Genesis 32:30

Hebrew Bible

28 “No longer will your name be Jacob,” the man told him, “but Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name.” “Why do you ask my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel, explaining, “Certainly I have seen God face to face and have survived.” 31 The sun rose over him as he crossed over Penuel, but he was limping because of his hip. 32 That is why to this day the Israelites do not eat the sinew which is attached to the socket of the hip, because he struck the socket of Jacob’s hip near the attached sinew.

Exodus 24:10

Hebrew Bible

8 So Moses took the blood and splashed it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.” 9 Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up, 10 and they saw the God of Israel. Under his feet there was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear like the sky itself. 11 But he did not lay a hand on the leaders of the Israelites, so they saw God, and they ate and they drank. 12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets with the law and the commandments that I have written, so that you may teach them.”

 Notes and References

"... Fokkelman’s bifurcation of [Genesis 32] clearly privileges the words over the wrestling, with no obvious justification for this from the story itself. This appears to confirm a general tendency of some scholars to privilege the word over the body, with the latter considered to be a problem. Terence Fretheim specifically identifies this within biblical scholarship: “It is often said that the word spoken is the focus of the theophany. But the fact that there is always some empirical reference to God’s appearances, something concrete and tangible associated with them, has not been sufficiently appreciated.” ... This ambiguous body is unevenly depicted in the Hebrew Bible. God appears in “human form” (Ezekiel 1:26), with “loins” (verse 27). He has a “back” and a “hand,” and he has a “face” that must not be seen (Exodus 33:20-23), along with “feet” (Exodus 24:10-11), “hair” and clothing (Daniel 7:9; Isaiah 6:1) ... Jacob’s encounter with the man-God is an ideal story to foreground this debate because the physicality of wrestling speaks to the body that is both absent and present, as well as issues of function versus form ... According to Römer, the Jacob and Moses encounters are two examples “in which God is seen to be close to human beings, but for the purpose of eliminating them.” Despite this hostile intention—or somehow because of it—God “transforms” them.“ The problem with this is that the man-God does not attempt to “eliminate” Jacob. He wrestles with him and he hurts him. Granted, Jacob feels threatened enough by the man-God to exclaim: “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved” (Genesis 32:30). But it is not clear how this experience fits into a wrestling encounter that occurred in the dark ..."

Meyer, Mike Jacob Wrestles the man-God: An Embodied Reading of Genesis 32:24-32 (pp. 3-6) University of Auckland, 2021

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