Originally posted by whodey
I've decided to start a thread revealing some of the wisdom of scripture instead of mindless debates over the nonexistence/existence of God.
In Genesis 32:27, we see Jacob wrestling with God. It is a rather peculiar scene as God asks Jacob a rather peculiar question. He asks Jacob what his name is. Why?
What is the message here if any?
Jacob means one who follows on another's heels or supplanter. He was given this name because he was the twin to Esau and followed in birth on his heels. The name later became to also mean supplanter because of his deception to gain the birthright and blessing over his brother.
I believe he was asked his name to bring to Jacob's attention his former history and it was changed to "Israel" to indicate the change in his history from that point. I believe Jacob asked the name of "the man" to identify who had the authority to change his name.
Here is the context:
Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob’s thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But he said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked him and said, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Peniel, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved.”
(Genesis 32:24-30 NASB)
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THE NAME ISRAEL?
Israel - which we get from the Greek, is originally in the Hebrew, "Yisrael".
Yisrael means, quite literally, "He has striven with God," or "He has been saved by God," based on which translation of "sra" was meant to be used.
"Yi", in the Hebrew, is the masculine form "he". "Sra", in the Hebrew, comes from the Semitic root "Sry", which means "to strive or to save." The word "El," in the Hebrew, is a form of the word for God.
When you see 'el' in any Hebrew name, it is a form of the word for God. See other names such as Ishmael (God has heard), Michael (Who is like God), and Daniel (My judge is God).
To better understand which meaning of Sra we are to use, we need to understand the origin of the name Israel. The origins came from Genesis chapter 32 where Jacob struggles with a man all night long until he is blessed. The man asks Jacob's name, then tells him that his name is no longer Jacob, but Israel, because he has striven with God and with man. (Genesis 32:28)
Therefore, we can definitively say that the word 'Israel', based on the Bible, means "He has striven with God."
Jacob (now Israel) became the father of the nation of Israel through his twelve sons - which is why you may hear the phrase, "Children of Israel" referring to the nation itself.