And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
I. Notice first the angels themselves. (1) Their number is very great. (2) They are swift as the flames of fire. (3) They are also strong: "Bless the Lord, ye His angels that excel in strength." (4) They seem to be all young. (5) They are evidently endowed with corresponding moral excellences.
II. The ministry of angels has these characteristics. (1) It is a ministry of guardianship. (2) It is a ministry of cheerfulness. (3) It is a ministry of animation. (4) It is a ministry of consolation. (5) It is a ministry of fellowship and convoy through death to life and from earth to heaven.
III. The whole subject shows in a very striking manner (1) the exceeding greatness of the glory of Christ; (2) the value and greatness of salvation.
A. Raleigh, Quiet Resting-places, p. 182.
Jacob called the name of that place Mahanaim (i.e., two camps). One camp was the little one containing his women and children and his frightened and defenceless self, and the other was the great one up there, or rather in shadowy but most real spiritual presence round about him as a bodyguard, making an impregnable wall between him and every foe. We may take some plain lessons from the story.
I. The angels of God meet us on the dusty road of common life. "Jacob went on his way and the angels of God met him."
II. God's angels meet us punctually at the hour of need.
III. The angels of God come in the shape which we need. Jacob's want was protection; therefore the angels appear in warlike guise, and present before the defenceless man another camp. God's gifts to us change their character; as the Rabbis fabled that the manna tasted to each man what each most desired. In that great fulness each of us may have the thing we need.
A. Maclaren, Christ in the Heart, p. 195.
References: Genesis 32:1.—S. Baring-Gould, Preacher's Pocket, p. 1. Genesis 32:1, Genesis 32:2.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvi., No. 1544. Genesis 32:1-32.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. v., p. 101.
Genesis 32:1, Genesis 32:24Every man lives two lives—an outward and an inward. The one is that denoted in the former text: Jacob went on his way. The other is denoted in the latter text: Jacob was left alone. In either state God dealt with him.
I. The angels of God met him. We do not know in what form they appeared, or by what sign Jacob recognised them.
In its simplicity the angelic office is a doctrine of revelation. There exists even now a society and a fellowship between the sinless and the fallen. As man goes on his way, the angels of God meet him.
II. Are there any special ways in which we may recognise and use this sympathy? (1) The angelic office is sometimes discharged in human form. We may entertain angels unawares. Let us count common life a ministry; let us be on the look-out for angels. (2) We must exercise a vigorous self-control lest we harm or tempt. Our Saviour, has warned us of the presence of the angels as a reason for not offending His little ones. Their angels He calls them, as though to express the closeness of the tie that binds together the unfallen and the struggling. We may gather from the story two practical lessons. (a) The day and the night mutually act and react. A day of meeting with angels may well be followed by a night of wrestling with God. (b) Earnestness is the condition of success. Jacob had to wrestle a whole night for his change of name, for his knowledge of God. Never will you say, from the world that shall be, that you laboured here too long or too earnestly to win it.
C. J. Vaughan, Last Words at Doncaster, p. 197.
Reference: Genesis 32:2.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. xvi., p. 90.
Genesis 32:7, Genesis 32:11, Genesis 32:24, Genesis 32:28From this description of a day and a night in the life of Jacob we learn three things. (1) This is a crisis, a turning-point in his career. His experience at the ford of Jabbok is his "conversion" from the craft and cunning and vulturous greed of years to the sweet subjection of his will to the Eternal, and consequent victory over himself and his brother. (2) God is in this crisis from first to last and at every moment of these twenty-four hours. (3) The crisis closes in the victory of the patient and loving Lord over the resisting selfishness of Jacob. Note these points:—
I. It must have been a welcome fore-gleam of approaching victory, and a pledge of the sustaining presence of Jehovah in the "valley of the shadow of death," that as this day of crisis broke on the pilgrim the angels of God met him.
II. What is the significance of this terrific conflict? It means this assuredly. Jacob having gone to God in quaking fear, God holds him and will not let him go; goads and harrows his soul, till his heart swells and is ready to break; urges him to such a relentless and soul-consuming struggle with his self-will that he feels as though he is held in the grip of a giant and cannot escape. He resists, he struggles, he writhes, and in his furious contortions is at last lamed and helpless, and therefore compelled to trust himself and his all to God.
