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Genesis 33

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Jacob Meets Esau
1Jacob saw Esau coming with 400 men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two slaves. 2He put the slaves and their children in front, Leah and her children after them, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3He went on ahead of them and bowed seven times with his face touching the ground as he came near his brother.
4Then Esau ran to meet Jacob. Esau hugged him, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. They both cried. 5When he saw the women and children, Esau asked, “Who are these people here with you?”
“The children God has graciously given me, sir,” Jacob answered.
6Then the slaves and their children came forward and bowed down. 7Likewise, Leah and her children came forward and bowed down. Finally, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed down.
8Then Esau asked, “Why did you send this whole group ⌞of people and animals⌟ I met?”
He answered, “To win your favor, sir.”
9Esau said, “I have enough. Keep what you have, Brother.”
10Jacob said, “No, please take the gift I’m giving you, because I’ve seen your face as if I were seeing the face of God, and yet you welcomed me so warmly. 11Please take the present I’ve brought you, because God has been gracious to me and has given me all that I need.” So Esau took it because Jacob insisted.
12Then Esau said, “Let’s get ready to go, and I’ll go with you.”
13Jacob said to him, “Sir, you know that the children are frail and that I have to take care of the flocks and cattle that are nursing their young. If they’re driven too hard for even one day, all the flocks will die. 14Go ahead of me, sir. I will slowly and gently guide the herds that are in front of me at their pace and at the children’s pace until I come to you in Seir.”
15Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.”
“Why do that?” Jacob asked. “I only want to win your favor, sir.”
16That day Esau started back to Seir. 17But Jacob moved on to Succoth, where he built a house for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is named Succoth [Shelters].
18So having come from Paddan Aram, Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem in Canaan. He camped within sight of the city. 19Then he bought the piece of land on which he had put up his tents. He bought it from the sons of Hamor, father of Shechem, for 100 pieces of silver. 20He set up an altar there and named it God Is the God of Israel.
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Jacob and Esau Meet.#The truly frightening confrontation seems to have already occurred in Jacob’s meeting the divine stranger in the previous chapter. In contrast, this meeting brings reconciliation. Esau, impulsive but largehearted, kisses the cunning Jacob and calls him brother (v. 9). Jacob in return asks Esau to accept his blessing (berakah, translated “gift,” v. 11), giving back at least symbolically what he had taken many years before and responding to Esau’s erstwhile complaint (“he has taken away my blessing,” 27:36). Verses 12–17 show that the reconciliation is not total and, further, that Jacob does not intend to share the ancestral land with his brother. 1Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming, and with him four hundred men. So he divided his children among Leah, Rachel, and the two maidservants, 2putting the maidservants and their children first, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3He himself went on ahead of them, bowing to the ground seven times, until he reached his brother. 4Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, and flinging himself on his neck, kissed him as he wept.
5Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children and asked, “Who are these with you?” Jacob answered, “They are the children with whom God has graciously favored your servant.” 6Then the maidservants and their children came forward and bowed low; 7next, Leah and her children came forward and bowed low; lastly, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed low. 8Then Esau asked, “What did you intend with all those herds that I encountered?” Jacob answered, “It was to gain my lord’s favor.” 9Esau replied, “I have plenty; my brother, you should keep what is yours.” 10“No, I beg you!” said Jacob. “If you will do me the favor, accept this gift from me, since to see your face is for me like seeing the face of God—and you have received me so kindly. 11Accept the gift I have brought you. For God has been generous toward me, and I have an abundance.” Since he urged him strongly, Esau accepted.
12Then Esau said, “Let us break camp and be on our way; I will travel in front of you.” 13But Jacob replied: “As my lord knows, the children are too young. And the flocks and herds that are nursing are a concern to me; if overdriven for even a single day, the whole flock will die. 14Let my lord, then, go before his servant, while I proceed more slowly at the pace of the livestock before me and at the pace of my children, until I join my lord in Seir.” 15Esau replied, “Let me at least put at your disposal some of the people who are with me.” But Jacob said, “Why is this that I am treated so kindly, my lord?” 16So on that day Esau went on his way back to Seir, 17and Jacob broke camp for Succoth.#Succoth: an important town near the confluence of the Jabbok and the Jordan (Jos 13:27; Jgs 8:5–16; 1 Kgs 7:46). Booths: in Hebrew, sukkot, of the same sound as the name of the town. There Jacob built a home for himself and made booths for his livestock. That is why the place was named Succoth.
18Jacob arrived safely at the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram. He encamped in sight of the city.#Gn 12:6; Jn 4:5. 19The plot of ground on which he had pitched his tent he bought for a hundred pieces of money#Pieces of money: in Hebrew, qesita, a monetary unit of which the value is unknown. Descendants of Hamor: Hamorites, “the people of Hamor”; cf. Jgs 9:28. Hamor was regarded as the eponymous ancestor of the pre-Israelite inhabitants of Shechem. from the descendants of Hamor, the father of Shechem.#Jos 24:32; Jn 4:5; Acts 7:16. 20He set up an altar there and invoked “El, the God of Israel.”#Jgs 6:24.