31:1 Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were complaining, 1 “Jacob has taken everything that belonged to our father! He has gotten rich 2 at our father’s expense!” 3 31:2 When Jacob saw the look on Laban’s face, he could tell his attitude toward him had changed. 4
31:3 The Lord said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers 5 and to your relatives. I will be with you.” 6 31:4 So Jacob sent a message for Rachel and Leah 7 to come to the field 8 where his flocks were. 9 31:5 There he said to them, “I can tell that your father’s attitude toward me has changed, 10 but the God of my father has been with me. 31:6 You know that I’ve worked for your father as hard as I could, 11 31:7 but your father has humiliated 12 me and changed my wages ten times. But God has not permitted him to do me any harm. 31:8 If he said, 13 ‘The speckled animals 14 will be your wage,’ then the entire flock gave birth to speckled offspring. But if he said, ‘The streaked animals will be your wage,’ then the entire flock gave birth to streaked offspring. 31:9 In this way God has snatched away your father’s livestock and given them to me.
31:10 “Once 15 during breeding season I saw 16 in a dream that the male goats mating with 17 the flock were streaked, speckled, and spotted. 31:11 In the dream the angel of God said to me, ‘Jacob!’ ‘Here I am!’ I replied. 31:12 Then he said, ‘Observe 18 that all the male goats mating with 19 the flock are streaked, speckled, or spotted, for I have observed all that Laban has done to you. 31:13 I am the God of Bethel, 20 where you anointed 21 the sacred stone and made a vow to me. 22 Now leave this land immediately 23 and return to your native land.’”
31:14 Then Rachel and Leah replied to him, “Do we still have any portion or inheritance 24 in our father’s house? 31:15 Hasn’t he treated us like foreigners? He not only sold us, but completely wasted 25 the money paid for us! 26 31:16 Surely all the wealth that God snatched away from our father belongs to us and to our children. So now do everything God has told you.”
31:17 So Jacob immediately put his children and his wives on the camels. 27 31:18 He took 28 away all the livestock he had acquired in Paddan Aram and all his moveable property that he had accumulated. Then he set out toward the land of Canaan to return to his father Isaac. 29
31:19 While Laban had gone to shear his sheep, 30 Rachel stole the household idols 31 that belonged to her father. 31:20 Jacob also deceived 32 Laban the Aramean by not telling him that he was leaving. 33 31:21 He left 34 with all he owned. He quickly crossed 35 the Euphrates River 36 and headed for 37 the hill country of Gilead.
31:22 Three days later Laban discovered Jacob had left. 38 31:23 So he took his relatives 39 with him and pursued Jacob 40 for seven days. 41 He caught up with 42 him in the hill country of Gilead. 31:24 But God came to Laban the Aramean in a dream at night and warned him, 43 “Be careful 44 that you neither bless nor curse Jacob.” 45
31:25 Laban overtook Jacob, and when Jacob pitched his tent in the hill country of Gilead, Laban and his relatives set up camp there too. 46 31:26 “What have you done?” Laban demanded of Jacob. “You’ve deceived me 47 and carried away my daughters as if they were captives of war! 48 31:27 Why did you run away secretly 49 and deceive me? 50 Why didn’t you tell me so I could send you off with a celebration complete with singing, tambourines, and harps? 51 31:28 You didn’t even allow me to kiss my daughters and my grandchildren 52 good-bye. You have acted foolishly! 31:29 I have 53 the power to do you harm, but the God of your father told me last night, ‘Be careful 54 that you neither bless nor curse Jacob.’ 55 31:30 Now I understand that 56 you have gone away 57 because you longed desperately 58 for your father’s house. Yet why did you steal my gods?” 59
31:31 “I left secretly because I was afraid!” 60 Jacob replied to Laban. “I thought 61 you might take your daughters away from me by force. 62 31:32 Whoever has taken your gods will be put to death! 63 In the presence of our relatives 64 identify whatever is yours and take it.” 65 (Now Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.) 66
31:33 So Laban entered Jacob’s tent, and Leah’s tent, and the tent of the two female servants, but he did not find the idols. 67 Then he left Leah’s tent and entered Rachel’s. 68 31:34 (Now Rachel had taken the idols and put them inside her camel’s saddle 69 and sat on them.) 70 Laban searched the whole tent, but did not find them. 71 31:35 Rachel 72 said to her father, “Don’t be angry, 73 my lord. I cannot stand up 74 in your presence because I am having my period.” 75 So he searched thoroughly, 76 but did not find the idols.
