a. Jacob calls the place Peniel. Jacob says, “For I have seen God face to face.” Now, we have to stop and really grapple with the identity of this man. The text says that it was a man but Jacob says he saw God. Let me add one more description in the mix. Look back at Hosea 12:4, “He strove with the angel and prevailed.” So now we have a man, an angel, and God. Now turn with me back to Genesis chapter 18. We are told that the LORD appeared to Abraham and Abraham saw three men. In the following chapter we find out that two of the men were in angels. In that story, it appears that the Lord appeared in human form as well as the angels. Now we are getting somewhere. Now go with me to the book of Judges. In chapter 13 we have the description of the birth of Samson. His mother was barren. In verse three, we find that one day the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and told her that she would have a son and that he would be under a special vow. The woman goes to her husband Manoah and tells him that a man of God came to her. So we have the angel of the LORD and a man of God. But the man of God had the appearance of the angel of God. She notes that “he did not tell me his name”. So she saw the angel of Yahweh, a man of God that looked like the angel of God. Manoah prays and asks God to send the man of God to talk to him. Verse 9 says that the angel of God (Elohim) came again. Manoah asks him if he is the man (ish, the normal name for man) that came the other day and he says I am. Manoah asks a question and verse 13 says that the angel of the LORD answered him. Again in verses 15, 16, 17 and 18 we have him called the angel of the LORD. And so we have a person that appears that looks like a man, a man of God having the appearance of the angel of God, says he is the man and is called the angel of God (Elohim, divinity) and the angel of LORD (Yahweh, covenant name). Notice verse 17. Manoah asks the angel of the LORD, “What is your name?” What is the answer? Why do you ask my name? It is the same exact answer in Hebrew that Jacob received from the man. To Manoah, he adds, “seeing it is wonderful.” By which he means his name is beyond comprehension. The word appears in Psalm 139:6 which says, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” So the angel of the Lord answers Manoah’s request for his name by saying that Manoah could not even comprehend his name. His name is too high and he could not attain it. Who is this man that Jacob wrestles and Manoah and his wife see? We have one more piece to add. b. My life has been delivered. Back to Genesis. Jacob says he has seen God face to face and yet his life was delivered. Back to Judges 13, after the angel of the Lord departs Manoah says, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” It’s the same response that Jacob has. I saw God, I should die. Manoah’s wife reminds him that if God wanted them dead, he would not have accepted their sacrifice and had told them all the things that he did. Yes, they saw God, but he delivered them. With Jacob God blesses him. And with Manoah and his wife God accepts their sacrifice and they are blessed with a son. The similarities between the two encounters are striking. So we can conclude that Jacob, Manoah, and his wife saw on person who was God, the angel, the angel of the Lord, the angel of God, in the form of a man. This is what theologians have termed a Christophany which is the appearance of the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God, before he took on flesh and dwelt among us. It was Jesus. c. Jacob limps. Verses 32 and 33 are the conclusion to this event. Jacob left the place limping because of what God did to his hip. It has been traditionally believed that Jacob had the limp for the rest of his life, like Paul and his thorn in the flesh, as a reminder of what happened and to keep him humble because of his seeing God face to face. When you get to heaven you can ask him if that was true. Nevertheless, he limped away from the encounter. Verse 32 is a notation made by our narrator Moses. He states that the people of Israel in his day, generations later, did not eat the sinew of the thigh of animals in remembrance of Jacob’s hip. That tradition has been passed down over the centuries and practicing Jews still do not eat that part of the animal today.