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Jacob sent messengers on ahead to Esau, who lived in the land of Seir, also known as Edom. Jacob told them to say to Esau, “Master, I am your servant! I have lived with Laban all this time, and now I own cattle, donkeys, and sheep, as well as many slaves. Master, I am sending these messengers in the hope that you will be kind to me.”

When the messengers returned, they told Jacob, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is heading this way with four hundred men.”

Jacob was so frightened that he divided his people, sheep, cattle, and camels into two groups. He thought, “If Esau attacks one group, perhaps the other can escape.”

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Jacob’s Name Is Changed to Israel

22-23 Jacob got up in the middle of the night and took his wives, his eleven children, and everything he owned across to the other side of the Jabbok River for safety. 24 Afterwards, Jacob went back and spent the rest of the night alone.

A man came and fought with Jacob until just before daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not win, he struck Jacob on the hip and threw it out of joint. 26 They kept on wrestling until the man said, “Let go of me! It’s almost daylight.”

“You can’t go until you bless me,” Jacob replied.

27 Then the man asked, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have wrestled with God and with men, and you have won. That’s why your name will be Israel.”[a]

29 Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.”

“Don’t you know who I am?” he asked. And he blessed Jacob.

30 Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face, and I am still alive.” So he named the place Peniel.[b]

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Footnotes

  1. 32.28 Israel: In Hebrew one meaning of “Israel” is “a man who wrestles with God.”
  2. 32.30 Peniel: In Hebrew “Peniel” means “face of God.”

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