Jacob’s Struggle at Jabbok—A New Reading

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prevalent reading of the story of Jacob’s struggle at Jabbok is that after a night of fighting, Jacob triumphs over his attacker, demands that he bless him, and indeed receives a divine blessing. This reading raises several difficulties, the most striking among them the question why Jacob does not flee his attacker and return to his family the moment he overcomes his attacker, but rather demands his blessing. This article proposes a new reading of this struggle which solves these narrative conundrums. It is not Jacob who triumphs over his attacker, but the divine being who in fact triumphs over Jacob. This new reading, enabled by the narrative’s ambiguity, is more unified and more harmonious within its broader context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-156
Number of pages23
JournalScandinavian Journal of the Old Testament
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • Genesis 32-33
  • Jabbok
  • Jacob

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Jacob’s Struggle at Jabbok—A New Reading'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this