WRESTLING AT THE JABBOK

Genesis 32:22-32 (English) / 32:23-33 (Hebrew)

wrestlers

Structure

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Genesis 32:22-32 [23-33] may be arranged as follows:

32:22-23 [23-24]

crossing the Jabbok

32:24-25 [25-26]

the fight

32:26-29 [27-30]

dialogue

 

26 [27] demands for release and blessing

 

27-28 [28-29] Jacob is renamed

 

29 [30] request for name and blessing given

32:30 [31]

naming of Peniel

32:31 [32]

resuming the journey

32:32 [33]

explanation of a dietary restriction

From this outline we can see that the central focus of the narrative is more on the dialogue about naming, identification, releasing and blessing, than it is on the wrestling match itself. The centre of the tale is the somewhat symmetrical conversation (see Fokkelman, 50-52). The conversation forms a pattern of concealing and revealing, centred around the renaming of Jacob as Israel. Identity seems to be a key concern of the narrative.

 

 

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© Kirsten Abbott 2004