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Wednesday, August 21 2013

Genesis 32: The Origin Of Israel

"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"

After over twenty years away from his birthplace in the land of Canaan (see also Camped Out In Canaan), Jacob was returning home from his refuge with his uncle Laban in Syria (see Genesis 29: Jacob In Syria and Genesis 31: The Parting of Jacob and Laban). While Jacob had survived the parting with Laban, there was still the matter of Esau - the reason that Jacob had fled to Syria.

"32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him [see Genesis 28: Jacob's Stairway To Heaven]. 32:2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

32:3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 32:4 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: 32:5 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." (Genesis 32:1-5 KJV)

The messengers returned from their mission to placate Esau with startling news: "We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him." Jacob panicked and scattered his family in the hope that some would survive the onslaught that he thought was coming. Only after he had done that, he prayed.


"32:6 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.

32:7 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; 32:8 And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.

32:9 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: 32:10 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. 32:11 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. 32:12 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." (Genesis 32:6-12 KJV)

Jacob then sent offers of more gifts to Esau - most of Jacob's wealth.

"32:13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother; 32:14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, 32:15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. 32:16 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.

32:17 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? 32:18 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.

32:19 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. 32:20 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. 32:21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company." (Genesis 32:13-21 KJV)

The incident occurred near the Jabbok River, which flows into the east side of the Jordan River about half-way between The Sea Of Galilee and the Salt Sea / Dead Sea (the Jordan River flows through the freshwater Sea of Galilee and ends at the Dead Sea). Jacob was about to be renamed as "Israel" in the land that is today in the Kingdom of Jordan (although it was, centuries after the lifetime of Jacob, held by the eastern Israelite tribes; see Why East And West Manasseh?).

The Jabbok River

"32:22 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.

32:23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had." (Genesis 32:22-23 KJV)

It was there that Jacob wrestled with the LORD.

"32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

32:25 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.

32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh.

And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." (Genesis 32:24-26 KJV)

Then came the famous name change: "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" - which was about the "chosen people" line to the coming Messiah. As Abraham knew, the "as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" was about the coming Saviour, not about a mere man who hadn't the power to save even himself (see The Forerunner Of Man and Of God).

"32:27 And he said unto him, What is thy name?

And he said, Jacob.

32:28 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." (Genesis 32:27-28 KJV)

The Scriptures leave no doubt that it was "the LORD God" Who "wrestled" with Jacob: "Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved" (see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God).

"32:29 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.

32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." (Genesis 32:29-30 KJV)

Jacob did not keep the incident a secret. It was necessary to make known the reason that everyone was to also call him "Israel" from then on.

"32:31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.

32:32 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." (Genesis 32:31-32 KJV)

Fact Finder: Is the nation that is known as "Israel" today actually only "Judah"?
See Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel Of Judah; see also Israel Never Knew Purim, Hanukkah Or Judaism

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This Day In History, August 21

1129: Minamoto no Yoritomo (an approximation of how the name is pronounced in English) became Seii Tai Sho-gun ("Shogun without equal" i.e. leader) of Japan.

1680: Pueblo people ("Indians") captured Santa Fe from the Spanish during the Pueblo Revolt.

1689: The Battle of Dunkeld in Scotland. Jacobite clans supporting deposed King James VII of Scotland fought a government regiment of covenanters supporting William of Orange, King of Scotland.

James Cook 1745: Czar Peter III of Russia married Catherine the Great.

1770: Captain James Cook claimed eastern Australia for Britain, naming it New South Wales.

1794: France surrendered the island of Corsica to the British.

1808: Napoleon Bonaparte's General Junot was defeated by Wellington at the first Battle of the Peninsular War at Vimiero, Spain.

1810: Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte, one of Napoleon's generals, was elected crown prince of Norway and Sweden. He ascended the throne 8 years later as Charles XIV. He founded the present royal house of Sweden.

1831: Nat Turner led US slaves in a rebellion. Turner was captured and hung, along with 56 other blacks who fought in the rebellion. Virginia and other southern states thereafter passed laws that prohibited education of slaves and free blacks, restricted the rights of assembly for all blacks, and required white ministers to be present at all black worship services.

1911: Leonardo da Vinci's painting of the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in Paris. It was recovered in 1913.

1918: During the First World War (1914-1918), Tte Second Battle of the Somme began.

1940: Leon Trotsky, 61, one of the leaders of the Russian Revolution, was killed by an assassin wielding an ice pick.

1944: Representatives of the U.S., Britain, Russia and China met at Dumbarton Oaks near Washington to plan for the formation of the United Nations.

1945: Harry Daghlian, a nuclear weapons physicist, was fatally irradiated in an accident with "the Demon core" at the US Los Alamos National Laboratory.

1950: The United Nations building in New York opened.

1957: The Soviet Union successfully completed a long-range test of the R-7 Semyorka, the first intercontinental ballistic missile (US and Soviet nuclear bombs at that time were aboard conventional bombers).

1982: Thousands of Palestinians were evacuated from Lebanon in response to Israel's invasion on June 6 (years later, terrorist leader Osama bin Laden declared that he got the idea for the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York from his seeing US-made Israeli Air Force F-16s bombing high-rise buildings in Lebanon).

1983: Philippines opposition leader Benign Aquino was assassinated in Manila minutes after returning from 3 years of exile in the U.S. The assassination led to the 1986 collapse of the Marcos regime, and the subsequent election of Aquino's widow, Corazon, as president.

1986: A large amount of carbon dioxide gas erupted from volcanic Lake Nyos in Cameroon, killing up to 1,800 people within a 20-kilometers.

1990: The first pictures from Venus by the space probe Magellan showed features similar to volcanoes and valleys on Earth.

1990: British conservationist George Adamson, best known for his work which was documented in the film "Born Free," was murdered by bandits in Kenya.

1991: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev regained control after a 3-day failed coup by Communist hardliners.

2001: NATO sent a "peace-keeping force" to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.


Copyright © Wayne Blank