The last chapter of Genesis, 31, was one of little nonsense, a drastic change from most of the Bible thus far. To sum it up, Jacob fled Laban with his family, Laban chased after, and the two made a truce. That’s about it. There was a comment about women being property, so it wasn’t all good, but compared to other chapters, it sits near the top of the okay list. Let’s see what Chapter 32 brings us.
“We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” – Genesis 32:6
Brotherly love in the works. Jacob is worried, however, let’s not forget that God is the one who accepted Isaac’s blessing of Jacob as the first born son, despite Esau being the first born son. Isaac did not bless Jacob of his own choosing. Jacob tricked the blind Isaac into thinking he was Esau. God could have stopped all of this, but choose to accept the lie. Jacob hopes to mend things by sending servants ahead to deliver Esau a gift of many livestock. Next comes a very weird story!
“So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.” – Genesis 32:24
I had to read this twice to catch what happened. The man wrestling with Jacob is God.
“When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.” – Genesis 32:25
There are several things to say regarding this verse. First, this verse shows, by mentioning the physical touching of the hip, that God is literally wrestling Jacob. The all-mighty God literally wrestles with Jacob. Second, the verse says that God could not overpower him. The ‘him’ is Jacob. God could NOT overpower Jacob. Jacob, a mortal man, is a better wrestler than the all-mighty God. Wow! God has to fight dirty, by poking the hip socket, in order to win. Somehow I envisioned an all-powerful God as the number one wrestler on Earth! I was wrong. 🙂
“Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.’” – Genesis 32:28
Jacob overcomes God? How does a mortal man overcome the all-mighty God? God made it very clear in Job that man will always be beneath God. Also, God chooses to change someone’s name again. Jacob will no longer be Jacob, but will instead be called Israel. Unlike Abram/Abraham, however, Jacob will continue to be referred to as Jacob in the Bible.
“Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip…” – Genesis 32:32
I had to do a bit of research, but this means one cannot eat the sciatic nerve and adjoining blood vessels. Very odd. God touched Jacob, not an animal. I’m all for not eating a human’s tendon, but an animals? This is religion gone overboard. It’s one thing to avoid meat to avoid killing animals or improving one’s health, but to avoid it because God fought dirty while literally wrestling Jacob? Nonsense.
That concludes Chapter 32. Jacob sends a gift offering to his brother Esau and then meets God, as a man. The two wrestle. God cannot defeat Jacob, so God fights dirty. The Bible says it’s no longer okay to eat the tendon attached to the hip as a result. Phew! Glad we got all of that straight
Coming Soon: Genesis – Chapter 33: Jacob Meets Esau