Genesis 33

How groundless are all the Christian’s fears and how useless all his self-devised plans.
“When a man’s ways please the LORD, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).

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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

16 ¶ 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 Padan-aram; and pitched his tent before the city.

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 El-elohe-Israel.

Genesis 33:1-17 – Jacob and Esau Reconciled

Many things, like this meeting with Esau, are worse in anticipation than in actuality. The brothers were on the same old terms as before that filching of Isaac’s blessing. The holy transactions of the previous night had induced this change in the atmosphere. If our ways please the Lord, He will make our enemies to be at peace with us. We must win power with God, by yielding to Him, before we can have power with our Esaus and prevail. When you fear man’s wrath, do not run hither and thither for defense; be still and fear not. Commit your way to the Lord and read Psalm 37. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. Surely Jacob needed not to fear, or make these lame excuses and promises. He never intended to go to Esau, to Seir. As soon as the last ranks of his brother’s men were lost in the desert haze, he turned to go in the contrary direction. This duplicity was not worthy of the heir of the promises; but too many of us would have done the same, even on the morrow of the Jabbok-wrestle. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Genesis 33:14 – I will lead on softly… Until I come unto my lord unto Seir.

   This was rather unworthy of the man who, the night before, had seen the face of God, and learned to prevail. The man who had seen God, and prevailed, was doubtful of his newly-given blessing! He did not realize that it would carry him through the difficulty that threatened him. He had not as yet learned to apply it to every emergency. It is a solemn lesson to those who have passed through some rapturous experience.
   After blessing, often trial.—When the fair colors have been laid on, the vessel is plunged into the furnace, that they may be burnt in.
   The trial frequently presents itself in the home or ordinary life.—Some are led into the wilderness to be tempted; but more often it is the contact with our Esaus that furnishes us with the supreme test of the worth of what we have received.
   Failure comes from not reckoning on God.—Jacob looked at Esau’s four hundred armed men, and compared his own following with despair. So Peter looked at the winds and waves. At such times we must fail, if we rely on schemes or plans, instead of saying, God is.
       Oh for the peace that floweth as a river,
          Making life’s desert places bloom and smile;
       Oh for the faith to grasp Heaven’s bright “for ever”
          And the shadow of earth’s “little while.”
   We must act in faith.—If Jacob had refused to use this subterfuge, and had spoken simply and manfully, he would have found that Esau would have acquiesced and left him. The angels who had gone forward to deal with him (Genesis 32:2) had done their work effectively, and God had changed his purpose. —Our Daily Homily

Genesis 33:18-20 – Jacob with the Shechemites

Jacob was tempted by the fat pastures of Shechem, without thought or care of the character of its people, and he lived to bitterly rue his choice. How many religious parents have made the same mistake! They first encamp near the world, pitching their tent doors in that direction; then they buy a parcel of land, and finally their children contract alliances that end in shame and disaster. He who came of a pilgrim race, and to whom the whole land had been given by promise, bought real estate right against Shechem, one of the worst cities in the country. Like Lot, Jacob bid high for wealth and worldly advancement, risked the highest for the lowest, and was saved as by fire. —Through the Bible Day by Day