From reading Genesis 32:24

And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

We see Jacob came crippled from this fight; he was injured at the point of his great strength (Genesis 32:25).

Did God just wanted to injure Jacob?

  • 1
    Do you mean that God, in his providence, wanted the man to injure Jacob ? Or are you stating that the man who wrestled is the same as 'God' ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 2:18
  • 1
    @NigelJ the first one is what I mean. Commented Jan 8, 2020 at 12:08
  • 1
    Jacob must have looked quite harmless and pitiful in the eyes of Esau, limping around on crutches. Commented Jan 31, 2021 at 22:18

2 Answers 2


Jacob sent a message to Esau. Esau decided to meet him with his armed men. Jacob was afraid and prayed to God for help. He sent his people ahead and was left alone. Then he encountered God in a wrestling match.God could have destroyed Jacob with a touch. Instead, he graciously wrestled with him. In the end, only to humble him by weakening his hip. The match symbolizes his struggle with his inner self. This is a turning point in his character.Jacob abandoned his self-reliance, deceit, and trickery and surrendered himself to God's touch. God blessed Jacob and gave him a new name – Israel. This is the point.

Why God fought Jacob?

To turn him into a new man.

Genesis 32:28

Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome."


This incident in Gen 32 about Jacob fighting God was to impress Jacob with two great facts:

  1. That his lifelong efforts at control of his worldly affairs, primarily using deception, were futile
  2. His complete dependence of God because God has everything we need.

In short, it illustrates in a concrete story, the principle spoken by the Apostle Paul in 2 Cor 12:9, 10 -

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

It was this idea that Jacob took almost a lifetime of hard knocks to learn. It was perfectly illustrated when he met Esau - Esau had intended to murder Jacob for his earlier duplicity and deceit. But Jacob, despite his best efforts at appeasement, finally realized he was powerless to change the situation and begged God for a blessing.

God granted his wish and Esau's murderous intentions vanished. But, to remind Jacob of his weakness he was crippled and from then on, he depended on God for all things.

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