Preparing to Meet Esau
1Jacob went on his way, and God’s angels met him. 2When he saw them, Jacob said, “This is God’s camp.” So he called that place Mahanaim.
3Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the territory of Edom. 4He commanded them, “You are to say to my lord Esau, ‘This is what your servant Jacob says. I have been staying with Laban and have been delayed until now. 5I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, and male and female slaves. I have sent this message to inform my lord, in order to seek your favor.’”
6When the messengers returned to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau; he is coming to meet you — and he has four hundred men with him.” 7Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; he divided the people with him into two camps, along with the flocks, herds, and camels. 8He thought, “If Esau comes to one camp and attacks it, the remaining one can escape.”
9Then Jacob said, “God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord who said to me, ‘Go back to your land and to your family, and I will cause you to prosper,’ 10I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. Indeed, I crossed over the Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two camps. 11Please rescue me from my brother Esau, for I am afraid of him; otherwise, he may come and attack me, the mothers, and their children. 12You have said, ‘I will cause you to prosper, and I will make your offspring like the sand of the sea, too numerous to be counted.’”
13He spent the night there and took part of what he had brought with him as a gift for his brother Esau: 14two hundred female goats, twenty male goats, two hundred ewes, twenty rams, 15thirty milk camels with their young, forty cows, ten bulls, twenty female donkeys, and ten male donkeys. 16He entrusted them to his slaves as separate herds and said to them, “Go on ahead of me, and leave some distance between the herds.”
17And he told the first one: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who do you belong to? Where are you going? And whose animals are these ahead of you?’ 18then tell him, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau. And look, he is behind us.’”
19He also told the second one, the third, and everyone who was walking behind the animals, “Say the same thing to Esau when you find him. 20You are also to say, ‘Look, your servant Jacob is right behind us.’” For he thought, “I want to appease Esau with the gift that is going ahead of me. After that, I can face him, and perhaps he will forgive me.”
21So the gift was sent on ahead of him while he remained in the camp that night. 22During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two slave women, and his eleven sons, and crossed the ford of Jabbok. 23He took them and sent them across the stream, along with all his possessions.
Jacob Wrestles with God
24Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25When the man saw that he could not defeat him, he struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip. 26Then he said to Jacob, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
27“What is your name?” the man asked.
“Jacob,” he replied.
28“Your name will no longer be Jacob,” he said. “It will be Israel because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”
29Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.”
But he answered, “Why do you ask my name?” And he blessed him there.
30Jacob then named the place Peniel, “For I have seen God face to face,” he said, “yet my life has been spared.” 31The sun shone on him as he passed by Penuel — limping because of his hip. 32That is why, still today, the Israelites don’t eat the thigh muscle that is at the hip socket: because he struck Jacob’s hip socket at the thigh muscle.