31:36 Jacob became angry 77 and argued with Laban. “What did I do wrong?” he demanded of Laban. 78 “What sin of mine prompted you to chase after me in hot pursuit? 79 31:37 When you searched through all my goods, did you find anything that belonged to you? 80 Set it here before my relatives and yours, 81 and let them settle the dispute between the two of us! 82
31:38 “I have been with you for the past twenty years. Your ewes and female goats have not miscarried, nor have I eaten rams from your flocks. 31:39 Animals torn by wild beasts I never brought to you; I always absorbed the loss myself. 83 You always made me pay for every missing animal, 84 whether it was taken by day or at night. 31:40 I was consumed by scorching heat 85 during the day and by piercing cold 86 at night, and I went without sleep. 87 31:41 This was my lot 88 for twenty years in your house: I worked like a slave 89 for you – fourteen years for your two daughters and six years for your flocks, but you changed my wages ten times! 31:42 If the God of my father – the God of Abraham, the one whom Isaac fears 90 – had not been with me, you would certainly have sent me away empty-handed! But God saw how I was oppressed and how hard I worked, 91 and he rebuked you last night.”
31:43 Laban replied 92 to Jacob, “These women 93 are my daughters, these children are my grandchildren, 94 and these flocks are my flocks. All that you see belongs to me. But how can I harm these daughters of mine today 95 or the children to whom they have given birth? 31:44 So now, come, let’s make a formal agreement, 96 you and I, and it will be 97 proof that we have made peace.” 98
31:45 So Jacob took a stone and set it up as a memorial pillar. 31:46 Then he 99 said to his relatives, “Gather stones.” So they brought stones and put them in a pile. 100 They ate there by the pile of stones. 31:47 Laban called it Jegar Sahadutha, 101 but Jacob called it Galeed. 102
31:48 Laban said, “This pile of stones is a witness of our agreement 103 today.” That is why it was called Galeed. 31:49 It was also called Mizpah 104 because he said, “May the Lord watch 105 between us 106 when we are out of sight of one another. 107 31:50 If you mistreat my daughters or if you take wives besides my daughters, although no one else is with us, realize 108 that God is witness to your actions.” 109
31:51 “Here is this pile of stones and this pillar I have set up between me and you,” Laban said to Jacob. 110 31:52 “This pile of stones and the pillar are reminders that I will not pass beyond this pile to come to harm you and that you will not pass beyond this pile and this pillar to come to harm me. 111 31:53 May the God of Abraham and the god of Nahor, 112 the gods of their father, judge between us.” Jacob took an oath by the God whom his father Isaac feared. 113 31:54 Then Jacob offered a sacrifice 114 on the mountain and invited his relatives to eat the meal. 115 They ate the meal and spent the night on the mountain.
32:3 Jacob sent messengers on ahead 123 to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the region 124 of Edom. 32:4 He commanded them, “This is what you must say to my lord Esau: ‘This is what your servant 125 Jacob says: I have been staying with Laban until now. 32:5 I have oxen, donkeys, sheep, and male and female servants. I have sent 126 this message 127 to inform my lord, so that I may find favor in your sight.’”
32:6 The messengers returned to Jacob and said, “We went to your brother Esau. He is coming to meet you and has four hundred men with him.” 32:7 Jacob was very afraid and upset. So he divided the people who were with him into two camps, as well as the flocks, herds, and camels. 32:8 “If Esau attacks one camp,” 128 he thought, 129 “then the other camp will be able to escape.” 130
32:9 Then Jacob prayed, 131 “O God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, O Lord, you said 132 to me, ‘Return to your land and to your relatives and I will make you prosper.’ 133 32:10 I am not worthy of all the faithful love 134 you have shown 135 your servant. With only my walking stick 136 I crossed the Jordan, 137 but now I have become two camps. 32:11 Rescue me, 138 I pray, from the hand 139 of my brother Esau, 140 for I am afraid he will come 141 and attack me, as well as the mothers with their children. 142 32:12 But you 143 said, ‘I will certainly make you prosper 144 and will make 145 your descendants like the sand on the seashore, too numerous to count.’” 146
32:13 Jacob 147 stayed there that night. Then he sent 148 as a gift 149 to his brother Esau 32:14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 32:15 thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 32:16 He entrusted them to 150 his servants, who divided them into herds. 151 He told his servants, “Pass over before me, and keep some distance between one herd and the next.” 32:17 He instructed the servant leading the first herd, 152 “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘To whom do you belong? 153 Where are you going? Whose herds are you driving?’ 154 32:18 then you must say, 155 ‘They belong 156 to your servant Jacob. 157 They have been sent as a gift to my lord Esau. 158 In fact Jacob himself is behind us.’” 159
32:19 He also gave these instructions to the second and third servants, as well as all those who were following the herds, saying, “You must say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. 160 32:20 You must also say, ‘In fact your servant Jacob is behind us.’” 161 Jacob thought, 162 “I will first appease him 163 by sending a gift ahead of me. 164 After that I will meet him. 165 Perhaps he will accept me.” 166 32:21 So the gifts were sent on ahead of him 167 while he spent that night in the camp. 168
32:22 During the night Jacob quickly took 169 his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons 170 and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 171 32:23 He took them and sent them across the stream along with all his possessions. 172 32:24 So Jacob was left alone. Then a man 173 wrestled 174 with him until daybreak. 175 32:25 When the man 176 saw that he could not defeat Jacob, 177 he struck 178 the socket of his hip so the socket of Jacob’s hip was dislocated while he wrestled with him.
32:26 Then the man 179 said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” 180 “I will not let you go,” Jacob replied, 181 “unless you bless me.” 182 32:27 The man asked him, 183 “What is your name?” 184 He answered, “Jacob.” 32:28 “No longer will your name be Jacob,” the man told him, 185 “but Israel, 186 because you have fought 187 with God and with men and have prevailed.”
32:29 Then Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name.” 188 “Why 189 do you ask my name?” the man replied. 190 Then he blessed 191 Jacob 192 there. 32:30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, 193 explaining, 194 “Certainly 195 I have seen God face to face 196 and have survived.” 197
32:31 The sun rose 198 over him as he crossed over Penuel, 199 but 200 he was limping because of his hip. 32:32 That is why to this day 201 the Israelites do not eat the sinew which is attached to the socket of the hip, because he struck 202 the socket of Jacob’s hip near the attached sinew.
33:1 Jacob looked up 203 and saw that Esau was coming 204 along with four hundred men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two female servants. 33:2 He put the servants and their children in front, with Leah and her children behind them, and Rachel and Joseph behind them. 205 33:3 But Jacob 206 himself went on ahead of them, and he bowed toward the ground seven times as he approached 207 his brother. 33:4 But Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, hugged his neck, and kissed him. Then they both wept. 33:5 When Esau 208 looked up 209 and saw the women and the children, he asked, “Who are these people with you?” Jacob 210 replied, “The children whom God has graciously given 211 your servant.” 33:6 The female servants came forward with their children and bowed down. 212 33:7 Then Leah came forward with her children and they bowed down. Finally Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed down.
33:8 Esau 213 then asked, “What did you intend 214 by sending all these herds to meet me?” 215 Jacob 216 replied, “To find favor in your sight, my lord.” 33:9 But Esau said, “I have plenty, my brother. Keep what belongs to you.” 33:10 “No, please take them,” Jacob said. 217 “If I have found favor in your sight, accept 218 my gift from my hand. Now that I have seen your face and you have accepted me, 219 it is as if I have seen the face of God. 220 33:11 Please take my present 221 that was brought to you, for God has been generous 222 to me and I have all I need.” 223 When Jacob urged him, he took it. 224
33:12 Then Esau 225 said, “Let’s be on our way! 226 I will go in front of you.” 33:13 But Jacob 227 said to him, “My lord knows that the children are young, 228 and that I have to look after the sheep and cattle that are nursing their young. 229 If they are driven too hard for even a single day, all the animals will die. 33:14 Let my lord go on ahead of his servant. I will travel more slowly, at the pace of the herds and the children, 230 until I come to my lord at Seir.”
33:16 So that same day Esau made his way back 234 to Seir. 33:17 But 235 Jacob traveled to Succoth 236 where he built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was called 237 Succoth. 238
33:18 After he left Paddan Aram, Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem in the land of Canaan, and he camped near 239 the city. 33:19 Then he purchased the portion of the field where he had pitched his tent; he bought it 240 from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for a hundred pieces of money. 241 33:20 There he set up an altar and called it “The God of Israel is God.” 242
[31:1] 2 sn The Hebrew word translated “gotten rich” (כָּבוֹד, cavod) has the basic idea of “weight.” If one is heavy with possessions, then that one is wealthy (13:2). Abraham, Jacob, and Joseph all became wealthy when they left the promised land. Jacob’s wealth foreshadows what will happen to Israel when they leave the land of Egypt (Exod 12:35-38).
[31:2] 4 tn Heb “and Jacob saw the face of Laban, and look, he was not with him as formerly.” Jacob knew from the expression on Laban’s face that his attitude toward him had changed – Jacob had become persona non grata.
[31:4] 8 tn Heb “the field.” The word is an adverbial accusative, indicating that this is where Jacob wanted them to meet him. The words “to come to” are supplied in the translation for clarification and stylistic reasons.
[31:8] 14 tn Heb “speckled” (twice this verse). The word “animals” (after the first occurrence of “speckled”) and “offspring” (after the second) have been supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. The same two terms (“animals” and “offspring”) have been supplied after the two occurrences of “streaked” later in this verse.
[31:13] 21 sn You anointed the sacred stone. In Gen 28:18 the text simply reported that Jacob poured oil on top of the stone. Now that pouring is interpreted by the
[31:13] 22 sn And made a vow to me. The second clause reminds Jacob of the vow he made to the
[31:13] sn Leave this land immediately. The decision to leave was a wise one in view of the changed attitude in Laban and his sons. But more than that, it was the will of God. Jacob needed to respond to God’s call – the circumstances simply made it easier.
[31:15] sn He sold us and…wasted our money. The precise nature of Rachel’s and Leah’s complaint is not entirely clear. Since Jacob had to work to pay for them, they probably mean that their father has cheated Jacob and therefore cheated them as well. See M. Burrows, “The Complaint of Laban’s Daughters,” JAOS 57 (1937): 250-76.
[31:15] 26 tn Heb “our money.” The word “money” is used figuratively here; it means the price paid for Leah and Rachel. A literal translation (“our money”) makes it sound as if Laban wasted money that belonged to Rachel and Leah, rather than the money paid for them.
[31:18] 29 tn Heb “and he led away all his cattle and all his moveable property which he acquired, the cattle he obtained, which he acquired in Paddan Aram to go to Isaac his father to the land of Canaan.”
[31:19] 31 tn Or “household gods.” Some translations merely transliterate the Hebrew term תְּרָפִים (tÿrafim) as “teraphim,” which apparently refers to household idols. Some contend that possession of these idols guaranteed the right of inheritance, but it is more likely that they were viewed simply as protective deities. See M. Greenberg, “Another Look at Rachel’s Theft of the Teraphim,” JBL 81 (1962): 239-48.
[31:20] 32 tn Heb “stole the heart of,” an expression which apparently means “to deceive.” The repetition of the verb “to steal” shows that Jacob and Rachel are kindred spirits. Any thought that Laban would have resigned himself to their departure was now out of the question.
[31:24] 45 tn Heb “lest you speak with Jacob from good to evil.” The precise meaning of the expression, which occurs only here and in v. 29, is uncertain. Since Laban proceeded to speak to Jacob at length, it cannot mean to maintain silence. Nor does it seem to be a prohibition against criticism (see vv. 26-30). Most likely it refers to a formal pronouncement, whether it be a blessing or a curse. Laban was to avoid saying anything to Jacob that would be intended to enhance him or to harm him.
[31:25] 46 tn Heb “and Jacob pitched his tent in the hill country, and Laban pitched with his brothers in the hill country of Gilead.” The juxtaposition of disjunctive clauses (note the pattern conjunction + subject + verb in both clauses) indicates synchronism of action.
[31:28] 52 tn Heb “my sons and my daughters.” Here “sons” refers to “grandsons,” and has been translated “grandchildren” since at least one granddaughter, Dinah, was involved. The order has been reversed in the translation for stylistic reasons.
[31:30] 59 sn Yet why did you steal my gods? This last sentence is dropped into the speech rather suddenly. See C. Mabee, “Jacob and Laban: The Structure of Judicial Proceedings,” VT 30 (1980): 192-207, and G. W. Coats, “Self-Abasement and Insult Formulas,” JBL 91 (1972): 90-92.
[31:31] 60 tn Heb “and Jacob answered and said to Laban, ‘Because I was afraid.’” This statement is a not a response to the question about Laban’s household gods that immediately precedes, but to the earlier question about Jacob’s motivation for leaving so quickly and secretly (see v. 27). For this reason the words “I left secretly” are supplied in the translation to indicate the connection to Laban’s earlier question in v. 27. Additionally the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse have been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
[31:32] 66 tn The disjunctive clause (introduced here by a vav [ו] conjunction) provides supplemental material that is important to the story. Since this material is parenthetical in nature, it has been placed in parentheses in the translation.
[31:36] 78 tn Heb “and Jacob answered and said to Laban, ‘What is my sin?’” The proper name “Jacob” has been replaced by the pronoun (“he”) in the translation and the order of the introductory clause and direct discourse rearranged for stylistic reasons.
[31:39] 84 tn Heb “from my hand you exacted it.” The imperfect verbal form again indicates that this was a customary or typical action. The words “for every missing animal” are supplied in the translation for clarity; the following clause in Hebrew, “stolen by day or stolen by night,” probably means “stolen by wild beasts” and refers to the same animals “torn by wild beasts” in the previous clause, although it may refer to animals stolen by people. The translation used here, “missing,” is ambiguous enough to cover either eventuality.
[31:42] 90 tn Heb “the fear of Isaac,” that is, the one whom Isaac feared and respected. For further discussion of this title see M. Malul, “More on pahad yitschaq (Gen. 31:42,53) and the Oath by the Thigh,” VT 35 (1985): 192-200.
[31:47] 102 sn Galeed also means “witness pile” or “the pile is a witness,” but this name is Canaanite or Western Semitic and closer to later Hebrew. Jacob, though certainly capable of speaking Aramaic, here prefers to use the western dialect.
[31:49] 105 sn The name Mizpah (מִצְפָּה, mitspah), which means “watchpost,” sounds like the verb translated “may he watch” (יִצֶף, yitsef). Neither Laban nor Jacob felt safe with each other, and so they agreed to go their separate ways, trusting the
[31:51] 110 tn Heb “and Laban said to Jacob, ‘Behold this heap and behold the pillar which I have set between men and you.’” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
[31:53] 112 tn The God of Abraham and the god of Nahor. The Hebrew verb translated “judge” is plural, suggesting that Laban has more than one “god” in mind. The Samaritan Pentateuch and the LXX, apparently in an effort to make the statement monotheistic, have a singular verb. In this case one could translate, “May the God of Abraham and the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge between us.” However, Laban had a polytheistic world view, as evidenced by his possession of household idols (cf. 31:19). The translation uses “God” when referring to Abraham’s God, for Genesis makes it clear that Abraham worshiped the one true God. It employs “god” when referring to Nahor’s god, for in the Hebrew text Laban refers to a different god here, probably one of the local deities.
