1 And Jacob [Ya'akov] went on his way [derech], and the messengers [malachim] of Elohim met him.

2 And when Jacob [Ya'akov] saw them, he said, This is the host [Mahaneh] of Elohim: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim [shem of that makom (place) Machanayim.]

Mahanaim signifies two bands or camps. The two camps comprised the heavenly host, and Jacob's bands. In this way, the God of Bethel revealed Himself to Jacob in his hour of need. It reminds us, that the army of Yahweh on earth, in its fight of faith, and under pressure, can rely upon the help of the heavenly army.

Mahanaim is situated north of the Jabbok. The name was afterward given to the town established in the neighbourhood. It was on the boundary of Gad and Manasseh, and was a city of the Levites.

Here Ishbosheth reigned and was assassinated (2 Sam. 2:8,12; 4:5-8). Some years after, David repaired to Mahanaim, and was entertained by Barzillai (2 Sam. 17:24, 27; 1 Kings 2:8). It has not been positively identified.

Bro HP Mansfield - The Christadelphian Expositor

30 And Jacob [Ya'akov] called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen Elohim face to face, and my life is preserved.

[Machanayim  - Two camps] His own and the Elohim

Now the Deity was also known to Jacob by the same name, and appeared to him in like manifestation as to Abraham. Jacob saw a host of Shaddai, styled by Moses malachai elohim, "Messengers of Elohim." - Elohim sent of AIL.

He wrestled with one of them, and prevailed, and in consequence received the honourable title Isra-ail, "because as a prince hast thou power with Elohim." "And Jacob called the name of the place (where he wrestled) Peni-ail," "Faces of Power:" "for," said he, "I have seen Elohim faces to faces, and my life is preserved" (Gen. 32:2,28,30).

Here was the most high AIL in multitudinous manifestation. Jacob never saw His person, for no man has ever seen that; but he saw persons like Him in form and substance; as much so as sons are like their father in these particulars. He saw as much of the Father Ail as men see of an invisible father in his children. They study the father in these in the absence of other data. Their father is in them as a Flesh-Manifestation of their parental original.

The Shaddai are styled Elohim, as expressive of the parental relation subsisting between them and AIL in nature and power. As the Highest and Most Powerful One in the universe, He styles Himself the AIL-Elohim - the Power of powers: a truth memorialised by Jacob in the Altar he named AIL-Elohai- Yisra-ail - the Strength of the Powers of Israel.

Eureka 1.2.1.

7 Then Jacob [Ya'akov] was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided the people [HaAm]that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; [tzon, and bakar, and the gemalim, into two machanot]

8 And said, If Esau [Esav] come to the one company[machaneh], and smite it, then the other company [machaneh] which is left shall escape.

Human action is the basis of divine supervision in human affairs. If a man were to lie down in sloth, the angels would have nothing to work on, so to speak, as regarded that man's matters. The co-workership of God and man is a delightful fact of experience and revelation - in affairs both present and future, both spiritual and temporal.

Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed.' Why should Jacob be "greatly afraid and distressed," seeing that God was with him and had promised to keep him in all places whither he would go? Because the form of circumstances was fear inspiring. God had not said " Thy brother Esau shall not hurt thee , ' and Jacob could not know that he would be unhurt on this particular occasion.

He knew that God was with him, but he knew that this did not mean exemption from all evil, though it meant exemption from final harm. Consequently, we find him in trepidation at the prospect of an attack by a band of lawless men; and making arrangements on the hypothesis that the will of God might allow of a disaster.

The Ways of Providence Ch 6.

10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast shewed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands.

This realization of unworthiness is designed to create in us a vast gratitude that One so great and perfect can look down in patient compassion upon those so weak and erring. And gratitude, if it is real and deep and fills the heart, will be irresistibly moved to express itself in ACTION. And God in His wisdom has prescribed such a beautiful, self blessing way of giving vent to this overpowering thankfulness-

"We love, because He first loved us, and this commandment

have we from Him, that he who loveth God love his brother also.

"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren" (1 Jn. 4:19-21; 3:14).

This is the heart of our subject-the heart of holiness. We remember that Jesus said that even sinners-ordinary people living according to the flesh-reciprocate kindness among

themselves. There is no particular virtue in being good in return for good. But it takes saints-holy ones-children of God,to be kind to the unthankful and evil, hoping to demonstrate the power and superiority of goodness, and, like God, by love to create love.

Bro Growcott - Our call to holiness

11 Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother [yad achi], from the hand of Esau [yad Esav]: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children [em with banim].

Isaac loved Esau, and sought to transmit the great treasure of the divine blessing through him.

We may wonder at this, but (though God, Who sees the end from the beginning, made choice of Jacob before their birth) there may have been aspects of Jacob's natural character that needed beautifying through trial, and of Esau's that were robust and appealing.

It takes suffering and adversity to bring out character. We know -- because we have the completed record of their lives, and the verdict of the Spirit -- that Jacob was a man of faith, and Esau a profane person. But a man of faith may have much to learn about love and truth and kindliness and largeness of heart. Jacob, who first comes to our notice involved in a deception finds that deception stalks him throughout his life.

His deception doubtless was well-meaning, and was even rooted in a misapplication of his faith, but it is a strange irony that, as he used the skin of a kid of the goats to deceive his father, so he was deceived in a much more cruel way by his own sons with the blood of a kid of the goats.

