Jacob meets Esau
1Later that day Jacob met Esau coming with his four hundred men. So Jacob made his children walk with their mothers. 2The two servant women, Zilpah and Bilhah, together with their children went first, followed by Leah and her children, then by Rachel and Joseph. 3Jacob himself walked in front of them all, bowing to the ground seven times as he came near his brother.
4But Esau ran towards Jacob and hugged and kissed him. Then the two brothers started crying.
5When Esau noticed the women and children he asked, “Whose children are these?”
Jacob answered, “These are the ones the LORD has been kind enough to give to me, your servant.”
6Then the two servant women and their children came and bowed down to Esau. 7Next, Leah and her children came and bowed down; finally, Joseph and Rachel also came and bowed down.
8Esau asked Jacob, “What did you mean by these herds I met along the road?”
“Master,” Jacob answered, “I sent them so that you would be friendly to me.”
9“But, brother, I already have plenty,” Esau replied. “Keep them for yourself.”
10“No!” Jacob said. “Please accept these gifts as a sign of your friendship for me. When you welcomed me and I saw your face, it was like seeing the face of God. 11Please accept these gifts I brought to you. God has been good to me, and I have everything I need.” Jacob kept insisting until Esau accepted the gifts.
12“Let's get ready to travel,” Esau said. “I'll go along with you.”
13But Jacob answered, “Master, you know travelling is hard on children, and I have to look after the sheep and goats that are nursing their young. If my animals travel too much in one day, they will all die. 14Why don't you go on ahead and let me travel along slowly with the children, the herds, and the flocks. We can meet again in the country of Edom.”
15Esau replied, “Let me leave some of my men with you.”
“You don't have to do that,” Jacob answered. “I am happy, simply knowing that you are friendly to me.”
16So Esau left for Edom. 17But Jacob went to Succoth,#33.17 Succoth: In Hebrew “Succoth” means “shelters”. where he built a house for himself and set up shelters for his animals. That's why the place is called Succoth.
Jacob arrives at Shechem
18After leaving northern Syria,#33.18 northern Syria: See the note at 24.10. Jacob arrived safely at Shechem in Canaan and set up camp outside the city. 19The land where he camped was owned by the descendants of Hamor, the father of Shechem. So Jacob paid them one hundred pieces of silver#33.19 pieces of silver: Or “lambs” or “cattle”. for the property,#Js 24.32; Jn 4.5. 20then he set up his tents and built an altar there to honour the God of Israel.
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1-4Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming with his four hundred men. He divided the children between Leah and Rachel and the two maidservants. He put the maidservants out in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. He led the way and, as he approached his brother, bowed seven times, honoring his brother. But Esau ran up and embraced him, held him tight and kissed him. And they both wept.
5Then Esau looked around and saw the women and children: “And who are these with you?”
Jacob said, “The children that God saw fit to bless me with.”
6-7Then the maidservants came up with their children and bowed; then Leah and her children, also bowing; and finally, Joseph and Rachel came up and bowed to Esau.
8Esau then asked, “And what was the meaning of all those herds that I met?”
“I was hoping that they would pave the way for my master to welcome me.”
9Esau said, “Oh, brother. I have plenty of everything—keep what is yours for yourself.”
10-11Jacob said, “Please. If you can find it in your heart to welcome me, accept these gifts. When I saw your face, it was as the face of God smiling on me. Accept the gifts I have brought for you. God has been good to me and I have more than enough.” Jacob urged the gifts on him and Esau accepted.
12Then Esau said, “Let’s start out on our way; I’ll take the lead.”
13-14But Jacob said, “My master can see that the children are frail. And the flocks and herds are nursing, making for slow going. If I push them too hard, even for a day, I’d lose them all. So, master, you go on ahead of your servant, while I take it easy at the pace of my flocks and children. I’ll catch up with you in Seir.”
15Esau said, “Let me at least lend you some of my men.”
“There’s no need,” said Jacob. “Your generous welcome is all I need or want.”
16So Esau set out that day and made his way back to Seir.
17And Jacob left for Succoth. He built a shelter for himself and sheds for his livestock. That’s how the place came to be called Succoth (Sheds).
18-20And that’s how it happened that Jacob arrived all in one piece in Shechem in the land of Canaan—all the way from Paddan Aram. He camped near the city. He bought the land where he pitched his tent from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. He paid a hundred silver coins for it. Then he built an altar there and named it El-Elohe-Israel (Mighty Is the God of Israel).
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THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved. Used by permission of NavPress. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers.