Is the angel in Genesis 32:24-32 equal in rank and might with the angel in 2 Kings 19:35?

24 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of [p]Jacob’s hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was dislocated while he wrestled with him. 26 Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but [q]Israel; for you have contended with God and with men, and have prevailed.” 29 And Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. 30 So Jacob named the place [r]Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my [s]life has been [t]spared.” 31 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed over Penuel, and he was limping on his hip. 32 Therefore, to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the tendon of the hip which is on the socket of the hip, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the tendon of the hip.

In 2 Kings 19:35, we find that one angel killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers.

2 Kings 19:35 ASV

And it came to pass that night, that the angel of Jehovah went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when men arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.

  • Are not both these episodes about God's own might, rather than the might of the agents he sends? Feb 18, 2023 at 14:53
  • @StephenDisraeli.Does the Bible show that angels have ranks? Feb 18, 2023 at 14:57
  • How do we know that the "man" in Genesis was an angel? Feb 18, 2023 at 16:12
  • @Alex Balilo Only that they all rank way below God, as far as I can see. Hence my observation that the power was his and not theirs. Feb 18, 2023 at 16:16
  • @RayButterworth." How do we know that the "man" in Genesis was an angel?" Hosea 12:4 says it was an angel? Feb 18, 2023 at 23:27

3 Answers 3


One could spend an eternity debating the true nature of angels. But in this case, we have a fairly clear statement from a Prophet that shows that the "man" of Gen. 32 was indeed an angel. Hosea 12:3-4 states:

In the womb he took his brother by the heel, and in his manhood he strove with God. He strove with the angel and prevailed, he wept and sought his favor.

Was he of the equal rank and might as the Angel of the Lord described in 2 Kings 19? It seems to me the best approach here is to admit that this is beyond human competence to answer. On the surface, it would seem that the angel of 2 Kings was mightier than Jacob's angel, because Jacob's angel was defeated by a single human being. On the other hand, the providential situations are not equivalent. God wanted Jacob to prevail, but God wanted the Assyrians to fail. So the honest answer for me is to say simply that we do not really know. Similarly, we cannot really know if Jacob's angel was the Angel of the Lord and/or the pre-existent Son of God. These are theological opinions not clearly evident from the biblical text.

  • 1
    But אֱלֹהִֽים can also include magistrates and demi-gods, but this does not completely invalidate his argument.
    – Betho's
    Feb 19, 2023 at 2:26
  • This text actually says that Jacob strove with God. Thus, the Angel of God here was the LORD.
    – Dottard
    Feb 19, 2023 at 9:05

Since the angel of the Lord is "NOT" an actual angel, and the fact that there is only one angel of the Lord there would be no ranking.

The Hebrew word for angel is "malak" and the word simply means "messenger." The context determines how the word is used. For example, Malachi 3:1, "Behold, I am going to send My "malak, angel, messenger," and he will clear the way before Me, and the Lord whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the "malak, angel, messenger" of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming, says the Lord of hosts."

The first malak/messenger in the verse is none other than John the Baptist. John is not an angel but simply a messenger. This is confirmed at Mark 1:1-4. Who do you think is the second "malak/messenger" of the covenant in the verse in whom we will delight and is coming? Btw, as a side note the prophet Malachi who wrote the book his name is from the Hebrew word "malak."

Now, regarding Genesis 32:24-32 and Jacob wrestling with the angel of the Lord who is God/the preincarnate Jesus Christ I refer you to Genesis 35:9-13.

"Then God appeared to Jacob AGAIN when he came from Paddanaram, and He blessed him. vs10, And God said to him, Your name is Jacob; You shall no longer be called Jacob, But Israel shall be your name. Thus He called him Israel." Vs11, "God also said to him,. I am God Almighty; be fruitful and multiply; A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, And kings shall come forth from you."

Vs12, "And the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, And I will give the land to your descendants after you." Vs13, "Then God went up from him in the place where He had spoken with him." Notice this was a physical appearance of the Lord God just like He appeared "physically" to Abraham at Genesis 17:1-2 and at vs 22.

In conclusion, the fact remains that the angel of the Lord is not an actual angel based mainly on his actions and is clearly named the Lord God Almighty.

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    If, as you say," there is only one angel of the Lord" and this angel of the Lord is "God/the pre incarnate Jesus Christ ", who is the angel of the Lord in Matthew 1:18-20 if Jesus is in the womb of Mary? Feb 19, 2023 at 2:25
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    I ordinarily don't downvote answers but the idea that this conclusion is "clear" strikes me extremely off-putting. If it were clear there would not be so many opinions about it. Feb 20, 2023 at 15:26
  • Well Dan, can you explain to me how you determine what is clear from what is not clear? For instance, Thomas at John 20:28 declared to Jesus Christ Himself that Jesus was his "Lord and God." Can you show me your exegesis of the verse in a way that demonstrates you can deny the obvious of what it says? You like Alex begin with the premise that the angel of the Lord is an actual angel, he's not. I explained why in my answer. Alex then says, "why does Jesus say I go to My God and your God" to counteract what Thomas stated. The trick is to know how to reconcile what "appears" to be contradictions.
    – Mr. Bond
    Feb 20, 2023 at 15:57

Gen 32

First, the being in Gen 32:22-32, with whom Jacob wrestled, is never called an "angel" but only a man as per V24, 25, 28. We are actually told who this being was:

  • Gen 32:30 - So Jacob named the place Peniel, saying, “Indeed, I have seen God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
  • Gen 35:1 - Then God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel, and settle there. Build an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.”

