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A MIDNIGHT WRESTLING MATCH
Genesis xxx: 25, to xxxiii: 20.
ACOB stayed a long time in the land of Haran, much longer
than he had expected to stay. And in that land Jacob
became rich. As wages for his work with Laban, Jacob
took a share of the sheep, and oxen, and camels. And
since Jacob was very wise and careful in his work, his
share grew larger, until Jacob owned a great flock and
much cattle. At last, after twenty years, Jacob decided
to go back to the land of Canaan, and to his father
Isaac, who was still living, though now very old and
Jacob did not tell his uncle Laban that he was going
away; but while Laban was absent from home, Jacob
gathered together his wives, and children, and all his
sheep and cattle, and camels, and he stole away
quietly. When Laban found that Jacob had left him, he
was not at all pleased; for he wished Jacob still to
care for the things that he owned, for Jacob managed
them better than Laban
 himself, and God blessed everything that Jacob
undertook. Then, too, Laban did not like to have his
two daughters, the wives of Jacob, taken so far away
So Laban and the men who were with him followed after
Jacob; but that night God spoke to Laban in a dream and
"Do no harm to Jacob, when you meet him."
Therefore, when Laban came to where Jacob was in his
camp on Mount Gilead, on the east of the river Jordan,
Laban spoke kindly to Jacob. And Jacob and Laban made a
covenant, that is a promise between them. They piled up
a heap of stones, and on it they set up a large rock
like a pillar; and beside the heap of stones they ate a
meal together; and Jacob said to Laban:
"I promise not to go past this heap of stones, and this
pillar to do you any harm. The God of your grandfather,
Nahor, and the God of my grandfather, Abraham, be the
judge between us."
And Laban made the same promise to Jacob; and then he
kissed his daughters, Jacob's two wives, and all of
Jacob's children, and bade them good-by; and Laban went
back to Haran, and Jacob went on to Canaan.
And Jacob gave two names to the heap of stones where
they had made the covenant. One name was "Galeed," a
word which means, "The heap of Witness." The other was
"Mizpah," which means "Watch-tower." For Jacob said,
"The Lord watch between you and me, when we are absent
from each other."
While Jacob was going back to Canaan, he heard news
that filled him with fear. He heard that Esau, his
brother, was coming to meet him, leading an army of
four hundred men. He knew how angry Esau had been long
before, and how he had threatened to kill him. And
Jacob feared that Esau would now come upon him, and
kill, not only Jacob himself, but his wives and his
children. If Jacob had acted rightly toward his
brother, he need not have feared Esau's coming; but he
knew how he had wronged Esau, and he was terribly
afraid to meet him.
That night Jacob divided his company into two parts; so
that if one part were taken the other part might
escape. And he sent onward before him, as a present to
his brother, a great drove of oxen and cows, and sheep
and goats, and camels and asses; hoping that by the
present his brother might be made more kind toward him.
And then Jacob prayed earnestly to the Lord God to help
 After that he sent all his family across a brook that
was in his path, called the brook Jabbok, while he
stayed alone on the other side of the brook to pray
And while Jacob was alone, he felt that a man had taken
hold of him, and Jacob wrestled with this strange man
all the night. And the man was an angel from God. They
wrestled so hard, that Jacob's thigh was strained in
the struggle. And the angel said:
"Let me go, for the day is breaking."
And Jacob said:
"I will not let thee go until thou dost bless me." And
the angel said:
"What is your name?"
And Jacob answered, "Jacob is my name."
Then the angel said:
"Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel,
that is 'He who wrestles with God.' For you have
wrestled with God and have won the victory."
JACOB AND THE ANGEL
And the angel blessed him there. And the sun rose as
the angel left him; and Jacob gave a name to that
place. He called it Peniel, or Penuel, words which in
the language that Jacob spoke mean
 "The Face of God." "For," said Jacob, "I have met God
face to face." And after this Jacob was lame, for in
the wrestle he had strained his thigh.
And as Jacob went across the brook Jabbok, early in the
morning, he looked up, and there was Esau right before
him. He bowed with his face to the ground, over and
over again, as people do in those lands when they meet
some one of higher rank than their own. But Esau ran to
meet him, and placed his arms around his neck, and
kissed him; and the two brothers wept together. Esau
was kind and generous to forgive his brother all the
wrong that he had done; and at first he would not
receive Jacob's present, for he said: "I have enough,
my brother." But Jacob urged him, until at last he took
the present. And so the quarrel was ended, and the two
brothers were at peace.
Jacob came to Shechem, in the middle of the land of
Canaan, and there he set up his tents; and at the foot
of the mountain, although there were streams of water
all around, he dug his own well, great and deep; the
well where Jesus sat and talked with a woman many ages
after that time; and the well that may be still seen.
Even now the traveler who visits that place may drink
water from Jacob's well.
After this Jacob had a new name, Israel, which means,
as we have seen, "The one who wrestles with God."
Sometimes he was called Jacob, and sometimes Israel.
And all those who come from Israel, his descendants,
were called Israelites.
After this Isaac died, very old, and was buried by his
sons Jacob and Esau, in the cave at Hebron where
Abraham and Sarah were buried already. Esau with his
children and his cattle went away to a land on the
southeast of Canaan, which was called Edom. And Jacob,
or Israel, and his family lived in the land of Canaan
dwelling in tents, and moving from place to place,
where they could find good pasture, or grass upon which
to feed their flocks.