Genesis 32:11
Please deliver me from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid that he may come and attack me and the mothers and children with me.
Jacob's PrayerR.A. Redford Genesis 32:9-12
Fear and FaithC. J. Brown, D. D.Genesis 32:11-12
Good Comes Through DifficultyGenesis 32:11-12
Jacob's PrayerHomilistGenesis 32:11-12
LessonsG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 32:11-12
The Master-Key Opening the Gate of HeavenC. H. SpurgeonGenesis 32:11-12

1. It was the prayer of humility.

2. Of faith - faith in a covenant God, faith in him who had already revealed himself, faith in promises made to the individual as well as to God's people generally, faith founded on experience of the past, faith which has been mingled with obedience, and therefore lays hold of Divine righteousness. He has commanded me to return; I am in the way of his commandments. Faith in the great purpose of God and his kingdom: "I will make thy seed as the sand of the sea," &c. So Luther, in his sense of personal weakness in a troubled world, cried, "The Lord must save his own Church."

3. It was the prayer of gratitude. "I was alone; I am now two bands;" "not worthy of the least of thy mercies," &c., "yet abundantly blessed." - R.

Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother.
Observe the spirit of Jacob's prayer.







1. The greatest fears do not drive away holy souls from prayer: faith looks to God for help.

2. Jehovah alone is the rock of salvation to whom believing souls fly for deliverance.

3. Dismal is the danger by the hand of a brother engaged that is cruel and bloody.

4. Fears may possess the hearts of God's ,covenanted ones in respect of such cruel instruments and of danger by them to them and theirs (ver. 11).

5. God's promise of salvation quickens faith and strengthens prayer in His saints against their own unworthiness.

6. It is fit for faith to press God with the certainty and enlargedness of His promise to His servants.

7. General promises of grace are to be drawn to special use in times of temptation.

8. Upon such promises saints dare trust God with themselves and children (ver. 12).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

I fear him.

Jacob's fear, and Jacob's faith — "I fear him: and Thou saidst." Whether is that a contrast, or a connection, or both? I believe that it is both. And I have linked the two together as the text, because they will be found to stand thus related by the double tie of contrast and connection — deep, painful contrast, and yet strangely close kindredness also and connection — the fear with the faith — "I fear him: and Thou saidst."

I. JACOB'S FEAR AT THIS TIME — "I fear him," said he.

1. My first remark respecting the fear is, that there was a great deal of unworthy unbelief in it.

2. And yet, secondly, there was not wanting in it an element, kindred at least to faith. True, he might have left the Divine promise — ought to have left it tranquilly — in the keeping of the Divine power and faithfulness. Still, this is no mere craven dread of his personal safety, nor of that even of his beloved family, simply as such, but for that family as in relation to the Divine covenant, with which his own hopes for eternity, and the welfare of all the families of the earth, were bound up. There was an element in his fear, I say, kindred at least to faith.

3. And, thirdly, I observe on Jacob's fear, that, amid all its unworthiness, it was a fear told freely out to God — laid bare before the omniscient One — "I fear him," says he, speaking to Jehovah. A great lesson this, beloved, for us in reference to our difficulties, temptations, fears — that we bring them all to the Lord — tell them freely out to Him. It may be that our fears are weak and foolish — such as others might only smile at. Or it may be that they are deeply unworthy, and such as we should be ashamed to tell to others. But they shall be much more than safe with God. Let us tell them to Him, hearing the voice, "Bring them hither to Me."

4. As it was a fear told freely out to the Lord, so it shut up Jacob the more to the Lord, and to His word of promise.

II. JACOB'S FAITH: "Thou saidst" — "I fear him: and Thou saidst."

1. Well, the things that have been already said have prepared us for my first remark on the faith, which is, that it is faith in conflict — faith in a struggle with unbelief and fear.

2. And so, secondly, I observe, on Jacob's faith here, that, if it is faith in conflict — in a struggle with unbelief — it is faith prevailing, victorious, in the conflict, "I fear him: and Thou saidst." I pray you to note that that is Jacob's closing word — he ends here. He plants his foot on this rock of the promise, and here will abide, "Thou saidst."

3. But, thirdly, I observe in Jacob's faith, that it is faith in the midst of difficulties taking simple hold of God in his word of promise.

4. Once more, I observe that this is faith exercised in immediate converse and fellowship with God in prayer. Brethren, prayer and faith are entirely distinct; yet they are most intimately connected together. For, as there is no true prayer without some measure of faith, so faith is never better exercised than in prayer.

