1And Jacob hath gone on his way, and messengers of God come upon him;
2and Jacob saith, when he hath seen them, ‘This [is] the camp of God;’ and he calleth the name of that place ‘Two Camps.’
3And Jacob sendeth messengers before him unto Esau his brother, towards the land of Seir, the field of Edom,
4and commandeth them, saying, ‘Thus do ye say to my lord, to Esau: Thus said thy servant Jacob, With Laban I have sojourned, and I tarry until now;
5and I have ox, and ass, flock, and man-servant, and maid-servant, and I send to declare to my lord, to find grace in his eyes.’
6And the messengers turn back unto Jacob, saying, ‘We came in unto thy brother, unto Esau, and he also is coming to meet thee, and four hundred men with him;’
7and Jacob feareth exceedingly, and is distressed, and he divideth the people who [are] with him, and the flock, and the herd, and the camels, into two camps,
8and saith, ‘If Esau come in unto the one camp, and have smitten it — then the camp which is left hath been for an escape.’
9And Jacob saith, ‘God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, Jehovah who saith unto me, Turn back to thy land, and to thy kindred, and I do good with thee:
10I have been unworthy of all the kind acts, and of all the truth which Thou hast done with thy servant — for, with my staff I passed over this Jordan, and now I have become two camps.
11‘Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I am fearing him, less he come and have smitten me — mother beside sons;
12and Thou — Thou hast said, I certainly do good with thee, and have set thy seed as the sand of the sea, which is not numbered because of the multitude.’
13And he lodgeth there during that night, and taketh from that which is coming into his hand, a present for Esau his brother:
14she-goats two hundred, and he-goats twenty, ewes two hundred, and rams twenty,
15suckling camels and their young ones thirty, cows forty, and bullocks ten, she-asses twenty, and foals ten;
16and he giveth into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and saith unto his servants, ‘Pass over before me, and a space ye do put between drove and drove.’
17And he commandeth the first, saying, ‘When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and hath asked thee, saying, Whose [art] thou? and whither goest thou? and whose [are] these before thee?
18then thou hast said, Thy servant Jacob's: it [is] a present sent to my lord, to Esau; and lo, he also [is] behind us.’
19And he commandeth also the second, also the third, also all who are going after the droves, saying, ‘According to this manner do ye speak unto Esau in your finding him,
20and ye have said also, Lo, thy servant Jacob [is] behind us;’ for he said, ‘I pacify his face with the present which is going before me, and afterwards I see his face; it may be he lifteth up my face;’
21and the present passeth over before his face, and he hath lodged during that night in the camp.
22And he riseth in that night, and taketh his two wives, and his two maid-servants, and his eleven children, and passeth over the passage of Jabbok;
23and he taketh them, and causeth them to pass over the brook, and he causeth that which he hath to pass over.
24And Jacob is left alone, and one wrestleth with him till the ascending of the dawn;
25and he seeth that he is not able for him, and he cometh against the hollow of his thigh, and the hollow of Jacob's thigh is disjointed in his wrestling with him;
26and he saith, ‘Send me away, for the dawn hath ascended:’ and he saith, ‘I send thee not away, except thou hast blessed me.’
27And he saith unto him, ‘What [is] thy name?’ and he saith, ‘Jacob.’
28And he saith, ‘Thy name is no more called Jacob, but Israel; for thou hast been a prince with God and with men, and dost prevail.’
29And Jacob asketh, and saith, ‘Declare, I pray thee, thy name;’ and he saith, ‘Why [is] this, thou askest for My name?’ and He blesseth him there.
30And Jacob calleth the name of the place Peniel: for ‘I have seen God face unto face, and my life is delivered;’
31and the sun riseth on him when he hath passed over Penuel, and he is halting on his thigh;
32therefore the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew which shrank, which [is] on the hollow of the thigh, unto this day, because He came against the hollow of Jacob's thigh, against the sinew which shrank.
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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.
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