Jacob Wrestles with an Angel & Anicent City of Mari

Finger Pointing UpJacob married a thief, but Rachel must also be an idolater, and both are against God, but He didn’t punish her.  It’s obvious that God is good to His word that He gave Jacob. 

They say what comes around, goes around, and that’s proven to be true here.  Jacob scammed Esau out of his birthright, deceived Isaac for Esau’s blessing, Laban ripped Jacob off, and in turn Jacob out maneuvered Laban. 

What’s going to happen next?

Jacob has not forgotten what Esau had said after he stole his blessing and he was still afraid “The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob” (Gen 27:41). 

“And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 

1. acob Wrestling with the Angel
Jacob Wrestling with the Angel -Gustave Doré (1855)

And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God’s host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim. 

And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 

And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye speak unto my lord Esau; Thy servant Jacob saith thus, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed there until now:

And I have oxen, and asses, flocks, and menservants, and women servants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find grace in thy sight.  

And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him” (Gen 32:1-6).

Due to Jacob’s fear he divided up his people, thinking that Esau would only be able to kill one of the groups because while he was killing them the others could run.

Jacob prayed to God, for Him to intervene, allowing him, his wives, and children to live.  He then sent three different drove of men to meet Esau, with gifts: 200 she goats, 20 he goats, 200

2. Map
After parting with Esau, Jacob journeyed to Succoth, a name which he gave to the place from the “booths” which he erected to shelter his cattle (Genesis 33:17).

It was in the territory of Gad, and is mentioned with Beth-nimrah (Joshua 13:27).

In his pursuit of Zeba and Zalmunnah, Gideon seems to have retraced the path followed by Jacob, passing Succoth before Penuel (Judges 8:5).

Their churlishness on that occasion brought dire punishment upon the men of Succoth. Gideon on his return “taught them” with thorns and briers (Judges 8:16).

In the soil of the valley between Succoth and Zarethan, which was suitable for the purpose, the brass castings of the furniture for Solomon’s Temple were made (1 Kings 7:46 2 Chronicles 4:17).

Jerome (on Genesis 33:17) says that in his day it was a city beyond Jordan in the district of Scythopolis. From the above data it is clear that Succoth lay on the East of the Jordan and North of the Jabbok.

From Psalm 60:6; Psalm 108:7, we may infer that it was close to the Jordan valley, part of which was apparently known by its name. Neubauer (Geog. du Talmud, 248) gives the Talmudic name as Tar`ala. Merrill (East of the Jordan, 386) and others compare this with Tell Deir `Alla, the name of an artificial mound about a mile North of the Jabbok, on the edge of the valley, fully 4 miles East of the Jordan.

There is a place called Sakut West of the Jordan, about 10 miles South of Beisan. This has been proposed by some; but it is evident that Succoth lay East of the river. No trace of the name has been found here.

ewes, 20 rams, 30 milch camels with their colts, 40 kine, 10 bull, 20 she asses, and 10 foals. 

He then sent his wives, their women servants, and his 11 sons over the ford Jabbok, and he stayed alone.

“And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 

And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. 

And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh.  And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. 

And he said unto him, What is thy name?  And he said, Jacob. 

And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 

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. 

And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Gen 32:24-30).

Later that day Jacob saw Esau and his 400 men approaching so Jacob bowed himself to the ground seven times before they stood before each other.

And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept (Gen 33:4). 

God had also blessed Esau so he was not hurt financially so all was well.

When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him (Pro 16:7).

Esau went to Seir and Jacob went to Succoth and built him a house.  Jacob then went to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, and pitched his tent before the city. 

He then bought a field for 100 pieces of money and erected an alar to cod and called it El-elohe-Israel (The Mighty God, the God of Israel).

Ancient City of Mari

Mari, known to­day as Tell Hariri, is located on the Eu­phrates River just downstream from its confluence with the Habur River.

3. city of Mari
The ancient city of Mari in modern day Syria is one of the most endangered, and often overlooked sites of ancient civilization. Discovered in 1933 while digging in a mound looking for a gravestone, Mari has proved to be one of the most abundant sites for artifacts and information of the ancient world in existence.

Ideally situated at the convergence of several trade routes connecting Sumer to Assyria and Mesopotamia to Syria-Palestine, cosmo­politan Mari was an ideal spot for trade and communications between kingdoms.

The city served as a buffer zone between the Sumerian city-states to the southeast and the lands of the pastoral tribes, called Amorites, to the north.

These livestock- raising nomads seem to have been par­ticularly concentrated around the city of Haran (cf. Abram’s sojourn there mentioned in Gen 11:31—12:5). Swarming in from Mesopotamia, they settled down there between 2400 – 2200 B.C.

In fact, people from northwestern Syria ruled Mari after this period, so the city’s most famous kings were of Amorite descent.

Much of Mari’s early history is obscure. Founded around 2900-2700 B.C., the city acquired wealth and importance but peri­odically was controlled by such great 3rd millennium B.C. powers as Sargon of Akkad and the Third Dynasty of Ur.

In 1775 B.C., Zimri-Lim of Mari broke free of Assyrian domination, but Hammurabi of Babylon burned the city in 1761 B.C.

4. Hammurabi
Hammurabi (standing), depicted as receiving his royal insignia from Shamash. Hammurabi holds his hands over his mouth as a sign of prayer. (Hammurabi’s code of laws).

Begun in 1933, excavations of Mari have uncovered a large palace and several tem­ples, including a ziggurat.

The excavations have also yielded tens of thousands of clay, cuneiform tablets that had become hard­ened from the heat of conflagrations inflicted by the Babylonians.

Well preserved, these tablets address a wide variety of issues, such as a palace administration, harems, expenses, gift registries, literary works, letters and treaties.

These Mari documents shed light upon Old Testament study in several ways:

* They describe the Amorites and their cul­ture, helping us to understand the broader cultural environment of the early Israelites.

5. Mari Tablets
The Mari Tablets belong to a large group of tablets that were discovered by French archaeologists in the 1930s. More than 25,000 tablets in Akkadian were found in the Mari archives, which give information about the kingdom of Mari, its customs, and the names of people who lived during that time. More than 8,000 are letters; the remainder includes administrative, economic, and judicial texts.

* They showcase similarities between many Amorite and Biblical names, although – there are few, if any, direct links to specific Biblical characters.

* They mention the towns of Laish, which the Oanites destroyed and rebuilt (Jdg 18), and Hazor, an important city even before the Israelites entered the promised land (Jos; 11:10).

* They refer to pagan prophets who func­tioned in some ways similarly to their Bibli­cal counterparts.



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