(C. J. Brown, D. D.)

Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good.

The possession of a God, or the non-possession of a God, makes the greatest possible difference between man and man. Esau is a princely being, but he is "a profane person." Jacob is a weak, fallible, frail creature, but he has a God. Have you not heard of "the mighty God of Jacob"? My dear hearers, you can divide yourselves without difficulty by this rule: have you a God, or have you none? If you have no God, what have you? If you have no God, what good have you to expect? What, indeed, can be good to you? If you have no God, how can you face the past, the present, or the future? But if you have God for your portion, your whole history is covered. The God of the past has blotted out your sin, the God of the present makes all things work for your good, the God of the future will never leave you nor forsake you. In God you are prepared for every emergency. He shall guard thee from all evil; the Lord shall preserve thy soul.

1. Because Jacob had a God, therefore he went to Him in the hour of his trouble. As well have no God, as have an unreal God, who cannot be found in the midnight of our need. But what a blessing it is to be able to go to our God at all times, and pour out our hearts before Him; for our God will be our Helper, and that right early! He is our near and dear Friend, in joy and in sorrow.

2. Make thou good use of thy God, and especially gain the fullest advantage from Him by pleading with Him in prayer. In troublous times, our best communion with God will be carried on by supplication. Tell Him thy case; search out His promise, and then plead it with holy boldness. This is the best, the surest, the speediest way of relief.

3. Beloved, we see that Jacob had a God, and that he made use of Him in prayer; but the point I want to call your attention to at this time is, that the stress, the force, the very sinew of Jacob's prayer consisted in his pleading the promise of God with God. When he came to real wrestling with the Lord, then he cried, "Thou saidst." That is the way to lay a hold upon the covenant angel — "Thou saidst." The art of wrestling lies much in a proper use of "Thou saidst." Jacob, with all his mistakes, was a master of the art of prayer: we justly call him "wrestling Jacob." He said, "I will not let Thee go." He gets grip for his hands out of this "Thou saidst." In handling my text, which was Jacob's prayer, I shall notice —

I. First, it ought to be OUR MEMORIAL. I mean that we ought to recollect much more than we do what God has said. We should lay up His word in our hearts as men lay up gold and gems in their caskets: it should be as dear to us as life itself. My heart stands in awe of God's word, and I am sorrowful because so many trifle with it. No good can come of irreverence towards Scripture; we ought to cherish it in our heart of hearts.

1. We ought to do this, first, with regard to what God hath said. You notice that Jacob puts it, "Thou saidst," and then he quotes the words — "Surely I will do thee good." It is an essential part of the education of a Christian to learn the promises.

2. Moreover, Jacob also knew when God had spoken a promise, for he quotes twice the fact that God had spoken to him, and said so-and-so. It is clear that he knew when the promise was spoken. I have often found peculiar comfort, not only in a promise, but in noticing the occasion for its being made.

3. There is another matter which it is important for us to know, namely, to whom God made the promise. Jacob knew to whom it was spoken. He tells us in a previous verse that God had spoken a certain promise to himself. "Which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee." A promise that was made to another man will be of no service to me until I can discover that I, being in the same condition as that other man, and being of like character to that other man, and exercising like faith to that other man, do stand before God in the same position as he did, and therefore the word addressed to him is spoken also to me. Brethren, I entreat you continually to study God's word to see whether the promise is made to your character and condition, and so is made to yourself, as much as if your name were written upon it.

II. Secondly, "Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good" this is GOD'S BOND. Nothing holds a man like his word, and nothing so fully fixes the course of action of the Lord our God as His own promise. From the necessity of His nature He will be faithful. What a mighty thing, then, is a promise, since it is a bond which holds God Himself! How does it do so?

1. I answer, it holds Him, first, by His truth. If a man says, "I will," it is not in his power, without a breach of truth, to refuse to make good his word. If a promise be made by one man to another, it is considered to be a matter of honour to fulfil it. Unless a man is willing to tarnish his honour, and disgrace his truthfulness, he will certainly do as he has solemnly promised to do. Alas! many persons think lightly of truthfulness: they even dare to swear lightly; but what do we think of such people? To utter solemn promises, and then to disown them, is not the way to be esteemed and honoured. It can never be so with God. None can impeach His veracity. None shall ever be able to do so.

