Jacob gets ready to meet Esau
1As Jacob was on his way back home, some of God's angels came and met him. 2When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God's camp.” So he named the place Mahanaim.#32.2 Mahanaim: In Hebrew “Mahanaim” means “two camps”.
3Jacob sent messengers on ahead to Esau, who lived in the land of Seir, also known as Edom. 4Jacob told them to say to Esau, “Master, I am your servant! I have lived with Laban all this time, 5and now I own cattle, donkeys, and sheep, as well as many slaves. Master, I am sending these messengers in the hope that you will be kind to me.”
6When the messengers returned, they told Jacob, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is heading this way with four hundred men.”
7Jacob was so frightened that he divided his people, sheep, cattle, and camels into two groups. 8He thought, “If Esau attacks one group, perhaps the other can escape.”
9Then Jacob prayed:
You, LORD, are the God who was worshipped by my grandfather Abraham and by my father Isaac. You told me to return home to my family, and you promised to be with me and make me successful. 10I don't deserve all the good things you have done for me, your servant. When I first crossed the Jordan, I had only my walking stick, but now I have two large groups of people and animals. 11Please rescue me from my brother. I am afraid he will come and attack not only me, but my wives and children as well. 12But you have promised that I would be a success and that some day it will be as hard to count my descendants as it is to count the stars in the sky.#Gn 22.17.
13After Jacob had spent the night there, he chose some animals as gifts for Esau: 14-15two hundred female goats and twenty males, two hundred female sheep and twenty males, thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten males.
16Jacob put servants in charge of each herd and told them, “Go ahead of me and keep a space between each herd.” 17Then he said to the servant in charge of the first herd, “When Esau meets you, he will ask whose servant you are. He will want to know where you are going and who owns those animals in front of you. 18So tell him, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob, who is coming this way. He is sending them as a gift to his master Esau.’ ”
19Jacob also told the men in charge of the second and third herds and those who followed to say the same thing when they met Esau. 20And Jacob told them to be sure to say that he was just behind them. Jacob hoped the gifts would make Esau friendly, so Esau would be glad to see him when they met. 21Jacob's men took the gifts on ahead of him, but he spent the night in camp.
Jacob's name is changed to Israel
22-23Jacob got up in the middle of the night and took his wives, his eleven children, and everything he owned across to the other side of the River Jabbok for safety. 24Afterwards, Jacob went back and spent the rest of the night alone.#Ho 12.3,4.
A man came and fought with Jacob until just before daybreak. 25When the man saw that he could not win, he struck Jacob on the hip and threw it out of joint. 26They kept on wrestling until the man said, “Let go of me! It's almost daylight.”
“You can't go until you bless me,” Jacob replied.
27Then the man asked, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he answered.
28The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That's why your name will be Israel.”#32.28 Israel: In Hebrew one meaning of “Israel” is “a man who wrestles with God”.#Gn 35.10.
29Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.”#Jg 13.17,18.
“Don't you know who I am?” he asked. And he blessed Jacob.
30Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face, and I am still alive.” So he named the place Peniel.#32.30 Peniel: In Hebrew “Peniel” means “face of God”. 31The sun was coming up as Jacob was leaving Peniel. He was limping because he had been struck on the hip, 32and the muscle on his hip joint had been injured. That's why even today the people of Israel don't eat the hip muscle of any animal.
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Jacob's journey home
1Jacob continued on his journey to his father's house. On his way the angels of God met him. #32:1 Jacob had seen the angels of God before. See Genesis 28:12. Now God sent his angels to meet Jacob again, to show that he was with Jacob. 2When Jacob saw them, he said, ‘This is where God's army has put up their tents!’ So he called that place Mahanaim.
3Jacob sent men with a message to his brother Esau. Esau was living in the land of Seir, also called Edom. 4Jacob told his men, ‘This is what you must say to my master Esau: Your servant Jacob says, “I have been staying with Laban until now. 5I have cows, donkeys, sheep and goats. I have male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord so that you will be happy with me.” ’
6When the men returned, they said to Jacob, ‘We went to your brother Esau. Now he is coming to meet you and he has 400 men with him.’ 7Jacob was very frightened and upset when he heard this. So he separated his people into two groups. He also separated his animals. 8He thought, ‘If Esau attacks one group, the other group may run away safely.’
9Then Jacob prayed, ‘God of my grandfather Abraham and my father Isaac, Lord, you said to me, “Go back to your country and to your relatives. I will do good things for you there.” 10You have always loved me. You have continued to be kind to me. I do not deserve this. When I crossed the Jordan River to go to Haran, I only had my stick. But now I can make two big groups of people and animals. 11I pray that you will save me from the power of my brother Esau. I am afraid that he will come and attack me. He may also attack my family. 12But you have said, “I will give you many good things. I will give you so many descendants that nobody will be able to count them. They will be as many as the pieces of sand on the shore of the sea.” ’ #32:12 See Genesis 28:14.
13Jacob stayed in that place for the night. He chose some of his animals as a gift for Esau. 14He chose 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 female sheep and 20 male sheep. 15He also chose 30 female camels, with their young ones, 40 cows and ten bulls, 20 female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16He told his servants to take care of them. He separated each group of animals from the other groups. Jacob said to his servants, ‘Go in front of me. Keep some space between each group of animals.’ 17He told the servant who led the first group of animals, ‘When my brother Esau meets you, he may ask, “Who do you belong to? Where are you going? Who do all these animals belong to?” 18Then you must say, “They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift that he has sent to my lord Esau. Jacob himself is coming behind us.” ’ 19Jacob also told the servants who led the other groups of animals, as well as the servants who followed behind them, ‘You are to say the same thing to Esau, when you meet him. 20You must also say “Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.” ’
Jacob thought, ‘Esau will be happy to receive my gifts. He will no longer be angry with me. Then, when I meet him, he will not hurt me.’ 21So Jacob sent the men with his gifts to go on to meet Esau. But he himself stayed in that place for the night.
22During the night Jacob took with him his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons. They went across the Jabbok river where there was a place to cross. #32:22 This part of the Jabbok river was not very deep. It was about 20 miles north of the Dead Sea. 23After Jacob had sent his family across, he also sent all his things across the stream. 24Then Jacob was alone. A man came and fought with him for a long time. #32:24 God came to Jacob as an angel. See Hosea 12:4-5. They continued until dawn.
25The man saw that he was not winning the fight against Jacob. So he hit Jacob's hip while they were fighting. #32:25 The hip is the top of a person's leg, where it joins his body. In that way, Jacob's hip moved out of its proper place. 26Then the man said to Jacob, ‘Now let me go because dawn has come.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’
27The man asked Jacob, ‘What is your name?’ Jacob replied, ‘My name is Jacob.’ 28Then the man said, ‘Your name will not be Jacob any longer. Your name will now be Israel. #32:28 Israel probably means ‘he fights with God’. God changed Jacob's name to give him a new beginning. That is because you have fought with God and you have fought with men. And you have won!’
29Then Jacob said, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But the man said, ‘Why do you want to know my name?’ Then he blessed Jacob in that place. 30So Jacob called the place Peniel. #32:30 Peniel means ‘face of God’. He said, ‘I have seen God face to face, and I am still alive!’
31The sun rose in the sky as Jacob passed through Peniel. He could not walk properly because of his hip.
32Even today, the Israelite people do not eat the meat of an animal where it joins to the hip. This is because God touched Jacob's hip. #32:32 The Israelites were the descendants of Jacob, who was now called Israel. Jacob's 12 sons became the ancestors of Israel's 12 tribes.
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