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Gen. 32:1-2 "And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Manhanaim."

22-24 "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."

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As Jacob moved toward Canaan, he was met by "the angels of God". No explanation is given as to why these angels met him or if they said anything to him. I imagine that God felt he needed encouraging. Not only had he left an unpleasant situation in Haran, he was headed home to a brother who had threatened to kill him when he left. Jacob named the place where the angels met him Mahanaim, meaning "two camps." One camp would have been the group of angels or "God's camp"; the other Jacob's own camp of his family and servants.

Jacob was making preparations to meet his brother, Esau. First, he sent messengers to tell Esau of his arrival and to inform him of how God had blessed him in the last 20 years. Jacob was not traveling very fast according to this scripture. The messenger traveled all the way to Edom and back and Jacob was still in about the same spot when he returned. Upon their return, they told Jacob that Esau was coming out to meet Jacob and that he had 400 men with him. Jacob feared that his brother was coming to get retribution against him because he had taken his birthright and blessing so many years before.

Jacob did three things to prepare for the worst from Esau. 1) He divided the people and the animals into two groups. If Esau came in battle, the group behind could escape. 2) He prayed! He reminded God of His earlier promise to "deal well" with him when he returned to his home. 3) He got together a present for his brother. 580 animals consisting of goats, sheep, camels, cattle, and asses. He divided these into three droves so Esau would possibly lose some of his anger as he met each one. He put his wives and sons at the back of the troupe!

Jacob did not sleep much that night. He wrestled with an angel until daybreak. When the angel asked to be released, Jacob told him he would only let him go if he would bless him first. The angel blessed him and changed his name to Israel, meaning "prince of God". He also told Jacob that he had power with God and men. Jacob named the place Peniel, meaning "face of God," for he said, "I have seen God face to face." Sometime during the "fight" with the angel, Jacob's thigh was injured; probably dislocated. There was very real damage done here as Jacob was limping the next day as he crossed over Penuel. This was recorded as a reminder to his decendents for the last verse says his children did not eat meat from that portion because of this incident.


What do you think was the purpose of the group of angels who met Jacob at the beginning of this chapter?

Do you think Esau had a right to be angry at his brother?

What was the significance of Jacob's dislocated thigh?

Do you think Jacob really met God "face to face"?
Why, or why not?

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{Genesis 31} {GENESIS 33}

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