~~~~~Lesson: Genesis, chapter 32 (part 2) (reading below lesson)
Jacob wrestling with the angel is often believed to have been added to the story of Jacob and his family later than the rest of the writings. It is also believed to be more of a metaphor than an actual event in the life of Jacob. There are, of course, those who believe it to be a literal event. This story has a threefold meaning.
1) The source of the name Israel for both Jacob and the nation. “Israel: the first part of the Hebrew name Yisrael is given a popular explanation in the word sarita, ‘you contended’; the second part is the first syllable of elohim, ‘divine beings’” (notes from New American Bible).
2) The source of the name for the town/area: Peniel, which means “face of God.” (Also written in some translations at Penuel).
3) The source of the prohibition on eating the sinew or tendon of the thigh (exact translation isn’t known). This prohibition is NOT found in the later dietary laws- it harkens back to this story.
Question: Do you believe this story is a literal explanation of events or an allegory? Why?
Of the three meanings, which one(s) do you subscribe to? Or all of them? Why?
~Reading: Genesis: Chapter 32 (part 2)
(23-33) In the course of that night, however, Jacob arose, took his two wives, with the two maidservants and his eleven children, and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had taken them across the stream and had brought over all his possessions, Jacob was left their alone. Then some man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. When the man saw that he could not prevail over him, he struck Jacob’s hip at its socket, so that the hip socket was wrenched as they wrestled.
The man then said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”
But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go until you bless me.”
“What is your name?” the man asked.
He answered, “Jacob.”
Then the man said, “You shall no longer be spoken of as Jacob, but as Israel, because you have contended with divine and human beings and have prevailed.”
Jacob then asked him, “Do tell me your name, please.”
He answered, “Why should you want to know my name?” With that, he bade him farewell.
Jacob named the place Peniel, “Because I have seen God face to face,” he said, “yet my life has been spared.”
At sunrise, as he left Penuel, Jacob limped along because of his hip. That is why, to this day, the Israelites do not eat the sciatic muscle that is on the hip socket, inasmuch as Jacob’s hip socket was struck at the sciatic muscle.
Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong