Genesis 32:22-32

Jacob wrestles with God

22 Jacob got up during the night, took his two wives, his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed the Jabbok River's shallow water.
23 He took them and everything that belonged to him, and he helped them cross the river.
24 But Jacob stayed apart by himself, and a man wrestled with him until dawn broke.
25 When the man saw that he couldn't defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob's thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob's thigh as he wrestled with him.
26 The man said, "Let me go because the dawn is breaking." But Jacob said, "I won't let you go until you bless me."
27 He said to Jacob, "What's your name?" and he said, "Jacob."
28 Then he said, "Your name won't be Jacob any longer, but Israel, because you struggled with God and with men and won."
29 Jacob also asked and said, "Tell me your name." But he said, "Why do you ask for my name?" and he blessed Jacob there.
30 Jacob named the place Peniel,"because I've seen God face-to-face, and my life has been saved."
31 The sun rose as Jacob passed Penuel, limping because of his thigh.
32 Therefore, Israelites don't eat the tendon attached to the thigh muscle to this day, because he grabbed Jacob's thigh muscle at the tendon.

Genesis 32:22-32 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO GENESIS 32

This chapter informs us of Jacob's proceeding on in his journey, and of his being met and guarded by an host of angels, Ge 32:1,2; of his sending messengers to his brother Esau, acquainting him with his increase, and desiring his favour and good will, Ge 32:3-5, who return and report to him, that Esau was coming to him with four hundred men, which put him into a panic, and after devising ways and means for the security of himself; and those with him, at least a part, if not the whole, Ge 32:6-8; then follows a prayer of his to God, pressing his unworthiness of mercies, and his sense of them, imploring deliverance from his brother, and putting the Lord in mind of his promises, Ge 32:9-12; after which we have an account of the wise methods he took for the safety of himself and family, by sending a present to his brother, dividing those who had the charge of it into separate companies, and directing them to move at a proper distance from each other, he, his wives and children, following after, Ge 32:13-23; when they were over the brook Jabbok, he stopped, and being alone, the Son of God in an human form appeared to him, and wrestled with him, with whom Jacob prevailed, and got the blessing, and hence had the name of Israel, Ge 32:24-28; and though he could not get his name, he perceived it was a divine Person he had wrestled with, and therefore called the name of the place Penuel, Ge 32:29-31; the hollow of his thigh being touched by him with whom he wrestled, which put it out of joint, he halted as he went over Penuel, in commemoration of which the children of Israel eat not of that part of the thigh, Ge 32:31,32.

Genesis 32:22-32 In-Context

20 Say also, ‘Your servant Jacob is right behind us.'" Jacob thought, I may be able to pacify Esau with the gift I'm sending ahead. When I meet him, perhaps he will be kind to me.
21 So Jacob sent the gift ahead of him, but he spent that night in the camp.
22 Jacob got up during the night, took his two wives, his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed the Jabbok River's shallow water.
23 He took them and everything that belonged to him, and he helped them cross the river.
24 But Jacob stayed apart by himself, and a man wrestled with him until dawn broke.
25 When the man saw that he couldn't defeat Jacob, he grabbed Jacob's thigh and tore a muscle in Jacob's thigh as he wrestled with him.
26 The man said, "Let me go because the dawn is breaking." But Jacob said, "I won't let you go until you bless me."
27 He said to Jacob, "What's your name?" and he said, "Jacob."
28 Then he said, "Your name won't be Jacob any longer, but Israel, because you struggled with God and with men and won."
29 Jacob also asked and said, "Tell me your name." But he said, "Why do you ask for my name?" and he blessed Jacob there.
30 Jacob named the place Peniel,"because I've seen God face-to-face, and my life has been saved."
31 The sun rose as Jacob passed Penuel, limping because of his thigh.
32 Therefore, Israelites don't eat the tendon attached to the thigh muscle to this day, because he grabbed Jacob's thigh muscle at the tendon.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or God struggles or one who struggles with God
  • [b]. Or face of God