Jacob wrestled with God?

by MrFreeze 8 Replies latest jw experiences

  • MrFreeze

    One story in the Bible that always left me puzzled was the story of Jacob wrestling with the man/angel/God. What exactly was going on there? Whoever it was that was wrestling with him was said not to have been able to overpower Jacob so he disjointed his hip. At the end of the account it said Jacob named the place Peniel because "There I saw God face to face and and yet my life was spared."

    So, what was going on here? Was he supposed to be wrestling with a man of God? An angel? God himself? If it was an angel or god, why couldn't it overpower him?

    I think if it was supposed to be god, then it is clear that Jacob and Moses believed in different gods. After all, we can see the power that god is supposed to have in the very next book of the Bible. Yet that powerful god or his angel couldn't overpower Jacob?

  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    I just read Karen Armstrong's take on this. Her main line of reasoning was that Gensis is not about literal events of creation or history but a work to show how humans interact with God. Life is not kind or easy. Dealing with God is often painful. She asserts the Gensis accounts were an attempt to make sense of a violent, chaotic world.

    These stories always troubled me. If he was a godly man, why does he fight with God or an angel? Certainly, an omnipotent God could have oblierated him. It makes no sense to me.

    Armstrong also notes that these early Bible heroes that God interacts with are not chosen for their character. God chooses them arbitrarily.

    As a young child, these scriptures made no sense. Noah made no sense. Adam and Eve seemed cruel. Abraham and Isaac is beyond comprehension. I don't see morality in these stories. Compassion is not present.

  • MrFreeze

    I've been meaning to read Karen Armstrong's "History of God." I'll definitely have to pick the book up now.

  • Sulla

    God, in Genesis, is not the sort of being that likes to be put into useful categories. So he shows himself in lots of different ways. One important thing to take from this sotry and others like it (see, for example, the sotry of Abraham's experience on the hilltop, surrounded by the bleeding corpses of slain animals, swooping carrion birds, and a sense of terror upon meeting God) is that God is dangerous. If God comes to you to kick your ass, you probably want to take care not to limit the way you think about him to the guy who delivers goodies. He isn't going to simply make it rain or protect you; it doesn't work like that.

    I think that's the message, one of them, anyhow.

  • smiddy

    Evidently, Jacob is more powerful than an Angel,or the creator.....HHHmmmmm...and millions of people have died defending these writings .


  • transhuman68

    The moral of the story is: If you ever meet Jehovah, punch the crap out of him- it is the only way you will get justice, lol. But I guess this shows the evolution of God in the Bible, how he goes from being just some guy wandering the earth calling out to Adam 'Where the f**k are you?'- to being the beginning and end of everything. Here he is portrayed as being a kind of household god, maybe like a teraphim . Getting his god's blessing was very important to Jacob.

    LOL, I don't have a clue really, but it's a funny story, anyway.

  • Pickler

    Hey band on the run "as a child these stories made no sense, no morality, no compassion"

    Exactly. You'd think an omnipotent creator would find a better way to communicate than through a collection of stories open to hundreds of different interpretations.

  • DaCheech

    maybe he was doing horizontal aerobics with god??? lol

  • srd

    It is a story modeled on an old folklore them -- the crossing of a ford and the need to fight a spirit/troll/deity. Here Jacob is crossing the Jabbok (pun intened by the author). In other words the returnee is returning to the land of Canaan. It's a monumentuous event. Jacob is now Israel. The folklore story merely accentuates the importance of this crossing/transformation.

    Over at my site (http://contradictionsinthebible.com) we are currently going through the Abraham stories, and then we will get into the Jacob stories. I will be comparing this story with the one in chapter 28, where it is recorded that Jacob also crosses the Jordan and gets his name changed to Israel. Both stories were preserved, but they come from two different traditions.

    Armstrong is NOT a biblical scholar. She's a theologian who speaks in very general terms, over generalizations....

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