Genesis 33: Jacob Meets Esau

When Jacob saw Esau, what did he think was coming? Was his perception realistic? Why?

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Genesis 33:1 When Jacob saw Esau coming with 400 men, he separated his children with their mothers—Leah, Rachel, and the two female servants.
King James
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.

What does the order that Jacob organized his family say about what he valued most?

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Genesis 33:1–2 When Jacob saw Esau coming with 400 men, he separated his children with their mothers—Leah, Rachel, and the two female servants. The female servants and their children were at the front, followed by Leah and her children, with Rachel and Joseph at the back.
King James
Genesis 33:1–2 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. And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.

What was Jacob saying when he bowed before Esau seven times?

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Genesis 33:3 Jacob went on ahead, bowing himself to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.
King James
Genesis 33:3 And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

As Jacob and Esau embraced, how important were their past conflicts and confrontations?

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Genesis 33:4 Esau ran to meet him, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. In their embrace, they both wept.
King James
Genesis 33:4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

In what way was Esau affected by seeing the people behind Jacob? How was Jacob affected by what he saw behind Esau?

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Genesis 33:5–7 When Esau looked up, he saw the women and children. “Who are these youngsters with you?”
Jacob said, “The children God has graciously given to me, your servant.”
Then the female servants approached with their children and bowed. After that, Leah came with her children and bowed, followed by Rachel and Joseph.
King James
Genesis 33:5–7 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.
Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.

Why did Jacob and Esau dispute over the gifts? Why do people sometimes have trouble accepting the generosity of others?

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Genesis 33:8–11 “What’s the meaning of all the flocks and herds that I met as I came,” Esau said.
“They are for you, my lord,” Jacob said, “given with the hope that I might be looked upon favorably.”
“My brother,” Esau said, “I have enough of my own. Keep what you have for yourself.”
“No, please,” Jacob said. “If you would be so kind, accept my gifts, for now that you have so graciously welcomed me, seeing you is as delightful as seeing the face of God. Please accept my blessing, because God has abundantly blessed me. I have plenty.”
Jacob insisted, so Esau accepted the gifts.
King James
Genesis 33:8–11 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.
And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.
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. 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.

How many miles per day did Joseph’s household travel? How did that compare to their journey from Haran?

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Genesis 33:12–14 “We should be going,” Esau. “Let me lead the way.”
“You know, sir, that my children are young,” Jacob said, “and the flocks and herds have their young too. If they are driven too hard in a day, some of the animals might die. Please, sir, you go on ahead, and I will follow at a pace suitable for the children and the livestock. I will meet with you again at Seir.”
King James
Genesis 33:12–14 And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.
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. 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.

Why did Jacob refuse Esau’s offer for help?

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Genesis 33:15–16 “All right,” Esau said, “but at least let me leave some of my men to help.”
“There’s no need for that,” Jacob said. “It’s enough that you have welcomed me with kindness.”
So Esau left for Seir.
King James
Genesis 33:15–16 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.
So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.

What led Jacob to settle outside Shechem?

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Genesis 33:17–20 Jacob went to Succoth, where he built a house and shelters for his livestock, so named because of its meaning: “shelters.”
Having left Mesopotamia, Jacob camped outside Shechem in Canaan.
For a hundred coins, Jacob purchased the land for his tent from the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, and built an altar, which he called El, the God of Israel.
King James
Genesis 33:17–20 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.
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.
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. And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel.