01/22/2020 Genesis 33 - Brothers Jacob and Esau reunited
Genesis Chapter 33
Verse 01. 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.
Key Phrase: And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked; After he had passed over the brook,
and come to his wives and children to see if he could espy his brother coming. It
is believed by some this denotes his cheerfulness and courage, and that he was
now not distressed and dejected as he had been before.
Key Phrase: and he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two
Handmaids. Some think or are of opinion there were but three groups. The two
handmaids and their children in one division, Leah and her children in another
and Rachel and her son in the third. This Jacob did partly for decency partly for
Verse 02. And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children
after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.
Key Phrase: And he put the handmaids and their children foremost; In the first division, as
being less honorable and less beloved by him.
Key Phrase: and Leah and her children after; Still according to the degree of honor and af-
fection due unto them; Leah being a wife that was imposed and forced upon him.
Key Phrase: and Rachel and Joseph hindermost; Being most beloved by him, and therefore
most careful of them. Rachel being his principal and lawful wife, and who had the
greatest share in his affection, and Joseph his only child by her.
Verse 03. And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times,
until he came near to his brother.
Key Phrase: And he passed over before them; At the head of them, as the master of the
family, exposing himself to the greatest danger for them, and in order to protect
and defend them in the best manner he could, or to endeavor to soften the mind
of his brother by an address, should there be any occasion for it.
Note: Jacobs no longer fears for himself but for his family a big difference from chapter 32.
Key Phrase: and bowed himself to the ground seven times; In a civil way, as was the manner
in the eastern countries towards great personages; and this he did to Esau as
being his elder brother, and as superior to him in grandeur and wealth. Being lord
of a considerable country; and at the same time religious adoration being made
Verse 04. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him:
and they wept.
Key Phrase: And Esau ran to meet him; If he rode on any creature, which is likely, he alighted
from it on sight of his brother Jacob, and to express his joy on that occasion and
affection for him and ran to meet him.
Key Phrase: and kissed him; In token of the same: there are three pricks over this word in the
original more than ordinary, directing the attention of the reader to it, as some-
thing wonderful and worthy of observation.
Key Phase: and they wept; They "both" wept, as the Septuagint version adds, both Jacob and
Esau, for joy at the sight of each other and both seriously; and especially there can
be no doubt of Jacob, who must be glad of this reconciliation, if it was only out-
ward, since hereby his life, and the lives of his wives and children, would be
Verse 05. 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
Key Phase: And he lift up his eyes, and saw the women and children; After the salutation had
passed between him and his brother Jacob, he looked, and saw behind him women
and children, Jacob's two wives and his two handmaids, and twelve children he had
Key Phrase: and said, who are those with thee? For Jacob had made no mention of his wives
and children, when he sent his messengers to him, Genesis 32:5; and therefore
Esau might very well ask this question, which Jacob replied to.
Key Phrase; and he said, the children which God hath graciously given thy servant; He speaks
of his children as gifts of God, and as instances and pledges of his favor and good
will to him, which he thankfully acknowledges; and at the same time speaks very
respectfully to his brother, and in great condescension and humility owns himself
Verse 06. Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed
Key Phrase: Then the handmaids came near, they and their children; Being foremost and
next to, Jacob, as Bilhah and her two sons, Dan and Naphtali, and Zilpah and her
two sons, Gad and Asher:
Key Phrase: and they bowed themselves; In a token of respect to Esau, as Jacob had done
before them, and set them an example, and no doubt instructed them to do it.
Verse 07. And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came
Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.
Key Phrase: And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves; Who were in
the next division or company. Their children were seven, Reuben, Simeon, Levi,
Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah, six sons and one daughter.
Key Phrase: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves; It is
observed that Joseph is mentioned before his mother. It may be, because they
might put him before her in the procession, for greater safety; or she might
present him to Esau, being a child of little more than six years of age and teach
him how to make his obeisance to him, which she also did herself.
Verse 08. 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.
Key Phrase: And he said, what meanest thou by all this drove which I met; Not as being
ignorant of the meaning no doubt the drovers, according to their instructions
from Jacob, had said exactly what he had said to say. Esau chose not to take the
gift on what they said, but wanted to hear it from Jacob's own mouth, so that he
could have the opportunity to refuse it.