[31:55] 116 sn Beginning with 31:55, the verse numbers in the English Bible through 32:32 differ by one from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 31:55 ET = 32:1 HT, 32:1 ET = 32:2 HT, etc., through 32:32 ET = 32:33 HT. From 33:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same.
[32:1] 120 sn The phrase angels of God occurs only here and in Gen 28:12 in the OT. Jacob saw a vision of angels just before he left the promised land. Now he encounters angels as he prepares to return to it. The text does not give the details of the encounter, but Jacob’s response suggests it was amicable. This location was a spot where heaven made contact with earth, and where God made his presence known to the patriarch. See C. Houtman, “Jacob at Mahanaim: Some Remarks on Genesis XXXII 2-3,” VT 28 (1978): 37-44.
[32:5] 126 tn Or “I am sending.” The form is a preterite with the vav consecutive; it could be rendered as an English present tense – as the Hebrew perfect/preterite allows – much like an epistolary aorist in Greek. The form assumes the temporal perspective of the one who reads the message.
[32:8] 129 tn Heb “and he said, ‘If Esau comes to one camp and attacks it.” The Hebrew verb אָמַר (’amar) here represents Jacob’s thought or reasoning, and is therefore translated “he thought.” The order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
[32:9] 133 tn Heb “I will cause good” or “I will treat well [or “favorably”].” The idea includes more than prosperity, though that is its essential meaning. Here the form is subordinated to the preceding imperative and indicates purpose or result. Jacob is reminding God of his promise in the hope that God will honor his word.
[32:10] 136 tn Heb “for with my staff.” The Hebrew word מַקֵל (maqel), traditionally translated “staff,” has been rendered as “walking stick” because a “staff” in contemporary English refers typically to the support personnel in an organization.
[32:12] sn Some commentators have thought this final verse of the prayer redundant, but it actually follows the predominant form of a lament in which God is motivated to act. The primary motivation Jacob can offer to God is God’s promise, and so he falls back on that at the end of the prayer.
[32:13] 149 sn The Hebrew noun translated gift can in some contexts refer to the tribute paid by a subject to his lord. Such a nuance is possible here, because Jacob refers to Esau as his lord and to himself as Esau’s servant (v. 4).
[32:20] 162 tn Heb “for he said.” The referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The Hebrew word מַקֵל (maqel), traditionally represents Jacob’s thought or reasoning, and is therefore translated “thought.”
[32:20] 163 tn Heb “I will appease his face.” The cohortative here expresses Jacob’s resolve. In the Book of Leviticus the Hebrew verb translated “appease” has the idea of removing anger due to sin or guilt, a nuance that fits this passage very well. Jacob wanted to buy Esau off with a gift of more than five hundred and fifty animals.
[32:22] 170 tn The Hebrew term used here is יֶלֶד (yeled) which typically describes male offspring. Some translations render the term “children” but this is a problem because by this time Jacob had twelve children in all, including one daughter, Dinah, born to Leah (Gen 30:21). Benjamin, his twelfth son and thirteenth child, was not born until later (Gen 35:16-19).
[32:22] 171 sn Hebrew narrative style often includes a summary statement of the whole passage followed by a more detailed report of the event. Here v. 22 is the summary statement, while v. 23 begins the detailed account.
[32:24] 174 sn The verb translated “wrestled” (וַיֵּאָבֵק, vayye’aveq) sounds in Hebrew like the names “Jacob” (יַעֲקֹב, ya’aqov) and “Jabbok” (יַבֹּק, yabboq). In this way the narrator links the setting, the main action, and the main participant together in the mind of the reader or hearer.
[32:25] 178 tn Or “injured”; traditionally “touched.” The Hebrew verb translated “struck” has the primary meanings “to touch; to reach; to strike.” It can, however, carry the connotation “to harm; to molest; to injure.” God’s “touch” cripples Jacob – it would be comparable to a devastating blow.
