Jacob Went On His Way,

and the Angels of God Met Him

32: 1-2

DIG: Who saw the angels of God? What significance did they have to Jacob? Where did Ya'akov encounter ADONAI the first time? For Jacob, what was the meaning of naming different places God’s House, God’s Camp and God’s Face?

REFLECT: When have you felt threatened like Jacob did? If you are a believer, what reason do you have not to be afraid?

Jacob left Laban and went on his way. But he was not alone because the angels of God met him (32:1). Just as the angels of God met him when he was leaving the Land at Bethel (28:12), now the angels of God meet him as he is returning to the Promised Land. Humanly speaking, Ya’akov was very vulnerable. He had a small band of servants, his wives and his children. Joseph, the youngest, was six years old when Jacob returned to the Promised Land. IfGodhad not intervened, Laban could have easily destroyed him; and there was every reason to believe that Esau had the same idea in mind.

But when Ya’akov saw the angels he knew he was under divine escort. Previously, when he saw the angels he had named the place Bethel. But now, when Jacob saw them, he said: This is the camp of God! So he named that place Mahanaim, which literally means two camps (32:2). This was Jacob’s way of saying he was not only guarded by his small band of servants, but more importantly, he was guarded by God’s powerful angels. There was Jacob’s camp, and God’s camp with the angels.

Scripture seems to imply that it was only Ya’akov, not his company, who saw the angels. Because of his faith and obedience to God’s call to return to the Land, He opened his eyes, just as he did on another occasion when Elisha and his servant seemed all alone against overwhelming odds (Second Kings 6:16). Although invisible under normal circumstances, the angels of God are real nonetheless. It was important that Jacob could see them at that time. ADONAI had protected him in Haran and He would protect him in Canaan. When Ya’akov first encountered ADONAI, God at Bethel, he called the place God’s House (20:10), and here, on this second great occasion, he is conscious of God’s Camp. But there is a deeper experience to pass through before he can raise his third and crowning memorial to God’s Face when he will wrestle with Him at Peniel (32:30).501

The angels of God have comforted many a believerwithout seeing them. And He has said to Jacob and He has said to us: I will never leave you or forsake you; we can say with confidence, “ADONAI is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me (Hebrews 13:5b-6).

Haftarah Vayetze: Hoshea (Hosea) 12:12-4:9 (A); 11:7-12:12 (S)
(see my commentary on Deuteronomy Af - Parashah)

B'rit Chadashah suggested reading for Parashah Bayetze:
Yochanan (John ) 1:43-51


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