Thus, the being with whom Jacob wrestled in Gen 32 was God Himself, the pre-incarnate Jesus. See also the appendix below.

2 Kings 19:35

The "Angel of the LORD" is most often the LORD Himself - see appendix below. However, this is not always the case - each must be decided individually. In the case of 2 Kings 19:35, we are given no other information and so cannot finally conclude as to the identity of this "angel" whether it was a senior heavenly angel or the LORD Himself.

APPENDIX - "No one has ever seen God"

We observe the clear statement several times in the NT that no human has ever seen God the Father:

  • John 1:18 - No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
  • John 5:37 - You have never heard His voice nor seen His form
  • John 6:46 - No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. (See also Matt 18:10.)
  • 1 John 4:12 - No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us.
  • 1 Tim 1:17 - Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God …
  • 1 Tim 6:16 - He alone is immortal and dwells in unapproachable light. No one has ever seen Him, nor can anyone see Him.
  • Col 1:15 - … the invisible God …
  • Ex 33:20 - But He added, “You cannot see My face, for no one can see Me and live.”
  • Isa 45:15 - Truly You are a God who hides Himself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.

By contrast, we have many texts saying that people have seen God.

  • Isa 64:4 - From ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides You, who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him.
  • Job 42:5 - My ears had heard of You [= the LORD, V1], but now my eyes have seen You.
  • Gen 18:1, 10 - Then the LORD appeared to Abraham by the Oaks of Mamre in the heat of the day, while he was sitting at the entrance of his tent. ... Then the LORD said, “I will surely return to you at this time next year, and your wife Sarah will have a son!”
  • Gen 32:30 - So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”
  • Ex 3:5, 6 - “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then He said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.”
  • Josh 5:13 - 6:2 - And the LORD said to Joshua, “Behold, I have delivered Jericho into your hand, along with its king and its mighty men of valor.” (V2)
  • Judges 6:14 - The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Am I not sending you?” [See also V16]
  • Eze 1 - the prophet's vision of God; many elements of which are repeated in Rev 4 & 5. Further, we find in Eze 10:4, “the radiance of the glory of the LORD.” And in Heb 1:3, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.”
  • See also instances of the “Angel of the LORD” clearly being the LORD - Gen 16:7-13, 22:11-17, 32:24-30, 48:16, Ex 3:2-6, 32:34, Num 22:22-35, Josh 5:13-15, Judg 2:1-4, 6:11-23, 13:3-23, Isa 63:9, Dan 3:25, 28, Hos 12:4, 5, Zech 3:1-7, Mal 3:1, Rev 8:3-5, 10:1-10, 18:1, 20:1-4.
  • A closely related phrase, “Angel of God” who is clearly God as in Gen 6:13, 8:15, 9:8, 17, 15:13, 17:3, 4, 21:12, 16-21, 35:1, 10, Ex 4:3-8, 6:2, 23:20, 21, Deut 1:6, 1 Kings 12:22, etc. See also Acts 10:3, 4, Gal 4:14.

The very fact that the NT so confidently asserts that no human has seen God the Father, but many people have seen God/YHWH in the OT means the inescapable conclusion is such epiphanies were of the pre-incarnate Jesus as per John 8:58 – “Truly, truly, I tell you,” Jesus declared, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

We also have the clear statement that Jesus is the one who reveals God:

John 1:18 - No one has ever yet seen God. The unique God, the One being in the bosom of the Father, He has made Him known.

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    I rarely downvote @Dottard's answers but in this case it seems to me he has presumed too much. Whether or not this angel/man was actually the pre-existent Son of God, the evidence he does not prove it. Feb 19, 2023 at 1:07
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    @Dan Agreed, this eisegetical approach is not warranted.The biblical intention is, 'no one has seen God'! Dottard obviously knows better and changes the words to suit.
    – Steve
    Feb 19, 2023 at 7:08
  • @DanFefferman - how would you resolve the apparent contradiction of some texts saying, "no one has seen God" and many others saying "I have seen God face to face"? This is especially true in light of the fact that Jesus says that He came to reveal/show us God and that He is the image of the invisible God! (John 1:10, 18, Col 1:15-18).
    – Dottard
    Feb 19, 2023 at 8:10
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    @Dottard I usually read your answers immediately since I am rarely disappointed by them. I'll check out Mr. Bond's and see if he merits the high honor of a downvote from yours truly ;-) Feb 20, 2023 at 15:18
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    @Dottard I merely quote John 6:46 which expressly affirms who has seen God. Only one man as John has defined elsewhere. As you have quoted this, I thought it would have been obvious. This is besides the point. The weightier matter is your adjusting the inspired words to suit your premise.
    – Steve
    Feb 21, 2023 at 7:57

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