Some Notes:

The English language has no gender-neutral pronouns. So when the words man, he, him, etc are used, they mean "Generic human being" unless the context specifically says otherwise. Only women get words devoted just to them.

Thou, Thee, and Thine are singular pronouns. You and Your are plural in the 16th Century English the King James Bible was translated into. This actually makes the message clearer than our habit of using "you" as both a singular and a plural.

In many scriptures I have changed the King James (English) spelling to American spelling (labour=labor, for example. I understand those in England still spell it with a u). Also, in some scriptures I have changed the "-eth" to a simple "s." Spelling standards weren't set in English until the mid 1800's, well after the translating of the KJV. So I see no problem with making these simple changes that don't affect the meaning of the scripture but make it easier for our modern mouths and ears to deal with.

Genesis 32- Jacob Promises God


1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.

2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s host." And he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

Mahanaim means “Double Camp,” possibly referring to the camp of the angels and Jacobs camp.

3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.

This would be about 2265 (1781BC) and Jacob is about 97:
  • Joseph was 30 when he first stood before Pharaoh (Genesis 41:46).
  • He would have been 39 when his dad moved to Egypt (30 + 7 years of plenty + 2 years of famine).
  • Jacob was 130 (Genesis 47:9) when he moved to Egypt. This means Jacob was 91 when Joseph was born.
  • Jacob had served Laban 14 years at Joseph’s birth, so he was 77 when he moved to Padanaram.
  • He was in Padanaram for 20 years, so Jacob is 97 now (and Joseph would be 6).
4 And he commanded them, saying, “Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; ‘Thy servant Jacob says, “I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:

5 “And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and women servants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.” ’ ”

Jacob is still afraid of Esau, though it has been twenty years since he left. He is feeling out the mood he is going to meet to see how he stands.

6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to thy brother Esau, and also he is coming to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.”

Under the circumstances it is understandable for Jacob to be a bit disturbed by this report.

7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;

This may also be the reason for the name “Double Camp.”

It does sound like Esau is bringing an army with him. Not good from Jacob’s point of view.

8 And said, “If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.”

9 And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which said unto me, ‘Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:’

“Remember God, You told me to do this.”

10 “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou have shown unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.

Who of us is worthy of even the very breath we breathe? And God had made Jacob rich.

11 “Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.

12 “And thou said, ‘I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’”

Jacob is remembering the promises God has made to him.

13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother;

He is hoping to pacify him.

14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,

15 Thirty milk camels with their colts, forty cows, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.

580 animals in all. Quite a group.

Many believe this was a tithe (tenth) of all he owned.

16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, “Pass over before me, and put a space between drove and drove.”

17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, “When Esau my brother meets thee, and asks thee, saying, ‘Who do you belong to? And where are you going? And whose are these before thee?’

18 “Then thou shall say, ‘They be thy servant Jacob’s; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.’”

19 And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, “On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.

20 “And say ye moreover, ‘Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us.’” For he said, “I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.”

Jacob is using wisdom in order to save the lives of his family. He is hoping to avoid war with his brother all together by this great gift.

Imagine how rich Jacob was to afford to give this gift and still have more than enough left. And he was apparently dead broke six years ago!

21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.

22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women servants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.

Jabbok might mean “wrestled.”

23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.

24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

I think Jacob stayed behind to pray about the coming confrontation and found himself in a fight with a stranger.

25 And when the stranger saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

The angel was losing, so he crippled Jacob.

26 And he said, “Let me go, for the day breaks.” And he said, “I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.”

Jacob recognized this man as some servant of God, possibly an angel.

27 And he said unto him, “What is thy name?” And he said, “Jacob.”

Remember, Jacob means “supplanter” or “victor.”

28 And he said, “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince have thou power with God and with men, and have prevailed.”

Israel means “Prince with God.”

29 And Jacob asked him, and said, “Tell me, I pray thee, thy name.” And he said, “Why do thou ask my name?” And he blessed him there.

The man refused to tell Jacob his name, but did pronounce a blessing on him.

30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.”

Peniel means “Face of God.”

I am not quite sure why Jacob thinks he has seen God. There is no indication that this being he wrestled with is more than a human man; an angel at most.

31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he limped upon his thigh.

He was lame.

32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.

This explains the custom of some time in Israelite history of not eating the sinew of the thigh in their animals.