"Psalm 23," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist.
Image © by John August Swanson. Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.
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Jacob Wrestles God
Genesis 32:22-30 Commentary
by Vanessa Lovelace
The story of Jacob’s encounter with a stranger at night belongs to the larger Jacob and Esau cycle (Genesis 25:12-35:28).
Jacob was the younger of twins born to Isaac and Rebekah. His life had been replete with acts of duplicity. Jacob’s deceit deprives his brother Esau of his birthright as the firstborn son and his blessing from their father (Genesis 27:32-36). Rebekah learns that Esau intends to kill Jacob and sends him to her brother in Paddan-aram in Haran (a second version has him going to his mother’s kin to find a wife [Genesis 28:1-2]). Jacob’s story is a story of crossings, both geographically and metaphorically.
Jacob’s exile in Haran
Jacob flees his home and eventually arrives in Haran, where he makes his mother’s family’s acquaintance. While in Haran he acquires not one but two wives, the daughters of his mother’s brother, Laban, and their slave girls. Jacob probably intended to return to his father’s home with his wives and children after a reasonable amount of time. However, an ironic set of circumstances forces him to remain in the land of his ...
| Bible Text
2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL189: Jacob Wrestles God
September 27, 2015
This podcast discusses Genesis 32:22-30, the Narrative Lectionary reading for Sept. 27, 2015.