"Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau to the Mountain of Se'ir in the land of Edom." (Gen. 32:4)

Rashi comments: "These messengers were actually angels".

When analyzing the more mystical aspect of the matter, it is possible to view these messengers as fulfilling a dual role, i.e. both as Jacob's messengers and as G‑d's messengers; this is similar to Eliezer functioning both as a celestial messenger when the Torah described him as "ish" [usually translated as just "man"], and as an ordinary human being, servant of Abraham, when the Torah referred to him as "ha-eved" ["the servant"].

Both approaches correspond to the truth….

This would account for the fact that the Torah described the messengers as "melachim" [which can mean both "messengers" as well as "angels"], although they were creatures of flesh and blood. Both approaches correspond to the truth. It is simply a matter of emphasis, i.e. whether we concentrate on the external aspects of what occurred, i.e. that which was visible to the physical eye, or whether we concentrate on the more fundamental aspects of the matter, something not visible to the naked eye.

[Selected with permission from the seven-volume English edition of "The Torah Commentary of Rebbeinu Bachya" by Eliyahu Munk.]