Why Did Jacob Ask For A Second Blessing?
Sometimes the Bible can be difficult to understand. Why? I guess there are at least three reasons.
- The Bible tells us about our Creator, and we have trouble understanding our Creator because He is so unlike us. We are just His creatures, finite and limited. He is infinite.
- The Bible was written by people who lived thousands of years ago to people who lived thousands of years ago. That is, the Bible was written for us, but not to us. Therefore, even when we read the best translations of the Bible we still have to put ourselves in the place of people long dead.
- The Bible tells us the truth about ourselves, and we don’t want to know the truth about ourselves. That truth humbles us, and being humbled is quite unpleasant.
Can we avoid being so humbled? No, not if we want to be saved. We cannot accept the gift of salvation until we understand why we need to be saved. This truth is apparent even in the Old Testament, even in the Book of Genesis.
Read Genesis 32:24-32.
This story seems weird. That is particularly true if we don’t know the meaning of the names Jacob and Israel and if we forget important, but seemingly minor details about Jacob’s life.
Jacob was the twin brother of Esau, which means red (from here (biblestudytools.com)). Esau was born first, and Jacob was born grabbing his brother’s heel. Jacob means supplanter (from here (biblestudytools.com)).
Supplanter? Yes. Jacob could be a treacherous fellow. Genesis 27 tells us how Jacob lied to his father and took the blessing that Isaac had intended for Esau. Here is the pertinent part. Here Jacob tricks his elderly, blind father.
When Isaac asked Jacob his name, Jacob lied. He lied to his father, his old, blind father. Jacob had to know this was wrong. So, his conscience must have nagged him.
When Esau heard of Jacob’s betrayal, he became enraged. To save Jacob and to ensure he married a woman from his own people, Rebecca persuaded Isaac to send Jacob to distant relatives. There Jacob married Rachel and Leah and began to assemble his own family.
Eventually God called Jacob back to the promised land. Genesis 32:24-32, that short little story about Jacob wrestling with an angel begins when Jacob is on his way home. Genesis 32:24-32 begins when Jacob still fears Esau. Afraid, Jacob sends his family and his followers ahead. Thus, he meets the Angel of God alone and wrestles with Him.
What was all that wrestling about? Does Jacob try to pin God’s shoulders to the ground? No. Jacob clings to God, and he refuses to let go. Jacob begs for a blessing.
Why does Jacob want a blessing? Jacob knows he obtained the first blessing deceitfully. Perhaps, because of his terror of Esau, and perhaps because he has been a victim of deceit (see Genesis 29:21-35), Jacob has begun to understand his own treachery, his own failings, and his own inadequacy. Jacob knows he needs a savior. He needs God. Therefore, Jacob asks for a second blessing.
How do we know why Jacob wanted that second blessing, a blessing from God? The Angel of God asked Jacob his name, and this time Jacob told the truth. Then God gives Jacob a new name, Israel, which means one who wrestles with God (from here (biblestudytools.com)).
To Be Continued: Part 2 => What Can We Learn From Jacob’s Request For A Second Blessing?