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Let God Prevail


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I thought Israel meant Prevails with God, according to the footnote in the LDS KJV, no?

President Nelson stated that according to Hebrew scholars one interpretation is: Let God Prevail. 

That's also inspiring, and true, and accurate. 

Form reading the story of how Jacob wrestled w/ an Angel all night, that doesn't seem like the actions of one who is letting God prevail. 

Jacob refused to let go of the Angel until Jacob was promised a blessing. 

Wouldn't letting God prevail look more like saying to the Angel: Ok. I'll do what you say instead of basically starting a fight?

Heard somewhere that Joseph Smith said we shoudl weary the Lord w/ our prayers. To me, that seems more like prevailing rather than letting God prevail, no?

Also, I read somewhere in one of the Seminary or Institute manuals from the 80's or 90's that the Angel may have been Jehovah. 

If so, He wouldn't have had a physical body and wrestling w/ Jacob would not have been possible.

If Jacob wrestled w/ an Angel who was resurrected, I'm not sure who at that point in time had been resurrected.

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3 minutes ago, nuclearfuels said:

I thought Israel meant Prevails with God, according to the footnote in the LDS KJV, no?

President Nelson stated that according to Hebrew scholars one interpretation is: Let God Prevail. 

That's also inspiring, and true, and accurate. 

Form reading the story of how Jacob wrestled w/ an Angel all night, that doesn't seem like the actions of one who is letting God prevail. 

Jacob refused to let go of the Angel until Jacob was promised a blessing. 

Wouldn't letting God prevail look more like saying to the Angel: Ok. I'll do what you say instead of basically starting a fight?

Heard somewhere that Joseph Smith said we shoudl weary the Lord w/ our prayers. To me, that seems more like prevailing rather than letting God prevail, no?

Also, I read somewhere in one of the Seminary or Institute manuals from the 80's or 90's that the Angel may have been Jehovah. 

If so, He wouldn't have had a physical body and wrestling w/ Jacob would not have been possible.

If Jacob wrestled w/ an Angel who was resurrected, I'm not sure who at that point in time had been resurrected.

We can't beat God in any sense whatsoever, but even if we think we can and think we have it would only be because God "let" or allowed us to think that we prevailed with him.

And I understand Jacob's "wrestle" with God to have been more of a spiritual struggle for him with God than a physical wrestling match with God.  He did have a physical wrestling bout with a man, though, who was able to give him a blessing from God.  Probably just an ordinary man who had the same priesthood God had, as many ordinary men do today.

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1 hour ago, Dan McClellan said:

In the original text, it was definitely God himself in the fight, but over time it became theologically problematic to have God interact physically with humanity, and angels were the most convenient literary obscurant. A different reference to the story is found in Hosea 12:4. The KJV reads "He had power over the angel, and prevailed," but if we remove the word "angel," the preposition that is bizarrely translated "over" in the KJV (el) becomes the Hebrew word for God (el), which then becomes the subject of the clause, and it reads, "And God contended, and prevailed." This makes much better sense of the next statement, "he wept and made supplication unto him." Why would Jacob weep and beg for favor if he had just defeated the angel? It makes much better sense without the angel, and with God winning, at which point Jacob weeps and begs for favor. This doesn't fit the story in Genesis, but it already doesn't match. 

This makes much more sense than the reading we have in the KJV.  Thanks.

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2 hours ago, nuclearfuels said:

I thought Israel meant Prevails with God, according to the footnote in the LDS KJV, no?

President Nelson stated that according to Hebrew scholars one interpretation is: Let God Prevail. 

That's also inspiring, and true, and accurate. 

Form reading the story of how Jacob wrestled w/ an Angel all night, that doesn't seem like the actions of one who is letting God prevail. 

...

That's why he needed to "let God prevail" ... because he was 'rasslin' with 'im, Dude!!! :D:rofl:

Just sayin'! ;):D

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1 hour ago, Dan McClellan said:

The KJV's footnotes aren't the best. "He perseveres (with) God" is one attempt to make sense of it in a way that aligns with the narrative, but the simplest reading is just "God prevails," or "God contends." "Let God Prevail" is a jussive reading of the yiqtol form of the verb, which would be expressing a wish or desire. President Nelson seems to treat it more like an imperative, which isn't an accurate reading. The sense is not "you must let God prevail," it's "may God prevail." 

