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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The ford Jabbok.—Heb., the ford of the Jabbok. This river, now called the Wady Zerba or Blue Torrent, formed afterwards the boundary between the tribes of Manasseh and Gad. It flows through a deep ravine, with so rapid a current as to make the crossing of it a matter of difficulty. Dr. Tristram (Land of Israel, p. 558) says that the water reached his horse’s girths when he rode through the ford.Genesis 32:14.
he rose up and took—Unable to sleep, Jacob waded the ford in the night time by himself; and having ascertained its safety, he returned to the north bank and sent over his family and attendants, remaining behind, to seek anew, in silent prayer, the divine blessing on the means he had set in motion.His eleven sons, and Dinah, though she be not here mentioned; as the women are oft omitted in Scripture, was being comprehended under the men.
Passed over the ford Jabbok, which is here generally related, but the time and manner of it is particularly described in the following verses. Of this ford Jabbok, see Numbers 21:24 Deu 3:16. Genesis 32:24,
and took his two wives, Rachel and Leah:
and his two womenservants, Bilhah and Zilpah, or, "his two concubines", as the Targums of Onkelos and Jonathan; which distinguishes them from other womenservants or maidservants, of which, no doubt, he had many:
and his eleven sons; together with Dinah his daughter, though not mentioned, being the only female child, and a little one:
and passed over the ford Jabbok; over that river, at a place of it where it was fordable, or where there was a ford or passage: this was a river that took its rise from the mountains of Arabia, was the border of the Ammonites, washed the city Rabba, and ran between Philadelphia and Gerasa, and came into the river Jordan, at some little distance from the sea of Gennesaret or Galilee (d), about three or four miles from it.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. the ford of Jabbok] This river, the modern Zerka, is a tributary of the Jordan on its eastern bank. The narrative does not state on which bank of the Jabbok the angel appeared to Jacob. According to Genesis 32:22 Jacob had crossed the stream; according to Genesis 32:23 he had not. If, as seems probable, Genesis 32:24-32 follow Genesis 32:22 and belong to J (Genesis 32:23 belonging to the E narrative), Jacob met the angel on the S. bank of the Jabbok.
22–32. Jacob’s Wrestling with the Angel
This passage forms the climax of Jacob’s history. It records the occasion on which his name is changed to Israel, and describes his personal meeting with the Divine Being, whose blessing he obtains. The religious significance of the story turns upon (1) the sudden mysterious wrestling by night; (2) Jacob’s persistence in his demand for a blessing; (3) the blessing given, and symbolized by the new name, Israel; (4) the physical disability, a memorial of acceptance and spiritual victory, and a symbol of the frailty of earthly strength, in the crisis of life, when God meets man face to face. See the hymn “Come, O thou Traveller unknown” (Chas. Wesley).Job 1:3; Job 42:12), and the proportion of male to female animals was arranged according to the agricultural rule of Varro (de re rustica 2, 3). The division of the present, "drove and drove separately," i.e., into several separate droves which followed one another at certain intervals, was to serve the purpose of gradually mitigating the wrath of Esau. פּנים כּפּר, Genesis 32:21, to appease the countenance; פּנים נשׁא to raise any one's countenance, i.e., to receive him in a friendly manner. This present he sent forward; and he himself remained the same night (mentioned in Genesis 32:14) in the camp.
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