2. But, next, he who enters into an engagement is bound to keep his word, or he is considered to be vacillating and changeable: the Lord is, therefore, held by His immutability. He is God, and changes not.

3. But sometimes men make a promise, and they are unable to fulfil it from want of power. Many a time it has cost honest minds great grief to feel that, though they are willing enough to do what they have engaged to do, yet they have lost their ability to perform their word. This is a grave sorrow to a sincere mind. This can never happen to the Almighty God. He fainteth not, neither is weary. To Him there is no feebleness of decline, or failure of decay. God All-sufficient is still His name.

4. Once more, the Lord's wisdom also holds Him to His promise. Men make engagements thoughtlessly, and before long they realize that it would he ruinous to keep them. It is foolish to keep a foolish promise. Yet because wisdom is not in us we make mistakes, and find ourselves in serious difficulties. It may so happen that a person may feel compelled to say, "I promised to do that which, upon nacre careful consideration, I find it would be wicked and unjust for me to do. My promise was void from the beginning, for no man has a right to promise to do wrong." Whatever justification an erring man can find in his folly to excuse him from fulfilling his rash promise, nothing of the kind can occur with God. He never speaks without knowledge, for He sees the end from the beginning, and He is infallibly good and wise.

5. I should not complete my statement if I did not add that to go to God through Jesus Christ, is to use the best and most powerful of pleas.

III. So then, last of all, this may be, and this ought to be, in prayer OUR PLEA, as it was Jacob's plea — even this "Thou saidst."

1. We may urge the gracious promise of the Lord as pleading against our own unworthiness. This must win the suit. If a man has made me a promise, he cannot refuse to keep it on the ground that I am unworthy; because it is his own character that is at stake, not mine. However unworthy I am, he must not prove himself to be unworthy by failing to keep his word.

2. This is also good pleading as against our present danger. See how Jacob puts it with regard to his own peril. He sets out his very natural fear from his brother's anger: the mother, the children, everybody would be smitten by fierce Esau; and to save himself from this threatened horror Jacob lifts the shield of the promise, and as good as says to the Lord his God, "If this calamity should happen, how can Thy promise be kept? Thou saidst, 'Surely I will do thee good'; but, Lord, it is not good for Esau's sword to shed our blood! If Thou permit his anger to slay us, where is Thine engagement to do good unto Thy servant?" This reminds one of the plea of Moses, when he asked, "What will the Egyptions say?" If Israel were destroyed in the wilderness, what would Jehovah do for His great name? This is a prevalent argument.

3. Once more, as to future blessedness. Jacob used this argument, "Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good," as to all his future hopes, for he went on to say, "Thou saidst, I will make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude." Not as much as he should, but still in a measure Jacob lived in the future. He lived under the influence and expectation of the covenant blessing. Now, brethren, what hope have you and I of getting to heaven? None, except that the Lord has said, "I give unto my sheep eternal life; and they shall never perish." I shall never perish, for Jesus says I never shall. He has also said, "Where I am, there shall also My servant be." Therefore I shall be in the glory with Him, and that is enough for me.

(C. H. Spurgeon).

Now the highest and richest good often comes to men through difficulties and disappointments, losses and crosses, sicknesses and sorrows. Men are very prone to forget this, and to get discouraged in the hour of trial, but it is true nevertheless. The vinedresser does the vine good, not only by manuring its roots and admitting sunshine to its branches, but by sometimes opening his knife and cutting off superfluous leaves and wanton shoots, for by this pruning he has enabled the tree to bear more abundant fruit. The doctor does the patient good, sometimes by kindly looks and hopeful words, and soothing powders, but at other times by prohibiting favourite foods administering nauseous medicines, and even by using the sharp lancet. The father does his child good, not by gratifying all his desires and humouring all his whims, but rather sometimes by prohibiting certain pleasures, enjoying special tasks, and occasionally using the rod. The heavenly Vinedresser, Doctor and Father, deals with us on similar principles. He does not say to any one of us, I will always consult thy wishes, gratify thy tastes, and gladden thine heart, but I will always do thee good. And many have found that pain ministers to profit, that the sickness of the body promotes the health of the soul, that the cutting off of temporal comforts opens the way for the inflowing of spiritual blessings; and that the removal of earthly friends brings them into closer sympathy and communion with Jesus Christ the heavenly Friend; so that with David they have been able to say, "It is good for me that I have been afflicted, for before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I know Thy law"; and with Paul, "These light afflictions which are but for a moment work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

Esau, Isaac, Israelites, Jacob, Laban, Penuel, Seir
Edom, Jabbok River, Jordan River, Mahanaim, Mizpah, Peniel, Penuel, Seir
Afraid, Attack, Beside, Brother, Child, Death, Deliver, Esau, Fear, Fearing, Less, Lest, Mothers, Please, Putting, Saviour, Slay, Smite, Smitten, Sons, Strike
1. Jacob's vision at Mahanaim.
3. His message to Esau.
6. He is afraid of Esau's coming.
9. He prays for deliverance.
13. He sends a present to Esau, and passes the brook Jabbok.
24. He wrestles with an angel at Peniel, where he is called Israel.
31. He halts.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 32:11

     5057   rest, physical
     8754   fear

Genesis 32:3-21

     5922   prudence

Genesis 32:7-11

     5567   suffering, emotional

Genesis 32:9-12

     4360   sand
     8610   prayer, asking God

Mahanaim: the Two Camps
And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. And when Jacob saw them, he said, This is God's host: and he called the name of that place Mahanaim' (i.e. Two camps).--GENESIS xxxii. 1, 2. This vision came at a crisis in Jacob's life. He has just left the house of Laban, his father-in-law, where he had lived for many years, and in company with a long caravan, consisting of wives, children, servants, and all his wealth turned into cattle, is journeying back again to Palestine. His road
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Twofold Wrestle --God's with Jacob and Jacob's with God
'And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, the Lord which saidst unto me, Return unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee: I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast shewed unto Thy servant; for with my staff I passed over this Jordan; and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau: for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

"And He Said, Let Me Go, for the Day Breaketh. " --Genesis xxxii. 26
"And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh."--Genesis xxxii. 26. Let me go, the day is breaking, Dear companions, let me go; We have spent a night of waking In the wilderness below; Upward now I bend my way, Part we here at break of day. Let me go, I may not tarry, Wrestling thus with doubts and fears, Angels wait my soul to carry, Where my risen Lord appears; Friends and kindred, weep not so, If you love me let me go. We have travell'd long together, Hand in hand, and heart in heart, Both
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

Of the Name of God
Exod. iii. 13, 14.--"And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." We are now about this question, What God is. But who can answer it? Or, if answered, who can understand it? It should astonish us in
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Gen. xxxi. 11
Of no less importance and significance is the passage Gen. xxxi. 11 seq. According to ver. 11, the Angel of God, [Hebrew: mlaK halhiM] appears toJacob in a dream. In ver. 13, the same person calls himself the God of Bethel, with reference to the event recorded in chap. xxviii. 11-22. It cannot be supposed that in chap xxviii. the mediation of a common angel took place, who, however, had not been expressly mentioned; for Jehovah is there contrasted with the angels. In ver. 12, we read: "And behold
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

"Lord, teach us to pray."--Luke xi. 1. "Jacob called the name of the place Peniel."--Gen. xxxii. 30. ALL the time that Jacob was in Padan-aram we search in vain for prayer, for praise. or for piety of any kind in Jacob's life. We read of his marriage, and of his great prosperity, till the land could no longer hold him. But that is all. It is not said in so many words indeed that Jacob absolutely denied and forsook the God of his fathers: it is not said that he worshipped idols in Padan-aram: that
Alexander Whyte—Lord Teach Us To Pray

The Great Shepherd
He shall feed his flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. I t is not easy for those, whose habits of life are insensibly formed by the customs of modern times, to conceive any adequate idea of the pastoral life, as obtained in the eastern countries, before that simplicity of manners, which characterized the early ages, was corrupted, by the artificial and false refinements of luxury. Wealth, in those
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

We shall consider our text, then, as one of the productions of a great master in spiritual matters, and we will study it, praying all the while that God will help us to pray after the like fashion. In our text we have the soul of a successful pleader under four aspects: we view, first, the soul confessing: "I am poor and needy." You have next, the soul pleading, for he makes a plea out of his poor condition, and adds, "Make haste unto me, O God!" You see, thirdly, a soul in it's urgency, for he cries,
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 17: 1871

