The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Genesis
Jacob, too, set out to continue his journey, and as he went, God’s angels met him.
This is God’s encampment, he said when he saw them, and called the place Mahanaim, which means a Camp.
And now he sent messengers of his own on before him, to greet his brother Esau in the country of Seir, which is Edom’s territory.
These were his directions, You are to tell my lord Esau this, from his brother Jacob: I have been living abroad, on a visit to Laban, and am but just returned.
I have brought back oxen and asses and sheep, men-servants and women-servants with me. And now, my lord, I have sent these envoys to thee, to secure thy good will.
And this was the news the messengers brought back with them, We found thy brother Esau; even now he comes hastening to meet thee, with four hundred men.
At this, Jacob was overcome with terror, and in his extremity he divided up his followers, the flocks of sheep, too, and the cattle, and the camels, into two companies;
If Esau, he thought, should meet with one company, and fall upon it, at least the other will come through safely.
And now Jacob said, O God of my fathers Abraham and Isaac, thou, Lord, who hast bidden me return to my own country, the land of my birth, and hast offered to bless me,
I, thy servant, am not worthy of all the mercies thou hast shewn me, the faithful observance of thy promises. I had nothing but this staff with me, when I crossed the Jordan, and now I have come back with two companies behind me.
Save me now from the power of my brother Esau; I fear grievously that when he comes he will spare neither women nor children.
Hast thou not promised me thy continued favour, and a posterity spread wide as the sand by the sea, that is beyond all counting?
When he had slept the night there, he chose out of all his possessions a present for his brother Esau,
two hundred she-goats and twenty buck-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams,
thirty camels in milk with their colts, forty cows and twenty bulls, and twenty she-asses with ten colts.
All these he sent on, with their drivers; Go on in front of me, he told his men, and leave a space between one herd and the next.
And to the first of these, his directions were, If thou shouldst encounter my brother Esau, and he should ask, Whose man art thou? or Whither goest thou? or Whose are these beasts thou tendest?
thy answer is to be, They belong to thy servant Jacob, who is sending them as a present to my lord Esau; and he himself follows behind us.
Then he bade the second do the like, and the third, and all the drovers in turn; these same words you are to use, he said, when you fall in with Esau,
and be sure to add, Thy servant Jacob follows on behind us. I will not see him, he thought, until I have disarmed his anger with the gifts I have sent before me; then perhaps he will be well disposed towards me!✻
So the gifts went on in advance of him, and he waited in the camp all night.
But before dawn he rose, and took his two wives, their serving-women, and his eleven sons, across the ford of Jacob.
And now he had set down all that was his on the further side,
and he was left there alone. And there one appeared to him who wrestled with him until the day broke.
At last, finding that he could not get the better of Jacob, he touched the sinew of his thigh, which all at once withered;
then he said, Let me go, the dawn is up. But Jacob answered, I will not let thee go until thou givest me thy blessing.
What is thy name? asked the other, and when he heard that it was Jacob,
Jacob, he said, is no name for thee, thou shalt be called Israel, one that prevails with God.✻ If thou hast held thy own with God, how wilt thou prevail over men!
Tell me, asked Jacob, what is thy own name? Why wouldst thou know my name? he answered, and gave him there and then, his blessing.
So Jacob called the place Phanuel, the Face of God; I have seen God face to face, he said, and my life was not forfeit.
As soon as he passed beyond Phanuel, the sun rose, and he went limping on one foot;
that is why the race of Israel, to this day, will not eat the sinew of the thigh, in which Jacob’s strength failed him, the sinew of his thigh that withered when it was touched.
The Holy Bible