Hosea 12:4

4 He struggled with the angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel and talked with him there—

Hosea 12:4 in Other Translations

4 Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;
4 He strove with the angel and prevailed; he wept and sought his favor. He met God at Bethel, and there God spoke with us--
4 Yes, he wrestled with the angel and won. He wept and pleaded for a blessing from him. There at Bethel he met God face to face, and God spoke to him —
4 But God would not be bested. God bested him. Brought to his knees, Jacob wept and prayed. God found him at Bethel. That's where he spoke with him.
4 Jacob struggled with the Angel and prevailed; he wept and sought His favor. He found him at Bethel, and there He spoke with him.

Hosea 12:4 Meaning and Commentary

Hosea 12:4

Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed
This is repeated in different words, not only for the confirmation of it, it being a very extraordinary thing, and difficult of belief; but to direct to the history here referred to, where the person Jacob prevailed over is called a man, and here the angel; and so Josephus F21 calls him a divine Person; not a created angel, not Michael, as the Rabbins say, unless the Messiah is meant by him; nor Jacob's guardian angel, as Kimchi, every man being thought by some to have one; and much less Esau's evil angel, that was against Jacob, as Jarchi and Abarbinel; for of him he would never have sought nor expected a blessing; but an uncreated Angel, the Son of God, the same that went before the Israelites in the wilderness, and that redeemed Jacob from all evil, ( Genesis 48:16 ) ( Exodus 23:20-23 ) ; called an Angel, being so not by nature, for he is superior to angels in both his natures, divine and human; but by office, being sent to reveal the will of God, and to do the work of God in the redemption and salvation of men; the same that is called the Angel of the great council in the Greek version of ( Isaiah 9:6 ) ; and the Angel of God's presence, ( Isaiah 63:9 ) ; and the Angel or messenger of the covenant, ( Malachi 3:1 ) ; the phrases used denote, as before, the power and prevalence Jacob had with this divine Person in prayer; whereby he obtained the blessing of him, even deliverance from his brother Esau, as well as others respecting him and his posterity; he wept, and made supplication unto him;
not the angel, entreating Jacob to let him go, as Jarchi and Kimchi, and so some Christian interpreters; who think that an angel in human form may be said to weep, as well as to eat and drink; and the rather, since this angel was not the conqueror, but the conquered; and since Christ, in the days of his flesh, both prayed and wept, and shed tears; but the case here is different; and though he was prevailed over, it was through his own condescension and goodness: but rather Jacob is meant, as Abarbinel and others; who wept not on account of the angel's touching his thigh, and the pain that might put him to; for he was of a more heroic spirit than to weep for that, who had endured so much hardship in Laban's service, in heat and cold; and besides, notwithstanding this, he kept wrestling with him, and afterwards walked, though haltingly: but he wept either because he could not get out the name of the person he wrestled with; or rather the tears he shed were for the blessing he sought of him; for it is joined with his making supplication, and is expressive of the humble, yet ardent, affectionate, fervent, and importunate request he made to obtain it; and here we have another proof of the deity of Christ, in that supplication was made to him, and he is here represented as the object of that part of religious worship, prayer, as he often is in the New Testament. This circumstance is not expressed in ( Genesis 32:1-31 ) , though it may be gathered from what is there said; however, the prophet had it by divine inspiration; and the truth of it is not to be doubted of, being not at all inconsistent with, but quite agreeable to, that history; he found him [at] Bethel;
either the angel found Jacob in Bethel, as he did more than once, both before and after this time, ( Genesis 28:12-19 ) ( Genesis 35:6 Genesis 35:7 Genesis 35:9 ) ; it is good to be in Bethel, in the house of God; happy are those that dwell there, and are found there living and dying, doing the will and work of God there: or rather Jacob found God or the angel in Bethel; God is to be found in his own house, there he comes and blesses with his gracious presence; here Christ the Angel of his presence is; here he meets with his people, and manifests himself unto them. There is in the words a tacit reflection on Israel, or the ten tribes, that bore the name of Jacob; the patriarch found God in Bethel, Christ the Angel of the Lord; but now, instead of him, there was a calf set up in this place, Israel worshipped; and therefore it was called Bethaven, the house of an idol, or iniquity, instead of Bethel, the house of God; and there he spake with us;
not with Esau and his angel, concerning Isaac's blessing of Jacob, as Jarchi; nor with Jacob and his angel, as the father of Kimchi; nor with the prophet, and with Amos, to reprove Israel there for the worship of the calves, as Kimchi himself; but with all the Israelites, of whom the prophet was one; who were then in the loins of Jacob, when he conversed with God, and God with him, at Bethel: or, as Saadiah interprets it, "for us" for our sakes, on our account; or "concerning us"; concerning the multiplication of Jacob's posterity, and the giving the land of Canaan to them, as the Lord did at both times he appeared to Jacob in Bethel; see ( Genesis 28:14 Genesis 28:15 ) ( Genesis 35:11 Genesis 35:12 ) ; and it is in the house of God, where Christ is as a son, that he speaks with and to his people, even in his word and ordinances there.


F21 Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 1. c. 20. sect. 2.)

Hosea 12:4 In-Context

2 The LORD has a charge to bring against Judah; he will punish Jacob according to his ways and repay him according to his deeds.
3 In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel; as a man he struggled with God.
4 He struggled with the angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel and talked with him there—
5 the LORD God Almighty, the LORD is his name!
6 But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.

Cross References 1

  • 1. S Genesis 12:8; Genesis 28:12-15; S Genesis 35:15
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