Genesis 32:1-21

Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau

1 Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
2 When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!” So he named that place Mahanaim.[a]
3 Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
4 He instructed them: “This is what you are to say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now.
5 I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.’ ”
6 When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”
7 In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups,[b] and the flocks and herds and camels as well.
8 He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks one group,[c] the group[d] that is left may escape.”
9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, LORD, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’
10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps.
11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children.
12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’ ”
13 He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau:
14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams,
15 thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys.
16 He put them in the care of his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, “Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds.”
17 He instructed the one in the lead: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?’
18 then you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.’ ”
19 He also instructed the second, the third and all the others who followed the herds: “You are to say the same thing to Esau when you meet him.
20 And be sure to say, ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’ ” For he thought, “I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.”
21 So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.

Genesis 32:1-21 Meaning and Commentary


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.

Cross References 39

  • 1. S Genesis 16:11; 2 Kings 6:16-17; 1 Chronicles 21:15; Psalms 34:7; Psalms 35:5; Psalms 91:11; Daniel 6:22; Hebrews 1:14
  • 2. S Genesis 28:17
  • 3. Joshua 13:26,30; Joshua 21:38; 2 Samuel 2:8,29; 2 Samuel 17:24; 2 Samuel 19:32; 1 Kings 2:8; 1 Kings 4:14; 1 Chronicles 6:80
  • 4. Numbers 21:21; Judges 11:17
  • 5. S Genesis 27:41-42
  • 6. S Genesis 14:6; S Numbers 24:18
  • 7. S Genesis 25:30; S Genesis 36:16; Genesis 36:8,9
  • 8. S Genesis 24:9
  • 9. S Genesis 18:3
  • 10. Genesis 31:41
  • 11. S Genesis 12:16; Genesis 30:43
  • 12. S Genesis 24:9
  • 13. Ge 33:8,10,15; Genesis 34:11; Genesis 47:25,29; Genesis 50:4; Ruth 2:13
  • 14. Genesis 33:1
  • 15. ver 11
  • 16. Genesis 35:3; Psalms 4:1; Psalms 77:2; Psalms 107:6
  • 17. ver 10; Genesis 33:1
  • 18. S Genesis 24:12
  • 19. S Genesis 28:13; Genesis 31:42
  • 20. S Genesis 26:3; Genesis 31:13
  • 21. S Genesis 24:27
  • 22. Genesis 38:18; Genesis 47:31; Numbers 17:2
  • 23. S ver 7
  • 24. S ver 7
  • 25. Genesis 43:18; Psalms 59:2
  • 26. S Genesis 27:41
  • 27. S Genesis 22:17; 1 Kings 4:20,29
  • 28. S Genesis 12:2; S Genesis 13:14; Genesis 28:13-15; Hosea 1:10; Romans 9:27
  • 29. ver 13-15,18,20,21; Genesis 33:10; Genesis 43:11,15,25,26; 1 Samuel 16:20; Proverbs 18:16; Proverbs 21:14
  • 30. Numbers 7:88
  • 31. S Genesis 13:2; Genesis 42:26; Genesis 45:23
  • 32. Genesis 33:8
  • 33. S Genesis 18:3
  • 34. S ver 13
  • 35. S Genesis 18:3
  • 36. S ver 13; 1 Samuel 9:7; 2 Kings 8:8; Jeremiah 40:5
  • 37. 1 Samuel 25:19
  • 38. Genesis 33:10; Exodus 28:38; Leviticus 1:4; Malachi 1:8; Proverbs 21:14
  • 39. S ver 13

Footnotes 4

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