January 23, Genesis 32-34

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32 Jacob went on his way, and God’s angels met him. When he saw them, Jacob said, “This is God’s camp.” So he called that place Mahanaim.[a]Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the territory of Edom. He 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. I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, and male and female slaves. I have sent this message to inform my lord, in order to seek your favor.’”When 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.” Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; he divided the people with him into two camps, along with the flocks, herds, and camels. He thought, “If Esau comes to one camp and attacks it, the remaining one can escape.”Then 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,’ 10 I 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. 11 Please rescue me from my brother Esau, for I am afraid of him; otherwise, he may come and attack me, the mothers, and their children. 12 You 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.’”13 He spent the night there and took part of what he had brought with him as a gift for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats, twenty male goats, two hundred ewes, twenty rams, 15 thirty milk camels with their young, forty cows, ten bulls, twenty female donkeys, and ten male donkeys. 16 He entrusted them to his slaves as separate herds and said to them, “Go on ahead of me, and leave some distance between the herds.”17 And 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?’ 18 then tell him, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau. And look, he is behind us.’”19 He 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. 20 You 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.”21 So the gift was sent on ahead of him while he remained in the camp that night. 22 During the night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two slave women, and his eleven sons, and crossed the ford of Jabbok. 23 He took them and sent them across the stream, along with all his possessions.

Jacob Wrestles with God

24 Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not defeat him, he struck Jacob’s hip socket as they wrestled and dislocated his hip. 26 Then 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[b] because you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”29 Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.”But he answered, “Why do you ask my name?” And he blessed him there.30 Jacob then named the place Peniel,[c] “For I have seen God face to face,” he said, “yet my life has been spared.” 31 The sun shone on him as he passed by Penuel[d]—limping because of his hip. 32 That 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.[e]

Jacob Meets Esau

33 Now Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming toward him with four hundred men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two slave women. He put the slaves and their children first, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. He himself went on ahead and bowed to the ground seven times until he approached his brother.But Esau ran to meet him, hugged him, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. Then they wept. When Esau looked up and saw the women and children, he asked, “Who are these with you?”He answered, “The children God has graciously given your servant.” Then the slaves and their children approached him and bowed down. Leah and her children also approached and bowed down, and then Joseph and Rachel approached and bowed down.So Esau said, “What do you mean by this whole procession[f] I met?”“To find favor with you, my lord,” he answered.“I have enough, my brother,” Esau replied. “Keep what you have.”10 But Jacob said, “No, please! If I have found favor with you, take this gift from me. For indeed, I have seen your face, and it is like seeing God’s face, since you have accepted me. 11 Please take my present that was brought to you, because God has been gracious to me and I have everything I need.” So Jacob urged him until he accepted.12 Then Esau said, “Let’s move on, and I’ll go ahead of you.”13 Jacob replied, “My lord knows that the children are weak, and I have nursing flocks and herds. If they are driven hard for one day, the whole herd will die. 14 Let my lord go ahead of his servant. I will continue on slowly, at a pace suited to the livestock and the children, until I come to my lord at Seir.”15 Esau said, “Let me leave some of my people with you.”But he replied, “Why do that? Please indulge me,[g] my lord.”16 That day Esau started on his way back to Seir, 17 but Jacob went to Succoth. He built a house for himself and shelters for his livestock; that is why the place was called Succoth.[h]18 After Jacob came from Paddan-aram, he arrived safely at Shechem in the land of Canaan and camped in front of the city. 19 He purchased a section of the field where he had pitched his tent from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for a hundred pieces of silver.[i20 And he set up an altar there and called it God, the God of Israel.[j]

Dinah Defiled

34 Leah’s daughter Dinah, whom Leah bore to Jacob, went out to see some of the young women of the area. When Shechem—son of Hamor the Hivite, who was the region’s chieftain—saw her, he took her and raped her. He became infatuated with Jacob’s daughter Dinah. He loved the young girl and spoke tenderly to her.[k“Get me this girl as a wife,” he told his father.Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled his daughter Dinah, but since his sons were with his livestock in the field, he remained silent until they returned. Meanwhile, Shechem’s father Hamor came to speak with Jacob. Jacob’s sons returned from the field when they heard about the incident and were deeply grieved and very angry. For Shechem had committed an outrage against Israel by raping Jacob’s daughter, and such a thing should not be done.Hamor said to Jacob’s sons, “My son Shechem has his heart set on your[l] daughter. Please give her to him as a wife. Intermarry with us; give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 Live with us. The land is before you. Settle here, move about, and acquire property in it.”11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “Grant me this favor,[m] and I’ll give you whatever you say. 12 Demand of me a high compensation[n] and gift; I’ll give you whatever you ask me. Just give the girl to be my wife!”13 But Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceitfully because he had defiled their sister Dinah. 14 “We cannot do this thing,” they said to them. “Giving our sister to an uncircumcised man is a disgrace to us. 15 We will agree with you only on this condition: if all your males are circumcised as we are. 16 Then we will give you our daughters, take your daughters for ourselves, live with you, and become one people. 17 But if you will not listen to us and be circumcised, then we will take our daughter and go.”18 Their words seemed good to Hamor and his son Shechem. 19 The young man did not delay doing this, because he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was the most important in all his father’s family. 20 So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city and spoke to the men of their city.21 “These men are peaceful toward us,” they said. “Let them live in our land and move about in it, for indeed, the region is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as our wives and give our daughters to them. 22 But the men will agree to live with us and be one people only on this condition: if all our men are circumcised as they are. 23 Won’t their livestock, their possessions, and all their animals become ours? Only let us agree with them, and they will live with us.”24 All the men who had come to the city gates listened to Hamor and his son Shechem, and all those men were circumcised. 25 On the third day, when they were still in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords, went into the unsuspecting city, and killed every male. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with their swords, took Dinah from Shechem’s house, and went away. 27 Jacob’s sons came to the slaughter and plundered the city because their sister had been defiled. 28 They took their flocks, herds, donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field. 29 They captured all their possessions, dependents, and wives and plundered everything in the houses.30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me, making me odious to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites. We are few in number; if they unite against me and attack me, I and my household will be destroyed.”31 But they answered, “Should he treat our sister like a prostitute?”

Have you ever wrestled with God?  I mean…really wrestled.  Jacob did.  He wrestled with God one night and here is the interesting thing…it left a lasting mark on him.  I find it interesting what Jacob tells the man when the man asks him to let go…”not until you bless me.”  The question for us…are we willing to wrestle with God and not let go until he blesses us?  Or will we give up when things get difficult in our wrestling?

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