April 8 (Year One)
Jacob also left that place. While he was traveling, he saw God’s angels. When he saw them, he said, “This is God’s camp!” So Jacob named that place Mahanaim.
Jacob’s brother Esau was living in the area called Seir in the hill country of Edom. Jacob sent messengers to Esau. He told them, “Tell this to my master Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says, I have lived with Laban all these years. I have many cattle, donkeys, flocks, and servants. Sir, I am sending you this message to ask you to accept us.’”
The messengers came back to Jacob and said, “We went to your brother Esau. He is coming to meet you. He has 400 men with him.”
Jacob was very frightened and worried. He divided the people who were with him and all the flocks, herds, and camels into two groups. Jacob thought, “If Esau comes and destroys one group, the other group can run away and be saved.”
Then Jacob said, “God of my father Abraham! God of my father Isaac! Lord, you told me to come back to my country and to my family. You said that you would do good to me. You have been very kind to me. You did many good things for me. The first time I traveled across the Jordan River, I owned nothing—only my walking stick. But now I own enough things to have two full groups. I ask you to please save me from my brother Esau. I am afraid that he will come and kill us all, even the mothers with the children. Lord, you said to me, ‘I will be good to you. I will increase your family and make your children as many as the sands of the sea. There will be too many to count.’”
Jacob stayed in that place for the night. He prepared some things to give to Esau as a gift. He took 200 female goats and 20 male goats, 200 female sheep and 20 male sheep. He took 30 camels and their colts, 40 cows and 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys and 10 male donkeys. He gave each flock of animals to his servants. Then he said to them, “Separate each group of animals. Go ahead of me and keep some space between each herd.” Jacob gave them their orders. To the servant with the first group of animals he said, “When Esau my brother comes to you and asks you, ‘Whose animals are these? Where are you going? Whose servant are you?’ then you should answer, ‘These animals belong to your servant Jacob. He sent them as a gift to you, my master Esau. And he also is coming behind us.’”
Jacob also ordered the second servant, the third servant, and all the other servants to do the same thing. He said, “You will say the same thing to Esau when you meet him. You will say, ‘This is a gift to you, and your servant Jacob is behind us.’”
Jacob thought, “If I send these men ahead with gifts, maybe Esau will forgive me and accept me.” So Jacob sent the gifts to Esau, but he stayed that night in the camp.
During the night, Jacob got up and began moving his two wives, his two maids, and his eleven sons across the Jabbok River at the crossing. After he sent his family across the river, he sent across everything he had.
Jacob was left alone, and a man came and wrestled with him. The man fought with him until the sun came up. When the man saw that he could not defeat Jacob, he touched Jacob’s leg and put it out of joint.
Then the man said to Jacob, “Let me go. The sun is coming up.”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go. You must bless me.”
And the man said to him, “What is your name?”
And Jacob said, “My name is Jacob.”
Then the man said, “Your name will not be Jacob. Your name will now be Israel. I give you this name because you have fought with God and with men, and you have won.”
Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.”
But the man said, “Why do you ask my name?” Then the man blessed Jacob at that place.
So Jacob named that place Peniel. He said, “At this place, I saw God face to face, but my life was spared.” Then the sun came up as Jacob left Peniel. He was limping because of his leg. So even today, the people of Israel don’t eat the muscle that is on the hip joint, because this is the muscle where Jacob was hurt.