Saturday, January 28, 2017

Genesis 33:1-15 comments: Jacob and Esau meet again

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. 2  And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost. 3  And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. 4  And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

    5 ¶  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. 6  Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. 7  And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves. 8  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. 9  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.

Esau, whom Jacob thought would be possessed of a wrath and fury against him and want to kill him and his family, has clearly not kept this burden of bitterness and anger in his heart. He has been blessed by God and holds no resentment to Jacob. Here are several good lessons for us. Even a person who felt he had been cheated out of his inheritance and birthright by his brother can be forgiving. Also, no matter how badly you have been served by someone God can still bless you abundantly and give you much more than you believe you have lost. We will see this with Joseph, coming up, how bad circumstances can have good endings. Esau does not now hate his brother, Jacob.

This is most admirable of Esau considering what state he was in when Jacob left the family those decades ago considering many of us still hold grudges from our childhood and young adulthood.

Genesis 27:41 ¶  And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.

It doesn’t say that Esau had specifically forgiven Jacob but so much water had gone under the bridge and God had blessed Esau so abundantly it was no more a part of him. He had let it go.

But, Jacob still is not completely convinced. He rejects the offer of traveling together or even Esau leaving some of his own servants with Jacob to help. Better safe than sorry in case of some hidden treachery, the suspicious Jacob probably thinks, a trickster paranoid about the deception of others.

Is it not usually the case that a person who is sneaky and crafty is suspicious that other people are just as conniving as he is? Of course, Jacob, the trickster, did have to deal with Laban, the exploiter. It is only natural he would fear Esau, whom he himself had manipulated and taken advantage of earlier.

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