A Daily Genesis

Genesis 32:26-33

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[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 32:26 . .When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he wrenched Jacob's hip at its socket, so that the socket of his hip was strained as he wrestled with him.[/B]

In spite of the injury, Jacob still hung on and refused to let go. The injury served a purpose. It wasn't to make Jacob let go; after all, the angel could just as easily broken both of Jacob's arms. The injury served to handicap Jacob, and force him to depend even more upon God's providence; and less upon himself.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 32:27a . .Then he said: Let me go, for dawn is breaking.[/B]

Time is of the essence for Jacob to get ready for his brother. Dawn wasn't a problem for the angel. His carriage wasn't going to turn back into a pumpkin or anything like that nor was he going to burn up in the sunlight like a vampire.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 32:27b . . But he answered: I will not let you go, unless you bless me.[/B]

Jacob risked giving Esau the advantage by staying too long with Yhvh; but this is one guy not to squander an opportunity with God.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 32:28a . . Said the other: What is your name?[/B]

Like he didn't know already? Of course he knew it. But the angel's question is a type of question we call a leading question. You could restate it like this: And what *strategic pause* is your name?
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[COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 32:28b . . He replied: Jacob.[/B]

His name was actually [I]Ya'aqob[/I] (yah-ak-obe') which means: heel-catcher (i.e. supplanter). But that is all over now. From this point on; it won't be necessary for Jacob to supplant somebody in order to gain the advantage.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 32:29a . . Said he: Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel[/B]

"Israel" is from [I]Yisra'el[/I] (yis-raw-ale') which means: he will rule as God. We might call Jacob's new name his spiritual name and it's very curious. It doesn't mean rule like God; but rather: as God.

Although Jacob was a patriarch, and a great sheik, he was never a conqueror. There's a huge difference between ruling as God and ruling as a conqueror. Conquerors typically rule for their own profit, making slaves out of their subjects and exacting taxes and tributes. But God always rules for man's benefit; helping him achieve his greatest potential from within a peaceful environment.

Through the ages, God has used Jacob's spiritual name to identify the nation that sprang from him. True, Jacob's progeny has not always ruled as God. But his ultimate progeny, Messiah, certainly will. No question about it.

"In that day, the Lord will shield the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and the feeblest of them shall be in that day like David, and the House of David like a divine being-- like an angel of the Lord-- at their head." (Zech 12:8)

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†. [/COLOR]Gen 32:29b . . for you have striven with beings divine and human, and have prevailed.[/B]

If ever any human being came close to becoming a god, it was Jacob. Lots of men have grappled with men. And some have even grappled with beasts. But not many have grappled with Yhvh the way Jacob did-- one on one; up close and personal. Moses never even got to do that.

The word for "prevailed" is from [I]yokel[/I] (yaw-kole') which means: to be able, literally (can, could) or morally (may, might). In other words: he was up to the challenge; and able to see it through. Jacob was indeed a very remarkable man.
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[/COLOR][B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 32:30a . .Then Jacob inquired, and he said: Divulge, if you please, your name. And he said: Why then do you inquire of my name?[/B]

In other words: Do you really have to ask? No; Jacob knew very well who he was grappling with. But sometimes we just want things said for the record.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 32:30b . . and he blessed him there.[/B]

I sure wish we had the wording of that blessing Jacob worked so hard to obtain.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 32:31 . . So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel-- For I have seen the Divine face to face, yet my life was spared.[/B]

I really like the Stone Tanach's version. Jacob believed the angel was not just a divine, but "the" Divine. Yes, he knew exactly who grappled with him. It's true he didn't actually see The Almighty God in his true form; but what he saw and touched was pretty close enough. (cf. 1John 1:1-3)

Jacob was ready for anything after that experience. Esau would be small potatoes what with The Almighty God and a host of His holy angels in the vicinity looking out for Jacob's safety.

[B][COLOR=#ff0000]†.[/COLOR] Gen 32:32-33 . .The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping on his hip. That is why the children of Israel to this day do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the socket of the hip, since Jacob's hip socket was wrenched at the thigh muscle.[/B]

God didn't command such a practice; it became a man-made tradition; which doesn't make it eo ipso bad. I mean; wine with Passover dinner is a rabbinical invention, but Jesus went along with it at his last supper. The Lord was sometimes a bit peeved with the Jews' traditions; but not always since they were his heritage too. Most of the world's Christians opt to celebrate Jesus' birth on Dec 25. He never asked anybody to do that but so what?

But Jacob's experience does indicate the importance of the event in the minds of the Jews. Some people think Jacob is some sort of a squeaky little gerbil when it comes to ranking the saints' mettle. But The Almighty was very impressed with him. That has to count for something.

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