III. Jacob wrestled against God, but at last yielding, his soul is suffused with the blessedness of the man whose trust is in the Lord. Faber asks, with mingled beauty and force, "What is it will make us real?" and answers, "The face of God will do it." It is so. Israel is a new creation: Jacob is dead. Dark as the night was, Jacob passed through it, saw the Face of God at day-dawn, and became himself, met his brother with serenity, and spent the rest of his days in the love and service of God.
J. Clifford, Daily Strength for Daily Living, p. 39.
References: Genesis 32:7, Genesis 32:8.—S. Baring-Gould, One Hundred Sermon Sketches, p. 204. Genesis 32:9-11.—Sermons for Boys and Girls (1880), p. 122. Genesis 32:9-12.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. i., p. 186.
Genesis 32:10I. The contrast here presented between the early loneliness and poverty of life and its growing riches is universal. (1) What is life but a constant gathering of riches? Compare the man and the woman of forty with their childhood. They have made themselves a name and a place in life; they are centres of attraction to troops of friends. How rich has life become to them! how full its storehouses of knowledge, power, and love! (2) That which is stored in the mind, that which is stored in the heart, is the true treasure; the rest is mere surplusage. To know and to love: these are the directions in which to seek our riches. (3) There is no other way to make life a progress, but to root it in God.
II. Consider the higher development of the law of increase, the deeper and more solemn sense in which, through the ministry of the angel of death, we become "two bands." (1) Through death there has been a constant progress in the forms and aspects of creation. The huge, coarse, unwieldy types which ruled of old in both the animal and vegetable worlds have vanished, and out of their ashes the young phoenix of creation has sprung which is the meet satellite of man. (2) This is the counsel of God: to make the darkness of death beautiful for us; to make it the one way home; to show us that the progress is not rounded, but prolonged and completed, and that the increase is not gathered, but consecrated by death as the possession of eternity. To bring heaven easily within our reach God separates the bands,—part have crossed the flood, part are on the hither side, and the instinct of both tells them that they are one. At the last great day of God they shall be one band once more, met again and met for ever.
J. Baldwin Brown, Aids to the Development of the Divine Life, No. VII.
"I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant"
Thankfulness is eminently a Christian grace, and is enjoined on us in the New Testament. Jacob knew not of those great and wonderful acts of love with which God has visited the race of men since his day. But he knew that Almighty God had shown him great mercies and great truth.
I. Jacob's distinguishing grace was a habit of affectionate musing upon God's providence towards him in times past and of overflowing thankfulness for it. Abraham appears ever to have been looking forward in hope—Jacob looking back in memory; the one rejoicing in the future, the other in the past; the one making his way towards the promises, the other musing over their fulfilment. Abraham was a hero; Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents.
II. It would be well for us if we had the character of mind instanced in Jacob and enjoined on his descendants,—the temper of dependence on God's providence and thankfulness under it and careful memory of all He has done for us. We are not our own, any more than what we possess is our own. We are God's property by creation, by redemption, by regeneration. It is our happiness thus to view the matter. We are creatures, and being such, we have two duties: to be resigned, and to be thankful.
III. Let us view God's providence towards us more religiously than we have hitherto done. Let us humbly and reverently attempt to trace His guiding hand in the years which we have already lived. He has not made us for nought; He has brought us thus far in order to bring us farther, in order to bring us on to the end. We may cast all our care upon Him who careth for us.
J. H. Newman, Selection from Parochial and Plain Sermons, p. 52; also vol. v., p. 72.
References: Genesis 32:10.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxx., No. 1787 Genesis 32:12.—Spurgeon, Evening by Evening, p. 109.
Genesis 32:24There are two decisive and determining moments in the life of Jacob. The wrestling with the angel of the Lord was the second of these, even as that marvellous vision in the field of Luz had been the first. The work which that began, this completes.
I. In that "Let me go" of the angel, and that "I will not let thee go except thou bless me" of Jacob, we have a glimpse into the very heart and deepest mystery of prayer,—man conquering God, God suffering Himself to be conquered by man. The power which prevails with Him is a power which has itself gone forth from Him. Not in his natural strength shall man prevail with God,—at the lightest touch of His hand all this comes to nothing,—but in the power of faith; and the after-halting of Jacob, so far from representing his loss, did rather represent his gain. There was in this the outward token of an inward strength which he had won therein, of a breaking in him of the power of the flesh and of the fleshly mind; while the further fact that he halted not merely then, but from that day forth, was a testimony that this was no gain made merely for the moment, from which he should presently fall back to a lower spiritual level again, but that he was permanently lifted up into a higher region of the spiritual life.