In the original text, it was definitely God himself in the fight, but over time it became theologically problematic to have God interact physically with humanity, and angels were the most convenient literary obscurant. A different reference to the story is found in Hosea 12:4. The KJV reads "He had power over the angel, and prevailed," but if we remove the word "angel," the preposition that is bizarrely translated "over" in the KJV (el) becomes the Hebrew word for God (el), which then becomes the subject of the clause, and it reads, "And God contended, and prevailed." This makes much better sense of the next statement, "he wept and made supplication unto him." Why would Jacob weep and beg for favor if he had just defeated the angel? It makes much better sense without the angel, and with God winning, at which point Jacob weeps and begs for favor. This doesn't fit the story in Genesis, but it already doesn't match. 

So basically Jacob contended with God and God prevailed and then Jacob let God prevail (or admitted to himself that God prevailed) and then Jacob asked God for a blessing and God prevailed in doing that too.

Maybe you could put that in the new footnotes when you have an opportunity to revise our scriptures, just to make it easier for everyone to understand.

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22 hours ago, Dan McClellan said:

In the original text, it was definitely God himself in the fight, but over time it became theologically problematic to have God interact physically with humanity, and angels were the most convenient literary obscurant. A different reference to the story is found in Hosea 12:4. The KJV reads "He had power over the angel, and prevailed," but if we remove the word "angel," the preposition that is bizarrely translated "over" in the KJV (el) becomes the Hebrew word for God (el), which then becomes the subject of the clause, and it reads, "And God contended, and prevailed." This makes much better sense of the next statement, "he wept and made supplication unto him." Why would Jacob weep and beg for favor if he had just defeated the angel? It makes much better sense without the angel, and with God winning, at which point Jacob weeps and begs for favor. This doesn't fit the story in Genesis, but it already doesn't match. 

Thanks Dan! That does make a lot more sense to me. 

One last question: Jacob then was wrestling w/ God the Father who had a resurrected physical body? Jehovah wouldn't have had a physical body at the time but the original text probably resolves this?

Edited by nuclearfuels
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1 hour ago, nuclearfuels said:

Thanks Dan! That does make a lot more sense to me. 

One last question: Jacob then was wrestling w/ God the Father who had a resurrected physical body? Jehovah wouldn't have had a physical body at the time but the original text probably resolves this?

According to the text, Jacob would have been wrestling with El, whom we identify with God the Father. I don't think the systematic distinction of YHWH/Jesus and El/God the Father that we developed in the early 20th century is really tenable for the text of the Hebrew Bible, so I'm wary about drawing strong conclusions about that kind of thing.

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1 hour ago, nuclearfuels said:

Thanks Dan! That does make a lot more sense to me. 

One last question: Jacob then was wrestling w/ God the Father who had a resurrected physical body? Jehovah wouldn't have had a physical body at the time but the original text probably resolves this?

Does the wrestle need to be physical?  One can wrestle with words or over ideas.

Edited by ksfisher
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4 hours ago, ksfisher said:

Does the wrestle need to be physical?  One can wrestle with words or over ideas.

For us, perhaps....

For Jacob....you don’t get your hip socket thrown out of joint in a battle of words.

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I'll freely admit up front that I dunno nuthin' about nuthin'! :unknw:  And I'm not necessarily arguing for any relation or for a common root, but similar imagery or idiom (at least as the text is translated into English) does cause me to wonder ...  Enos says he wrestled (aka "rassled" ;)) before God.  Enos's "rassle" might (in fact, probably does involve simple strenuous, pleading prayer) (cf. Enos 1:2) ...  Still, it is interestin'!  If nuthin' else, it does serve to illustrate that this whole "rasslin' with God" or "rasslin' before God" thang ain't as rare as we think! ;)

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On 10/15/2020 at 11:41 AM, nuclearfuels said:

Heard somewhere that Joseph Smith said we shoudl weary the Lord w/ our prayers. To me, that seems more like prevailing rather than letting God prevail, no?

I guess that would depend on whether the gist of one’s prayers is “let my will be done” or “let Thy will be done.”  The Savior taught the latter was the proper way to petition Deity and is wholly consistent with “let God prevail.”

