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1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids.

2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.

3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

5 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.

6 Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.

7 And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.

8 And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord.

9 And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.

10 And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.

11 Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.

12 And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.

13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.

14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.

15 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord.

16 So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.

17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.

18 And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city.

19 And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money.

20 And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel.

Commentary for Genesis 33

The friendly meeting of Jacob and Esau. (1-16) Jacob comes to Succoth and Shalem, He builds an altar. (17-20)1-16 Jacob, having by prayer committed his case to God, went on his way. Come what will, nothing can come amiss to him whose heart is fixed, trusting in God. Jacob bowed to Esau. A humble, submissive behaviour goes far towards turning away wrath. Esau embraced Jacob. God has the hearts of all men in his hands, and can turn them when and how he pleases. It is not in vain to trust in God, and to call upon him in the day of trouble. And when a man's ways please the Lord he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. Esau receives Jacob as a brother, and much tenderness passes between them. Esau asks, Who are those with thee? To this common question, Jacob spoke like himself, like a man whose eyes are ever directed towards the Lord. Jacob urged Esau, though his fear was over, and he took his present. It is well when men's religion makes them generous, free-hearted, and open-handed. But Jacob declined Esau's offer to accompany him. It is not desirable to be too intimate with superior ungodly relations, who will expect us to join in their vanities, or at least to wink at them, though they blame, and perhaps mock at, our religion. Such will either be a snare to us, or offended with us. We shall venture the loss of all things, rather than endanger our souls, if we know their value; rather than renounce Christ, if we truly love him. And let Jacob's care and tender attention to his family and flocks remind us of the good Shepherd of our souls, who gathers the lambs with his arm, and carries them in his bosom, and gently leads those that are with young, #Isa 40:11|. As parents, teachers or pastors, we should all follow his example.

17-20 Jacob did not content himself with words of thanks for God's favour to him, but gave real thanks. Also he kept up religion, and the worship of God in his family. Where we have a tent, God must have an altar. Jacob dedicated this altar to the honour of El-elohe-Israel, God, the God of Israel; to the honour of God, the only living and true God; and to the honour of the God of Israel, as a God in covenant with him. Israel's God is Israel's glory. Blessed be his name, he is still the mighty God, the God of Israel. May we praise his name, and rejoice in his love, through our pilgrimage here on earth, and for ever in the heavenly Canaan.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Genesis 33

  • A disciple
    Romans 9:13 "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." The Election of God is a stumbling block to the proud men of the world who oppose and reject the Testimony of Jesus Christ. Beginning with Cain, this has been the flashpoint of the heathen's rage, and all their ideology to deny the Saviour and take away the knowledge of the truth from the minds of men. Jacob held the Calling of God sacred!
  • A disciple
    Lee; I understand how one might look at Jacob in that way. From a certain perspective many things about God's dealings between His Saints and the heathen are offensive to those who don't want to submit to God's Supreme Authority. God knows the hearts of all men, and He judged Esau as hateful and hostile to the things of Christ and therefore unfit for the blessing! That's the part the heathen hate!
  • LEE
    It is very important we understand that what ever we do on this earth we will be held accountable for it one day. Rebekah and Jacob deceived Isaac and took Esau's blessing, though Jacob was running away from his brothers hunger, he still found himself in his uncle Laban's trouble. GOD will listen to our prayers and forgive but we will still go through the heat of the sin committed.
  • A disciple
    When Jacob wrestled with "the Angel" the night before, He gave Jacob a new name, according as God knew him, and loved him; calling him Prince of God, or, Israel. So the Lord also heard his prayers and answered his fears about Esau, in softening his heart, and turning him away from his vengeful purposes. God will sort out all the truth and help us if we humble ourselves before our unsaved brethren.
  • Bible fan
    esau is as much a hero here as anyone else - 'to forgive is divine' is a huge theme here, so much so that Jacob sees Esau's face 'as if he saw god'. Forgiveness is what is best in us but it takes some time before we're often willing to do it
  • John Aikins Edu
    When the favour Of god is upon man even his enemies will be at peace with him so we need prayer for the favour of god at all times as Jacob did, Esther also prayed nd God favoured her before the king. God's favour is suprium
  • Julianah
    What clearly came to my mind is the fact that God had concluded the work of reconciliation
  • Mercy Kariuki
    regardless of what you have victory comes from God. trust God and in prayer make your requests known unto him.

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Bible Trivia

When Jacob is reunited with his brother Esau after many years, how does Esau react?
  • He attacks Jacob
  • He angrily walks away
  • He looks at the ground in shame
  • He kisses Jacob and weeps