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Genesis 32 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Jacob Gets Ready To Meet Esau

32 As Jacob was on his way back home, some of God’s angels came and met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp.” So he named the place Mahanaim.[a]

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.”

Then Jacob prayed:

You, Lord, are the God who was worshiped by my grandfather Abraham and by my father Isaac. You told me to return home to my family, and you promised to be with me and make me successful. 10 I don’t deserve all the good things you have done for me, your servant. When I first crossed the Jordan, I had only my walking stick, but now I have two large groups of people and animals. 11 Please rescue me from my brother. I am afraid he will come and attack not only me, but my wives and children as well. 12 But you have promised that I would be a success and that someday it will be as hard to count my descendants as it is to count the stars in the sky.

13 After Jacob had spent the night there, he chose some animals as gifts for Esau: 14-15 two hundred female goats and twenty males, two hundred female sheep and twenty males, thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten males.

16 Jacob put servants in charge of each herd and told them, “Go ahead of me and keep a space between each herd.” 17 Then he said to the servant in charge of the first herd, “When Esau meets you, he will ask whose servant you are. He will want to know where you are going and who owns those animals in front of you. 18 So tell him, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob, who is coming this way. He is sending them as a gift to his master Esau.’”

19 Jacob also told the men in charge of the second and third herds and those who followed to say the same thing when they met Esau. 20 And Jacob told them to be sure to say that he was right behind them. Jacob hoped the gifts would make Esau friendly, so Esau would be glad to see him when they met. 21 Jacob’s men took the gifts on ahead of him, but he spent the night in camp.

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.”[b]

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.[c] 31 The sun was coming up as Jacob was leaving Peniel. He was limping because he had been struck on the hip, 32 and the muscle on his hip joint had been injured. That’s why even today the people of Israel don’t eat the hip muscle of any animal.

Footnotes:

  1. 32.2 Mahanaim: In Hebrew “Mahanaim” means “two camps.”
  2. 32.28 Israel: In Hebrew one meaning of “Israel” is “a man who wrestles with God.”
  3. 32.30 Peniel: In Hebrew “Peniel” means “face of God.”

Genesis 32 New International Version (NIV)

Jacob Prepares to Meet Esau

32 [a]Jacob also went on his way, and the angels of God met him. When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is the camp of God!” So he named that place Mahanaim.[b]

Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. He instructed them: “This is what you are to say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there till now. I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. Now I am sending this message to my lord, that I may find favor in your eyes.’”

When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.”

In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups,[c] and the flocks and herds and camels as well. He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks one group,[d] the group[e] that is left may escape.”

Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, Lord, you who said to me, ‘Go back to your country and your relatives, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed this Jordan, but now I have become two camps. 11 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. 12 But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.’”

13 He spent the night there, and from what he had with him he selected a gift for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 He put them in the care of his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, “Go ahead of me, and keep some space between the herds.”

17 He instructed the one in the lead: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?’ 18 then you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.’”

19 He also instructed the second, the third and all the others who followed the herds: “You are to say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 20 And be sure to say, ‘Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.’” For he thought, “I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.” 21 So Jacob’s gifts went on ahead of him, but he himself spent the night in the camp.

Jacob Wrestles With God

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[f] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

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

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[g] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,[h] and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 32:1 In Hebrew texts 32:1-32 is numbered 32:2-33.
  2. Genesis 32:2 Mahanaim means two camps.
  3. Genesis 32:7 Or camps
  4. Genesis 32:8 Or camp
  5. Genesis 32:8 Or camp
  6. Genesis 32:28 Israel probably means he struggles with God.
  7. Genesis 32:30 Peniel means face of God.
  8. Genesis 32:31 Hebrew Penuel, a variant of Peniel
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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