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Genesis 32:27-29 New English Translation (NET Bible)

27 The man asked him,[a] “What is your name?”[b] He answered, “Jacob.” 28 “No longer will your name be Jacob,” the man told him,[c] “but Israel,[d] because you have fought[e] with God and with men and have prevailed.”

29 Then Jacob asked, “Please tell me your name.”[f] “Why[g] do you ask my name?” the man replied.[h] Then he blessed[i] Jacob[j] there.

Footnotes:

  1. Genesis 32:27 tn Heb “and he said to him.” The referent of the pronoun “he” (the man who wrestled with Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  2. Genesis 32:27 sn What is your name? The question is rhetorical, since the Lord obviously knew Jacob’s identity. But since the Lord is going to change Jacob’s name, this question is designed to focus Jacob’s attention on all that his name had come to signify.
  3. Genesis 32:28 tn Heb “and he said.” The referent of the pronoun “he” (the man who wrestled with Jacob) has been specified for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  4. Genesis 32:28 sn The name Israel is a common construction, using a verb with a theophoric element (אֵל, ʾel) that usually indicates the subject of the verb. Here it means “God fights.” This name will replace the name Jacob; it will be both a promise and a call for faith. In essence, the Lord was saying that Jacob would have victory and receive the promises because God would fight for him.
  5. Genesis 32:28 sn You have fought. The explanation of the name Israel includes a sound play. In Hebrew the verb translated “you have fought” (שָׂרִיתָ, sarita) sounds like the name “Israel” (יִשְׂרָאֵל, yisraʾel), meaning “God fights” (although some interpret the meaning as “he fights [with] God”). The name would evoke the memory of the fight and what it meant. A. Dillmann says that ever after this the name would tell the Israelites that, when Jacob contended successfully with God, he won the battle with man (Genesis, 2:279). To be successful with God meant that he had to be crippled in his own self-sufficiency (A. P. Ross, “Jacob at the Jabboq, Israel at Peniel,” BSac 142 [1985]: 51-62).
  6. Genesis 32:29 sn Tell me your name. In primitive thought to know the name of a deity or supernatural being would enable one to use it for magical manipulation or power (A. S. Herbert, Genesis 12-50 [TBC], 108). For a thorough structural analysis of the passage discussing the plays on the names and the request of Jacob, see R. Barthes, “The Struggle with the Angel: Textual Analysis of Genesis 32:23-33, ” Structural Analysis and Biblical Exegesis (PTMS), 21-33.
  7. Genesis 32:29 tn The question uses the enclitic pronoun “this” to emphasize the import of the question.
  8. Genesis 32:29 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’” The referent of the pronoun “he” (the man who wrestled with Jacob) has been specified for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
  9. Genesis 32:29 tn The verb here means that the Lord endowed Jacob with success; he would be successful in everything he did, including meeting Esau.
  10. Genesis 32:29 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Jacob) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
New English Translation (NET)

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