Genesis 32

1 But Iacob went forth on his iourney. And the angells of God came and mett him.
2 And when Iacob sawe them he sayde: this is godes hoost: and called the name of that same place Mahanaim.
3 Iacob sente meessengers before him to Esau his brother vnto the lande of Seir and the felde of Edom.
4 And he comaunded them saynge: se that ye speake after this maner to my lorde Esau: thy seruaunte Iacob sayth thus. I haue sogerned ad bene a straunger with Laban vnto this tyme:
5 and haue gotten oxen asses and shepe menservauntes and wemanseruauntes and haue sent to shewe it mi lorde that I may fynde grace in thy syghte.
6 And the messengers came agayne to Iacob sainge: we came vnto thi brother Esau and he cometh ageynst the and .iiij. hundred men with hi.
7 Than was Iacob greatlye afrayde and wist not which waye to turne him selfe and devyded the people that was with him and the shepe oxen and camels in to .ij. companies
8 and sayde: Yf Esau come to the one parte and smyte it the other may saue it selfe.
9 And Iacob sayde: O god of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac: LORde which saydest vnto me returne vnto thy cuntre and to thy kynrede and I will deall wel with the.
10 I am not worthy of the leaste of all the mercyes and treuth which thou hast shewed vnto thy seruaunte. For with my staf came I over this Iordane and now haue Igoten .ij. droves
11 Delyver me from the handes of my brother Esau for I feare him: lest he will come and smyte the mother with the childeru.
12 Thou saydest that thou woldest surely do me good and woldest make mi seed as the sonde of the see which can not be nombred for multitude.
13 And he taried there that same nyghte and toke of that which came to hande a preasent vnto Esau his brother:
14 ij hundred she gootes ad xx he gootes: ij hundred shepe and xx rammes:
15 thyrtye mylch camels with their coltes: xl kyne ad x bulles: xx she asses ad foles
16 and delyuered them vnto his seruauntes euery drooue by them selues ad sayde vnto them: goo forth before me and put a space betwyxte euery drooue.
17 And he comaunded the formest sayngeWhe Esau my brother meteth the ad axeth the saynge: whose seruaute art thou and whither goost thou and whose ar these that goo before ye:
18 thou shalt say they be thy seruaunte Iacobs and are a present sent vnto my lorde Esau and beholde he him selfe cometh after vs.
19 And so comaunded he the seconde ad euen so the thirde and lykewyse all that folowed the drooues sainge of this maner se that ye speake vnto Esau whe ye mete him
20 ad saye more ouer. Beholde thy seruaunte Iacob cometh after vs for he sayde. I will pease his wrath with the present yt goth before me and afterward I will see him myself so peradventure he will receaue me to grace.
21 So went the preset before him ad he taried all that nyghte in the tente
22 ad rose vp the same nyghte ad toke his .ij. wyves and his .ij. maydens and his .xi. sonnes and went ouer the foorde Iabok.
23 And he toke them ad sent the ouer the ryuer ad sent ouer that he had
24 ad taried behinde him selfe alone.And there wrastled a man with him vnto the breakynge of the daye.
25 And when he sawe that he coude not prevayle agaynst him he smote hi vnder the thye and the senowe of Iacobs thy shranke as he wrastled with him.
26 And he sayde: let me goo for the daye breaketh. And he sayde: I will not lett the goo excepte thou blesse me.
27 And he sayde vnto him: what is thy name? He answered: Iacob.
28 And he sayde: thou shalt be called Iacob nomore but Israell. For thou hast wrastled with God and with men ad hast preuayled.
29 And Iacob asked him sainge tell me thi name. And he sayde wherfore dost thou aske after my name? and he blessed him there.
30 And Iacob called the name of the place Peniel for I haue sene God face to face and yet is my lyfe reserved.
31 And as he went ouer Peniel the sonne rose vpon him and he halted vpon his thye:
32 wherfore the childern of Israell eate not of the senow that shrancke vnder the thye vnto this daye: because that he smote Iacob vnder the thye in the senow that shroncke.

Genesis 32 Commentary

Chapter 32

Jacob's vision at Mahanaim, His fear of Esau. (1-8) Jacob's earnest prayer for deliverance, He prepares a present for Esau. (9-23) He wrestles with the Angel. (24-32)

Verses 1-8 The angels of God appeared to Jacob, to encourage him with the assurance of the Divine protection. When God designs his people for great trials, he prepares them by great comforts. While Jacob, to whom the promise belonged, had been in hard service, Esau was become a prince. Jacob sent a message, showing that he did not insist upon the birth-right. Yielding pacifies great offences, ( Ecclesiastes 10:4 ) . We must not refuse to speak respectfully, even to those unjustly angry with us. Jacob received an account of Esau's warlike preparations against him, and was greatly afraid. A lively sense of danger, and quickening fear arising from it, may be found united with humble confidence in God's power and promise.

Verses 9-23 Times of fear should be times of prayer: whatever causes fear, should drive us to our knees, to our God. Jacob had lately seen his guards of angels, but in this distress he applied to God, not to them; he knew they were his fellow-servants, Re. 22:9 . There cannot be a better pattern for true prayer than this. Here is a thankful acknowledgement of former undeserved favours; a humble confession of unworthiness; a plain statement of his fears and distress; a full reference of the whole affair to the Lord, and resting all his hopes on him. The best we can say to God in prayer, is what he has said to us. Thus he made the name of the Lord his strong tower, and could not but be safe. Jacob's fear did not make him sink into despair, nor did his prayer make him presume upon God's mercy, without the use of means. God answers prayers by teaching us to order our affairs aright. To pacify Esau, Jacob sent him a present. We must not despair of reconciling ourselves to those most angry against us.

Verses 24-32 A great while before day, Jacob being alone, more fully spread his fears before God in prayer. While thus employed, One in the likeness of a man wrestled with him. When the spirit helpeth our infirmities, and our earnest and vast desires can scarcely find words to utter them, and we still mean more than we can express, then prayer is indeed wrestling with God. However tried or discouraged, we shall prevail; and prevailing with Him in prayer, we shall prevail against all enemies that strive with us. Nothing requires more vigour and unceasing exertion than wrestling. It is an emblem of the true spirit of faith and prayer. Jacob kept his ground; though the struggle continued long, this did not shake his faith, nor silence his prayer. He will have a blessing, and had rather have all his bone put out of joint than go away without one. Those who would have the blessing of Christ, must resolve to take no denial. The fervent prayer is the effectual prayer. The Angel puts a lasting mark of honour upon him, by changing his name. Jacob signifies a supplanter. From henceforth he shall be celebrated, not for craft and artful management, but for true valour. Thou shalt be called Israel, a prince with God, a name greater than those of the great men of the earth. He is a prince indeed that is a prince with God; those are truly honourable that are mighty in prayer. Having power with God, he shall have power with men too; he shall prevail, and gain Esau's favour. Jacob gives a new name to the place. He calls it Peniel, the face of God, because there he had seen the appearance of God, and obtained the favour of God. It becomes those whom God honours, to admire his grace towards them. The Angel who wrestled with Jacob was the second Person in the sacred Trinity, who was afterwards God manifest in the flesh, and who, dwelling in human nature, is called Immanuel, ( hosea 12:4 hosea 12:5 ) . Jacob halted on his thigh. It might serve to keep him from being lifted up with the abundance of the revelations. The sun rose on Jacob: it is sun-rise with that soul, which has had communion with God.

Chapter Summary


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 Commentaries

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