Jacob is afraid of meeting his brother Esau, Jacob prays to God for help in his distress, from Genesis 32:7-12 commented by ASV and questions

God said go home

Jacob was afraid, he was terrified and desperate, and in his thinking, he was looking for a solution, a way out. He could have fled east when he heard that Esau had armed himself with 400 soldiers. Jacob didn’t flee, God had told him to go home to his father’s house, so Jacob thought that the way out of this must have been meeting his brother, not fleeing from him.

Dark and gloomy

Jacob was trembling afraid and his condition must have affected the huge camp from his wives and children down to all his servants, this was now a camp in fear, they feared death and imprisonment, everything was dark and gloomy. Wherever Jacob looked, he saw faces of desperation.

He did something

But even in this situation he didn’t panic, Jacob did two things, first he divided his huge caravan into two groups for the one to flee if the other was attacked, Jacob didn’t sit down and cry, no he did something, he acted, he believed God and tried to find the way out. Then secondly, he turned to God and prayed.

A personal prayer

Jacob had been living for twenty years among people worshiping many gods also within in his camp people prayed to different gods. Jacob started with addressing the God he prayed to, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the LORD” Jacob prayed to his father’s God and his grandfather’s God and it was a personal prayer, he used God’s name.

God is your friend

Now let us change this prayer a little bit, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, YHWH” Jacob used God’s name, it was informal, it was personal. For instance, if you happened to be a mechanic and your name is John being my best friend, and I am asking you for help saying, “Mister Mechanic could you help me with this.” You would probably look at me, and say, what do you mean with this mister mechanic; I am your friend John. The word the LORD in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word YHWH from the original text and reflexes God’s personal name it is not a title.

Let us look at the content of Jacob’s prayer,

  1. To whom he sent his prayer request and why, because God had said, “Return to your country and to your people, and I will make you prosper
  2. Jacob acknowledge that he was a sinner, and that all the help God gave him was not because of what he did, but of God’s mercy and goodness.
  3. Then finally he presented his request, “Save me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau”
  4. Jacob ended his prayer by reminding God of what He earlier had promised him, “I will certainly make you prosper and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be counted

His treasure in his heart

Jacob remembered every word God had told him, they were his precious treasure, and he kept them in his heart, and now in these perilous times he recalled God’s words and presented them to Him.

Quick and on target

When we pray the word of the bible, we are making Jesus, The Word, come alive in our situation and the answer is quick and on target.


  1. Does what is inside of your heart decide what you are thinking about?
  2. Does what you are thinking about influence your speaking?
  3. Does God know you?
  4. What is a friend?

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