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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 32

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1As Jacob continued his journey he was met by angels of God. 2When he saw them, Jacob exclaimed, ‘This is the company of God,’ and he called that place Mahanaim a 32:2 Mahanaim: that is Two Companies. .

3Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau to the district of Seir in Edomite territory, 4instructing them to say to Esau, ‘My lord, your servant Jacob sends this message: I have been living with Laban and have stayed there till now. 5I have acquired oxen, donkeys, and sheep, as well as male and female slaves, and I am sending to tell you this, my lord, so that I may win your favour.’ 6The messengers returned to Jacob and said, ‘We went to your brother Esau and he is already on the way to meet you with four hundred men.’ 7Jacob, much afraid and distressed, divided the people with him, as well as the sheep, cattle, and camels, into two companies. 8He reasoned that, if Esau should come upon one company and destroy it, the other might still survive.

9Jacob prayed, ‘God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, LORD at whose bidding I came back to my own country and to my kindred, and who promised me prosperity, 10I am not worthy of all the true and steadfast love which you have shown to me your servant. The last time I crossed the Jordan, I owned nothing but the staff in my hand; now I have two camps. 11Save me, I pray, from my brother Esau, for I am afraid that he may come and destroy me; he will spare neither mother nor child. 12But you said, “I shall make you prosper and your descendants will be like the sand of the sea, beyond all counting.” ’

13After spending the night there Jacob chose a gift for his brother Esau from the herds he had with him: 14two hundred she-goats, twenty he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15thirty milch-camels with their young, forty cows and ten young bulls, twenty she-donkeys and ten donkeys. 16He put each drove into the charge of a servant and said, ‘Go on ahead of me, and leave gaps between one drove and the next.’ 17To the first servant he gave these instructions: ‘When my brother Esau meets you and asks who your master is and where you are going and who owns these animals you are driving, 18you are to say, “They belong to your servant Jacob, who sends them as a gift to my lord Esau; he himself is coming behind us.”’ 19He gave the same instructions to the second, to the third, and to all the drovers, telling each to say the same thing to Esau when they met him. 20And they were to add, ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’ Jacob thought, ‘I shall appease him with the gift that I have sent on ahead, and afterwards, when we come face to face, perhaps he will receive me kindly.’ 21So Jacob's gift went on ahead of him, while he himself stayed that night at Mahaneh.

22During the night Jacob rose, and taking his two wives, his two slave-girls, and his eleven sons, he crossed the ford of Jabbok. 23After he had sent them across the wadi with all that he had, 24Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him there till daybreak b 32:24 till daybreak: or at daybreak. . 25When the man saw that he could not get the better of Jacob, he struck him in the hollow of his thigh, so that Jacob's hip was dislocated as they wrestled. 26The man said, ‘Let me go, for day is breaking,’ but Jacob replied, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ 27The man asked, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob,’ he answered. 28The man said, ‘Your name shall no longer be Jacob but Israel c 32:28 Israel: that is God strove. , because you have striven with God and with mortals, and have prevailed.’ 29Jacob said, ‘Tell me your name, I pray.’ He replied, ‘Why do you ask my name?’ but he gave him his blessing there. 30Jacob called the place Peniel d 32:30 Peniel: that is Face of God (elsewhere Penuel). , ‘because’, he said, ‘I have seen God face to face yet my life is spared’. 31The sun rose as Jacob passed through Penuel, limping because of his hip. 32That is why to this day the Israelites do not eat the sinew that is on the hollow of the thigh, because the man had struck Jacob on that sinew.

Notes:

a 32:2 Mahanaim: that is Two Companies.

b 32:24 till daybreak: or at daybreak.

c 32:28 Israel: that is God strove.

d 32:30 Peniel: that is Face of God (elsewhere Penuel).

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