Edited by let’s roll
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On 10/15/2020 at 11:43 AM, Dan McClellan said:

In the original text, it was definitely God himself in the fight, but over time it became theologically problematic to have God interact physically with humanity, and angels were the most convenient literary obscurant. A different reference to the story is found in Hosea 12:4. The KJV reads "He had power over the angel, and prevailed," but if we remove the word "angel," the preposition that is bizarrely translated "over" in the KJV (el) becomes the Hebrew word for God (el), which then becomes the subject of the clause, and it reads, "And God contended, and prevailed." This makes much better sense of the next statement, "he wept and made supplication unto him." Why would Jacob weep and beg for favor if he had just defeated the angel? It makes much better sense without the angel, and with God winning, at which point Jacob weeps and begs for favor. This doesn't fit the story in Genesis, but it already doesn't match. 

I'm curious to know your take on the commentary on Genesis 32:25 from Nachmanides (Ramban) found here (it's in Hebrew - and my verse reference is using the verse numbering from the Torah on that website, it correlates to Genesis 32:24 in our KJV).  Matthew B. Brown made a reference to this source using the Charles B. Chavel translation of his commentary in a presentation titled, "The Israelite Temple and the Early Christians" given at the 2008 FairMormon Conference (this is the video and this is the transcript).   Matthew Brown said (according to the Nachmanides source using the Charles B. Chavel translation), "Jacob’s experience with the heavenly being should be translated in Genesis as, “and he embraced him.”  It was in this embrace that Jacob received a new name (see Gen. 32:24, 27-28)."

I don't have a copy of Charles B. Chavel's translation (my wife would kill me if I bought all the books that I'd really like to have), and I can see where the website reference talks about a struggle and embrace or a hug (Google translate gives different results at different times), but that seems to be more of an interpretation by Nachmanides rather than a translation issue.

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18 hours ago, InCognitus said:

I'm curious to know your take on the commentary on Genesis 32:25 from Nachmanides (Ramban) found here (it's in Hebrew - and my verse reference is using the verse numbering from the Torah on that website, it correlates to Genesis 32:24 in our KJV).  Matthew B. Brown made a reference to this source using the Charles B. Chavel translation of his commentary in a presentation titled, "The Israelite Temple and the Early Christians" given at the 2008 FairMormon Conference (this is the video and this is the transcript).   Matthew Brown said (according to the Nachmanides source using the Charles B. Chavel translation), "Jacob’s experience with the heavenly being should be translated in Genesis as, “and he embraced him.”  It was in this embrace that Jacob received a new name (see Gen. 32:24, 27-28)."

I don't have a copy of Charles B. Chavel's translation (my wife would kill me if I bought all the books that I'd really like to have), and I can see where the website reference talks about a struggle and embrace or a hug (Google translate gives different results at different times), but that seems to be more of an interpretation by Nachmanides rather than a translation issue.

There's an awful lot in the Medieval commentaries that is attempting to systematize, philosophize, moralize, and harmonize. I don't think that reading fits well within the original context or the new name Jacob is given. 

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13 minutes ago, 2BizE said:

Apparently, only the dualistic champion Satan is able to prevail over God...at least at times.

As crap happens, as humans are inhumane to their fellow humans sometimes and just plain evil to their fellow humans at other times, as nature sometimes wreaks havoc, and as we're subject to other undesirable conditions in this world (such as disease and death), indeed, sometimes, Satan does prevail, or so it seems: As he seems so fond of reminding us so often, this (telestial) world is his world, after all: we just live in it.  But I got tired of wondering how the story is going to turn out, so I peeked at the end: Don't worry; God wins.  As one of the Beatles said (can't remember who), "It will be all right in the end: If it's not all right, it's not the end."

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On 10/15/2020 at 6:41 PM, nuclearfuels said:

Form reading the story of how Jacob wrestled w/ an Angel all night, that doesn't seem like the actions of one who is letting God prevail. 

