How The Hebrew Name 'Israel' Describes The Relationship Of The Nation And Their God | God TV

How The Hebrew Name ‘Israel’ Describes The Relationship Of The Nation And Their God

How The Hebrew Name ‘Israel’ Describes The Relationship Of The Nation And Their God
How The Hebrew Name ‘Israel’ Describes The Relationship Of The Nation And Their God

Israel today is a name for the modern state and its people, Israel. But, before they were formed as a nation, it started with a man named Jacob. From Jacob to Israel, the name change signifies an important aspect that we should look at to describe the relationship Israel has with their God. But, in doing so, we should understand the authentic Hebrew meaning of the name Israel.

The Hebrew Name, Israel

Israel, or in the original Hebrew, Yisrael, is a name given by God to Jacob after he confronted an Angel of the Lord. The encounter happened in Genesis 32, where Jacob prepared his meeting with his twin brother, Esau. Ever since Jacob deceived his brother for his birthright, Jacob had been on the run – afraid that Esau might kill him.

But, the inevitable has come. The two brothers reunite. So, Jacob got ready by wrestling with an Angel of the Lord to bless him. Indeed, he received what he asked when he did not let go of the heavenly man.

Genesis 32:27-28 says, “The man asked him, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Jacob,’ he answered. Then the man said, ‘Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.’

When we read from the English translation, the meaning may get lost. But in Hebrew, Israel, and its meaning, ‘struggle with God’ has an obvious connection. Israel is a homophonic shortcut from the Hebrew phrase, “Saritah im Elohim,” which means “struggle with God.”

The scene, the struggling with God, portrays a fundamental aspect the people of Israel should have in their relationship with God. It teaches them to have a dynamic relationship, with all the struggling, confrontation, and dialogue with their God. It is not merely a passive thing. But, it requires a deep connection with God.

Reference: Youtube | Israel Institute of Biblical Studies

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