This chapter is about Jacob preparing to meet Esau again, after their tift. In this chapter is also Jacob wrestling with God. This is the chapter where Jacob gets a name change. So far, 2 out of the 3 patriarchs of the Jewish/Christian/Islamic faith’s got name changes!
Jacob went on his way. The angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said that that place was the camp of God. He called the place Mahanaim (meaning 2 camps).
Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to Esau, his brother. Esau was in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. Jacob told the messengers to say to Esau: that your servant Jacob says that he’s been staying with uncle Laban & he’s been chilling there until now. That he’s got a bunch of stuff & that he’s sending the message to find favor in Esau’s eyes.
When the messengers got back to Jacob, they told him that they went to Esau & he’s coming to meet Jacob. And that 400 men are with him. Jacob gets VERY afraid & distressed. He divides everything he has & the people in his entourage into 2 different groups. Jacob thought that if Esau came & attacks 1 group, then the other group would be okay. Jacob sends up a prayer to God to save him from Esau.
Jacob spent the night there. He then selects a gift for Esau. The present was: 200 female goats, 20 male goats, 200 female ewes, 20 rams, 30 female camels with their young, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys & 10 male donkeys (if you’re keeping count, that’s a total of, at least, 550 heads of livestock. It doesn’t say how many young the female camels have.). He put the herds in the hands of his servants. Jacob then told them to go ahead of him & keep some space between the herds.
He then told the one in the lead to say to Esau that everything belongs to Jacob & that all of it is a gift to Esau from Jacob. He also told all the servants behind the 1st one to say the same thing to Esau. And they HAD to say to Esau “Your servant Jacob.” So Jacob’s gifts to Esau went ahead of him. But Jacob stayed the night at the camp.
That night Jacob got up, took his family & crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent the people across the stream, he sent over his stuff. So Jacob was the last one on his side of the stream, & a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When this man saw that he couldn’t overpower Jacob, the man touched the socket of Jacob’s hip. So that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man told Jacob to let him go because it was daybreak.
Jacob told the man that he wouldn’t let him go until the man blessed Jacob. The man asked Jacob his name. Jacob replies with his name. The man told Jacob that a name change was coming his way. It gets changed to Israel (that’s right. It was originally a person’s name. Not a country’s name.). Jacob asks the man for his name. The man asks why he wants to know, then blesses him there, on the spot. So Jacob called the spot Peniel (which means face of God), because he says he saw God face to face & his life was spared. The sun rose as he passed Peniel. He was limping because of his hip.