What does Genesis 32:12 mean?
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.’”
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.''
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.’?'
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.' "
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.’'
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.
NKJV: For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ ”
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Genesis 32:1–21 describes Jacob's preparations to meet his brother Esau, who is coming his way with 400 men. This will be the first time Jacob and Esau have spoken since Jacob fled Esau's rage as described in Genesis 27. Jacob is terrified this approaching force is coming to kill him. He divides his company into two camps. He prays in humility and faith to God for deliverance. He prepares a large gift of 550 animals to be strategically delivered to Esau to appease his presumed anger.
Chapter Summary:
As Jacob turns from Laban and returns to his own country, he must face another fearful potential conflict. His twin brother Esau is coming with 400 men. Jacob fears this group approaches to take revenge for cheating Esau out of the family blessing 20 years earlier. Jacob is so afraid that he splits his company into two camps, even as he prays for deliverance. He also prepares an enormous gift to appease Esau. Finally, while alone in the dark, Jacob is unexpectedly forced to wrestle a mysterious man, who turns out to be God Himself in some manifested form. In a profound moment of symbolism, God forces Jacob to state his own name, which God then changes to Israel.
Chapter Context:
Jacob came to work for Laban while running from the murderous rage of his twin brother, Esau. Jacob was routinely cheated by Laban, eventually resolving to go back home along with his entire family. Unfortunately, this means coming back to face Esau. Jacob soon learns that Esau is headed his way with 400 men. Are they coming to kill Jacob in revenge for his deceit in stealing Isaac's blessing 20 years earlier? Jacob is afraid. He divides his large company into two camps. He prays earnestly to God for deliverance, and he prepares a huge gift to appease Esau. Finally, alone in the dark, Jacob physically grapples with a mysterious man who turns out to be God Himself, in some form. The man questions Jacob, changes his name to Israel, and pronounces a blessing. Thus prepared, Jacob will finally be reunited with his brother in the next chapter.
Book Summary:
The book of Genesis establishes fundamental truths about God. Among these are His role as the Creator, His holiness, His hatred of sin, His love for mankind, and His willingness to provide for our redemption. We learn not only where mankind has come from, but why the world is in its present form. The book also presents the establishment of Israel, God's chosen people. Many of the principles given in other parts of Scripture depend on the basic ideas presented here in the book of Genesis. Within the framework of the Bible, Genesis explains the bare-bones history of the universe leading up to the captivity of Israel in Egypt, setting the stage for the book of Exodus.
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