New Defender's Study Bible Notes
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).