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Genesis 32:29-31

Context

32:29 Then Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name.” 1  “Why 2  do you ask my name?” the man replied. 3  Then he blessed 4  Jacob 5  there. 32:30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, 6  explaining, 7  “Certainly 8  I have seen God face to face 9  and have survived.” 10 

32:31 The sun rose 11  over him as he crossed over Penuel, 12  but 13  he was limping because of his hip.

1 sn Tell me your name. In primitive thought to know the name of a deity or supernatural being would enable one to use it for magical manipulation or power (A. S. Herbert, Genesis 12-50 [TBC], 108). For a thorough structural analysis of the passage discussing the plays on the names and the request of Jacob, see R. Barthes, “The Struggle with the Angel: Textual Analysis of Genesis 32:23-33,” Structural Analysis and Biblical Exegesis (PTMS), 21-33.

2 tn The question uses the enclitic pronoun “this” to emphasize the import of the question.

3 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’” The referent of the pronoun “he” (the man who wrestled with Jacob) has been specified for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.

4 tn The verb here means that the Lord endowed Jacob with success; he would be successful in everything he did, including meeting Esau.

5 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 sn The name Peniel means “face of God.” Since Jacob saw God face to face here, the name is appropriate.

7 tn The word “explaining” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

8 tn Or “because.”

9 sn I have seen God face to face. See the note on the name “Peniel” earlier in the verse.

10 tn Heb “and my soul [= life] has been preserved.”

sn I have survived. It was commonly understood that no one could see God and live (Gen 48:16; Exod 19:21, 24:10; and Judg 6:11, 22). On the surface Jacob seems to be saying that he saw God and survived. But the statement may have a double meaning, in light of his prayer for deliverance in v. 11. Jacob recognizes that he has survived his encounter with God and that his safety has now been guaranteed.

11 tn Heb “shone.”

12 sn The name is spelled Penuel here, apparently a variant spelling of Peniel (see v. 30).

13 tn The disjunctive clause draws attention to an important fact: He may have crossed the stream, but he was limping.



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