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Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. II:
City of God: Chapter 39

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter 39.—The Reason Why Jacob Was Also Called Israel.

As I said a little ago, Jacob was also called Israel, the name which was most prevalent among the people descended from him.  Now this name was given him by the angel who wrestled with him on the way back from Mesopotamia, and who was most evidently a type of Christ.  For when Jacob overcame him, doubtless with his own consent, that the mystery might be represented, it signified Christ’s passion, in which the Jews are seen overcoming Him.  And yet he besought a blessing from the very angel he had overcome; and so the imposition of this name was the blessing.  For Israel means seeing God965 which will at last be the reward of all the saints.  The angel also touched him on the breadth of the thigh when he was overcoming him, and in that way made him lame.  So that Jacob was at one and the same time blessed and lame:  blessed in those among that people who believed in Christ, and lame in the unbelieving.  For the breadth of the thigh is the multitude of the family.  For there are many of that race of whom it was prophetically said beforehand, “And they have halted in their paths.” 966


Footnotes

333:965

Gen. 32.28:  Israel = a prince of God; ver. 30; Peniel = the face of God.

333:966

Ps. 18.45.


Next: Chapter 40

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