1As Jacob went on his way, some angels met him. 2When he saw them, he said, “This is God's camp”; so he called the place Mahanaim.
3Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the country of Edom. 4He instructed them to say: “I, Jacob, your obedient servant, report to my master Esau that I have been staying with Laban and that I have delayed my return until now. 5I own cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, and slaves. I am sending you word, sir, in the hope of gaining your favour.”
6When the messengers came back to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and he is already on his way to meet you. He has 400 men with him.” 7Jacob was frightened and worried. He divided into two groups the people who were with him, and also his sheep, goats, cattle, and camels. 8He thought, “If Esau comes and attacks the first group, the other may be able to escape.”
9Then Jacob prayed, “God of my grandfather Abraham and God of my father Isaac, hear me! You told me, LORD, to go back to my land and to my relatives, and you would make everything go well for me. 10I am not worth all the kindness and faithfulness that you have shown me, your servant. I crossed the Jordan with nothing but a walking stick, and now I have come back with these two groups. 11Save me, I pray, from my brother Esau. I am afraid — afraid that he is coming to attack us and destroy us all, even the women and children. 12Remember that you promised to make everything go well for me and to give me more descendants than anyone could count, as many as the grains of sand along the seashore.”
16He divided them into herds and put one of his servants in charge of each herd. He said to them, “Go ahead of me, and leave a space between each herd and the one behind it.” 17He ordered the first servant, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks, ‘Who is your master? Where are you going? Who owns these animals in front of you?’ 18you must answer, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. He sends them as a present to his master Esau. Jacob himself is just behind us.’ ” 19He gave the same order to the second, the third, and to all the others who were in charge of the herds: “This is what you must say to Esau when you meet him. 20You must say, ‘Yes, your servant Jacob is just behind us.’ ” Jacob was thinking, “I will win him over with the gifts, and when I meet him, perhaps he will forgive me.” 21He sent the gifts on ahead of him and spent that night in camp.
Jacob Wrestles at Peniel
22That same night Jacob got up, took his two wives, his two concubines, and his eleven children, and crossed the River Jabbok. 23After he had sent them across, he also sent across all that he owned, 24but he stayed behind, alone.
Then a man came and wrestled with him until just before daybreak. 25When the man saw that he was not winning the struggle, he struck Jacob on the hip, and it was thrown out of joint. 26The man said, “Let me go; daylight is coming.”
“I won't, unless you bless me,” Jacob answered.
27“What is your name?” the man asked.
“Jacob,” he answered.
28The man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob. You have struggled with God and with men, and you have won; so your name will be Israel.”
29Jacob said, “Now tell me your name.”
But he answered, “Why do you want to know my name?” Then he blessed Jacob.
30Jacob said, “I have seen God face to face, and I am still alive”; so he named the place Peniel.31The sun rose as Jacob was leaving Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. 32Even today the descendants of Israel do not eat the muscle which is on the hip joint, because it was on this muscle that Jacob was struck.
Jacob Meets Esau
1Jacob saw Esau coming with his 400 men, so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two concubines. 2He put the concubines and their children first, then Leah and her children, and finally Rachel and Joseph at the rear. 3Jacob went ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. 4But Esau ran to meet him, threw his arms round him, and kissed him. They were both crying. 5When Esau looked round and saw the women and the children, he asked, “Who are these people with you?”
“These, sir, are the children whom God has been good enough to give me,” Jacob answered. 6Then the concubines came up with their children and bowed down; 7then Leah and her children came, and last of all Joseph and Rachel came and bowed down.
8Esau asked, “What about that other group I met? What did that mean?”
Jacob answered, “It was to gain your favour.”
9But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have.”
10Jacob said, “No, please, if I have gained your favour, accept my gift. To see your face is for me like seeing the face of God, now that you have been so friendly to me. 11Please accept this gift which I have brought for you; God has been kind to me and given me everything I need.” Jacob kept on urging him until he accepted.
12Esau said, “Let's prepare to leave. I will go ahead of you.”
13Jacob answered, “You know that the children are weak, and I must think of the sheep and cattle with their young. If they are driven hard for even one day, the whole herd will die. 14Please go on ahead of me, and I will follow slowly, going as fast as I can with the livestock and the children until I catch up with you in Edom.”
15Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.”
But Jacob answered, “There is no need for that for I only want to gain your favour.”16So that day Esau started on his way back to Edom. 17But Jacob went to Sukkoth, where he built a house for himself and shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was named Sukkoth.
