Design By Humans

Genesis 32. God the Groin Grabber!

Genesis 32.

1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.

    Angels again, I wonder what they are up to.

2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.

    Good good. Naming places is always useful.

3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.

   Wait, What happened to the angels? have I missed something? perhaps they were going about some other business and this was just a chance meeting. Anyway, Jacob sends some messengers to his Orang-utan-like brother Esau.

4 And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:

    Now as I recall (and by recall I mean, had another look at the text so as not to recall incorrectly) The blessing bestowed upon Jacob by Isaac his father was that he should be the master of his brother Esau. Calling himself Esau's servant as he has above is either forgetfulness on the part of the author as to who got which blessing or it is simply a case of Jacob sucking up to his brother to try and persuade him not to kill him for stealing his birthright.

5 And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.

    Sucking up and bribery too.

6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.

    Has Esau brought an army to murder his brother?

7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;

    OK, I'm not certain what his plan is but then I'm no military strategist.

8 And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.

    I see, it's a plan of basic cowardice, which is not entirely out of character.

9 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:

    Jacob prays. Is this the first prayer? No gods are present, either in  person or in vision form, I think this may actually be the first example of someone talking to an absent god.

10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.


11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.


12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.

    The prayer is over. I'm wondering why Jacob didn't sacrifice an animal or erect a pillar to curry favour with the LORD. Are sacrifices unnecessary when asking God for something now?

13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother;


14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,

    Nice present so far.

15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.

    That really is a lot. Who'd have thought Jacob was so rich. Esau is sure to be pleased.

16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.

    Coward that he is Jacob makes the servants go before him.

17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?


18 Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.


19 And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.

    He intends to send his servants in waves toward Esau's army, each wave proclaiming that the livestock they have is a gift for Esau.

20 And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.

    He's basically grovelling. He must know that he did something wrong all those years ago my stealing both Esau's birthright and his blessing however it seems that it is only the threat of death that makes him contrite and not the wrongness of the acts themselves.

21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.
    Jacob sleeps while he sends his servants toward an army.

22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.
    Is this the same direction that his servants went?

23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.


24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

    That was a bit unexpected. Who is this man that Jacob has been wrestling all night? Where did he come from?

25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.
    Now I'm wrestling with a definition. Where is the hollow of the thigh? is it the groin?

26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.


27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

    The man asks for Jacob's name and he gives it.

28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

    Hmm, a renaming. We've only ever seen The LORD rename people thus far. Is this 'man' The LORD?

29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.

    Jacob asks the man for his name.

30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

    Now, it doesn't say here that the man gave his name but for some reason, perhaps the renaming, Jacob is convinced that this 'man' is God, either way it would more aptly read "And Jacob called the name of the place Penile: for here is where my wang has been touched by the hand of God"

31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.

    Are we talking groin again?

32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.

    Is the sinew that shrank a penile euphemism?

OK, so that was fun. What have we learned.

  • Jacob is afraid of his brother Esau and plans to bribe him with his ill-gotten riches.
  • For a completely unexplained reason, while Jacob's servants are off bribing Esau, Jacob engages in a wrestling match with a stranger.
  • The Wrestling match was with The LORD! Yes God is a wrestler and a dirty one at that. In order to win, The "Almighty" LORD resorts to a cheap shot to Jacob's manly danglers. Why is it necessary for the LORD to wrestle? The source of the disagreement is not explained and even if it were, why wrestling? Was this really The LORD? might it just have been some unknown fellow pretending to be The LORD? After all Jacob has had a vision of The LORD before and for some reason didn't recognise his adversary.
  • Jacob gets a new name, he is now called Israel.

So, Will Esau smite his slippery con-man of a brother? Lets see if Genesis 33 has the answer.

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