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Bible Commentaries
Genesis 32

Hampton's Commentary on Selected BooksHampton's Commentary

Verses 1-32

Wrestling With God

As Jacob continued his journey toward home, angels met him. He called the name of that place Mahanaim, or "two camps" because there were two armies encamped there, the angels and his family and servants. He sent messengers to tell Esau how he had gained wealth and was returning home. They came back reporting that Esau was coming to meet him with four hundred men.

In fear, Jacob divided his group into two camps, hoping one would escape if Esau killed the other. He then prayed God would deliver him as he had promised. He sent a gift of goats, rams, milk camels with their colts, cows, bulls, donkeys and their foals to Esau. He had his servants separate each group of animals into its own drove and had them approach Esau one group of gift animals at the time. They were to tell him the animals were a gift from Jacob. It was his hope the presents would appease his brother so he would accept him ( Gen_32:1-21 ).

That night, Jacob took his wives and children over a brook of water and remained in the camp alone. He wrestled with a man all night. The man, or angel, reached down and dislocated Jacob's hip joint. Jacob clung tenaciously to the stranger, asking for a blessing. The angel informed him that he would no longer be known as the supplanter, or deceiver (Jacob). Instead, he would be called Israel, which means "one who strives with God." Jacob named the place Peniel, or "the face of God," because he said he had seen God face to face and lived. As day broke, Israel limped toward his family. The author tells us the children of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip of animals because of this ( Gen_32:22-32 ; Hos_12:3-4 ).

Bibliographical Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Genesis 32". "Hampton's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghc/genesis-32.html. 2014.
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