Coachlight Bible Study – Genesis Lesson 40 – Genesis Chapter 32

By God’s Grace


James 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?

James 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill,  and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.

James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded [disuchos].

James 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.


Jacob had two reasons to leave his uncle’s household in Haran, and another reason to stay. Jacob knew that he and his uncle, Laban, could never have a good and lasting understanding between them.  Jacob also knew that God’s covenant was true and God was going to give his Seed the land of Canaan.  But Jacob also knew that upon leaving Haran, he would ultimately have to face his brother Esau.  Esau had vowed to kill Jacob twenty years earlier (Genesis 27:41)

Jacob believed God at His Word.  Jacob knew that God would be with him, because God had said so.  But the circumstances surrounding Jacob did not look so great.  God had blessed Jacob with livestock and family until traveling was a very slow process.  While Jacob had been able to stay his uncle’s hand at destroying Jacob and his family through Jacob’s own ingenuity, (and don’t let Jacob forget that it was only possible because of the direct intervening by God Himself), stopping his brother Esau may well be a completely different story.

We all go through trials in our lives that may seem to parallel the trials in Jacob’s life.  The book of James teaches us how to endure these trials and come out victorious.  In fact, the book of James seems to me to be a commentary on the thirty-second chapter of Genesis.  It teaches us that when we don’t have the wisdom to continue on through a trial, we need to ask God and He gives this wisdom liberally.  James also teaches us that our mindset needs to be single, not double-minded.  This single mindedness is explained in the fifth chapter of James as enduring the trial with longsuffering until the coming of the Lord.  And finally, the book of James teaches us that God’s purpose comes by His grace and not by his people’s worthiness.  God resists the proud and gives grace to the humble.

I. The Angels Meet Jacob


Genesis 32:1 And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.

Genesis 32:2 And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim[04266].


04266 Mynxm Machanayim makh-an-ah'- yim - dual of 04264; ; n pr loc

Mahanaim 13; 13

Mahanaim =" two camps"

1) a place east of the Jordan, named from Jacob's encounter with angels

2) a Levitical city in Gad


A. Jacob Must Have Needed Encouragement

1.  Circumstances looked bad concerning meeting Esau

2. Esau might not have cooled on his intent to kill Jacob

3. Esau was likely to have a much swifter moving army than Jacob

B. It Appears That Only Jacob Saw This Event – Jacob Said:

1. This is God’s host

2. Jacob named the place Mahanayim – Meaning two camps

a. Jacob’s camp, and

b. The camp of angels also with Jacob


II. Jacob Hears The News From His Messengers


Genesis 32:3 And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.

Genesis 32:4 And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:

Genesis 32:5 And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and womenservants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.

Genesis 32:6 And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.

Genesis 32:7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands;

Genesis 32:8 And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape.


A. Jacob Was Concerned About Meeting Esau

B. Jacob Sends Out Messengers To Go And See Esau

1. Jacob told them to tell Esau that Jacob had been at Laban’s for 20 years

2. Jacob told them to call Esau Jacob’s lord

a. Jacob wanted to be clear that Jacob wanted Esau’s favor

b. Knowing that Esau probably believed himself to have political advantage, Jacob wanted to assure Esau that Jacob had no desire for political Sovereignty

3. Jacob has a gift for Esau of 580 animals for Esau

C. We Don’t Know What Jacob Wanted To Hear, But The Only News Was:

“…He cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him.”

D. Jacob Is Very Worried

1. He divided the people with him and the animals into two bands

2. The thinking was that if Esau got one band the other would make it

E. Therefore Jacob did all he could do – He knew the rest depended on God


III. Jacob’s Humble Prayer


Genesis 32:9 And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the LORD which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee:

Genesis 32:10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.

Genesis 32:11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.

Genesis 32:12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.


A. This Reminds Me Of A Verses In The Book Of James:

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.


