Jacob Meets Esau
33 And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two female servants. And he put the servants with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all. He himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” Then the servants drew near, they and their children, and bowed down. Leah likewise and her children drew near and bowed down. And last Joseph and Rachel drew near, and they bowed down. Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” Jacob answered, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.” But Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” Jacob said, “No, please, if I have found favor in your sight, then accept my present from my hand. For I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of God, and you have accepted me. Please accept my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.” Thus he urged him, and he took it.
Then Esau said, “Let us journey on our way, and I will go ahead of you.” 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. Let my lord pass on ahead of his servant, and I will lead on slowly, at the pace of the livestock that are ahead of me and at the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.”
So Esau said, “Let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But he said, “What need is there? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.” So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir. But Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built himself a house and made booths for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.
And Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, on his way from Paddan-aram, and he camped before the city. And from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, he bought for a hundred pieces of money the piece of land on which he had pitched his tent. There he erected an altar and called it El-Elohe-Israel.
Genesis 33 Commentary
by Hank Workman
From the very womb the 2 boys struggled. Their wrestling within their mother tumbled out into their lives. From their difference of interests as young men to the makeup and personality of each to the favoritism that had been blatantly shown, Jacob and Esau were at odds. A birthright sold for a bowl of stew, a blessing stolen through deceit, the struggle between went from ‘childish things’ to downright hate.
God had been working in Jacob throughout the 20 years of separation. He had come face to face with who he was through his own hardship and difficulty. He had been on the receiving end of deceit, much like he himself had doled out, and had learned. He had wrestled with God. All these things had done a work deep within. But what of Esau? Had anything along the same lines taken place?
The answer to that question is not as easily found but on that day when the 2 estranged brothers came face to face with one another – the clue is something had been going on within him as well. Their reunion found in Genesis 33 is truly beautiful as hugs, weeping and conversations follow. God had been faithful to Jacob, in the middle of his high fears of meeting this brother; God brought reconciliation after all those years of bitterness and separation.
There comes a time we each must confront and meet our Esau.
There are those we’ve offended and done wrong to. There are those whom we’ve separated ourselves from for various reasons. But reconciliation is something that is part of the process of wholeness within us. The critical component to these encounters though is that we rely on the timing of God as and not our own. There must be a work within us before we are ready.
The interesting thing is Jacob and Esau met, reconciled and then moved on separately. They were not in one another’s pocket after this monumental event but settled in different places. And usually, it is the same for us. Many times the event of forgiveness being shown and letting the past go is critical but we don’t go back to the same living among one another. What is critical is the hatchet is buried and forgiveness is extended. The work of God continues in us as we leave the past behind and move forward toward the place He’s leading.
Is there an Esau we must humbly face for the next part of our own journey to unfold?
Genesis 33 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
There are simple but profound lessons found in this story. How many times have we stressed over a situation that ended up going much better than we had anticipated? Jacob wrestled with God the night before. His issues were put right with the Lord so that the atmosphere of this personal relationship could change. Again, how many times do we go and make things right with the Lord only to find that the winds begin to change in our personal life?
I believe there is a direct connection between Jacob wrestling with God and finding peace with Esau. There has to be.
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act, 6 making your righteousness shine like the dawn, your justice like the noonday.Psalms 37:5-6 HCSB
Esau’s response is just like the grace of God. Disarming. Unexpected. Powerful.
It caused Jacob to respond by giving. Was he trying to make up for lost time? Maybe. But the more important fact is that Jacob’s heart wanted to give. He wanted to show love to his brother for the grace which was offered to him. This is a picture of the Gospel. Disarming. Unexpected. Powerful.
How are you responding?