Jacob Sends Messengers And Gifts to Esau

One New Year’s Eve at London’s Garrick Club, British dramatist Frederick Lonsdale was asked by Symour Hicks to reconcile with a fellow member. The two had quarreled in the past and never restored their friendship. “You must,” Hicks said to Lonsdale. “It is very u … More


Since God had told Jacob to return to Canaan, he had been obedient. Now he had an unseen angel escort him all the way (vv. 1-2). What happened at Bethel took care of his beliefs, what happened at Jabbok took care of his behavior. There was a great crises in his life when he became a saved man, there was an equally great crises in his life when he became a sanctified man. With a sigh of relief Jacob saw Laban, his sons and his servants disappear over the distant horizon. After Laban is gone Jacob began to think about how he will face Esau and he becomes greatly afraid. The greater part of this chapter is concerned with all the expensive and unnecessary plans Jacob went to in order to be reconciled to his brother.

1. First he tried negotiation (vv. 3-8) - He sent messengers bowing and scraping to make contact with Esau and give him flattering messages. Esau responded with 400 men (v. 6) which was a warning of his ability to deal with Jacob from strength and not weakness.

2. Next he decided to try intercession (vv. 9-12).

(a) He pleaded the purposes of God (v. 9). “If I wasn’t obedient to you I would not be here.”

(b) He pleaded the providence of God (v. 10). “I am not worthy of all you have given me.”

(c) He pleaded the protection of God (v. 11). “Deliver me I pray for I fear him.”

(d) He pleaded the promises of God (v. 12). “And thou saidst I will surely do thee good.”

3. Finally he decided to try reconciliation (vv. 13-21). Not willing to leave matters in God’s hands  he prepared 200 she-goats, 20 he-goats, 200 ewes, 20 rams, 30 camels with their colts, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 donkeys and 10 birds to be given to Esau as a gift. Jacob hoped the gifts would make Esau friendly, so Esau would be glad to see him when they met. Jacob’s men took the gifts on ahead of him, but he spent the night in camp


God will not bless me with spiritual blessing unless I am willing to admit and make right (where it lies within my power) my trespasses and sins of the past.

Genesis 32:1-21 (English Standard Version)

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