“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.
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.
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.
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.
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 EleloheIsrael.” – Genesis 33 (KJV)
1 Jacob looked up, and there was Esau coming with four hundred men. Jacob divided the children into groups with Leah and Rachel and with the two maids. 2 He put the maids and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph at the end. 3 He himself crossed over the stream ahead of the others and bowed to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.
4 Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, hugged him around the neck, and kissed him. They both wept. 5 Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children and asked, “Who are these people with you?”
Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.” 6 Then the maids came forward with their children, and they bowed low. 7 Leah and her children also came forward and bowed low. After them, Joseph came forward with Rachel, and they bowed low.
8 Esau said, “What did you mean by this whole camp that I met?”
Jacob said, “To gain favor in the sight of my lord.”
9 Esau said, “I have enough, my brother. Keep what is yours.”
10 Jacob said, “No, if I have now found favor in your sight, then please accept the gift from my hand, because when I saw your face, it was like seeing the face of God, now that you have accepted me. 11 Please accept the gift that I brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have everything I need.” He urged him, and he accepted it.
12 Esau said, “Let us get going on our journey, and I will lead the way for you.”
13 Jacob said to him, “My Lord knows that the children are still young, and that my flocks and herds are nursing their young, and if the herdsmen drive them too hard for even one day, all the flocks will die. 14 Please let my Lord go ahead of his servant, and I will follow slowly, at the right pace for the livestock and the right pace for the children, until I come to my Lord in Seir.”
15 Esau said, “Please let me leave some of my people with you.”
But he said, “Why? Just let me find favor in the sight of my lord.”
16 So Esau set out that day on his way back to Seir. 17 Jacob traveled to Succoth, built a house for himself, and made shelters for his livestock. That is why that place is called Succoth.[a]
18 When he returned from Paddan Aram, Jacob came in peace to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, and he camped in front of the city. 19 He bought the piece of land where he pitched his tent from the descendants of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for one hundred pieces of silver.[b] 20 He erected an altar there and called it El Elohe Israel.[c] – Genesis 33 (EHV)
[a] Genesis 33:17 Succoth means shelters.
[b] Genesis 33:19 Literally qesitahs, an ancient monetary unit of unknown weight and value
[c] Genesis 33:20 El Elohe Israel means God, the God of Israel or the God of Israel is mighty.
This account always brings tears to my eyes. To recall all the animosity between these two brothers, and then learn that they were able to forgive each other and reconcile later in life is a sweet story.
My father had two brothers. They hated each other. They would come to our house with their families to celebrate our birthdays and holidays, but they would barely speak to each other except to trade insults or brag about their children’s accomplishments. They never reconciled. They and my father have all passed away now, and it makes me very sad to remember how unhappy their family situation was.