Jacob Meets Esau
1 Then Jacob looked up, and saw Esau coming with four hundred men. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. 2 He put the maids and their children in front, Leah and her children after them, and Rachel and Joseph last of all. 3 Then Jacob crossed over [the stream] ahead of them and bowed himself to the ground seven times [bowing and moving forward each time], until he approached his brother.
4 But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and hugged his neck and kissed him, and they wept [for joy].(A) 5 Esau looked up and saw the women and the children, and said, “Who are these with you?” So Jacob replied, “They are the children whom God has graciously given your servant.” 6 Then the maids approached with their children, and they bowed down. 7 Leah also approached with her children, and they bowed down. Afterward Joseph and Rachel approached, and they bowed down. 8 Esau asked, “What do you mean by all this company which I have met?” And he answered, “[These are] to find favor in the sight of my lord.” 9 But Esau said, “I have plenty, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” 10 Jacob replied, “No, please, if now I have found favor in your sight, then accept my gift [as a blessing] from my hand, for I see your face as if I had seen the face of God, and you have received me favorably. 11 Please accept my blessing (gift) which has been brought to you, for God has dealt graciously with me and I have everything [that I could possibly want].” So Jacob kept urging him and Esau accepted it.
12 Then Esau said, “Let us get started on our journey and I will go in front of you [to lead the way].” 13 But Jacob replied, “You know, my lord, that the children are frail and need gentle care, and the nursing flocks and herds [with young] are of concern to me; for if the men should drive them hard for a single day, all the flocks will die. 14 Please let my lord go on ahead of his servant, and I will move on slowly, governed by the pace of the livestock that are in front of me and according to the endurance of the children, (a)until I come to my lord in Seir [in Edom].”
15 Then Esau said, “Please let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But Jacob said, “(b)What need is there [for it]? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.” 16 So Esau turned back [toward the south] that day on his way to Seir. 17 But Jacob journeyed [north] to Succoth, and built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock; so the name of the place is Succoth (huts, shelters).
Jacob Settles in Shechem
18 When Jacob came from Paddan-aram, he arrived safely and in peace at the city of Shechem, in the land of Canaan, and camped in front of the [walled] city. 19 Then he bought the piece of land on which he had pitched his tents from (c)the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for a hundred (d)pieces of money. 20 There he erected an altar and called it (e)El-Elohe-Israel.
a. Genesis 33:14: Jacob must have been concerned about traveling through Edom and used this excuse to avoid following Esau to Seir. Indeed, he heads in the opposite direction.
b. Genesis 33:15: Lit Why this?
c. Genesis 33:19: Lit the hand of the sons.
d. Genesis 33:19: Heb qesitah, an uncertain measure of weight; a rabbi once reported hearing the ma’ah, a small coin worth 1/12 of a shekel, called a qesitah.
e. Genesis 33:20: I.e. God, the mighty God of Israel.