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.
- Genesis 32-33
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Religious studies
- Literature and Literary Theory