Jacob meets Esau (Genesis 33) Commentary


And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. Day had broken, Esau approached; Jacob’s encounter with God had concluded, and now he must continue his path  And he put the servants with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all.  This arrangement showed favoritism for Rachel and Joseph, and set his mind as ease that they were the farthest back, or perhaps saved what he considered what was his most treasured for last in presentation;    He himself went on before them, Whatever reaction Esau was to have, whether good or bad, was for Jacob to bear;  bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.   Humility, and respect; for forgiveness

But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. God had softened the heart of Esau; the anger and resentment released for the love of his brother; the remorse of Jacob alleviated by God;  Christ exchanges our guilt of sin and our hatred of others with love, as all sin was crucified with Him And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Twenty years come and gone; Jacob’s family Esau had not known Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” Glory to God for the gift of children; Jacob’s family bowed down. following the example of Jacob, acknowledging the position of Esau;  accepting the display of mercy; We submit and bow to Christ, accepting mercy from God

Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” What was the purpose of all the messages and gifts–an indication that Esau had not intended to harm Jacob; Jacob answered, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.” Because I have wronged you, and needed your forgiveness; But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.”  I have forgiven you, Jacob, my brother; Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand. As a token of my gratitude, my apology   For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me.  As the burden on my heart is lifted, God’s intervention is evident;  Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” Because God has given me, I give to you, for His glory

Then Esau said, “Let us journey on our way, and I will go ahead of you.”  Let us again be brothers; the past behind us, I will lead us home  But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are frail, and that the nursing flocks and herds are a care to me. If they are driven hard for one day, all the flocks will die. Out of concern for his own people, Jacob refuses, but expresses he will meet Esau again in Seir.

So Esau said, “Let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.”  Twenty years had gone by, and Esau had not the opportunity to care for his younger brother. Now, he yearns to do so.  But he said, “What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.”  The mercy of Esau was enough; the providence and grace of God was sufficient  

And Jacob came safely  to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, the land of Abraham and Isaac; There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.  To honor God he builds an altar, as his grandfather Abraham often did wherever he rested; He called it “God, the God of Israel”– my God, my deliverer.

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