When I was in the Language Training Mission (LTM, the predecessor to the MTC) in Provo, and this would have been 1972, there were some missionaries who were discouraged because of their lack of progress in learning German and the then 6 discussions. It was during a sacrament meeting talk that one of the priesthood leaders in charge at Amanda Knight Hall told us that if we were having trouble learning what we needed, that we needed to pray for help from the Lord. And not just ask, but challenge the Lord on the matter. I remember his words, not word-for-word, but generally he said we needed to be direct: "Father, you've called me to do your work, but I'm having trouble preparing for teaching your children. I need your help in order to do what you have called me to do!" This perfectly reflects 1 Nephi 3:7: 

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

Sometimes God lets us stew in our own juices until we ask him for what we want very specifically. I don't see Jacob's wrestle as contrary to the idea of letting God prevail. God wants to bless us, after all. But he doesn't hand everything to us on a silver platter without some effort on our own behalf. Enos prayed for an entire day in order to gain a boon from the Lord -- and that is the equivalent to wrestling with an angel, is it not?

Of course, sometimes the answer is No.  And when the answer is No, we need to be satisfied with that answer -- unlike Joseph Smith and Martin Harris, who importuned the Lord to let Martin take those manuscript pages to show Martin's wife, until the Lord finally let them have their way. And you know what happened then!

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On 10/16/2020 at 4:31 PM, Calm said:

For us, perhaps....

For Jacob....you don’t get your hip socket thrown out of joint in a battle of words.

True, but one might get one's nose bent out of joint a tad! ;) :D :rofl: 

Sorry. :huh:  Couldn't resist. :unknw: 

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9 hours ago, Stargazer said:

When I was in the Language Training Mission (LTM, the predecessor to the MTC) in Provo, and this would have been 1972, there were some missionaries who were discouraged because of their lack of progress in learning German and the then 6 discussions. It was during a sacrament meeting talk that one of the priesthood leaders in charge at Amanda Knight Hall told us that if we were having trouble learning what we needed, that we needed to pray for help from the Lord. And not just ask, but challenge the Lord on the matter. I remember his words, not word-for-word, but generally he said we needed to be direct: "Father, you've called me to do your work, but I'm having trouble preparing for teaching your children. I need your help in order to do what you have called me to do!" This perfectly reflects 1 Nephi 3:7: 

"I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them."

Sometimes God lets us stew in our own juices until we ask him for what we want very specifically. I don't see Jacob's wrestle as contrary to the idea of letting God prevail. God wants to bless us, after all. But he doesn't hand everything to us on a silver platter without some effort on our own behalf. Enos prayed for an entire day in order to gain a boon from the Lord -- and that is the equivalent to wrestling with an angel, is it not?

Of course, sometimes the answer is No.  And when the answer is No, we need to be satisfied with that answer -- unlike Joseph Smith and Martin Harris, who importuned the Lord to let Martin take those manuscript pages to show Martin's wife, until the Lord finally let them have their way. And you know what happened then!

Sometimes with God we win by "losing"

Remember Jacob had been obedient and was seeking a blessing and they only way he could get it- apparently was "struggling with God"- which might very well mean struggling with the circumstances presented by the Lord in order to teach us.

So Jacob struggled with the "angel" to the point where the angel had to dislocate Jacob's hip- inflict an injury which could have been permanent in those days- simply to teach him the persistence he needed to "prevail"

But Jacob got his blessing for all his effort and is now known as the father of all the tribes under his new name- Israel.

THAT was his endowment- becoming the father of God's people- but he had to persist and "prevail" through surrendering to God "after all that he could do"

So when one surrenders to God who "prevails"? 

Jacob got his blessing and God got his favored chosen people through which He was able to send His Son.

I think the ambiguity exists because yes indeed, the situation is ambiguous- both prevailed! 

 

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10 hours ago, 2BizE said:

Apparently, only the dualistic champion Satan is able to prevail over God...at least at times.

Any good chess player occasionally has to give away a pawn to win the game.

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On 10/15/2020 at 1:32 PM, Kenngo1969 said:

That's why he needed to "let God prevail" ... because he was 'rasslin' with 'im, Dude!!! :D:rofl:

Just sayin'! ;):D

Heck, half of my life has been wrestling with God!

;)

 

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On 10/18/2020 at 9:17 AM, carbon dioxide said:

God will always prevail.  I sometimes war with God because I don't get what I want and so far, I have not won a battle.  We may think we can change God's mind on things but it pretty much never happens

Pretty much never happens makes it seem as if there may be some time or times when God will let us win, whatever that would mean for God's will not to be done.

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