Genesis 32:2 MEANING

Genesis 32:2
(2) Mahanaim.--That is, the two camps, his own and that of the angels; or, possibly, two camps of angels, one on either side of him. Mahanaim was in the tribe of Gad, and became an important town. (See 2 Samuel 2:8; 2 Samuel 17:24; 1 Kings 4:14.)

Verse 2. - And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: - Mahaneh Elohim; i.e. the army (cf. Genesis 1:9; Exodus 14:24) or camp (1 Samuel 14:15; Psalm 27:3) of God, as opposed to the Mahanoth, or bands of Jacob himself (vide ver. 7, 10) - and he called the name of that place Manahan. - i.e. Two armies or camps, from the root חָנַה decline or bend, and hence to fix oneself down or encamp; meaning either a multitudinous host, reading the dual for a plural (Malvenda), or two bands of angels, one before, welcoming him to Canaan, and another behind, conducting him from Mesopotamia (Jarchi and others), or one on either side to typify the completeness of his protection, as in Psalm 34:8 (Calvin, Bush, Gcrlach, 'Speaker's Commentary'), or, as the best expositors interpret, his own company and the heavenly host (Abort Ezra, Clericus, Dathe, Keil, Lange, Rosenmüller, Kalisch, Murphy). Mahanaim, afterwards a distinguished city in the territory of Gad (Joshua 13:26), and frequently referred to in subsequent Scripture (2 Samuel 2:8; 2 Samuel 17:24; 27; 19:32; 1 Kings 4:14), as well as mentioned by Josephus ('Ant.,' 7.9, 8), as a strong and beautiful city, has been identified with Mahneh, a deserted ruin six or seven miles north-west by north of Ajlun (Mount Gilead), and about twenty miles from the Jabbok (vide 'Robinson,' vol. 3. App. 166; and cf. Tristram, 'The Land of Israel, p. 483); but the narrative appears to say that Mahanaim lay not north of Ga-leed, but between that place and Jabbok. Hence Porter suggests Gerasa, the most splendid ruin east of the Jordan, and bordering on the Jabbok, as occupying the site of Mahanaim (vide Kitto s 'Cyclopedia,' art. Mahanaim, and cf. 'Handbook for S. and P.' 2. 311, seq.).

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 when Jacob saw them,.... These appeared in a visible form, most probably human, and in the habit, and with the accoutrements of soldiers, and therefore afterwards called an host or army. Aben Ezra thinks that Jacob alone saw them, as Elisha first saw the host of angels before the young man did that was with him, 2 Kings 6:17,

he said, this is God's host: or army, hence he is often called the Lord of hosts; angels have this name from their number, order, strength, and military exploits they perform:

and he called the name of the place Mahanaim; which signifies two hosts or armies; either his own family and company making one, and the angels another, as Aben Ezra observes; or they were the angels, who very probably appeared in two companies, or as two armies, and one went on one side of Jacob and his family, and the other on the other side; or the one went before him, and the other behind him; the latter to secure him from any insult of Laban, should he pursue after him, and distress him in the rear, and the former to protect him from Esau, near whose country Jacob now was, and of whom he was in some fear and danger; thus seasonably did God appear for him. The Jewish writers (t) say, the host of God is 60,000, and that the Shechinah, or divine Majesty, never dwells among less, and that Mahanaim, or two hosts, are 120,000; there was afterwards a city of this name near this place, which very likely was so called in memory of this appearance, Joshua 21:38; and there seems to be an allusion to it in the account of the church, Sol 6:13; it was in the land of Gilead, and tribe of Gad, forty four miles from Jerusalem to the southeast (u).

(t) In Bereshit Rabba, sect. 75. fol. 66. 1.((u) Bunting's Travels, p. 74.

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