Genesis 32:9-13, 22-30

Genesis 32:9-13, 22-30
NL 203


And JacobA said, “O GodB of my fatherC

Notes on verse 9a

A “Jacob” = Yaaqob. From the same as aqeb (heel, hind part, hoof, rear guard of an army, one who lies in wait, usurper). This is Isaac’s son and his descendants. The name means heel-catcher or supplanter.
B “God” = Elohim.
C “father” = ab. This is father, chief, or ancestor. It is father in a literal or figurative sense.

AbrahamD and God of my father Isaac,E O LordF 

Notes on verse 9b

D “Abraham” = Abraham. Related to “father” in v9. From the same as Abiram (exalted father, a high father – lofty) {from ab (see note C above) + rum (rise, bring up, being high, extol, exalt, haughty; to raise in a literal or figurative sense)}. This is Abraham, father of many nations or father of a multitude.
E “Isaac” = Yitschaq. From tsachaq (to laugh, mock, play, make sport; this is laughing out loud whether in joy or in a scornful way). This is Isaac, meaning “he laughs.”
F “Lord” = YHVH. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (to come to pass, become, be). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.

who said to me, ‘ReturnG to your countryH and to your kindred,I and I will do you good,’J 

Notes on verse 9c

G “return” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
H “country” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
I “kindred” = moledet. From yalad (to bear, bring forth, beget, calve, act as midwife, show lineage). This is kindred, offspring, birthplace, lineage, native country, or family.
J “do…good” = yatab. This is to be good or pleasing, joyful. It can also mean doing good in an ethical sense or be beautiful, happy, successful, or right.

10 I am not worthyK of the least of allL the steadfast loveM

Notes on verse 10a

K “am not worthy” = qaton. 4x in OT. Perhaps from qatan (least, small, young, littlfe one; it is literally smaller whether in amount or size; figuratively smaller in the sense of younger or less important); from qut (grieved, cut off, to detest). This is to be small, diminished, insignificant, or unworthy.
L “all” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
M “steadfast love” = chesed. From chasad (being good, kind, merciful; may mean bowing one’s neck as is done in the presence of an equal for courtesy’s sake; so, if one in a superior position is treating you like an equal, that is what is captured here). This is favor, goodness, kindness, loving kindness, pity, reproach, or a good deed. When done by God to humanity, this is mercy/loving kindness. When done by humanity to God, it is piety.

and all the faithfulnessN that you have shownO to your servant,P

Notes on verse 10b

N “faithfulness” = emet. From aman (to believe, endure, fulfill, confirm, support, be faithful, put one’s trust in, be steadfast. Figuratively, this is to be firm, steadfast, or faithful, trusting, believing, being permanent, morally solid). This is firmness or stability. Figuratively, it is faithfulness, truth, or trustworthiness. This is the same root that “amen” comes from.
O “shown” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
P “servant” = ebed. From abad (to work, serve, compel; any kind of work; used causatively, can mean to enslave or keep in bondage). This is a servant, slave, or bondservant.

for with only my staffQ I crossedR this Jordan,S

Notes on verse 10c

Q “staff” = maqqel. 18x in OT. This is a shoot with leaves growing from it or a staff. It could be a walking stick, a stick for guiding (e.g. sheep), a stick for striking like a war club, or a divining rod.
R “crossed” = abar. This is to pass over or cross over. It is used for transitions, whether literal or figurative. It can also mean to escape, alienate, or fail. This is the root verb from which “Hebrew” is drawn.
S “Jordan” = Yarden. From yarad (to go down, descend; going down in a literal or figurative sense; going to the shore or a boundary, bringing down an enemy). This is the Jordan River, meaning “descending.”

and now I have becomeT twoU companies.V 

Notes on verse 10d

T “become” = hayah. Related to “Lord” in v9. See note F above.
U “two” = shenayim. From sheni (double, again, another, second); from shanah (to fold, repeat, double, alter, or disguise). This is two, both, second, couple.
V “companies” = machaneh. From chanah (to decline, bending down, or living in tents; can be camping to create a home or camping as a part of battle). This is an encampment, whether of people traveling together or soldiers. So, it can be a camp band, or company as well as an army of soldiers. Also can be used of other groups like animals, angels or stars.

