Jacob prepares to meet Esau
1 # 32 In Hebrew texts 32:1-32 is numbered 32:2-33. Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2When Jacob saw them, he said, ‘This is the camp of God!’ So he named that place Mahanaim.#32:2 Mahanaim means two camps.
3Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4He instructed them: ‘This is what you are to say to my lord Esau: “Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. 5I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favour in your eyes.” ’
6When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, ‘We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.’
7In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups,#32:7 Or camps and the flocks and herds and camels as well. 8He thought, ‘If Esau comes and attacks one group,#32:8 Or camp the group#32:8 Or camp that is left may escape.’
9Then Jacob prayed, ‘O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, “Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,” 10I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12But you have said, “I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.” ’
13He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: 14two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16He put them in the care of his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, ‘Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds.’
17He instructed the one in the lead: ‘When my brother Esau meets you and asks, “Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?” 18then you are to say, “They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.” ’
19He also instructed the second, the third and all the others who followed the herds: ‘You are to say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20And be sure to say, “Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.” ’ For he thought, ‘I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.’ 21So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.
Jacob wrestles with God
22That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26Then the man said, ‘Let me go, for it is daybreak.’
But Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’
27The man asked him, ‘What is your name?’
‘Jacob,’ he answered.
28Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,#32:28 Israel probably means he struggles with God. because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.’
29Jacob said, ‘Please tell me your name.’
But he replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ Then he blessed him there.
30So Jacob called the place Peniel,#32:30 Peniel means face of God. saying, ‘It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.’
31The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,#32:31 Hebrew Penuel, a variant of Peniel and he was limping because of his hip. 32Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.