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Genesis 33. El! God of Israel.

Genesis 33.

1 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.

    Are we not calling him Israel now? Oh well... Jacob seeing that his brother is coming with an army of four hundred men devides his children up in order of their legitimacy.

2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.

    He then puts them into ranks.

3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

    Evidently scared for his life, Jacob does his utmost to demonstrate his subservience to Esau.

4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

    It seems that Jacob was needlessly worried. Esau greets his brother lovingly.

5 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 servant.

    Esau is confused as to who all of Jacob's wives and children are. I suppose he didn't expect his younger brother to be so prolific. Jacob explains who they are and yet again takes the opportunity to suck up to his brother.
6 Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.


7 And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.

    Right you are, the whole family have been introduced.

8 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.

    Esau asks Jacob why he has sent his servants ahead with all of his cattle as gifts, Jacob explains that he was trying to buy his way into Esau's good books.

9 And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.

    Esau refuses the gifts saying that he has no need of them.

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.

    Is Jacob comparing Esau favourably with God?

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.

    Esau eventually takes Jacob's gifts.

12 And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.

    Are they proposing to travel together?

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.

    I think Jacob is trying to excuse himself from traveling with his brother by pleading for his week children and cattle.

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.

    Yes it seems that that is exactly what Jacob is doing, but he agrees to meet his brother in Seir. Let's see if he gets there.

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.

    Esau asks to leave some people with Jacob, I can't help feeling that there is some distrust here.

16 So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.

    After leaving some people with Jacob Esau goes on his way to Seir.

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.

    Hmm, Jacob, Instead of going to Seir goes to Succoth and builds a house and some stables.

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.

    After building a house and some stables, Jacob travels on to Shalem and pitches a tent. When will he get to Seir?

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.

    It doesn't appear as though Jacob intends to meet his brother in Seir any time soon, He's just invested in some land. Why did he lie to Esau? Is there nothing hones about this man?

20 And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel.

    He even builds an alter which he dedicates to El - The god of Israel. Who is El? Is El The LORD? Is this the same god? How many gods are there?

What a nice short chapter that was, Have we learned anything new?

  • Well, Jacob lies to his brother but we already knew that he lies and cheats so nothing new is revealed here.
  • We learn that Esau, despite having been swindled by his brother in the past shows him humility, greets him warmly and is reticent to take his gifts. Is Esau the better man here? Why aren't we following his story?
  • We have learned that the God that Israel/Jacob worships is called El. Is this the god that he wrestled with or was that the god of Isaac? Are they the same god? Who knows?

Next up. Genesis 34.

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