Genesis 32:12 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 32:12, NIV: "But you have said, 'I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted.''"

Genesis 32:12, ESV: "But you said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’”"

Genesis 32:12, KJV: "And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude."

Genesis 32:12, NASB: "For You said, ‘I will assuredly make you prosper and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be counted.’?'"

Genesis 32:12, NLT: "But you promised me, 'I will surely treat you kindly, and I will multiply your descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore--too many to count.''"

Genesis 32:12, CSB: "You have said, 'I will cause you to prosper, and I will make your offspring like the sand of the sea, too numerous to be counted.'""

What does Genesis 32:12 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob continues his prayer to God for deliverance. He is desperately fearful over news that his estranged brother, who once vowed to kill him (Genesis 27:41–45) is now approaching with a party of 400 men (Genesis 32:6). Jacob has already split his family and possessions into two groups, hoping to give one a chance to retreat if they are attacked (Genesis 32:7–8). After this, Jacob begins to fervently pray to God and He has acknowledged God's previous goodness to him (Genesis 32:9–10). He has made his request (Genesis 32:11). Now he reminds God—which, in truth, is Jacob reminding himself—of the Lord's promise to do good to him and to make his offspring as the sand of the sea.

The implication in Jacob's prayer is that God won't be able to keep his promise to Jacob if he and all of his children are dead. Is Jacob attempting to manipulate God into protecting him by bringing up this promise? Or, is he simply declaring his trust that God will keep His promise? Perhaps even Jacob himself didn't know. His life has been marked by an odd combination of reliance on God and personal scheming. This is a desperate prayer, made out of a heart of profound fear. In either case, it is an expression of great faith in God's ability to step in and save Jacob from his brother Esau.