All Eyes on Israel
Chapter 1 - What is Your Name?
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Jacob and Esau are now deadly enemies with Esau intent on killing his brother. So Jacob flees to find refuge with his uncle Laban. The story is a familiar one. He got a wife but he also got a taste of his own medicine. He was deceived by Laban who, it seems, wanted to get as much work out of Jacob as he could. Jacob had pulled a switch on his blind father. Laban pulled a switch on him in the veils and darkness on his wedding night and gave him the wrong wife. If Leah had told him her name early enough, he could have remedied the situation. We could say that Leah supplanted Rachel. Jacob was also deceived by Laban as far as his wages.
"And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me." (Gen 31:7)
Jacob eventually got the wife he really wanted and finally decided to return to his own land and make peace with his brother Esau. It may have been so important for him to make peace because he was so tormented by guilt.
As he reached his own land, he heard of his brother's approach with an army. Were Jacob and Esau about to settle their dispute militarily? As a defensive measure, Jacob divided his company into two groups. He sent his immediate family over the brook and was left alone at night when suddenly he was attacked by a stranger. He wrestled with the assailant possibly assuming at first that it is his brother Esau. Then, when the attacker merely touched Jacob's thigh putting it out of joint, Jacob realized that this was a supernatural being and he asked for a blessing. The reply from his assailant and Jacob's plea was:
"... Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." (Gen 32:26)
Why did he ask for a blessing? He must have realized that this was a supernatural being who could give a blessing and perhaps because he didn't feel very blessed. Why would Jacob feel blessed when he had deceived his father, he had stolen from his brother, he had to leave his mother and never saw her alive again, he had to work twenty years for a boss who kept deceiving him, he had fled secretly from Laban, and his life, family and everything he owned was in danger from his brother?