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This Week's Reading: Genesis 28-33
Come Follow Me Insight #1
The scriptures tell us that Jacob “wrestled” with a man, demanding a spiritual blessing. This sounds quite strange and we don’t have a perfect explanation for it. But we do have more information than we might realize!
Jacob’s wrestle was definitely physical in some way. The Hebrew version of the Bible makes it clear that during this “wrestle” Jacob’s hip was somehow pulled out of joint which wouldn’t happen in an emotional or spiritual wrestle.
But who did he wrestle with? Was it an angel?
Doctrine and Covenants 129:4-7 is clear on the fact that spirit beings cannot and will not come into physical contact with physical beings. So if Jacob’s wrestling match was physical, he had to have encountered someone with a body.
The options for this are:
1) a person alive on the earth at that time,
2) a translated being, or
3) God himself.
(Jesus still did not have a body so it could not have been Him and there were no resurrected beings at this time because Jesus had not yet been resurrected.)
Come Follow Me Insight #2
It is one of the great mysteries of the Bible that Jacob married and spent his wedding night with a woman he didn’t realize was NOT his intended bride. How could this have been? There are a few possibilities:
1. While the scriptures state clearly that Jacob loved Rachel, his love for her before they were married might not have been because he knew her well and felt they were a great match. In fact Jacob was told by his father that he had to choose a wife from the sons of Laban (Genesis 28:1-2). Laban had two daughters and Jacob immediately chose the prettier one. (Genesis 29:16-18) When the scriptures say that Jacob “loved” Rachel the Hebrew word (ahab) that is used could mean anything from “Jacob was attracted to Rachel” to “Jacob loved Rachel like a friend.”
2. After Jacob’s marriage to a (very likely) veiled bride a party was held for the men only. Jacob would therefore not have had a chance to interact with his new bride between the wedding and the actual wedding night. Also, the party that was held is referred to in the scriptures as a “mishteh”, Hebrew for feast, drinking or “drinking party.” Jacob therefore might not have had the clearest head when he went to his bedroom for the night.
Genesis 29:22 makes it clear that when Jacob went in to meet his new bride it was evening. Nighttime in the desert is extremely dark so Jacob probably couldn’t see his new bride clearly.