Author Topic: Jacob wresting with God?  (Read 571 times)

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Offline Vladimir

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Jacob wresting with God?
« on: August 07, 2009, 05:09:42 PM »
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  • (This is copy and paste from an apostate's post on another forum -- I need help to answer)

    Genesis 32:22-32 describes the story of Jacob wrestling with God. It states the Jacob, who was on a journey, took his 2 wives and female servants and sent them ahead of him, leaving him alone.

    Suddenly a man appears and starts wrestling with Jacob until morning. (I say suddenly because in one sentence he is alone and the next he is wrestling until the break of day v.24 -- it is a little abrupt and odd).

    The man was losing the fight and hit Jacob in his hip, popping it out of joint (I dont know if this detail could be considered a cheap shot but, its in there).

    The man asked Jacob to let him go because it was morning (maybe the man had better things to do or somewhere to go, but why would you start fights with strangers if you had to be up early right?

    Jacob said he wouldnt let him go until he blessed him. (Why did Jacob think the man had the power to bless him?)

    The man then asked Jacob what his name was. (You would think that after wrestling with a man all night, you would have at least got his name beforehand).

    THEN the man told him, your name is now Israel because he strove with God and man and prevailed (Strive means to struggle vigorously, battle, compete etc. according to the dictionary)

    Jacob then asked the man his name. The man never told him but apparently blessed him (v29)

    Jacob said that he had seen God face to face and lived. He then limped away (Why he asked for a blessing instead of getting the man to pop his hip back into place is unclear...)

    Sooooo, here is my question. How can this story be true and inspired by God?

    Despite the fact that the story is written in an odd way. Jacob alone. He just starts wresting all night with a strange man who appears out of nowhere (like it is a normal occurrence). He tells the man to bless him (from the nature of the request it seems that Jacob thinks the man is at least superhuman, then states he saw the face of God...but then why does he later ask his name?). At the end of the fight, they ask each other what their name is. The man renames Jacob, Jacob hobbles away. End of story.

    This question calls into question the nature of God within the Jewish/Christian/Catholic faith and also begs the question of whether this story is accurate and God-inspired.

    Surely God does not wrestle with men. Even if he did, how could he lose??

    (some people have said it was a dream, but there is nothing to suggest that Jacob was asleep at this time, or that it was an angel, but the text clearly uses the term "God")

    How could a man force God to bless him?

    I would like to hear some opinions on this as I havent heard any good explanations on the matter.

    Offline Caraffa

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    Jacob wresting with God?
    « Reply #1 on: August 07, 2009, 09:02:54 PM »
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  • Haydock Commentary (1859):
    Ver. 24. A man, &c. This was an angel in human shape, as we learn from Osee xii. 4. He is called God, ver. 28 and 30, because he represented the person of the Son of God. This wrestling, in which Jacob, assisted by God, was a match for an angel, was so ordered, (Ver. 28.) that he might learn by this experiment of the divine assistance, that neither Esau, nor any other man, should have power to hurt him. It was also spiritual, as appeareth by his earnest prayer, urging, and at last obtaining the angel's blessing. (Challoner) --- The father will not refuse a good gift to those who ask him with fervour and humility. Jacob had before set us an excellent pattern how to pray, placing his confidence in God, and distrusting himself, ver. 9, &c. (Haydock) --- It is not certain, whether Jacob remained alone on the northern or on the southern banks of Jaboc. (Calmet)
    Pray for me, always.


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