speaking to let him go. Yet Jacob is demand of God that He bless him, and he will not stop until then. What does God think of that?)

27 And he said unto him, "What is thy name?" (Fig. of Speech, for He knew his name) And he said, "Jacob."

("Jacob" means heel-grabber. Even in the womb Jacob wrestled with his brother.)

28 And He said, "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob,

(= contender-25:22. Used of the Natural seed)

but Israel:

("Israel" means "The prince that prevailed with [not "against", but "with"] God". It is God that changed the name of Jacob to Israel. 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.)

hast thou 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 hast 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. However, he had failed when he contended with God. You will always prevail when you are with God. You will always fail when you go against God.)

29 And Jacob asked him, and said, "Tell me, I pray Thee, Thy name." And He said, "Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after My name?" And He blessed him there.

(God did not tell Jacob his name, but He did bless Jacob, who is now called Israel. God would not reveal His name until hundreds of years later, when He revealed His holy Name to Moses on Mount Sinai. That name is "I am that I am.")

30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel (=God's face): "for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."

(It was believed to that period of time that if you had seen God one on one, that you would die, however Jacob lived to tell about it. Jacob saw God face to face, and after that meeting Jacob [Israel] was a changed man.)

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. This meeting and fighting with God had left him crippled. Jacob wrestled with God and now will pay the price.

Remember after Paul had been in the third heaven God placed a thorn in his side also to humble him before men. It was a reminder to both Israel and Paul of their visit with God, and both were left lame, while receiving blessings from the Heavenly Father.)

32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew (= the ligament of the hip joint) that shrank.

(God expects his children to gain knowledge from His word, and when we are given that knowledge through His Word, and with the help of His Spirit, He expects us to fight many of our own battles. When the need arises though, He is ready to help. We are given the power over Satan, and the authority to order him in Jesus name, not our own.

In Luke 10:18 and 19; "And He [Jesus] said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. [18] Behold, I give unto you power to tread power [authority] of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

That is our authority today over Satan, the evil spirits, or any person who is acting in behalf of Satan's realm, and intending to do you harm. Then Jesus goes on to say; "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your name is written in heaven,"

You have power over Satan in as much as concerning you or your family, and God not only gives us that right, but expects us to use it as instructed by His Word.)

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