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And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:
And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.
And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.
Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;
And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.
And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:
I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.
Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.
And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother;
And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.
And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?
Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.
And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed ° the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.
And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.
So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.
And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven ° sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.
And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.
And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.
And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

32:1 angels of God. This is Jacob’s second encounter with angels; the first, twenty years earlier, was as he left the promised land. He encounters them again as he returns. In both cases, whether facing the external dangers of the material world (typified by Laban) or the internal dangers of the religious world (typified by Esau), Jacob could rely on the help of God’s invisible army of ministering spirits (Hebrews 1:14); the same is true for faithful men of God today.

32:2 Mahanaim. “Mahanaim” means “two hosts,” referring to the small visible company of faithful followers and the vastly superior invisible host of mighty angels.

32:6 to meet thee. Esau was probably as fearful as Jacob, since he had not heard from him in twenty years and well remembered God’s prophecy of Jacob’s ruling.

32:9 Jacob said, O God. This prayer of Jacob’s (Genesis 32:9-12) is a beautiful model of effectual praying after sincerely following God’s will and having done all he humanly could with his own resources and opportunities. Acknowledging that all of God’s blessings were only by His grace, Jacob then simply asks God to fulfill His Word, even though the outward circumstances seemed almost hopeless. No prayer can be truly efficacious unless it is in full harmony with God’s revealed Word.

32:18 a present. Esau feared that Jacob was coming to claim the promised sovereignty over him and to take his possessions from him. By his language, Jacob allayed the first fear, and by his generous gifts, the second. Jacob was more concerned with God’s sovereignty and God’s provision.

32:24 wrestled a man. This “man” was actually an angel (Hosea 12:4)–in fact, the angel, the preincarnate Christ, for Jacob recognized that he had seen God face to face (Genesis 32:30), and this is impossible except through Christ (John 1:18). The intensity of Jacob’s prayer, as he “wrestled” in his intercession (the word Jabbok means “wrestler,” the river being named for the unique event that occurred there), was such that God actually deigned to appear to him in human form as an antagonist over whom he must prevail for the blessing. As he had held on to Esau’s heel at birth, so he now held on to God, so earnest was his desire for God’s purpose to be accomplished in and through him.

32:28 Israel. “Israel” can mean either “one who fights victoriously with God” or “a prevailing prince with God.” This constitutes God’s permanent testimony to Jacob’s character, an opinion quite different from that of many modern Bible teachers. The “Supplanter” is now the “Prevailer.” God delights in the faith of those who cling tenaciously to His promises and who claim them in prevailing prayer (see Luke 18:1,7).

32:32 the sinew which shrank. This sentence is apparently an editorial insertion by Moses in Jacob’s toledoth, noting a custom by the Israelites commemorating the great experience of their founder. In order that Jacob should know forever that it was God who had actually allowed him to prevail, and not his own strength, a muscle in the ball-and-socket joint in the thigh, probably containing the sciatic nerve, shrunk, resulting in a permanent limp and perpetual reminder of the experience.

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