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In Genesis 31 Jacob left Laban at mount Gilead. Jacob was heading back to Canaan Land where he would eventually see Esau again. Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to the land of Seir also known as Edom to notify Esau that Jacob was returning from Laban after 20 years of service. Jacob's servants were instructed to call Esau Lord, and refer to Jacob as a servant to Esau, Genesis 32:18. According to the book of Jasher 32:9-10, Esau told Jacob's servants that he heard Jacob basically stole everything that wasn't nailed down at his uncles house and took his daughters as captives. Remembering that Jacob took Esau's birthright through trickery, Esau assembled 400 men to smite Jacob v.6.
Jacob wanting to get on the good side of Esau, sent him his goods in successive waves in an attempt to change Esau's mind on smiting him. Jacob separated the cattle and sheep into 9 droves. This is because if Esau were to attack one drove then the others would be able to escape the carnage. The possibility of being killed put both Jacob's faith and life on the line to trust the Father for a positive outcome with his eventual meetup with Esau. He prays earnestly in verses 9-12 for deliverance and literally puts his life into the hands of the Father. Although Jacob trusted the Father, he still did his best for what he could do to try to prevent from being killed by Esau.
Later in this same Chapter of Genesis Jacob wrestles with an Angel at the Brook Jabbok, which is about 20 miles North of the Dead Sea. He wrestled with this angel all night until the next day when the angel wanted to leave, and Jacob would not let him go, this shows they both had the same strength. To have Jacob release him, the angel put Jacob's thigh out of joint.
This wrestling with an Angel is significant because the angel that was wrestling with Jacob was given the exact same strength as Jacob, because neither was to overcome the other. The entire point of this wrestling was a test to see if Jacob had the perseverance to continue wrestling without giving up, as most physical encounters that are remotely similarly matched, such as this, usually results in whoever gives up, loses. Jacob proved his willingness to physically persevere in the time of adversity. Keep in mind Jacob was about 96 years old then. As a result the angel tells Jacob that he is now to be called Israel. Of course we all know that the word Israel means to “Rule with God.”
At this point Jacob's sons would be known as Israelites. Each of his Israelite sons would in turn become the head of a tribe named after them and would be later organized into the “Kingdom of God” at Mount Sinai in Exodus Chapters 19 and 20.
This is important: Israel is the name of a man in the bible. No place in the bible does it ever say the land of Palestine, known as Canaan Land then, was ever called Israel. It's the people that came from Jacob (Israel) that makes the Nation of Israel and not the land.
Praise the Lord!