Genesis 32:1 MEANING

Genesis 32:1

(1) Jacob went on his way.--The meeting of Jacob and Laban had been on the dividing line between the Aramean and the Canaanite lands, and consequently at a spot where Laban would have found no allies in the natives, but rather the contrary. Delivered thus from danger from behind, Jacob now takes his journey through the country that was to be the heritage of his seed, and doubtless he was harassed by many anxious thoughts; for Esau might prove a fiercer foe than Laban. It was fit therefore that he should receive encouragement, and so after some days, probably after about a week's journey southward, he has a vision of "angels of God."

Angels of God.--Numberless conjectures have been hazarded as to who were these "messengers of Elohim," and how they were seen by Jacob. Some, taking the word in its lower sense, think they were prophets; others, that it was a caravan, which gave Jacob timely information about Esau's presence in Seir; others, that it was a body of men sent by Rebekah to aid Jacob in repelling Esau. More probably, as Jacob on his road to Padan-aram had been assured of God's watchful care of him by the vision of the angels ascending and descending the stairs, so now also in a dream he sees the angels encamped on each side of him, to assure him of protection against his brother.

Verse 1. - And Jacob (after Laban's departure) went on his way (from Galeed and Mizpah, in a southerly direction towards the Jabbok), and the angels of God - literally, the messengers of Elohim, not chance travelers who informed him of Esau's being in the vicinity (Abarbanel), but angels (cf. Psalm 104:4) - met him. Not necessarily came in an opposite direction, fuerunt ei obviam (Vulgate), but simply fell in with him, lighted on him as in Genesis 28:11, συνήντησαν αὐτῶ (LXX.), forgathered with him (Scottish); but whether this was in a waking vision (Kurtz, Keil, Inglis) or a midnight dream (Hengstenberg) is uncertain, though-the two former visions enjoyed by Jacob were at night (cf. Genesis 28:12; Genesis 31:10). Cajetan, approved by Pererius, translating בּו "in him," makes it appear that the vision was purely subjective, non fuisse visionem corporalem, sed internam: the clause interpolated by the LXX., καὶ ἀναβλέψας εἰδε παρεμβολὴν θεοῦ παρμεβεβληκυῖαν, seems rather to point to an objective manifestation. The appearance of this invisible host may have been designed to celebrate Jacob's triumph over Laban, as after Christ's victory over Satan in the wilderness angels came and ministered unto him (Rupertus, Wordsworth), or to remind him that he owed his deliverance to Divine interposition (Calvin, Bush, Lange), but was more probably intended to assure him of protection in his approaching interview with Esau (Josephus, Chrysostom, Rosenmüller, Keil, Murphy, 'Speaker's Commentary'), and perhaps also to give him welcome in returning home again to Canaan (Kurtz), if not in addition to suggest that his descendants would require to fight for their inheritance (Kalisch).

32:1-8 The angels of God appeared to Jacob, to encourage him with the assurance of the Divine protection. When God designs his people for great trials, he prepares them by great comforts. While Jacob, to whom the promise belonged, had been in hard service, Esau was become a prince. Jacob sent a message, showing that he did not insist upon the birth-right. Yielding pacifies great offences, Ec 10:4. We must not refuse to speak respectfully, even to those unjustly angry with us. Jacob received an account of Esau's warlike preparations against him, and was greatly afraid. A lively sense of danger, and quickening fear arising from it, may be found united with humble confidence in God's power and promise.And Jacob went on his way,.... From Gilead towards the land of Canaan:

and the angels of God met him; to comfort and help him, to protect and defend him, to keep him in all his ways, that nothing hurt him, Psalm 91:11; these are ministering spirits sent forth by God to minister to his people, the heirs of salvation; and such an one Jacob was.

Courtesy of Open Bible