11 DeliverW me, please,X from the handY of my brother,Z

Notes on verse 11a

W “deliver” = natsal. This is to snatch someone or something away in a good sense – as rescue, defend, or deliver – or in a bad sense – as strip or plunder.
X “please” = na. This particle is used for requests or for urging. It can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh. This is the same “na” in “hosanna.”
Y “hand” = yad. This is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it.
Z “brother” = ach. This is brother, kindred, another, other, like. It is literally brother, but it can also be someone who is similar, resembling, or related to.

from the hand of Esau,AA for I am afraidBB of him;CC

Notes on verse 11b

AA “Esau” = Esav. Related to “shown” in v10. From asah (to squeeze, handle, or press) OR from asah (see note O above). This is Esau, perhaps meaning rough as something one handles. It could also be doer, maker, or worker. See
BB “afraid” = yare. From the same as yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; also fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect). This is fearful or morally reverent.
CC {untranslated} = pen. Perhaps from panah (to turn, face, appear). This is lest, if, or.

he may comeDD and killEE us all, the mothersFF with the children.GG 

Notes on verse 11c

DD “come” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
EE “kill” = nakah. This is to hit whether lightly or severely. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be beat, punish, give wounds, kill, or slaughter.
FF “mothers” = em. This is a mother as binding a family together or a breeding female animal. It could be mother in a literal or figurative sense.
GG “children” = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.

12 Yet you have said, ‘I will surely do you goodHH and makeII your offspringJJ

Notes on verse 12a

HH “will surely do…good” = yatab + yatab. Same as “do…good” in v9. See note J above. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
II “make” = sum. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.
JJ “offspring” = zera. From zara (to sow or scatter seed; conceive or yield). This is seed or sowing. It can, thus, mean a fruit, plant, sowing time, child, offspring, or posterity.

as the sandKK of the sea,LL which cannot be countedMM because of their number.’”NN

Notes on verse 12b

KK “sand” = chol. From chul (whirling around so dancing as in a circle or writhing in pain; used particularly for the pain of childbirth or from writhing due to fear; can also be falling in pain or waiting). This is sand, perhaps because of its roundness or the way that the grains can whirl.
LL “sea” = yam. Root may mean to roar. This is the sea, often referring to the Mediterranean. It comes from the root in the sense of the roar of crashing surf. This word is sometimes used for rivers or other sources of water. It can mean to the west or to the south.
MM “counted” = saphar. From sepher (writing, document, book, evidence). This is properly to tally or record something. It can be enumerate, recount, number, celebrate, or declare.
NN “number” = rob. From rabab (to be or become much or many, multiply). This is any kind of abundance.

13 So he spentOO that nightPP there, and from what he had with himQQ he tookRR a presentSS for his brother Esau,

Notes on verse 13

OO “spent” = lun. This is to stop – usually to lodge for the night. It can imply dwelling, enduring, or staying permanently. Figuratively, it can mean being obstinate, particularly with one’s words – to complain.
PP “night” = layil. Properly, this refers to light twisting away. It is used for night or midnight. Figuratively, this can mean adversity.
QQ “had with him” = bo + yad. Literally, “what came to his hand.” Bo is the same as “come” in v11. See note DD above. Yad is the same as “hand” in v11. See note Y above.
RR “took” = laqach. This is to take, accept, carry away, receive. It can also have the sense of take a wife or take in marriage.
SS “present” = minchah. This is a gift or an offering, particularly a sacrificial one that is generally bloodless and given spontaneously (voluntarily).

22 The same night he got upTT and took his two wives,UU his two maids,VV

Notes on verse 22a

TT “got up” = qum. To arise, stand, accomplish, establish, abide. This is rising as in rising against, getting up after being sick or asleep, arising from one state to another, becoming powerful, or rising for action. It can also be standing in a figurative sense.
UU “wives” = ishshah. From ish (man); perhaps from enosh (human, humankind, mortal); from anash (to be weak, sick, or frail). This is woman, wife, or female.
VV “maids” = shiphchah. Root may mean to spread out – it would be the same root used in mishpachah, which means family or clan. This is maidservant, female slave, or female bondslave.

and his elevenWW childrenXX and crossed the fordYY of the Jabbok.ZZ 

Notes on verse 22b

WW “eleven” = echad + asar. Echad is perhaps from achad (to unify, continue on a path; figuratively, to gather one’s thoughts). This is the number one, first, united. It can also be alone, altogether, a certain, a few. Asar is from the same as eser (ten). This is -teen or -teenth.
XX “children” = yeled. Related to “kindred” in v9. From yalad (see note I above). This is something born – so, offspring, youth, fruit. It is the same word used in Isaiah 9:6 “for a child will be born to us.”
YY “ford” = ma’abar. Related to “crossed” in v10. 11x in OT. From abar (see note R above). This is a ford or place to cross, whether a river or mountain pass. It can also be transit.
ZZ “Jabbok” = Yabboq. 7x in OT. Probably from baqaq (to empty, devastate, demoralize, luxuriate, depopulate). This is Jabbok or Yabboq, meaning “emptying” or “he will empty.” See

23 He took them and sentAAA them across the stream,BBB and likewiseCCC everything that he had. 

Notes on verse 23

AAA “sent” = abar. Same as “crossed” in v10. See note R above.
BBB “stream” = nachal. From nachal (to take as heritage, inherit, or distribute). This is a river or stream. It could be a wadi or arroyo – sometimes a narrow valley with no water at all, but in strong rains or when winter snow melts, it swells or floods with water.
CCC “likewise” = abar. Same as “crossed” in v10. See note R above.