II. The new name does not, in the case of Jacob, abolish and extinguish the old, as for Abraham it does. The names Jacob and Israel subsist side by side, and neither in the subsequent history of his life wholly abolishes the other. In Abraham's name are incorporated and sealed the promises of God. These evermore abide the same. Israel, on the other hand, is the expression not of the promises of God, but of the faith of man. But this faith of man ebbs and flows, waxes and wanes. Jacob is not wholly Israel, Israel has not entirely swallowed up Jacob, during the present time; and in sign and witness to this the new name only partially supersedes and effaces the old.
R. C. Trench, Sermons Preached in Ireland, p. 1.
I. In what position do we find Jacob's spiritual state up to the time of this second incident in his life? During the first period of his life he was simply a man of the world. After the vision at Bethel he was a religious man; the sense of religious influence was seen in his life; after the conflict at the ford Jabbok he became a spiritually minded man. He was going home with his sin yet weighty on his soul, unpardoned, unforgiven, uncleansed by the Divine power. Bethel was the house of God, to teach him that he could not set his foot upon a single acre of soil without finding that the Governor of the world was there; here we have the unfolding of the wider thought of the intercommunion and personal relationship between the soul of man and his Maker.
II. Those who trust in the God of Bethel and providence are looking to Him for what He gives; but the aspirations of the spiritual man are wholly different. At Bethel Jacob said, "If Thou wilt be with me and wilt do me good." At Jabbok his first thought was, "Tell me Thy name." He desired to know more of God, not to get more from God. To gain further spiritual experience—this is the thirst of the spiritual man. To make a friend of God for the good that we can get—this is the idea of the merely religious man.
Bishop Boyd Carpenter, Penny Pulpit, No. 608.
I. All the evidence here goes to prove that the wonderful wrestler, who contended with Jacob, was the one only true God.
II. Being God and being man, we are right in calling Him Christ, and in placing this incident as the second of the anticipatory advents of the Messiah which lie scattered over the Old Testament.
III. As Jacob wrestled with God in human form, so it is with God in the Lord Jesus Christ that in all our spiritual conflicts, in all our deep repentances, in all our struggling prayers, we must wrestle.
IV. There were two things which Christ gave in this encounter—a wound and a blessing. The wound first and then the blessing. The wound was small and for a season; the blessing was infinite and for ever.
J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons (1874). p. 235.
We see here the supernatural appearing in the world of the natural. We see God veiling Himself in human form, as He veiled Himself in the form of Christ His Son in after years. We must look at this story of miracle in the light of the miracle of the Incarnation.
I. In this striving of the patriarch with God, and in the blessing he won at the end of the striving, we see the very height and picture of our life, if into that life has passed the life of Christ our Lord.
II. It is by wrestling that we win the Divine blessing, but whether in struggling against doubt, against temptation, or against the enemies of the Church, we must take heed that we fight wisely as well as earnestly. We may strive, and we must strive; but let us strive wisely and lawfully if we would win the blessing.
III. The homeliest, the least eventful life, may and should be a supernatural life—a life in which Christ dwells, a life which the Holy Spirit sanctifies. If we can thus strive and wrestle on, the dawn comes at last, and we are blessed of God.
Bishop Magee, Penny Pulpit, No. 1078.
I. Any attempt to make Jacob a hero, or even a good man, at the time of his deception of his father, must fail. At that time he represented the very lowest quality of manhood. We can call him a man only by courtesy; while Esau, a venturous and kind-hearted child of nature, stands up as a prince, uncrowned indeed, but only because a thief had robbed him of his crown. In the fact that God chose Jacob we find the germ of the redemptive idea at work.
II. Jacob was not at once promoted to his high place. As a wanderer and a stranger, he underwent most humiliating discipline, and on this night his old and wretched past was replaced by a new name and a new hope.
