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Genesis 32

Jacob's journey home

1 Jacob continued to go to his father's house. And the angels of God met him.

32:1Now Jacob had to meet Esau. Jacob had deceived Esau out of his blessing. Then he had left Isaac's house because Esau wanted to kill him.
32:1Jacob had seen the angels of God before (28:12).
32:1Now, God sent his angels to meet Jacob to show that he was with him.

2 Jacob saw them and said, ‘This is where God's army is!’ So he called that place Mahanaim.

3 Jacob sent men with messages in front of him. He sent them to his brother Esau. He was in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 Jacob told his men, ‘This is what you must say to my master Esau: Your servant Jacob says, “I have been staying with Laban. I have stayed there until now. 5 I have cows and donkeys, sheep and goats. And I have male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord so that you will be happy with me.” ’

6 When the men returned, they said to Jacob, ‘We went to your brother Esau. And now he is coming to meet you. And he has 400 men with him.’ 7 Jacob was very frightened and worried. So he separated his people into 2 groups. He also separated the animals. 8 He thought ‘If Esau attacks one group, the other group may be safe.’

9 Then Jacob prayed, ‘God of Abraham and God of my father Isaac, LORD, you said to me “Go back to your country. And go to your relatives and I will do good things for you.” 10 I am not worth all the kind things that you have done for me. You have stayed with me. And I am not worth this. When I crossed the River Jordan, I only had my stick. But now I can make 2 groups of good things from what I have. 11 I pray that you will save me from my brother Esau. Because I am afraid that he will come and attack me. He may also attack my family. 12 But you have said, “I will give you many good things. I will make your descendants as many as the pieces of sand by the sea. They are so many that they cannot be counted.” ’

32:12God had said this to Jacob in 28:14.

13 Jacob stayed the night in that place. He chose a gift for Esau from everything that he had. 14 He chose 200 female goats, 200 female sheep and 20 male sheep. 15 Also he chose 30 female camels, with their young ones, 40 cows and 10 male cows and 20 female donkeys and 10 male donkeys. 16 He told his servants to care for them. He separated each group of animals from the other groups. Jacob said to his servants ‘Go before me. Keep some space between each group of animals.’ 17 He told the servant at the front, ‘When my brother Esau meets you and asks, “Who do you belong to? Where are you going? Who do all these animals belong to?” 18 You must say, “They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift that he has sent to my lord Esau. And Jacob is coming behind us.” ’ 19 Jacob also told the other servants who followed a group of animals ‘You are to say the same thing to Esau, when you meet him. 20 And you must say “Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.” ’ Jacob thought ‘Esau will be pleased with my gifts. Then he will not hurt me.’ 21 So Jacob's gifts went on before him. But he spent the night with his people.

32:21Jacob prays in verses 9-12 for God to keep him safe from Esau. But perhaps he does not trust God to keep him safe. Maybe he makes plans to please Esau with gifts so that Esau will not hurt him. He does this even when God has promised to give him too many descendants to count. But perhaps he does not completely trust God.

22 That night Jacob took his 2 wives, 11 sons and 2 female servants. And he sent them over the part of the River Jabbok that was not very deep. 23 After he had sent his people across, he sent everything that was his over the stream. 24 Jacob was alone. And a man came and fought with him. The man fought with Jacob until it was day.

32:24This man was God who came to Jacob as an angel. (See Hosea 12:4-5.)
32:24This part of the River Jabbok was not very deep and about 20 miles north of the Dead Sea.

25 The man saw that he was not beating Jacob. So, he touched Jacob's hip. And Jacob's hip broke as he fought with the man. 26 Then the man said ‘Let me go because now it is day.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go until you bless me.’

27 The man asked Jacob ‘What is your name?’ Jacob replied ‘Jacob’. 28 Then the man said ‘Your name will not be Jacob any more. Your name will be Israel. This is because you have fought with God. And you have fought with men. And you have shown that you are strong.’

29 Jacob said ‘Please tell me your name.’ But the man said ‘Why do you ask my name?’ Then he blessed Jacob there. 30 So Jacob called that place Peniel. He said ‘I saw God face to face. And I did not die.’

32:30‘Hip’ is part of the body. It is at the top of the leg.
32:30Jacob fought with the man (God). Jacob was showing that he was stronger. But this man still broke Jacob's hip.
32:30Israel means ‘fights with God’, ‘Prince of God’, or ‘May God keep me safe’.
32:30A prince is the son of a king. By changing Jacob's name, God gave him a new beginning.
32:30The descendants of Jacob, now called Israel, are called the 12 tribes of Israel.
32:30Peniel means ‘face of God’.

31 The sun rose in the sky as Jacob passed through Peniel. And Jacob could not walk very well because of his hip.

32 Even today, the Israelites do not eat the part of an animal joined to the hip. This is because God touched Jacob's hip.

32:32The Israelites were the descendants of Israel.
32:32The hip is part of the body. It is at the top of the leg.