Jacob Wrestles With God
22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.
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.
25 And when he 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.
26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.
27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.
28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.
29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.
31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.
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.
K.J.V. Bible Text
After Jacob sent his gift to Esau, he began to move forward again. At a ford in the river, he sent across his wives, his servants and his eleven sons. He remained behind, alone. There was a man there with whom he wrestled until daybreak. The man could not overpower him, but he touched Jacobs’ hip and caused it to be wrenched out of its socket.
At daybreak the man asked Jacob to let him go and when Jacob refused to let him go unless he blessed him, the man inquired about his name. The “man” then told Jacob that in the future he would be called “Israel” because he had struggled with God and with human beings and (have) overcome.
When Jacob asked the name of his opponent, he was not told but the “man” blessed him.
When Jacob set out again, he was limping. Because the socket of Jacob’s hip was injured by a touch near the tendon, the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip.
For Jacob to wrestle with God seems amazing. What struck me is that this contact with God took place after the others had crossed to the other side of the river. It seems to me that most of the time when God contacted early human beings, it was when they were alone. Maybe it was when they were alone that God knew they would pay close attention to Him. Even today, we seek God and pray when we are alone and that is when we hear his voice most strongly.
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