III. There must be such a night in every life—a night in which the sinful past shall go down for ever into the depths of unfathomable waters. The wrestling of Jacob was (1) long, (2) desperate, (3) successful.
IV. The night of wrestling was followed by a morning of happy reconciliation with his brother.
Parker The City Temple (1870), p. 373.
(With 1 Samuel 2:27; Acts 1:11; Acts 16:9)
I. There are anonymous ministries in life which teach the great facts of spirituality and invisibleness.
II. There are anonymous ministries in life which pronounce upon human conduct the judgment of Almighty God.
III. There are anonymous ministries in life which recall men from useless contemplation and reverie.
IV. There are anonymous ministries in life which urgently call men to benevolent activity. Two important and obvious lessons arise from the subject. (1) We are to view our own position and duty in the light of humanity as distinct from mere personality. We are parts of a whole. We belong to one another. In watering others we are watered ourselves. (3) We are not to wait for calls to service that are merely personal. We do not lift the gospel into dignity. It catches no lustre from our genius. It asks to be spoken that it may vindicate its own claim.
Parker, The City Temple, vol. i., p. 1.
I. God selects men for His work on earth, not because of their personal agreeableness, but because of their adaptation to the work they have to perform.
II. There is something affecting in the way in which guilty persons invoke the God of their fathers. Conscious that they deserve nothing at the hands of God, they seek to bring down on themselves the blessing of the God of their father and mother.
III. When a man is overtaken in his transgression, and all his wickedness seems to come down upon him, how true it is that then there rises up before him the concurrent suffering of all his household! It takes hold on him through his wife and his children and all that he loves.
IV. Men's sins carry with them a punishment in this life. Different sins are differently punished.
V. Nothing but a change of heart will put a man right with himself, right with society, and right with God.
VI. No man who is in earnest need ever despair because of past misdoing.
H. W. Beecher, Sermons, 2nd series, p. 106.
References: Genesis 32:24.—Clergyman's Magazine, vol. x., p. 88; Congregationalist, vol. xi., p. 6; W. M. Taylor, Limitation of Life, p. 30; Bishop Ewing, Revelation Considered as Light, p. 1; A. P. Stanley, Good Words (1874), p. 63; W. J. Keay, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xv., p. 277; F. Langbridge, Sunday Magazine (1885), p. 675; Parker, Pulpit Notes, p. 15; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. ii., p. 118, and vol. iii., pp. 531, 541, 558. Genesis 32:24-28.—Expositor, 1st series, vol. x., p. 241. Genesis 32:24-32.—R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 74.
Genesis 32:26Esau, with all his amiable qualities, was a man whose horizon was bounded by the limitations of the material world. He never rose above earth; he was a man after this world; he lived an eminently natural life. Jacob, on the other hand, was a man of many faults, yet there was a continuous testimony in his life to the value of things unseen. He had had wonderful dealings of God with him, and these had only the effect of whetting his spiritual appetite. When the opportunity came he availed himself of it to the full, and received from the hands of God Himself that blessing for which his soul had been longing. Notice:
I. He was thoroughly in earnest; he wrestled till he got the blessing.
II. If we wish to gain a blessing like Jacob's we must be alone with God. It is possible to be alone with God, even in the midst of a multitude.
III. Jacob's heart was burdened with a load of sin. It crushed his spirit, it was breaking his heart; he could bear it no more, and so he made supplication. He wanted to be lifted out of his weakness and made a new man.
IV. In the moment of his weakness Jacob made a great discovery. He found that when we cannot wrestle we can cling; so he wound his arms round the great Angel like a helpless child. He clings around those mighty arms and looks up into His face and says, "I will not let Thee go except Thou bless me."
V. He received the blessing he had wrestled for. As soon as Jacob was brought to his proper place, and in utter weakness was content to accept the blessing of God's free gift, that moment the blessing came. He received his royalty on the field of battle, was suddenly lifted up into a heavenly kingdom and made a member of a royal family.
W. Hay Aitken, Mission Sermons, 3rd series, p. 38.
Though no vision is vouchsafed to our mortal eyes, yet angels of God are with us oftener than we know, and to the pure heart every home is a Bethel and every path of life a Penuel and a Mahanaim. In the outer world and the inner world do we see and meet continually these messengers of God. There are the angels of youth, and of innocence, and of opportunity; the angels of prayer, and of time, and of death. To those who wrestle with them in faith and prayer they are angels with hands full of immortal gifts; to those who neglect or use them ill they are angels with drawn sword and scathing flame.