B. Jacob Was Facing What Seemed To Be A Hopeless Situation

1. Esau had 400 men

2. If Esau meant harm, Jacob would have been defenseless

3. If Esau were to win, God’s purpose would be thwarted

C. Four Parts To A Prayer For Wisdom

1. Jacob reminded God of His Word

2. Jacob thanked God for His previous blessings and leading

3. Jacob acknowledged his own unworthiness

4. Jacob threw himself upon God for deliverance

5. This reminds me of another verse in James:

James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.


D. Jacob Based His Prayer On God’s Word – No Prayer Is Efficacious Unless Based On The Word of God

1. God had made certain promises

2. Jacob was going to claim those promises and stand on them

3. Jacob was calling on God to be strong in fulfilling those promises

5. This reminds me of another verse in James:

James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.

IV. Jacob’s Command To His Messengers


Genesis 32:13 And he lodged there that same night; and took of that which came to his hand a present for Esau his brother;

Genesis 32:14 Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,

Genesis 32:15 Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals.

Genesis 32:16 And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.

Genesis 32:17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?

Genesis 32:18 Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us.

Genesis 32:19 And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.

Genesis 32:20 And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.


A. After Prayer, Jacob Decides To Send Esau A Gift

B. Jacob Told Them To Divide The 580 Animals Into Five Droves

1. Jacob Told Them To Keep A Fair Distance Between The Droves

2. Each Shepherd Was To Follow His Drove

C. These Were Good Will Gifts


V. Jacob’s Family And Possessions Cross The Jabbok


Genesis 32:21 So went the present over before him: and himself lodged that night in the company.

Genesis 32:22 And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two womenservants, and his eleven sons, and passed over the ford Jabbok.

Genesis 32:23 And he took them, and sent them over the brook, and sent over that he had.


A. Jabbok  - Stream Flowing West Into The Jordan – I/2 Way Between Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea

B. Jacob Wanted The Crossing The Jabbok Finished Before Meeting Esau


VI. Jacob’s Wrestling Match


Genesis 32:24 And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

Genesis 32:25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.

Genesis 32:26 And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.

Genesis 32:27 And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob.

Genesis 32:28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

Genesis 32:29 And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.

Genesis 32:30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.

Genesis 32:31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.

Genesis 32:32 Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank.


A. The Name Jabbok Means – “Wrestler” – Probably After This Incident

B. Jacob Needed Another Revelation Before Meeting Esau Reminds Me Of:


Philippians 1:6 …. He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:


C. Jacob Was Actually Wrestling With The Pre-Incarnate Christ

1. The angel did not prevail because Jacob kept on wrestling

2. Jacob was not stronger than God – God wants persistent prayer from His people

a. Luke 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

b. Luke 18: … That men ought always to pray, and not to faint;

3. The angel touched Jacob’s thigh and it went out of joint

D. At Morning Jacob Was Still Holding On

1. The Angel Asked To Be Let Go

2. Jacob would not let go without permanent assurance of blessing

3. Hosea compares Jacob’s wrestling tenacity to holding on to his brother’s heel:


Hosea 12:3 He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:

Hosea 12:4 Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;

Hosea 12:5 Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial.


E. The Angel Changed Jacob’s Name To Israel

1. Jacob was no longer to be called the supplanter but prevailer

2. His new name – Israel – “One who fights with God and is victorious”

3. Also called – “God’s prince”

4. That name was subscribed to Jacob’s descendants for 3500 years

5. Jacob limped on that thigh for a reminder of this incident

F. Jacob Names This Place – Penial – “The Face of God”


VII. Jacob Encounters Esau


Genesis 33:1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids.

Genesis 33:2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.

Genesis 33:3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Genesis 33:4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

Genesis 33:5 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.

Genesis 33:6 Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.

Genesis 33:7 And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.


Hosea 12:3 … By his strength he had power with God:


What Was Jacob’s Strength That He Had Power With God?


James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded [disuchos].

James 4:9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness.

James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.