Genesis 32: Jacob Travels toward Home

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 33


What was the relationship between Jacob and Esau when Jacob left to find a wife? (see Genesis 27:41–45). If you were Jacob, how would you feel about going home? What would you do about your situation?Genesis 32–33 tells the story of Jacob’s return and what he did to prepare to meet Esau. As you read, consider what you can learn from this story about how to repair a relationship that has gone bad.

Understanding the Scriptures

Genesis 32

Host (v. 2)Army, camp 
Sojourned (v. 4)Lived 
Distressed (v. 7)Worried 
Company (vv. 8, 21)Group 
Staff (v. 10)Walking stick that was also a shepherd’s rod to help control animals 
Lodged (vv. 13, 21)Slept, stayed 
That which came to his hand (v. 13)His possessions 
Drove (vv. 16, 19)Groups of animals 
Betwixt (v. 16)Between 
Foremost (v. 17)First in line 
Appease (v. 20)Try to calm 
Peradventure (v. 20)If 
Ford (v. 22)River 
Prevailed not (v. 25)Could not win 
Hollow of his thigh (vv. 25, 32)Socket of his hip 
Prevailed (v. 28)Overcome, won 
Preserved (v. 30)Saved 
Halted (v. 31)Limped 
Sinew (v. 32)A tendon connecting muscle to the bone 

Studying the Scriptures

Do activities A and B as you study Genesis 32.

Activity A iconApply the Words of Modern Prophets

Consider the following statement from President Spencer W. Kimball, and then write about how it might apply to some of the things that Jacob did in Genesis 32:1–23.

“If we will sue for peace, taking the initiative in settling differences—if we can forgive and forget with all our hearts—if we can cleanse our own souls of sin, accusations, bitterness, and guilt before we cast a stone at others—if we forgive all real or fancied offenses before we ask forgiveness for our own sins—if we pay our own debts, large or small, before we press our debtors—if we manage to clear our own eyes of the blinding beams before we magnify the motes in the eyes of others—what a glorious world this would be!” (in Conference Report, Oct. 1949, 133).

Activity B iconWhat Does It Mean?

  1. 1.

    Read Enos 1:1–5 in the Book of Mormon and tell what you think it means to “wrestle” before the Lord.

  2. 2.

    Why do you think Jacob was wrestling before the Lord? (You can find help in verses 9–12.)

  3. 3.

    What does Jacob’s name tell you about his wrestle before God? (Make sure you read footnote 36a of Genesis 27 for the meaning of his name.)