Jacob wrestles with God – and earns a new name (Genesis 32:22 – 32:32)

During the night, Jacob took his two wives, two female servants, and eleven sons to cross a ford on the Jabbok River. After sending his family across the river, followed by all his possessions, Jacob was left alone. During the night, a “man” wrestled with Jacob. When the man saw that he could not overpower Jacob, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip, dislocating it. The man told Jacob, “Let me go, it is daybreak.” Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” The man asked, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered. Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob but Israel, because you struggled with God and humans but overcame all adversity.” Jacob plead with the man, “Please tell me your name.” The man

Jacob prepares to meet his estranged brother, Esau (Genesis 32:1 – 32:21)

As Jacob prepared to return to the Promised Land, he was met by angels in a place he named Mahanaim (meaning “two camps”). He recognized that God was with him. Jacob sent two messengers ahead of the caravan to meet his estranged brother, Esau, who lived in Seir, in the region of Edom. Jacob was unsure how Esau would react to his homecoming. He instructed the messengers to tell Esau: “Your servant Jacob says, I have been staying with Laban and have remained there until now. I have cattle and donkeys, sheep and goats, male and female servants. I am sending this message to you, that I may find favor in your eyes.” When the messengers returned, they told Jacob, “We delivered your message to Esau and now

Laban pursues Jacob and his family – covenant marks the division of Israel and East (Genesis 31:22 – 31:55)

Jacob had escaped with his wives and been gone three days when Laban was informed that he had fled. Laban gathered his family and they pursued Jacob for seven days. They caught up with him in the hill country of Gilead where Jacob and his family had pitched their tents. Laban and his relatives camped nearby. That night, God told Laban, “Be careful not to say anything to Jacob, either good or bad.” Laban asked Jacob, “What have you done? You deceived me and you’ve carried off my daughters like captives in war. Why didn’t you tell me so I could send you away with joy, singing, and music? You didn’t even kiss my grandchildren and daughters goodbye. You have gone off because you longed to return to

Jacob and his family flee from Laban to the Land of Canaan (Genesis 31:1 – 31:21)

Jacob heard that Laban’s sons were complaining, saying “Jacob is taking all of our father’s wealth from us.” Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him had changed too. Then God told Jacob, “Go back to the land of your fathers. Go to your relatives. I will be with you.” Jacob sent word to Rachel and Leah, “Come to the fields where the flocks are.” When they arrived, Jacob told them, “I see that your father’s attitude toward me has changed. You know that I have worked hard for your father and yet, he still cheated me, changing my wages over and over again. However, God has not allowed him to harm me. If Laban told me “the speckled ones of the flock will be your wages”

Jacob increases his flocks, and his wealth and status (Genesis 30:25 – 30:43)

After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob said to Laban, “Send me back to my homeland (Canaan). Give me my wives and children, for whom I served you, and I will be on my way. You know that I have worked hard for you.” Laban replied, “If I have found favor in your eyes, then please stay. I have learned through divination that God has blessed me because of you. Name your wages and I will pay them.” Jacob said to Laban, “You know that your livestock has fared well under my care. What little you had before I came has increased greatly and God has blessed you while I was here. But now, I need to do something for my own household.” Laban replied, “What can I

Rachel is jealous of Leah and competes to have Jacob’s children (Genesis 29:31 – 30:24)

God saw that Leah was not loved as much as Rachel so he enabled her to conceive children while Rachel remained childless. As a result, Leah gave birth to a son she christened Reuben saying “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” Leah gave birth to a second son and said, “Because the Lord heard that I am not loved, he gave me this one too.” She named him Simeon. She gave birth to a third son she named Levi because “now at last my husband will become attached to me because I have given him three sons.” Leah gave birth to a fourth son and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” She named him

Laban’s trickery – Jacob marries Leah… and Rachel (Genesis 29:14 – 29:30)

After Jacob had lived with Laban for a month, Laban offered to pay him for his work telling Jacob, “Just because you are a relative of mine does not mean you should have to work for no pay.” Laban asked Jacob what he thought a fair wage would be. Laban had two daughters – an older daughter, Leah, who had “weak” eyes, and a younger daughter, Rachel, who was beautiful. Jacob was in love with Rachel so he told Laban, “I will work for you for seven years in return for marriage to your daughter Rachel.” Laban agreed that Rachel would be a good wife for Jacob and accepted Jacob’s proposal. Jacob worked for Laban for seven years but his love for Rachel was so great, the

Jacob reaches his destination (Haran) where he meets his future-wife Rachel and her father Laban (Genesis 29:1 – 29:14)

Jacob continued his journey and soon arrived in the land of the “eastern peoples” where he saw a well with three flocks of sheep laying near it. Jacob watched as the shepherds rolled a stone off the mouth of the well when the sheep approached. After the sheep were watered, the shepherds rolled the stone back over the mouth of the well. Jacob approached the shepherds and inquired where they were from. They told Jacob they were from Haran (Jacob’s destination). He asked them, “Do you know Laban, Nahor’s grandson? Is this his well?” The shepherds confirmed that they knew Laban and that indeed, the well belonged to him. At that moment, Laban’s daughter, Rachel, approached the well with some sheep. Jacob told the shepherds, “The sun

Jacob’s dream at Bethel points him in the right direction (Genesis 28:10 – 28:22)

Jacob’s parents knew that their son, Esau, sought to kill Jacob so they sent him away. Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. Along the way, Jacob stopped for the night to sleep. He placed a stone under his head to use as a pillow. While sleeping, Jacob dreamt of a stairway that reached from the ground to heaven. Along the stairway, angels of God were moving up and down. Above the stairway, Jacob saw God who told Jacob, “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread from the west to the east, from

Isaac blesses Jacob (again) with instructions on who to marry (Genesis 27:46 – 28:9)

Rebekah told Isaac, “I’m disgusted with these Hittite women. If Jacob takes a Hittite wife, my life will not be worth living.” In response to her complaint, Isaac called for Jacob, blessed him, and commanded, “Do not marry a Canaanite woman. Go at once to Paddan-Aram (where Rebekah’s father, Bethuel lived) and take a wife for yourself from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. May God bless you and increase your numbers until you become a might community of people. May he give you and your descendant the same blessings given to Abraham so that you may take possession of the land where you now reside as a foreigner – the land God promised to Abraham.” As instructed, Jacob left his parents and went to