24 Jacob was leftDDD alone,EEE and a manFFF wrestledGGG with him until daybreak.HHH 

Notes on verse 24

DDD “left” = yathar. This is to jut over, remain behind, preserve, to excel. It can be to leave or to be in abundance.
EEE “alone” = bad. From badad (to divide or be separated; alone, solitary, lonely, isolated, straggler). This is apart, alone, separation, body part, tree branch, except. It can also be a city’s chief.
FFF “man” = enosh. Related to “wives” in v22. See note UU above.
GGG “wrestled” = abaq. 2x in OT- both in this chapter. This is to wrestle or grapple. It could have a sense of evaporating like vapor.
HHH “daybreak” = alah + shachar. Alah is to go up, approach, ascend, be high, be a priority; to arise in a literal or figurative sense. Shachar may come from a root meaning to look for in early hour or in a diligent way. This is dawn, early light, or morning.

25 When the man sawIII that he did not prevailJJJ against Jacob, he struckKKK him on the hipLLL socket,MMM and Jacob’s hip was put out of jointNNN as he wrestled with him. 

Notes on verse 25

III “saw” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
JJJ “prevail” = yakol. This is to be able, endure, overcome, prevail.
KKK “struck” = naga. This is touch, reach, arrive, come near, strike. This is touching for any reason including sexual or violent.
LLL “hip” = yarek. Root may mean to be soft. This is thigh, side, body, shank. It can be used figuratively for genitalia.
MMM “socket” = kaph. From kaphaph (to bend – from a root meaning curve or bend down). This is palm of the hand or sole of the foot, footstep, grasp. Figuratively, it can also mean power.
NNN “put out of joint” = yaqa. 8x in OT. This is dislocated, severed, alienated, or figuratively abandoned. It can also mean rotting, which causes pieces to drop off bit by bit.

26 Then he said, “Let me go,OOO for the day is breaking.”PPP

But Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you blessQQQ me.” 

27 So he said to him, “What is your name?”RRR

And he said, “Jacob.” 

Notes on verses 26-27

OOO “let…go” = shalach. This is to send out, away, send for, forsake. It can also mean to divorce or set a slave free.
PPP “day is breaking” = alah + shachar. Same as “daybreak” in v24. See note HHH above.
QQQ “bless” = barak. This is to kneel, to bless. It is blessing God as part of worship and adoration or blessing humans to help them. It can be used as a euphemism to say curse God.
RRR “name” = shem. Related to “make” in v12. May be from sum (see note II above). This is name, fame, renown. A name was thought to indicate something essential about a person – something about their individuality. So, this word can also mean honor, authority, or character.

28 Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel,SSS for you have strivenTTT with God and with humansUUU and have prevailed.” 

29 Then Jacob askedVVV him, “Please tellWWW me your name.”

But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. 

Notes on verses 28-29

SSS “Israel” = Yisrael. Related to “God” in v9. From sarah (to persist, exert oneself, contend, persevere, wrestle, prevail) + El (see note B above). This is Israel, meaning God strives or one who strives with God; new name for Jacob and for his offspring. This refers to the people and to the land.
TTT “striven” = sarah. Related to “Israel” in v28. 2x in OT. See note SSS above.
UUU “humans” = ish. Related to “wives” in v22 & “man” in v24. See note UU above.
VVV “asked” = shaal. This is to ask, inquire, beg, borrow, desire, request. It can also mean to demand.
WWW “tell” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.

30 So Jacob calledXXX the placeYYY Peniel,ZZZ 

Notes on verse 30a

XXX “called” = qarashem. Qara is to call or call out – to call someone by name. Also used more broadly for calling forth. Shem is the same as “name” in v27. See note RRR above.
YYY “place” = maqom. Related to “got up” in v22. From qum (see note TT above). This is a standing, which is to say a spot or space a place. It can also refer to a locality or a physical/mental condition. HaMaqom is also a Jewish name for God – the place, i.e. the Omnipresent One.
ZZZ “Peniel” = Penuel. Related to “God” in v9 & “Israel” in v28 & to {untranslated} in v11. 9x in OT. From paneh (face in a literal or figurative sense; presence, anger, respect; of God to indicate divine favor or presence); {from panah (see note CC above)} + El (see note B above). This is Peniel or Penuel, meaning “face of God.” It is a place name and a person’s name.

saying, “For I have seen God faceAAAA to face, yet my lifeBBBB is preserved.”CCCC 

Notes on verse 30b

AAAA “face” = paneh. Related to {untranslated} in v11 & “Peniel” in v30. See note ZZZ above.
BBBB “life” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
CCCC “preserved” = natsal. Same as “deliver” in v11. See note W above.

Image credit: “Greek geometric pottery, probably 8th century BC. Wrestlers Archaeological Museum of Argos.” Photo by Zde, 2000.

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