Old Testament

Genesis 32
Jacob Meets Esau
321Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.[] 2When he saw them, Jacob said, “This is God's army.” He named that place Mahanaim.[]
3Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to Esau, his brother, to the land of Seir, the region of Edom. 4He gave them a command. “Tell my lord, Esau, ‘This is what your servant Jacob says: I have lived as an alien with Laban until very recently. 5I have cattle, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants. I have sent this message to inform my lord, so that I may find favor in your sight.’”
6The messengers returned to Jacob and reported, “We came to your brother Esau. Now he is coming to meet you, and he has four hundred men with him.”
7So Jacob was terrified and very distressed. He divided the people who were with him, as well as the flocks, and the herds, and the camels, into two camps.[] 8He said, “If Esau comes to one camp and strikes it, then the other camp will escape.” 9Jacob said, “God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will do good for you,’ 10I am not worthy of even a bit of all the mercy and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for I crossed over this Jordan with just my staff, and now I have grown into two camps. 11Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid that he will come and strike me and the mothers, as well as the children. 12You said, ‘I will surely do good for you and make your descendants like the grains of sand of the sea, which cannot be counted because there are so many.’”
13Jacob spent that night there and selected a gift for Esau his brother from the possessions he had with him: 14two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15thirty milk camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys with ten foals. 16He handed them over to his servants, each herd by itself, and said to his servants, “Cross over in front of me, and keep some space between each herd and the next one.” 17He commanded the one in front, “When Esau my brother meets you and asks, ‘Whose people are you? Where are you going? Whose herds are these in front of you?’ 18then you shall say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. It is a gift sent to you, my lord Esau. Look, he is right behind us.’” 19He commanded the second group, and the third, and all those who followed the herds, “This is how you shall speak to Esau when you meet him. 20You shall say, ‘What's more, look, your servant Jacob is right behind us.’” Jacob said, “I will win his favor with the gift that I have sent ahead of me, and after that I will see his face, and perhaps he will accept me.”
21So the gift was sent over ahead of him, but he himself spent that night in the camp.
22He got up that night and took his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven sons, and crossed over the ford of the Jabbok. 23He took them and sent them across the stream, and he also sent his possessions across. 24Jacob was left alone, and he wrestled with a man there until daybreak. 25When the man saw that he could not defeat him, he touched the socket of his thigh, and the socket of Jacob's thigh was dislocated as he wrestled. 26The man said, “Let me go. It's daybreak.”
Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”
27Then he said to him, “What is your name?”
He said, “Jacob.”
28Then he said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have fought with God and with men, and you have won.”
29Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.”
He said, “Why do you ask what my name is?” Then he blessed him there.
30Jacob named the place Peniel,[] because he said, “I have seen God face-to-face, and my life has been spared.” 31The sun rose as he crossed over at Penuel, and he was limping because of his thigh. 32For that reason, to this day the people of Israel do not eat the tendon of the hip that is on the socket of the thigh, because God touched the socket of Jacob's thigh on the tendon of the hip.


  • 32:1 In the Hebrew text, chapter 32 starts with English verse 31:55. In chapter 32, the Hebrew verse numbers are one number higher than the English verse numbers.
  • 32:2 Mahanaim means two camps.
  • 32:7 Or two groups. These are groups on the move, which we generally do not call camps in English, but the translation camps connects to the name Mahanaim, which means two camps.
  • 32:30 Peniel means face of God.