Explanatory and Biographical
INTRODUCTION TO [202]BOOK I English lyrical religious poetry is less easily divisible than our secular verse into well-marked periods, whether in regard to matter or to manner. Throughout its long course it has in great measure the groundwork of a common Book, a common Faith, and a common Purpose. And although incidents from human life and aspects of nature are not excluded (and have in this selection, when possible, been specially gathered, with the view of varying the garland here presented)--yet
Francis Turner Palgrave—The Treasury of Sacred Song

The Worst Things Work for Good to the Godly
DO not mistake me, I do not say that of their own nature the worst things are good, for they are a fruit of the curse; but though they are naturally evil, yet the wise overruling hand of God disposing and sanctifying them, they are morally good. As the elements, though of contrary qualities, yet God has so tempered them, that they all work in a harmonious manner for the good of the universe. Or as in a watch, the wheels seem to move contrary one to another, but all carry on the motions of the watch:
Thomas Watson—A Divine Cordial

The Angel of the Lord in the Pentateuch, and the Book of Joshua.
The New Testament distinguishes between the hidden God and the revealed God--the Son or Logos--who is connected with the former by oneness of nature, and who from everlasting, and even at the creation itself, filled up the immeasurable distance between the Creator and the creation;--who has been the Mediator in all God's relations to the world;--who at all times, and even before He became man in Christ, has been the light of [Pg 116] the world,--and to whom, specially, was committed the direction
Ernst Wilhelm Hengstenberg—Christology of the Old Testament

Meditations for the Morning.
1. Almighty God can, in the resurrection, as easily raise up thy body out of the grave, from the sleep of death, as he hath this morning wakened thee in thy bed, out of the sleep of nature. At the dawning of which resurrection day, Christ shall come to be glorified in his saints; and every one of the bodies of the thousands of his saints, being fashioned like unto his glorious body, shall shine as bright as the sun (2 Thess. i. 10; Jude, ver. 14; Phil. iii. 21; Luke ix. 31;) all the angels shining
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

St. Malachy's Apostolic Labours, Praises and Miracles.
[Sidenote: 1140, October] 42. (23). Malachy embarked in a ship, and after a prosperous voyage landed at his monastery of Bangor,[576] so that his first sons might receive the first benefit.[577] In what state of mind do you suppose they were when they received their father--and such a father--in good health from so long a journey? No wonder if their whole heart gave itself over to joy at his return, when swift rumour soon brought incredible gladness even to the tribes[578] outside round about them.
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

A Treatise of the Fear of God;
SHOWING WHAT IT IS, AND HOW DISTINGUISHED FROM THAT WHICH IS NOT SO. ALSO, WHENCE IT COMES; WHO HAS IT; WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS; AND WHAT THE PRIVILEGES OF THOSE THAT HAVE IT IN THEIR HEARTS. London: Printed for N. Ponder, at the Peacock in the Poultry, over against the Stocks market: 1679. ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," and "a fountain of life"--the foundation on which all wisdom rests, as well as the source from whence it emanates. Upon a principle
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Thirdly, for Thy Actions.
1. Do no evil, though thou mightest; for God will not suffer the least sin, without bitter repentance, to escape unpunished. Leave not undone any good that thou canst. But do nothing without a calling, nor anything in thy calling, till thou hast first taken counsel at God's word (1 Sam. xxx. 8) of its lawfulness, and pray for his blessings upon thy endeavour; and then do it in the name of God, with cheerfulness of heart, committing the success to him, in whose power it is to bless with his grace
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Fragrant Spices from the Mountains of Myrrh. "Thou Art all Fair, My Love; There is no Spot in Thee. " --Song of Solomon iv. 7.
FRAGRANT SPICES FROM THE MOUNTAINS OF MYRRH. HOW marvellous are these words! "Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee." The glorious Bridegroom is charmed with His spouse, and sings soft canticles of admiration. When the bride extols her Lord there is no wonder, for He deserves it well, and in Him there is room for praise without possibility of flattery. But does He who is wiser than Solomon condescend to praise this sunburnt Shulamite? Tis even so, for these are His own words, and were
Charles Hadden Spurgeon—Till He Come

A Believer's Privilege at Death
'For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.' Phil 1:1I. Hope is a Christian's anchor, which he casts within the veil. Rejoicing in hope.' Rom 12:12. A Christian's hope is not in this life, but he hash hope in his death.' Prov 14:42. The best of a saint's comfort begins when his life ends; but the wicked have all their heaven here. Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.' Luke 6:64. You may make your acquittance, and write Received in full payment.' Son, remember that
Thomas Watson—A Body of Divinity

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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