Key Phrase: and he said, these are to find grace in the sight of my lord; The meaning is to
gain Esau’s favor and good will. It was a token of Jacob's good will to him, so, by
his acceptance of it, he accepted or bore the same to him also.
Note: It was usual in the eastern countries to carry presents to friends, and especially to great
men, whenever visits were paid, as all travelers in general accept to be still in practice
today in parts of the middle east.
Verse 09. And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.
Note: This verse says two simple things. Esau had forgiven Jacob and showed concern that
Jacob have sufficient substance to take care of his family and himself.
Verse 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.
Key Phrase: For therefore I have seen thy face; I humbly beg thy acceptance of it, because;
for thus the Hebrew al-cen is used, as in grace or favor. 3.
Key Phrase: As though I had seen the face of God; It is in a manner as pleasant or glorious
sight to me as the sight of God himself, because in thy reconciled face I see the
face and favor of God thus manifested and granted to me.
Verse 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.
Key Phrase: my blessing that is brought to thee; Jacob is passing the blessings on to Esau that
he has been given. The droves are just symbols of the blessings Jacob has
received and wishes to pass it on.
Verse 12. And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.
Verse 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.
Note: Jacob realizes that His herds and Children can not travel at the speed and rate Esau could
with his 400 men.
Verse 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.
Verse 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.
Note: Now Esau shows Jacob a great kindness and offers some of his men to assist Jacob in his
travels on to his homeland. Jacob responds with a thank you and says that he has no
need but only that he, continue to find favor and safe passage.
Verse 16. So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.
Verse 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.
Key Phrase: And Jacob journeyed to Succoth; Perhaps after he had been at Seir and stayed
their for a short time. Succoth was on the other side of Jordan, so called by
the expected use of it, for it had its name from what follows.
Note: As yet there was no city built here. Later in the bible we read, the area lay in a valley,
and belonged to Sihon king of Heshbon, and was given to the tribe of Gad, Joshua 13:27;
it is mentioned along with Penuel, and was not far from it, Judges 8:8.
Key Phrase: And built him an house, and made booths for his cattle; an house for himself and
family, and booths or tents for his servants or shepherds, and for the cattle they
had the care of, some for one, and some for the other.
Note: This he did with an intention to stay some time here, as it should seem; and the Targum
of Jonathan says he continued here a whole year and Jarchi, eighteen months, a winter
and two summers; but this is all uncertain:
Verse 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.
Key Phrase: And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem; Likely Salim near Aenon, where
John was baptizing later in the New Testament, John 3:23; Some think that it
perhaps is the same with Shechem; for the words may be read, he "came to
Shalem, the city Shechem", a city which Hamor had built, and called by the name
of his son Shechem, the same with Sychar, John 4:5; this was on this side Jordan,
and therefore Jacob must have passed over that river, though no mention is made
of it; it is said to be about eight miles from Succoth.
Note: Shalem is not the name of a place, but an appellative, and to be rendered "safe and
sound", or "whole"; and so the Jewish writers generally understand it of his coming in
peace, health, and safety.
Key Phrase: which is in the land of Canaan; It belonged to that tribe of the Canaanites called
Hivites; for Hamor, the father of Shechem, from whom it had its name, was an
Hivite, Genesis 34:2, so that Jacob was now got into the land of Canaan, his own
country, and where his kindred dwelt:
Key Phrase: when he came from Padanaram; From Mesopotamia, from Haran there;
Shechem was the first place in the land of Canaan he came to, he came in the
greatest safety, he himself, wives, children, servants, in good health, without any
loss of any of his cattle and substance. Without any ill thing befalling him.
Verse 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.
Note: This is exactly the same thing Abraham did when he bought the land to bury Sarah. This
is even the same family that he bought the land from.
Verse 20. And he erected there an altar, and called it EleloheIsrael.
Key Phrase: and called it Elelohe-Israel: God, the God of Israel; that is, he called the altar the
altar of God, who is the God of Israel, who had been his God.