32:22 During the night Jacob quickly took 1 his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons 2 and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 3 32:23 He took them and sent them across the stream along with all his possessions. 4 32:24 So Jacob was left alone. Then a man 5 wrestled 6 with him until daybreak. 7 32:25 When the man 8 saw that he could not defeat Jacob, 9 he struck 10 the socket of his hip so the socket of Jacob’s hip was dislocated while he wrestled with him.
32:26 Then the man 11 said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” 12 “I will not let you go,” Jacob replied, 13 “unless you bless me.” 14 32:27 The man asked him, 15 “What is your name?” 16 He answered, “Jacob.” 32:28 “No longer will your name be Jacob,” the man told him, 17 “but Israel, 18 because you have fought 19 with God and with men and have prevailed.”
32:29 Then Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name.” 20 “Why 21 do you ask my name?” the man replied. 22 Then he blessed 23 Jacob 24 there. 32:30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, 25 explaining, 26 “Certainly 27 I have seen God face to face 28 and have survived.” 29
32:31 The sun rose 30 over him as he crossed over Penuel, 31 but 32 he was limping because of his hip. 32:32 That is why to this day 33 the Israelites do not eat the sinew which is attached to the socket of the hip, because he struck 34 the socket of Jacob’s hip near the attached sinew.
[32:22] 2 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] 3 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] 6 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] 10 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] 13 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] 14 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] 16 sn What is your name? The question is rhetorical, since the
[32:28] 17 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] 18 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] 19 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] 20 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] 22 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.