with an angel?
Q. Why would a human fight an angel? What purpose would it serve?
(Submitted by: Amera)
A. You’ve asked a good question and one to which not too many people know the answer. The answer is quite clear in the Bible but since too many Christians ignore the Old Testament other than for a few favorite 'tales' – David vs. Goliath, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Jacob’s ladder etc., not too many people have taken the time to understand the real truth contained in God's word.
The person who wrestled with an angel was Jacob, son of Isaac, grandson of Abraham. The story is that Jacob has traveled to the home of his mother’s brother, Laban to find a wife and wound up with two wives. Laban tricked Jacob into marrying Laban’s oldest daughter, Leah, when Jacob actually meant to marry her younger sister Rachel. He worked for Laban seven (7) years for each of the women and then decides to return to the home of his father Isaac. On the way back, Jacob sent his sons and wives across the ford (a shallow area where one could cross without too much difficulty) in the river Jabbok but remained alone on the other side. The story picks up there:
"That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two maidservants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions.
"So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.
"Then the man said, 'Let me go, for it is daybreak.' But Jacob replied, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me.' The man asked him, 'What is your name?' 'Jacob,' he answered. Then the man said, 'Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.' Jacob said, 'Please tell me your name.' But he replied, 'Why do you ask my name?' Then he blessed him there.
"So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, 'It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.' The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon." (Genesis 32:22-32, NIV)
So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that it wrenched it out of place. To this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip because of what happened to Jacob. Although the man pleaded to be let go, Jacob would not do so unless he was blessed.
From the context and background of this story, we learn that the Hebrew name translated as Jacob means 'one who supplants.' Jacob had stolen the birthright blessing from his older twin Esau, but Esau had already sold his physical birthright to Jacob. Since God knew this was going to happen (Genesis 25:23) and He approved (Malachi 1:1-4 quoted by Paul in Romans 9:13), He got Jacob to tell Him his name during the wrestling match (verse 27) and then changed it to Israel (the Hebrew word which means 'to have power, as a prince'), thus removing the title 'one who supplants.'
As we read, the scripture does not say that Jacob wrestled with an 'angel' but with a 'man.' Although the man does not give his name, Jacob understood that he had struggled with God and that he saw him 'face to face.' Because of this, many believe the person who fought Jacob was actually God the Son - the same One who had appeared to both Abraham (Genesis 12:7; 17:1; 18:1) and Isaac (Genesis 26:1, 24) in the form of a 'man.'
Written by: Clay Willis