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Genesis Chapter 32 | Parsha: Va-yetse Va-yishlah

1Early in the morning, Laban kissed his sons and daughters and bade them good-by; then Laban left on his journey homeward. 2Jacob went on his way, and angels of God encountered him. 3When he saw them, Jacob said, “This is God’s camp.” So he named that place Mahanaim.

וישלח

4Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, 5and instructed them as follows, ”Thus shall you say, ‘To my lord Esau, thus says your servant Jacob: I stayed with Laban and remained until now; 6I have acquired cattle, asses, sheep, and male and female slaves; and I send this message to my lord in the hope of gaining your favor.’” 7The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau; he himself is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” 8Jacob was greatly frightened; in his anxiety, he divided the people with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, 9thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, the other camp may yet escape.”

10Then Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your native land and I will deal bountifully with you’! 11I am unworthy of all the kindness that You have so steadfastly shown Your servant: with my staff alone I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. 12Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; else, I fear, he may come and strike me down, mothers and children alike. 13Yet You have said, ‘I will deal bountifully with you and make your offspring as the sands of the sea, which are too numerous to count.’”

14After spending the night there, he selected from what was at hand these presents for his brother Esau: 15200 she-goats and 20 he-goats; 200 ewes and 20 rams; 1630 milch camels with their colts; 40 cows and 10 bulls; 20 she-asses and 10 he-asses. 17These he put in the charge of his servants, drove by drove, and he told his servants, “Go on ahead, and keep a distance between droves.” 18He instructed the one in front as follows, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, ‘Whose man are you? Where are you going? And whose [animals] are these ahead of you?’ 19you shall answer, ‘Your servant Jacob’s; they are a gift sent to my lord Esau; and [Jacob] himself is right behind us.’” 20He gave similar instructions to the second one, and the third, and all the others who followed the droves, namely, “Thus and so shall you say to Esau when you reach him. 21And you shall add, ‘And your servant Jacob himself is right behind us.’” For he reasoned, “If I propitiate him with presents in advance, and then face him, perhaps he will show me favor.” 22And so the gift went on ahead, while he remained in camp that night.

23That same night he arose, and taking his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children, he crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 24After taking them across the stream, he sent across all his possessions. 25Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. 26When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he wrenched Jacob’s hip at its socket, so that the socket of his hip was strained as he wrestled with him. 27Then he said, “Let me go, for dawn is breaking.” But he answered, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.” 28Said the other, “What is your name?” He replied, “Jacob.” 29Said he, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with beings divine and human, and have prevailed.” 30Jacob asked, “Pray tell me your name.” But he said, “You must not ask my name!” And he took leave of him there. 31So Jacob named the place Peniel, meaning, “I have seen a divine being face to face, yet my life has been preserved.” 32The sun rose upon him as he passed Penuel, limping on his hip. 33That is why the children of Israel to this day do not eat the thigh muscle that is on the socket of the hip, since Jacob’s hip socket was wrenched at the thigh muscle.

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