Bro Growcott - Not Ashamed To Be Called Their God

12 And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea [ zera as the chol of the yam], which cannot be numbered for multitude.

Here we have a visible conflict in Jacob's mind, the fear that Esau will do him evil struggles with the belief that such an event would be inconsistent with God s own promises to him. He pleads those promises acknowledges their fulfilment, thus far confesses his unworthiness throws himself upon God in prayer, and then proceeds to take further precautions

The Ways of Providence Ch 6. 

18 Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob [ eved Ya'akov]; it is a present [minchah] sent unto my Lord Esau [adoni Esav]: and, behold [hinei], also he is behind us.

They go ahead with a message of peace from Jacob to Esau. If this measure is a sign of weak mortal man, it is better than self assertion and arrogance, the high horse which accomplishes nothing.

Jacob made an effort to show love to his enemy.

The Apocalptic Messenger

20 And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant [Hinei, thy eved] Jacob [Ya'akov] is behind us. For he said, I will appease [Akhapperah] him with the present [his face with the minchah] that goeth before me [ahead of me], and afterward I will see his face; peradventure [perhaps] he will accept of me.

I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me.

Why should Jacob resort to such measures if he left the matter to God ? Why not trust to the mollifying effect of God's action on the mind of Esau? Well, because Jacob while committing the matter to God, recognised the duty of doing his best to bring about the result he desired ; and if the steps of those who thus commit their way to Him are directed, may we not conclude that Jacob was moved to take the measures which were needful to avert the impending danger?

The result justifies the thought; for Esau, whatever his original intentions may have been, was entirely propitiated by the friendly arrangements of his brother, and the meeting was a meeting of friendship instead of hostility.

God has conferred upon man the god-like gift of independent volition alias free will within the boundary imposed by surrounding conditions. This limited independence of will is the basis of all God's dealings with man. Consequently, " providence " is a complex and interesting operation which manipulates circumstances, and so acts through without setting aside the natural action of the unconstrained human will.

If the objects aimed at were to be accomplished on mechanical principles, the operation would be more direct, more brief, but vastly less interesting and effective in every way. It would exclude faith on the part of those for whom it is conducted, which of itself would be a fatal flaw ; for it is a truth in many relations that,

" without faith, it is impossible to please God."

The incidents of Jacob's life, like the rest of the Scriptures, were " written for our instruction." He was an heir of the kingdom, well-pleasing to God. Consequently we need have no fear in accepting his constructions of providence. We shall not err if, like him, while trusting to God's guidance and co-operation, we humbly and prayerfully resort to the best arrangements our wisdom can suggest, always taking care that none of our arrangements are forbidden; for if we are disobedient in the means we employ, we cannot expect the divine approbation and blessing.

Ways of Providence Ch 6.

24 And Jacob [Ya'akov] was left alone; and there wrestled a man [ish] with him until the breaking of the day [shachar (sun up)].

25 And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh [struck his hip socket]; and the hollow of Jacob [Ya'akov]'s thigh was out of joint [hip socket dislocated], as he wrestled with him.

Obviously this was an opportune moment when Yahweh might teach Jacob some lessons. .Hos .12,4 says he wept and made supplications when he wrestled with that angel man until the breaking of day.

Isn't this a parable of our whole life in the Truth? Wrestling in our weakness with the things of God until Christ comes, often with strong crying and tears. Jacob found he could not prevail in this wrestling match by his own strength. The angel disabled him so from hence forth he had to limp, he could not run ahead. God humbled him.

We have to be humbled. The flesh put down, Yahweh exalted. With many this is never accomplished and pride rules them, position, status, wealth. success, self sufficiency. No need of God. Got everything. Done everything, like Laodicea. Compromise and evasion all the way through.

It was in the twilight period between the breaking of day and the full rise of the sun above the horizon (v.3I), that Jacob's name was changed to Prince with God, or Israel. It is in such a twilight interval that the faithful will become princes with Ail (Zech.14.6-9, ls.26.19-21).

Such that love the Truth rise early, "Early will I seek thee" Jacob would desire to know the angel's name "Tell me I pray thee thy Name". This reminds us of Manoah asking the angel's name (Jdg.13.18). He is told it is a secret ~ Wonderful (mgn.). Jacob names the place Peniel = Face of Ail, since he had seen the face of Ail. As the Sun rose above the horizon, Jacob halts. No confidence in the power of the flesh, but in Yahweh.

Bro Richard Lister

The Apocalyptic Messenger, March 2017

28 And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob [Ya'akov], but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with Elohim and with men, and hast prevailed.

A wonderful testimony of the Divine success of Jacob's new, patient, self-controlled way of life! There is great significance in God giving a man a new name, especially such a glorious name as this, and the taking away of the name of shame. Jesus said-

"To him that overcometh will I give a NEW NAME, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it... On him that overcometh will I write the Name of my God, and my new Name" (Rev. 2:17; 3:12).

Bro Growcott

31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh.

Scripture Names Doctrinally Applicable to Christ

Penuel, to behold the face of God.

"He who hath seen me hath seen the Father." "The light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ."—(2 Cor. 4:6.)

The Christadelphian, June 1873