Jacob Mets Esau

I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves one above another and the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them. Now, I find, that God’s gifts are on shelves one beneath another and the lower we stoop, the more we get. Today, in the world and in the church, th … More


Esau comes up from Edom with four hundred men to meet Jacob . If a renewal of hostilities with Jacob was in the making, Esau was ready. Of course at this point, Esau knew nothing of Jacob’s changed heart. Jacob had his children walk with their mothers (v. 1). The two servant women, Zilpah and Bilhah with their children went first, followed by Leah and her children and then came Rachel and Joseph (v. 2). 

Esau finds Jacob cautiously awaiting him (v. 3). In fact Jacob humbly approached Esau in an effort to ward off any possible retaliating spirit, as he bows over and over again to him. This spirit completely disarmed Esau as he forgave Jacob fully, freely and forever (vv. 4-7). Jacob pressed Esau to accept his gift of 550 animals (vv. 8-11). When Esau hesitated to accept the livestock, Jacob insisted. In that part of the world, the acceptance of a present is the equivalent to a bond of friendship, and Jacob wanted to make sure that all of their past troubles was behind them.

When Esau offered to accompany Jacob, Jacob cleverly avoided traveling with Esau (vv. 12-13). He used commendable tact in declining his brother’s generous offer as he told him he needed to travel slowly because of the young children and animals. Actually Jacob did not plan to travel south with Esau to  Bier but instead to go north to Succoth (vv. 14-15).

Next we find Jacob settling down in Shechem which is directly west of the Jabbok River and about 20 miles from the Jordan in Canaan (vv. 16-18). He set up his tents outside the city and built an altar (vv. 19-20). As we find out in the next chapter this was a big mistake.


Even though Esau was in many ways a very generous, likable and noble person he was unsaved. It is very important that I maintain a good testimony when I am dealing with unsaved people.

Genesis 33:1-20 (English Standard Version)

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