【Jabbok River】

Jabbok its original meaning is “Pouring Forth”. Jabbok River is a tributary east of Jordan River between Sea of Galilee and Salt Sea (or Dead Sea). It is originated from near Rabbah (now is called Amman), the ancient capital city of Ammon. Then it turns north then west and finally flows into Jordan River at City of Adam.  It is 96 kilometers long and about 10 meters wide.  The water in the river is year around and rushing but shallow and can almost waded across. The soil near the water valley is fertile and suitable for agriculture. Jabbok River separates Gilead into half, north and south, along the river there are cities like Rabbah, Mahanaim, Paenuel, Succoth, Zarethan and City of Adam.

The Scripture records the ancestor of Israelites Jacob following God’s instructions took his wives and children and cattle and properties and left Paddan-aram, to return to his father’s home town in Canaan. (Genesis 31:3,17,18) In his homeward journey, at a crossing point of Jabbok River, he met a man coming to wrestle with him until dawn. That man saw that he could not prevail then he struck Jacob on the hip socket. Jacob’s hip was out joint. When it was near dawn, Jacob said, “I will not let you go, unless you bless me.”  So he said to Jacob, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.”  Then the man said, “You shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with humans, and have prevailed.”  And he blessed Jacob. Jacob called that place Peniel (means the face of God), meaning that “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life is preserved.” (Genesis 32:22-31) After that, when Jacob met Esau by the Jabbok River, he seemed becoming totally a different person, he came forward from behind his wives and children and humbly asked the forgiveness of his brother, and received the acceptance from his brother, and all their previous grievances disappeared. (Genesis 33:1-11)

The experience of meeting God at the crossing of Jabbok river made a fundamental turn of the spiritual life of Jacob. Although his leg was lamed, although he experienced many hardships later on in his life, from then on, he was no longer that usurper Jacob who relying on his cleverness, and becoming the humble and obedient and victorious “Israel”.  The word “Israel” means “wrestled with God”. From that time on, the name “Israel” became the glorious name of the Hebrew(Jewish) Race. This meaningful name represents a race and also a nation. Over four thousand years, the race of “Israel” went through prosperity, sufferings and revivals, remains more resolute as time goes by, and still the well-known name today.

Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt and wandering in the wilderness for 40 years.  In about 1406 B.C., they came to the east of River Jordan. At that time, King Sihon of Amorites occupied south of Jabbok River and King Og of Bashan occupied north of Jabbok River.

The Israelites were planning to go through the territory of King Sihon of the Amorites to enter into Canaan, but were refused by Sihon who also attacked the Israelites.  The Israelites through war defeated Sihon and obtained their land. Afterwards, with the help of God, Moses continued to gain the land north River Jabbok which belonged to King Og of Bashan (Numbers 21:21-35). When coming to distribute the land east of Jordan, Moses gave the land south of River Jabbok which used to belong to King Sihon of the Amorites to the Gadites and to the Reubenites, and gave the land north of River Jabbok which used to belong to King Og of Bashan to the half-tribe of Manasseh.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; I have a goodly heritage. —— Psalms 16:6‬

聖經地名詞典 白雲曉編著 北京中央編譯出版社 2001.12
聖經地理 馬自毅編著 上海學林出版社 2005.7
簡明聖經史地圖解 梁天樞著 上海人民出版社
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