[32:26] 181 tn Heb “and he said, ‘I will not let you go.’” The referent of the pronoun “he” (Jacob) has been specified for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
[32:26] 182 sn Jacob wrestled with a man thinking him to be a mere man, and on that basis was equal to the task. But when it had gone on long enough, the night visitor touched Jacob and crippled him. Jacob’s request for a blessing can only mean that he now knew that his opponent was supernatural. Contrary to many allegorical interpretations of the passage that make fighting equivalent to prayer, this passage shows that Jacob stopped fighting, and then asked for a blessing.
[32:27] 184 sn What is your name? The question is rhetorical, since the
[32:28] 185 tn Heb “and he said.” The referent of the pronoun “he” (the man who wrestled with Jacob) has been specified for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
[32:28] 186 sn The name Israel is a common construction, using a verb with a theophoric element (אֵל, ’el) that usually indicates the subject of the verb. Here it means “God fights.” This name will replace the name Jacob; it will be both a promise and a call for faith. In essence, the
[32:28] 187 sn You have fought. The explanation of the name Israel includes a sound play. In Hebrew the verb translated “you have fought” (שָׂרִיתָ, sarita) sounds like the name “Israel” (יִשְׂרָאֵל, yisra’el ), meaning “God fights” (although some interpret the meaning as “he fights [with] God”). The name would evoke the memory of the fight and what it meant. A. Dillmann says that ever after this the name would tell the Israelites that, when Jacob contended successfully with God, he won the battle with man (Genesis, 2:279). To be successful with God meant that he had to be crippled in his own self-sufficiency (A. P. Ross, “Jacob at the Jabboq, Israel at Peniel,” BSac 142 : 51-62).
[32:29] 188 sn Tell me your name. In primitive thought to know the name of a deity or supernatural being would enable one to use it for magical manipulation or power (A. S. Herbert, Genesis 12-50 [TBC], 108). For a thorough structural analysis of the passage discussing the plays on the names and the request of Jacob, see R. Barthes, “The Struggle with the Angel: Textual Analysis of Genesis 32:23-33,” Structural Analysis and Biblical Exegesis (PTMS), 21-33.
[32:29] 190 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’” The referent of the pronoun “he” (the man who wrestled with Jacob) has been specified for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
[32:30] sn I have survived. It was commonly understood that no one could see God and live (Gen 48:16; Exod 19:21, 24:10; and Judg 6:11, 22). On the surface Jacob seems to be saying that he saw God and survived. But the statement may have a double meaning, in light of his prayer for deliverance in v. 11. Jacob recognizes that he has survived his encounter with God and that his safety has now been guaranteed.
[33:2] 205 sn This kind of ranking according to favoritism no doubt fed the jealousy over Joseph that later becomes an important element in the narrative. It must have been painful to the family to see that they were expendable.
[33:10] 217 tn Heb “and Jacob said, ‘No, please.’” The words “take them” have been supplied in the translation for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse rearranged for stylistic reasons.
[33:15] 232 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Why this?’” The referent of the pronoun “he” (Jacob) has been specified for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
[33:17] 236 sn But Jacob traveled to Succoth. There are several reasons why Jacob chose not to go to Mt. Seir after Esau. First, as he said, his herds and children probably could not keep up with the warriors. Second, he probably did not fully trust his brother. The current friendliness could change, and he could lose everything. And third, God did tell him to return to his land, not Seir. But Jacob is still not able to deal truthfully, probably because of fear of Esau.
[33:17] 237 tn Heb “why he called.” One could understand “Jacob” as the subject of the verb, but it is more likely that the subject is indefinite, in which case the verb is better translated as passive.
[33:20] 242 tn Heb “God, the God of Israel.” Rather than translating the name, a number of modern translations merely transliterate it from the Hebrew as “El Elohe Israel” (cf. NIV, NRSV, REB). It is not entirely clear how the name should be interpreted grammatically. One option is to supply an equative verb, as in the translation: “The God of Israel [is] God.” Another interpretive option is “the God of Israel [is] strong [or “mighty”].” Buying the land and settling down for a while was a momentous step for the patriarch, so the commemorative naming of the altar is significant.