1Forsooth Jacob went forth in the way in which he began (And Jacob went forth on the way in which he began), and the angels of the Lord met him. 2And when he had seen them, he said, These be the castles of God (These be the companies of God/This is God’s camp); and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
3Soothly Jacob sent before him also messengers to Esau, his brother, into the land of Seir, in the country of Edom; (And Jacob sent messengers on before him to his brother Esau, who was in the land of Seir, in the country of Edom;) 4and he commanded to them, and said, Thus speak ye to my lord Esau, (and say,) Thy brother Jacob saith these things, I have been a pilgrim at Laban (I have been living with Laban), and I was (there) till into this present day; 5I have oxen, and asses, and sheep, and menservants, and handmaids, and I send now a message to my lord, that I find grace in thy sight. (I have oxen, and donkeys, and sheep, and male and female slaves, and I have sent this message to my lord, so that I may find grace in thy sight.)
6And the messengers turned again to Jacob, and said, We came to Esau, thy brother, and lo! he hasteth him into thy coming, with four hundred men. (And the messengers returned to Jacob, and said, We came to thy brother Esau, and told him your message, and lo! now he hasteneth himself to come to meet thee, with four hundred men.) 7Jacob dreaded greatly, and he was afeared, and he parted the people that was with him, and he parted the flocks, and sheep, and oxen, and camels, into two companies; (And Jacob greatly feared, and he was afraid, and so he divided all the people who were with him, as well as the flocks, and sheep, and oxen, and camels, into two groups;) 8and he said, If Esau shall come to one company, and shall smite it, the other company which is left unsmitten, shall be saved. (and he said, If Esau shall come to one group, and shall strike them down, the other group which is left, shall be able to escape.)
9And Jacob said, O! God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, O! Lord, that saidest to me, Turn thou again into thy land, and to the place of thy birth, and I shall do well to thee (O! Lord, who saidest to me, Return thou to thy land, and to the place of thy birth, and I shall deal well with thee), 10I am less than all thy merciful doings, and than (all) thy truth which thou hast [ful]filled to thy servant; with (only) my staff I passed (over) this Jordan, and now I go (back over) again with two companies; (I am not worthy of all thy merciful doings, and all thy faithfulness which thou hast shown to thy servant; for I crossed over this Jordan River with only my staff, and now I go back again with these two plentiful groups;) 11deliver thou me from the hand of my brother Esau, for I dread him greatly (for I greatly fear him), lest he come and smite (me, and) the mothers with the sons. 12Thou spakest that thou shouldest do well to me, and wouldest alarge my seed as [the] gravel of the sea, that may not be numbered for muchliness. (Thou saidest that thou wouldest deal well with me, and that thou wouldest enlarge my descendants like the gravel, or like the sand, of the sea, that cannot be counted for all of its muchliness.)
13And when Jacob had slept there in that night, he separated of those things which he had, (as) gifts to Esau, his brother, (And after Jacob had slept there that night, he separated out from the things which he had, as gifts for his brother Esau,) 14two hundred (she) goats, and twenty bucks of goats, (and) two hundred sheep, and twenty rams, 15camels full with their foals thirty, forty kine, and twenty bulls, twenty she-asses, and [the] ten foals of them. (thirty milk camels with their foals, forty cows, and twenty bulls, and twenty female donkeys, and their ten foals.) 16And he sent by the hands of his servants all the flocks by themselves; and he said to his servants, Go ye before me, and (let) a space be betwixt (a) flock and (a) flock. 17And he commanded to the former, and said, If thou shalt meet my brother Esau, and he shall ask thee, whose man thou art, or whither thou goest, or whose be these things which thou followest, (And he commanded to the first servant, and said, When thou shalt meet my brother Esau, and he shall ask thee, Whose man art thou? and where goest thou? and whose things be these which thou followest?) 18thou shalt answer, (They be) Of thy servant Jacob; he hath sent (them as) gifts to his lord Esau, and he cometh after us. 19In like manner, he gave commandments to the second, and to the third (he gave the same orders to the second, and the third servants), and to all that followed the flocks; and said, Speak ye by the same words to Esau, when ye find him, 20and ye shall add, Also Jacob himself thy servant followeth our way (and ye shall add, And thy servant Jacob himself followeth on our way). For Jacob said, I shall please Esau with (the) gifts that go before (me), and (then) afterward I shall see him; in hap he shall be merciful to me. 21And so the gifts went before him; soothly he dwelled in that night in the tents.
22And when Jacob had risen hastily, he took his two wives, and so many handmaids, with (his) eleven sons, and he passed (over) the ford of Jabbok. (And during the night Jacob rose up, and hastily he took his two wives, and the two slave-girls, and his eleven sons, and they all crossed over the ford of Jabbok, or the Jabbok Crossing.) 23And when all things that pertained to him were led over, (And then he returned, and saw that everything had been taken over,)
24(and) Jacob dwelled (there) alone, and, lo! a man (came, and) wrestled with him till to the morrowtide. 25And when the man saw that he might not overcome Jacob, he touched the sinew of Jacob’s hip, and it dried anon (and it dried up at once). 26And he said to Jacob, Let go thou me, for the morrowtide goeth up now. Jacob answered, I shall not let go thee, no but thou bless me. (And he said to Jacob, Let me go, for the morning cometh now. And Jacob answered, I shall not let thee go, unless thou bless me.) 27Therefore he said, What name is to thee? (And) He answered, Jacob. 28And the man said, Thy name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel; for if thou were strong against God, how much more shalt thou have power against men. 29Jacob asked him, Say thou to me by what name thou art called? He answered, Why askest thou my name, which is wonderful? And he blessed Jacob in the same place. (And Jacob said to him, Tell thou to me by what name thou art called. And he answered, Why askest thou my name? And then he blessed Jacob there.) 30And Jacob called the name of that place Penuel, and said, I saw the Lord face to face, and my life is made safe. (And Jacob named that place Peniel, or The face of God, saying, For I saw the Lord face to face, and yet my life was spared.) 31And anon the sun rose to him, after that he had passed (over from) Penuel; forsooth he halted in the foot. (And the sun rose up as he left Peniel; and he limped because of his hip.) 32For which cause the sons of Israel eat not unto this present day the sinew, (like that) that dried in the hip of Jacob (For this reason, the Israelites do not eat the sinew, like that which dried up in Jacob’s hip, unto this present day); for the man touched the sinew of Jacob’s hip, and it dried (up).
Wycliffe’s Old Testament
Wycliffe’s New Testament
and JOHN PURVEY
A modern-spelling edition of their
14TH century Middle English translation,
the first complete English vernacular version,
with an Introduction by
TERENCE P. NOBLE
Used by Permission