Genesis 32:1-32    Mahanaim and Peniel (Double Camp and Wrestled with God)

1 So Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he said, "This is God's camp." And he called the name of that place Mahanaim.


3 Then Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 And he commanded them, saying, "Speak thus to my lord Esau, 'Thus your servant Jacob says: "I have dwelt with Laban and stayed there until now. 5 I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight." ' "


6 Then the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, "We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him." 7 So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies. 8 And he said, "If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the other company which is left will escape."


9 Then Jacob said, "O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the LORD who said to me, 'Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you': 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies. 11 Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. 12 For You said, 'I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.' "


13 So he lodged there that same night, and took what came to his hand as a present for Esau his brother: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty milk camels with their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten foals. 16 Then he delivered them to the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, "Pass over before me, and put some distance between successive droves." 17 And he commanded the first one, saying, "When Esau my brother meets you and asks you, saying, 'To whom do you belong, and where are you going? Whose are these in front of you?' 18 "then you shall say, 'They are your servant Jacob's. It is a present sent to my lord Esau; and behold, he also is behind us.' " 19 So he commanded the second, the third, and all who followed the droves, saying, "In this manner you shall speak to Esau when you find him; 20 and also say, 'Behold, your servant Jacob is behind us.' " For he said, "I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me." 21 So the present went on over before him, but he himself lodged that night in the camp.


22 And he arose that night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them, sent them over the brook, and sent over what he had. 24 Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob's hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said, "Let Me go, for the day breaks." But he said, "I will not let You go unless You bless me!" 27 So He said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." 28 And He said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men, and have prevailed." 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, "Tell me Your name, I pray." And He said, "Why is it that you ask about 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 Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob's hip in the muscle that shrank.    NKJV


Facts revealed:

Y      Angels of God met Jacob and apparently they appeared to be camping in such a manner that Jacob called it Mahanaim (Double Camp).  Thus God demonstrated His presence with Jacob as He had promised twenty years earlier when the Ladder appeared from Heaven in a dream at Bethel as Jacob was on his way to Padan Aram.   [Genesis 28:10-19]


Now as Jacob is on his way back to the land of Canaan where Esau had vowed to kill him [Genesis 27:41-42] he needs assurance that God is with him and will indeed protect him.

Y      Esau was dwelling in Seir in the land of the Giants [Deuteronomy 2:1-22] which is east of the Dead Sea in Arabia which is called “The Land of Edom.”  [Genesis 32:3]

Y      Jacob sent messengers to Esau in Edom seeking peace.

Y      Esau responded by coming after Jacob and bringing 400 men with him which frightened Jacob.

Y      Jacob divided his people and livestock into two companies hoping that if Esau attacked one, the other might escape.

Y      Jacob humbly prayed for help reminding God that He had promised to be with Jacob and to help him.

Y      Jacob spent the night there and sent droves ahead as presents to appease his brother Esau.

Y      Then he sent his family over the brook and stayed the night where he wrestled with God and named the place Peniel saying “I have seen God face to face.

Y      God changed Jacob’s name to Israel which means “Prince with God” saying, “For you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”

Y      Jacob had prayed for help against Esau who was coming with 400 men and God crippled Jacob.

Y      So when Jacob crossed over Penuel, he limped on his hip which God had touched and put out of joint.

Y      Some times the answer to our prayer isn’t what we expect but God will make it turn out well in the end anyway as it is written, “All things work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to His purpose.”  [Romans 8:28]

Y      The Jews have made it a tradition not to eat the muscle of the hip because that was the muscle that God touched on Jacob and caused it to shrink.  It certainly does not affect the muscle of animals that are butchered for food, but as Jesus said of many of man’s tradition, “By your tradition you have made the commandments of God of no effect.”  [Mark 7:6-13]