¶ 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.
2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.
.3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
- He divided We don't know why they were thus arranged.
3 - Bowed ... seven times This is known to have been a custom in approaching Pharaoh. It was an act of submission or humility.
And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed
him: and they wept.
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.
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.
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.
9 And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.
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.
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.
Image from Am. Std. Bible, public domain
And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before
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.
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.
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.
- Take our journey Esau may have felt offended at the refusal
of his hospitality, but the joint travel may have caused conflicts and
Esau's people would have had a negative influence on the spiritual life
of Jacob's people.
14 - Until I come The idea is "until I see you again." We don't know if he ever went to Seir. His objective was Canaan. The two met again at their father's funeral ge3529.
¶ So Esau returned that day on his way unto 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.
.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.
18 And Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem, ... (RSV)
.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.
20 And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel.
17 - Succoth Means "booths" — shelters of branches and twigs. The city was in the Jordan valley jos1327 probably near the brook Jabbok.
18 - Shalem The text can be read either of the ways shown at the left.
19 - Bought a parcel This demonstrated his faith that the nation of Israel would one day occupy that land. Jacob's well is in the area jn0406.
Jacob's well was near Shechem, later called Nablus. "Here Abraham pitched his tent and built his first altar in the Promised Land, and received the first divine promise (Ge 12:6,7)." " The rocky base of Mount Ebal on the north of the valley is full of ancient excavated tombs. On Mount Gerizim is the holy place of the Samaritans, and the ruins of a strong fortress erected by Justinian. At the foot of these mountains on the east lies the beautiful plain of Mukhna, ten miles long and a mile and a half wide; and where the valley opens on this plain, Joseph's tomb and Jacob's well are located, by the unanimous consent of Jews, Christians, and Mohammedans. The former spot is now covered by a Mohammedan Wely, or sacred tomb; and the latter by an arched stone chamber, entered by a narrow hole in the roof, and the mouth of the well within is covered by a large stone. The well itself is one hundred and five feet deep, and is now sometimes dry. It bears every mark of high antiquity." (Easton's Bible Dictionary, ATS Dictionary) The sketch is from the 1800s. See Samaria map.