I. The earliest angel is the angel of youth. Do not think that you can retain him long. Use, as wise stewards, this blessed portion of your lives. Remember that as your faces are setting into the look which they shall wear in later years, so is it with your lives.
II. Next is the angel of innocent pleasure. Trifle not with this angel. Remember that in heathen mythology the Lord of Pleasure is also the God of Death. Guilty pleasure there is; guilty happiness there is not on earth.
HI. There are the angels of time and opportunity. They are with us now, and we may unclench from their conquered hands garlands of immortal flowers. Hallow each new day in your morning prayer, for prayer, too, is an angel—an angel who can turn "pollution into purity, sinners into penitents, and penitents into saints."
IV. There is one angel with whom we must wrestle whether we will or no, and whose power of curse or blessing we cannot alter—the angel of death.
F. W. Farrar, The Fall of Man and other Sermons, p. 236.
References: Genesis 32:26.—J. Van Oosterzee, The Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 363; I. Burns, Select Remains, p. 87; M. Dix, Sermons—Doctrinal and Practical, p. 180; Preacher's Monthly, vol. i., p. 192.
Genesis 32:28Some surprise may be felt at first at the term prince being applied to the patriarch Jacob; for whatever good qualities distinguish his character, we hardly regard him as possessing princely ones. He has the quiet virtues of resignation, meekness and caution, but we hardly attribute to him that spirit and mettle, that vigorous temper and fire, which belong to the princely character. Yet when we consider Jacob we find that he had virtues which lie at the foundation of the royal and grand form of human character.
I. His patience was a princely virtue. How patiently he bore the long delays in Laban's service! the plots of his sons Simeon and Levi! We sometimes think of patience as the virtue of the weak, the sufferer, the inferior. Yet a great prime minister of England, when asked what was the most important virtue for a prime minister, gave this answer: "Patience is the first, patience is the second, patience is the third."
II. Hopefulness was another of Jacob's regal virtues. He looked forward with trust and confidence to the future; he believed firmly in God's promises. His was a religious spirit; the religious mind is sustained by hope. "I have waited for Thy salvation, O Lord," he says in his last address, when he summed up the purpose of his life. He had waited, but never ceased to hope; the Divine reward had always been before him.
III. But it was in prayer specially that Jacob showed his princely character. What a nobility is attributed to prayer in this episode of Jacob's life! What a description the text gives us of the royal attributes of prayer—that it sets in motion the sovereign agency which settles all human events! Jacob had in the midst of all his worldly sorrows and depressions a religious greatness. While to human eyes he was a dejected man, in the presence of God he was a prince, and prevailed.
J. B. Mozley, Sermons—Parochial and Occasional, p. 347.
I. The very twofold name of Jacob and of Israel is but the symbol of the blending of contradictions in Jacob's character. The life of Jacob comes before us as a strange paradox, shot with the most marvellous diversities. He is the hero of faith, and the quick, sharp-witted schemer. To him the heavens are opened, and his wisdom passes into the cunning which is of the earth earthy.
II. The character of Jacob is a form which is to be found among the Gentiles no less than among the Jews. There are in our own day prudential vices, marring what would otherwise be worthy of all praise. And that which makes them most formidable is that they are the cleaving, besetting temptations of the religious temperament. The religious man who begins to look on worldlings with the feeling of one who gives God thanks that he is not like them is in the way to fall short even of their excellences. (1) Untruthfulness, the want of perfect sincerity and frankness, is, it must be owned with shame and sorrow, the besetting sin of the religious temperament. (2) It is part of the same form of character that it thinks much of ease and comfort, and shrinks from hardship and from danger. Cowardice and untruthfulness are near of kin and commonly go together, and that which makes the union so perilous is that they mask themselves as virtues.
III. The religious temperament, with all its faults, may pass into the matured holiness of him who is not religious only, but godly. How the work is to be done "thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter," when thou too hast wrestled with the angel and hast become a prince with God.
