[b-hebrew] Face of God?

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Fri Aug 12 11:49:55 EDT 2005

But Shoshanna, in this particular story, Jacob is referring precisely to his
having struggled with the angel. So he does not mean that he "saw" God, but
rather that he "faced off" with God's messenger.
In any case, such etymologies can rarely be taken literally. They are
usually etiological - in other words, the place had its name for whatever
reason, and then Jacob (or his descendants who passed on the tradition) came
along and attached a stiry to the name. Note that the next verse (32:31)
calls the place Pnuel, which is its usual name. The same is true  in the
previous chapter, when Gilead is called Gal-ed just once, to explain the
story, and then forever Gilead. In 32:2, Jacob names Mahanaim "camp of God",
although the more fitting etymology is stated in verse 10: "and now I have
become two camps" ("Mahanaim" being a double form). So one should not try to
understand such stories too litterally.

To all those who do, have an easy Tish'ah be'Av fast, and may the trials of
this coming week leave us all alive and sane.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Shoshanna Walker" <rosewalk at concentric.net>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, August 12, 2005 4:30 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Attributes of YHWH

> The Torah speaks in language that we human beings can understand, and
> cannot always be understood literally
> This verse probably means that the visions/communications that Jacob
> had, were actually from G-d, and not some lesser being, such as an
> angel.

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