And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray you, your name. And he said, Why is it that you do ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Wherefore . . . —In much the same manner the angel refuses to tell Manoah his name (Judges 13:18). Probably, however, in the blessing which followed there was a clear proof that Jacob’s opponent was a Divine personage.Genesis 32:29-30. Wherefore dost thou ask after my name? — Canst thou be at any loss to know who I am? The discovery of that was reserved for his death-bed, upon which he was taught to call him Shiloh. But instead of telling him his name, he gave him his blessing, which was the thing Jacob wrestled for; he blessed him there — Repeated and ratified the blessing formerly given him. See how wonderfully God condescends to countenance and crown importunate prayer! Those that resolve, though God slay them, yet to trust him, will at length be more than conquerors. Peniel — That is, the face of God. For I have seen God face to face — Not in his divine essence, for no man ever saw God in that respect, John 1:18; but manifested in a more satisfactory, familiar, and friendly manner, than in dreams or visions.Genesis 25:23, and both names have a spiritual significance for two different aspects of the child of God, according to the apostle's paradox, "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" Philippians 2:12-13. "Tell now thy name."
Disclose to me thy nature. This mysterious Being intimates by his reply that Jacob was to learn his nature, so far as he yet required to know it, from the event that had just occurred; and he was well acquainted with his name. And he blessed him there. He had the power of disabling the self-sufficient creature, of upholding that creature when unable to stand, of answering prayer, of conferring a new name, with a new phase of spiritual life, and of blessing with a physical renovation, and with spiritual capacity for being a blessing to mankind. After all this, Jacob could not any longer doubt who he was. There are, then, three acts in this dramatic scene: first, Jacob wrestling with the Omnipresent in the form of a man, in which he is signally defeated; second, Jacob importunately supplicating Yahweh, in which he prevails as a prince of God; third, Jacob receiving the blessing of a new name, a new development of spiritual life, and a new capacity for bodily action.Tell me, I pray thee, thy name, that I may give thee the honour due to it. Art thou a created angel, or art thou the ever-blessed God?
Wherefore dost thou ask after my name? A question which carries in it both a denial of his request, as Judges 13:17,18, and a reproof of his curiosity.
He blessed him there, in an eminent and peculiar manner, which was a real answer to Jacob’s question, and gave him to understand both his name and nature. Exodus 3:13; for Jacob knew that he was God, as appears by his earnest desire to be blessed by him; and he knew it by the declaration just made, that he had power with God as a prince; but he hoped to have some name, taken by him from the place or circumstance of things in which he was, whereby he might the better remember this affair; as he was pleased to call himself the God of Bethel, from his appearance to Jacob there, Genesis 31:13; therefore since he did not choose to give him his name, Jacob himself imposed one on the place afterwards, as a memorial of God being seen by him there:
and he said, wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? which is both a reproof of his curiosity, and a denial of his request; signifying that he had no need to put that question, it was enough for him that he had got the blessing, and which he confirms:
and he blessed him there; in the same place, as the Vulgate Latin version, where he had been wrestling with him, as he was taking his leave of him; for this was a farewell blessing, and a confirmation of that he had received, through the name of Israel being given him.And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)29. And he blessed him] The name is refused, but the blessing previously asked for (Genesis 32:26) is granted. The same occurrence is recorded in Jdg 13:17-21. The prayer may not always be right or wise. But the blessing is not refused, because the literal answer is not given. The blessing is the sign of God’s Presence and the pledge of man’s salvation.Verse 29. - And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. A request indicating great boldness on the part of Jacob - the boldness of faith (Hebrews 4:16; Hebrews 10:19); and importing a desire on Jacob's part to be acquainted, not merely with the designation, but with the mysterious character of the Divine personage with whom he had been contending. And he (the mysterious stranger) said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? Cf. Judges 13:18, where the angel gives the same reply to Manoah, adding, "seeing it is secret;" literally, wonderful, i.e. incomprehensible to mortal man; though here the words of Jacob's antagonist may mean that his name, so far as it could be learnt by man, was already plain from the occurrence which had taken place (Murphy, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Bush). And he blessed him there. After this, every vestige of doubt disappeared from the soul of Jacob.
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