E. H. Plumptre, Theology and Life, p. 296.
References: Genesis 32:28.—G. Litting, Thirty Children's Sermons, p. 154; Weekly Pulpit, vol. i. (1887), p. 271; Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., p. 551; Clergyman's Magazine, vol. x., p. 339. Genesis 32:28, Genesis 32:20.—F. W. Robertson, Sermons, 1st series, p. 36; Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes (1884), pp. 13, 16.
Genesis 32:29This is the question of all questions. For the name of God denotes His nature and His essence, the sum of all His properties and attributes.
I. It is a question worth the asking. There is a despair of religious knowledge in the world, as though in God's rich universe, Theology, which is the science of God Himself, were the one field in which no harvest could be reaped, no service of sacred knowledge gained.
II. The knowledge of God is the one thing needful. He who seeks to do the work of a Paley in presenting Christian evidences in a sense conformable to the intellectual state of thoughtful men, as the shadows are folding themselves about this wearied century—above all, he who cultivates and disciplines his spirituality until it has become the central fact of his being—it is he who offers in a right and reverent spirit the prayer of Jacob at Peniel, "Tell me, I pray Thee, Thy name."
III. It is necessary not only to ask the great question of the Divine nature, but to ask it in a right spirit. Jacob acted as though there were no other way of asking the question aright than by prayer; he must also ask it at the cost of personal suffering.
IV. What is the answer when it comes? Jacob's question was asked, but was not answered; or, rather, it was answered not directly and in so many words, but effectually: "He blessed him there." It is not knowledge that God gives to striving souls, but blessing. He stills your doubtings; He helps you to trust Him. You go forth no longer as Jacob, the supplanter, mean, earthly, temporal, but in the power of a Divine enthusiasm, as an Israel, a prince with God.
J. E. C. Welldon, The Anglican Pulpit of To-day, p. 428.
Reference: A. Fletcher, Thursday Penny Pulpit, vol. xi., p. 413.
Genesis 32:29God blessed Jacob at Peniel because he asked to be blessed, and his desire for it constituted at once his worthiness and his capacity. He began the blessing by the agony of prayer, and he completed it with the discipline of sorrow.
I. Life being itself a blessing, and to one who believes in God and hopes for Him the greatest of all blessings, God makes it a yet greater blessing by ordaining for it a fixed plan.
II. God does not expect perfect characters to fulfil His purpose. He chooses the fittest instruments He can find for His purest purposes, and trains them and bears with them until their work is done.
III. God uses circumstances as His angels and voices to us, and He has special epochs and crises in which He visits our souls and lives.
IV. The perfection of youth is eagerness without impetuosity; the perfection of old age is wisdom without cynicism, and a faith in the purpose of God which deepens and widens with the years.
Bishop Thorold, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxi., p. 145.
Genesis 32:31I. From the great conflict with sin none come off without many a scar. We may wrestle and prevail, but there will be touches of the enemy, which will leave their long and bitter memories. The way to heaven is made of falling down and rising up again. The battle is no steady, onward fight, but rallies and retreats, retreats and rallies.
II. The reason of our defeats is that the old sin of the character continues, and continues with unabated force, in the heart of a child of God. There are two ways in which sin breaks out and gains an advantage over a believer. (1) A new temptation suddently presents itself. (2) The old habit of sin recurs—recurs, indeed, sevenfold, but still the same sin.
III. All sin in a believer must arise from a reduction of grace. This is the result of grieving the Holy Ghost by a careless omission of prayer or other means of grace. There was an inward defeat before there was an outward and apparent one.
IV. Defeat is not final. It is not the end of the campaign. It is but one event in the war. It may even be converted into a positive good to the soul, for God can and will overrule guilt to gain. He allows the defeat to teach us repentance and humility.
J. Vaughan, Fifty Sermons, 6th series, p. 33.
References: Genesis 32:31.—Parker, vol. i., p. 363. Gen 32—F. W. Robertson, Notes on Genesis, p. 116; H. W. Beecher, Sermons, 2nd series, p. 106; R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 63; M. Dods, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph, p. 99; R. Lorimer, Bible Studies in Life and Truth, p. 1; Expositor, 1st series, vol. viii., p. 409. Genesis 33:9.—Parker, vol. i., p. 363. Genesis 33:17.—Homiletic Quarterly, vol. iii., P 543.
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 shewed 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;
Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,
Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.
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.