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Monday, September 17 2018
A Bible Journey, 32: Thy Name Shall Be Called No More Jacob, But 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 slightly more than two decades away from his birthplace in the land of Canaan (see Hometowns: Hebron), Jacob was returning home from his refuge with his uncle Laban in Syria (see A Bible Journey, 29: Israel's Syria Origin). Syria is located on the "fertile crescent," about half-way between the Tigris-Euphrates area of Iraq where Abraham was born (see Hometowns: Ur Of The Chaldees) and Egypt (see Children Of Ham - The Origin Of Egypt And Iraq).
Jacob was literally on the run, from family, from Canaan to Syria and then back to Canaan from Syria. While Jacob had survived the parting with his uncle Laban, there was still the matter of his brother Esau - the reason that Jacob had fled to Syria to start it all (see A Bible Journey, 27: The Blessing And Birthright From Esau To Jacob).
"32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 32:2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
The messengers returned with a terrifying report: "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.
Jacob then frantically sent more gifts to Esau - most of Jacob's wealth (see A Bible Journey, 30: Jacob's Wages).
"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.
The incident occurred near the Jabbok River (shown in the photo above), 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?).
"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.
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.
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.
"32:27 And he said unto him, What is thy name?
The Holy Scriptures actually specify 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 the Fact Finder question below).
"32:29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name.
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.
Fact Finder: Who was and is "the LORD God" who changed Jacob's name to "Israel"?
This Day In History, September 17
480 BC: The Battle of Thermopylae between the Spartans and the Achaemenid Empire (see also Send In The Marines).
1394: All Jews in France were ordered out of the country by French King Charles VI (see also Jews - Three Tribes and Three Meanings).
1577: The Peace of Bergerac was signed between Henry III of France and the Huguenots (members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries).
1656: Massachusetts enacted laws against Quakers. While many of the settlers and "pilgrims" had left Europe to escape religious persecution, it didn't take long in their "New World" before they began doing exactly what their oppressors had been doing to them back in the "old country" (see also The Pilgrims to understand the actual Biblical meaning of "pilgrim").
1849: U.S. abolitionist Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery.
1894: The Battle of Yalu River, the largest naval battle of the First Sino-Japanese (China-Japan) War (see also Why Was Korea Divided Into North And South?).
1908: The "Wright Flyer," piloted by Orville Wright, with U.S. Army Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge as a passenger, crashed, killing Selfridge, who thereby became the first U.S. airplane fatality (see also Who Was The First To Fly? and The Rockets' Red Glare).
1916: During the First World War (1914-1918; see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars), Manfred von Richthofen ("The Red Baron") made his first air combat kill near Cambrai, France. He went on to shoot down 80 (79 British, 1 Belgian) enemy aircraft before he was shot down and killed by a Canadian fighter pilot, Captain Roy Brown (of Carleton Place, Ontario), over northern France in 1918.
1939: Soviet forces invaded Poland from the east while German forces were invading from the west; the Polish government and military command fled to exile in Romania.
1940: Adolf Hitler decided to "postpone" his invasion of Britain after his Luftwaffe met unexpectedly potent resistance from British fighter pilots in the "Battle of Britain" air war.
1948: United Nations representative Count Folke Bernadotte was assassinated in Jerusalem. The Swedish soldier and diplomat headed the Swedish Red Cross during World War Two and is credited with saving 20,000 Jewish inmates of concentration camps. As a UN mediator in Palestine, at the time of the creation of the present-day state of Israel that year, Bernadotte was murdered by Jewish terrorists who ignored all that Bernadotte had done for the people of Judah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Israel Of Judah and Israel In History and Prophecy: Balfour Declaration).
1956: Television was first broadcast in Australia.
1978: The Camp David Peace Accord was signed between Prime Minister Menachem Begin of Israel and President Anwar Sadat of Egypt.
1980: The independent trade union Solidarity was established after strikes at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk, Poland.
1980: Former Nicaraguan President Anastasio Somoza Debayle was assassinated in Asuncion, Paraguay.
1993: The last "Cold War" Russian troops left Poland (see also Russia Or Europe - Who Has Been The Invader?).
2001: The New York Stock Exchange reopened after the September 11 attacks, the longest trading disruption since the Great Depression.