Genesis 33:10, The Face of God

…for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.

//Said by Jacob to Esau at their meeting.

A few days ago, in a review of Karen Armstrong’s book, In The BeginningI discussed the day Jacob fought with God.

Actually, the man Jacob wrestled with refused to identify himself. Desperate to escape before daybreak allowed recognition, Jacob’s opponent begged to be let go, but Jacob refused, and held tight to the mysterious man until he blessed Jacob. Jacob then decided he must have been wrestling with God, and changed the name of the place to Peniel, “face of God.”

Karen Armstrong wonders if the author didn’t mean to imply that Jacob dreamed the whole affair. I guess that makes sense, since the Bible is clear that no man can see the face of God and live. But how, then, did Jacob’s thigh get out of joint?

Sorry, Karen, this time you’re wrong, it was no dream. Let’s continue the story. The next morning, along comes Esau, Jacob’s long-lost brother. Jacob feared the meeting, for he had stolen Esau’s birthright through deception. Curiously, Esau meets Jacob not with anger but with forgiveness! What brought about this sudden change?

As they hug one another, Jacob makes this strange pronouncement: “I have seen your face, as though it were the face of God.” Jacob suddenly identifies the man he wrestled with in the dark … it was the face of his brother, Esau.

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2 Comments

  1. So….in vs.28 of chapter 32 of Genesis….Esau renamed Jacob?

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