Genesis Chapter 33

In the previous chapter of Genesis, Jacob prepared to return home even though he had left because his brother Esau had wanted to kill him. Jacob had sent gifts to Esau to please him. Then, he had taken time to be alone and pray for the help he needed. With the support of angels and inspiration of the Lord, he went faithfully on to land of his father. This next chapter begins as follows:

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.

Jacob went before his family to Esau, and in a show of respect and courtesy, bowed down several times until he had come to Esau. Esau hugged and kissed Jacob and they cried over seeing one another again. Then Esau asked who was with him and he told them that they were his family that God had given him. Then his family came forward and also showed their own respect to Esau. Esau asked about the flocks which had been brought before Jacob and he told him that it was a gift to him to please him. Esau told him to keep them, but Jacob insisted that he keep them for being pleased with him. Esau took his gift and agreed to lead Jacob back home with his protection so that Jacob and his family would arrive safely.

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.

My understanding of what happens here, is that Jacob stopped in a place called Succoth, to build stalls for the cattle he had just given his brother. Then, he went on to settle in Canaan and built and altar to the Lord.

The thing that I think I really get from this chapter is another example of the deliverance and protection of the Lord, when we are faithful to the things that we are commanded to do. Jacob had been commanded to return to the land of his fathers, which could have been a frightening thing knowing how he had left to save his life before. The Lord had softened the heart of Esau and because Jacob had been faithfully obedient, he was able to return home safely with his loved ones. I have experienced the blessings of faithful obedience even when it may seem scary and difficult. The happiness that comes as a result of this kind of obedience is the best I have experienced in life and I am so grateful to be abel to recognize that and be reminded of it by reading stories like this found in the scriptures.

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About My Scripture Study Buddy

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.

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