Jacob was alone, he had sent his servants and family well ahead of him. During the night, another man showed and they began to wrestle. We can only speculate what got them two to wrestle. Maybe they were sitting around talking and one ask the other, “Hey, you want to wrestle”? or is it possible that Jacob was jumped from behind? Only two people could answer that, one is Jacob and the other… they did wrestle though, all night long. The bible says until daybreak. Again we can only speculate how long the battle took place.
Jacob was kicking butt. He must have been a scrapper because the bible says that when the man noticed he wasn’t winning he touched Jacob’s thigh, which was out of joint. The man then said to Jacob, “Let me go, for the day breaks”! But Jacob refused!
Why did Jacob refuse?
During the battle as the day was breaking, I imagine Jacob realizing that he was not just wrestling a man, but what the bible says as God. A preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ. So now we know that the other person was actually God.
Then the Lord said to Jacob, as if he didn’t already know, “What is thy name”? In which Jacob answered, “Jacob”! At this time, our Lord told Jacob that his name would no longer be called Jacob but Israel. The bible goes on to say: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and has prevailed (won success)! Afterwards Israel asked for the Lords name? But the name never came, only, “Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name”? And the Lord blessed him there.
At this point I assume the Lord left Israel there alone again. Jacob (Israel) standing there, probably thinking about what just happened. Thinking about his thigh. Thinking how blessed he is, decided to name the place, Peniel (The Face of God). “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved”, Jacob says.
As Jacob passed over Peniel we can the the sun rising, shining and casting a shadow of Blessed Jacob onto the ground below. We see Jacob limping and with each step he must be smiling, “I’ve wrestled with God”!