18On his return from Mesopotamia Jacob arrived safely at the city of Shechem in the land of Canaan and set up his camp in a field near the city. 19He bought that part of the field from the descendants of Hamor father of Shechem for a hundred pieces of silver. 20He put up an altar there and named it after El, the God of Israel.
The Rape of Dinah
1One day Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, went to visit some of the Canaanite women. 2When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, who was chief of that region, saw her, he took her and raped her. 3But he found the young woman so attractive that he fell in love with her and tried to win her affection.4He said to his father, “I want you to get this woman for me as my wife.”
5Jacob learnt that his daughter had been disgraced, but because his sons were out in the fields with his livestock, he did nothing until they came back. 6Shechem's father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob, 7just as Jacob's sons were coming in from the fields. When they heard about it, they were shocked and furious that Shechem had done such a thing and had insulted the people of Israel by raping Jacob's daughter. 8Hamor said to him, “My son Shechem has fallen in love with your daughter; please let him marry her. 9Let us make an agreement that there will be intermarriage between our people and yours. 10Then you may stay here in our country with us; you may live anywhere you wish, trade freely, and own property.”
11Then Shechem said to Dinah's father and brothers, “Do me this favour, and I will give you whatever you want. 12Tell me what presents you want, and set the payment for the bride as high as you wish; I will give you whatever you ask, if you will only let me marry her.”
13Because Shechem had disgraced their sister Dinah, Jacob's sons answered Shechem and his father Hamor in a deceitful way. 14They said to him, “We cannot let our sister marry a man who is not circumcised; that would be a disgrace for us. 15We can agree only on the condition that you become like us by circumcising all your males. 16Then we will agree to intermarriage. We will settle among you and become one people with you. 17But if you will not accept our terms and be circumcised, we will take her and leave.”
18These terms seemed fair to Hamor and his son Shechem, 19and the young man lost no time in doing what was suggested, because he was in love with Jacob's daughter. He was the most important member of his family.
20Hamor and his son Shechem went to the meeting place at the city gate and spoke to the people of the town: 21“These men are friendly; let them live in the land with us and travel freely. The land is large enough for them also. Let us marry their daughters and give them ours in marriage. 22But these men will agree to live among us and be one people with us only on condition that we circumcise all our males, as they are circumcised. 23Won't all their livestock and everything else they own be ours? So let us agree that they can live among us.” 24All the citizens of the city agreed with what Hamor and Shechem proposed, and all the males were circumcised.
25Three days later, when the men were still sore from their circumcision, two of Jacob's sons, Simeon and Levi, the brothers of Dinah, took their swords, went into the city without arousing suspicion, and killed all the men, 26including Hamor and his son Shechem. Then they took Dinah from Shechem's house and left. 27After the slaughter Jacob's other sons looted the town to take revenge for their sister's disgrace. 28They took the flocks, the cattle, the donkeys, and everything else in the city and in the fields. 29They took everything of value, captured all the women and children, and carried off everything in the houses.
30Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have brought trouble on me; now the Canaanites, the Perizzites, and everybody else in the land will hate me. I haven't many men; if they all band together against me and attack me, our whole family will be destroyed.”
31But they answered, “We cannot let our sister be treated like a common whore.”
God Blesses Jacob at Bethel
1God said to Jacob, “Go to Bethel at once, and live there. Build an altar there to me, the God who appeared to you when you were running away from your brother Esau.”
2So Jacob said to his family and to all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods that you have; purify yourselves and put on clean clothes. 3We are going to leave here and go to Bethel, where I will build an altar to the God who helped me in the time of my trouble and who has been with me everywhere I have gone.” 4So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods that they had and also the earrings that they were wearing. He buried them beneath the oak tree near Shechem.
5When Jacob and his sons started to leave, great fear fell on the people of the nearby towns, and they did not pursue them. 6Jacob came with all his people to Luz, which is now known as Bethel, in the land of Canaan. 7He built an altar there and named the place after the God of Bethel, because God had revealed himself to him there when he was running away from his brother. 8Rebecca's nurse Deborah died and was buried beneath the oak south of Bethel. So it was named “Oak of Weeping”.
9When Jacob returned from Mesopotamia, God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but from now on it will be Israel.” So God named him Israel. 11And God said to him, “I am Almighty God. Have many children. Nations will be descended from you, and you will be the ancestor of kings. 12I will give you the land which I gave to Abraham and to Isaac, and I will also give it to your descendants after you.” 13Then God left him. 14There, where God had spoken to him, Jacob set up a memorial stone and consecrated it by pouring wine and olive oil on it. 15He named the place Bethel.