Jacob Gets Ready to Meet Esau
1Jacob also went on his way. The angels of God met him. 2Jacob saw them. He said, "This is the army of God!" So he named that place Mahanaim.
3Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau. Esau lived in the land of Seir. It was also called the country of Edom.
4Jacob told the messengers what to do. He said, "Here's what you must tell my master Esau. 'Your servant Jacob says, "I've been staying with Laban. I've remained there until now. 5I have cattle and donkeys and sheep and goats. I also have male and female servants. Now I'm sending this message to you. I hope I can please you." ' "
6The messengers came back to Jacob. They said, "We went to your brother Esau. He's coming now to meet you. He has 400 men with him."
7Jacob was very worried and afraid. So he separated the people who were with him into two groups. He also separated the flocks and herds and camels. 8He thought, "Esau may come and attack one group. If he does, the group that's left can escape."
9Then Jacob prayed, "You are the God of my grandfather Abraham. You are the God of my father Isaac.
"Lord, you are the one who said to me, 'Go back to your country and your relatives. Then I will give you success.' 10You have been very kind and faithful to me. But I'm not worthy of any of this. When I crossed this Jordan River, all I had was my walking stick. But now I've become two groups.
11"Please save me from the hand of my brother Esau. I'm afraid he'll come and attack me and the mothers with their children. 12But you have said, 'I will certainly give you success. I will make your children as many as the grains of sand on the seashore. People will not be able to count them.' "
13Jacob spent the night there. He chose a gift for his brother Esau from what he had with him. 14He chose 200 female goats and 20 male goats. He chose 200 female sheep and 20 male sheep. 15He chose 30 female camels with their little ones. He chose 40 cows and ten bulls. And he chose 20 female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16He put each herd by itself.
Then he put his servants in charge of them. He said to his servants, "Go on ahead of me. Keep some space between the herds."
17Jacob spoke to his servant who was leading the way. He said, "My brother Esau will meet you. He'll ask, 'Who is your master? Where are you going? And who owns all of these animals in front of you?'
18"Then say to Esau, 'They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift to you from him. And he is coming behind us.' "
19He also spoke to the second and third servants. He told them and all of the others who followed the herds what to do. He said, "Say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20Make sure you say, 'Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.' " Jacob was thinking, "I'll make peace with him with these gifts I'm sending on ahead. When I see him later, maybe he'll welcome me."
21So Jacob's gifts went on ahead of him. But he himself spent the night in the camp.
Jacob Struggles With God
22That night Jacob got up. He took his two wives, his two female servants and his 11 sons and sent them across the Jabbok River. 23After they had crossed the stream, he sent over everything he owned.
24So Jacob was left alone. A man struggled with him until morning. 25The man saw that he couldn't win. So he touched the inside of Jacob's hip. As Jacob struggled with the man, Jacob's hip was twisted. 26Then the man said, "Let me go. It is morning."
But Jacob replied, "I won't 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 not be Jacob anymore. Instead, it will be Israel. You have struggled with God and with men. And you have won."
29Jacob said, "Please tell me your name."
But he replied, "Why do you want to know my name?" Then he blessed Jacob there.
30So Jacob named the place Peniel. He said, "I saw God face to face. But I'm still alive!"
31The sun rose above Jacob as he passed by Peniel. He was limping because of his hip. 32That's why the people of Israel don't eat the meat attached to the inside of the hip. They don't eat it to this very day. It's because the inside of Jacob's hip was touched.