Bereisheet (Genesis): Vayishlach > Ch 32

Laban leaves. Jacob sends angels to announce to Esau that he comes with gifts

  • Laban returned to his place. Jacob went on his way, and angels of G-d met him. And Jacob said when he saw them, "This is the camp of G-d," and he named the place Mahanaim. Jacob sent angels ahead of him to his brother Esau, with a message that he comes with wealth and wants to find favor in Esau’s eyes.

Angels say that Esau is coming with 400 men. Jacob asks G-d for help.

  • The angels returned saying that Esau is coming with 400 men. Jacob became very frightened. He divided the people and the flocks into two camps such that if one camp would be destroyed, the other could escape.
  • And Jacob said, "O G-d of my father Abraham and G-d of my father Isaac, the Lord, Who said to me, 'Return to your land and to your birthplace, and I will do good to you.' I have become small from all the kindnesses and from all the truth that You have rendered Your servant, for with my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Now deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I am afraid of him, lest he come and strike me, [and strike] a mother with children. And You said, 'I will surely do good with you, and I will make your seed [as numerous] as the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted because of multitude.'"

Jacob stations 3 servants with 500+ animals as gifts, for Esau to encounter on his way to him

  • Jacob set a gift for Esau: 200 she goats & 20 he goats, 200 ewes & 20 rams, 30 nursing camels with their young, 40 cows & 10 bulls, 20 she donkeys & 10 he donkeys. He told his servants to place each herd individually on Esau’s way and say, 'I belong to your servant Jacob; it is a gift sent to my master, to Esau, and behold, he himself is behind us.'

Jacob wrestles with an angel

  • Jacob moved everyone and everything across the Jabbok river. As Jacob was left alone, a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. When he saw that he could not prevail against him, he touched the socket of his hip, and the socket of Jacob's hip became dislocated as he wrestled with him. And he (the angel) said, "Let me go, for dawn is breaking," but he (Jacob) said, "I will not let you go unless you have blessed me." So he said to him, "What is your name?" and he said, "Jacob." And he said, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, because you have commanding power with [an angel of] G-d and with men, and you have prevailed." And Jacob asked and said, "Now tell me your name," and he said, "Why is it that you ask for my name?" And he blessed him there.
  • Jacob was limping on his thigh. Therefore, the children of Israel may not eat the displaced tendon, which is on the socket of the hip, until this day, for he touched the socket of Jacob's hip, in the hip sinew.

Rashi Commentary

  • Two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats the males according to what are required by the females

Research & Analysis
  • I belong to your servant Jacob This idea was utilized in the popular folk tale Puss in Boots, which originated in eastern Europe in 1600s and was later published by the Grimm brothers.