Metaphysical Bible Interpretation of Genesis Chapter 32
Metaphysically Interpreting Genesis 32:1-2
32:1And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 32:2And Jacob said when he saw them, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim.
Metaphysically Interpreting Genesis 32:3-21
32:3And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the field of Edom. 32:4And he commanded them, saying, Thus shall ye say unto my lord Esau: Thus saith thy servant Jacob, I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now: 32:5and I have oxen, and asses, and flocks, and men-servants, and maid-servants: and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in thy sight.
32:6And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, We came to thy brother Esau, and moreover he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. 32:7Then Jacob was greatly afraid and was distressed: and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks, and the herds, and the camels, into two companies; 32:8and he said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the company which is left shall escape. 32:9And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, O Jehovah, who saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will do thee good: 32:10I am not worthy of the least of all the lovingkindnesses, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two companies. 32:11Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he come and smite me, the mother with the children. 32:12And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
32:13And he lodged there that night, and took of that which he had with him a present for Esau his brother: 32:14two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 32:15thirty milch camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty she-asses and ten foals. 32:16And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove. 32:17And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee? 32:18then thou shalt say They are thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, he also is behind us. 32:19And he commanded also the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him;32:20and ye shall say, Moreover, behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept me. 32:21So the present passed over before him: and he himself lodged that night in the company.
April 14, 1907: Genesis 32:9-12
All through the Bible life is compared to a battle; yet not war: “the battle is the Lord's.” The Lord does not fight ignorance and evil, but the foundation of all existence being Good, the Law is constantly reducing all error to its exact standard. Man goes forward in consciousness, the soul and the body constantly becoming more refined under the Law of Spirit, and there seems to be a struggle with adverse conditions, evil, materiality and ignorance.
In this ongoing [struggle?] the higher principles forge ahead and establish states of consciousness and gather possessions that are afterwards distributed to the lower. Jacob represents the soul rich in possessions on an advanced plane of consciousness. But a time comes when an evening-up process begins; the body (Esau) must be given some of the riches of the soul. But the soul does not like to enter into the struggle necessary to overcoming material habits. The “ford Jabbok” means struggle, and the inference is that it was hard for Jacob to put away all the things he loved and enter alone the invisible and wrestle with the forces of the subjective consciousness in darkness.
August 30, 1942: Genesis 32:2-12
Does the idea of the supplanting of Esau by Jacob mean only the shifting of emphasis from the physical to the mental in man? No, the idea is that of the progressive nature of life. The lower or physical is superseded by the higher or mental, and the latter in its turn gives place to the spiritual. In divine order life does not stand still.
What is the meaning of the name “Mahanaim”? It means “two hosts;” that is God’s company or spiritual ideas, and Jacob’s company, or his family and flocks. The latter represents the mind of man.
Why did the thought of God's host, spiritual ideas, come to Jacob as he drew near to his brother Esau, who represents the physical body? Because mind and body can be brought into harmony only through the appropriation and subsequent realization of spiritual ideas.
What is the first action of the mind when man seeks to harmonize the mental and the physical? He realizes in all humility that the mind alone cannot help him; that he owes all that he has to God, “With my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two companies.”
For what do we fear most when we meet what appear to us to be hostile or antagonistic forces? The safety of the soul is our first consideration. “I fear him, lest he come and smite me, the mother (the soul) with the children.”
What is meant by Jacob’s struggle at the ford Jabbok? The name Jabbok means “pouring out,” “effusing,” “wrestling.” As we progress we give up the ideas that we held in favor of more comprehensive ones. lt ls hard for us sometimes to give up the things that we love, and we wrestle with the forces of the subjective consciousness without understanding all that the struggle involves.
How best do we prevail over our nameless fears? By fixing our trust in God we find it easier to discipline our thoughts and overcome our nameless fears.
Does the consciousness that one has been unjust leave a negative reaction in one’s mind? Yes, it leaves fear. Jacob’s fear came from the memory of his injustice to his brother.
Metaphysically Interpreting Genesis 32:22-32
32:22And he rose up that night, and took his two wives, and his two handmaids, and his eleven children, and passed over the ford of the Jabbok. 32:23And he took them, and sent them over the stream, and sent over that which he had.32:24And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. 32:25And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him. 32:26And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.32:27And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. 32:28And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 32:29And 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. 32:30And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for, said he, I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. 32:31And the sun rose upon him as he passed over Penuel, and he limped upon his thigh. 32:32Therefore the children of Israel eat not the sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew of the hip.
September 15, 1901: Genesis 32:1-32
Jacob had tarried in the land of Laban, his father-in-law, until he had amassed wealth and position, but the voice of God within him bade him return to the home of his father. There he would meet Esau, his twin brother, whom he had supplanted, and of whom he was afraid, because he had wronged him. The people and events in this lesson signify certain faculties of the mind and the experiences which follow from the action of these faculties.
Jacob, or understanding, had been brought step by step (the ladder in the vision at Bethel) into a state of consciousness where the soul does not find satisfaction in material possessions or fame, and, obedient to the prompting of the Spirit of Truth, turns again toward its home, or pure spiritual consciousness. On our way to this plane of consciousness we meet the twin of Understanding, the Will, of which Esau is the symbol. In the Divine Mind the understanding occupies the leading position, or that of the elder brother. In the natural man the will is first, but is supplanted by understanding as the Spiritual consciousness is unfolded. But these two faculties are so closely related (twins) that they must act in conjunction as one, and when so united their potency is unlimited in the development of the Divine Self.
As symbolized by the separation of Jacob’s retinue into companies, and by the gifts to Esau so arranged as to appear very great, the understanding is not yet wholly free from the hold which material things has upon it. When all external means have been used, and still we have not peace of mind, then we realize that the power of God alone (Jacob was left alone) can help us. The higher self (the God within the soul) strives and wrestles with the temptation to yield to the lower self. Understanding, having gotten a hold upon the Truth (God, the All in All), will not let it go until the blessing of power is realized.
Then Jacob (understanding upon the external plane) becomes Israel, or Understanding and Will, united upon the internal spiritual plane, where the reality (is real) of life is understood and acted upon, where we meet God face to face, and our lives are preserved.
– UNITY magazine.
May 30, 1937: Genesis 32:24-30
Jacob gained his father’s blessing by deception, but at the ford, Jabbok he wrestled with a “man” to gain a blessing. What is the meaning of this part of the story? At first we supplant the claims of the physical by what seems to the natural man a mental trick, namely affirmations of Truth. Later we work to express the truth of these affirmations, attuning ourselves to divine law through effort that makes of us a prince of God. Prevailing with God and man through the renewing of our mind, we make for ourselves a new name.
August 30, 1942: Genesis 32:27-29
What does Jacob's new name Israel signify? Israel, meaning “prince,” signifies one who has power with both God and man, or in the spiritual as well as the material realm. He gained this power through the habit of meeting each issue squarely as it arose, using his intelligence and his intuition practically, and his faith likewise.
Transcribed by Lloyd Kinder on 12-31-2013