Genesis Lesson 21 Day 5

Genesis Lesson 21 Day 2,Genesis Lesson 21 Day 3,Genesis Lesson 21 Day 4, Genesis Lesson 21 Day 5

Genesis Lesson 21 Day 5

Genesis 33

Jacob and Esau Meet

13) The reunion, twenty years after Jacob left home


Favoritism—In reverse order. “He put the servants and their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all.” (Genesis 33:2)

Bravery—He is now brave enough to go first. “After being conquered by God, Jacob now led the procession to meet Esau. This displays some change of character.”1

A change of character1 humble, submissive, repentant, OR fearful, relieved, and still scheming OR a mixture of all—Someone in my previous BSF class described the way Jacob approached Esau as “limp, limp, bow . . . limp, limp, bow . . .seven times” “This typical Eastern response represents complete submission.”An ancient court protocol when approaching a king, especially Egyptian Pharaohs since they were considered gods.

The act of bowing down or prostration in antiquity was a common act of submission of an inferior before a superior. . . Bowing seven times was a demonstration of reverence that was the customary act of homage a vassal offered to his overlord. According to Claus Westermann (Genesis 12-36 [Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1995]), . .  Jacob greeted his brother the way a vassal greeted his overlord with an act of reverence that had its origin in the royal court.

It’s ironic that Jacob now bows to his brother in contradiction to Isaac’s blessing—

Let peoples serve you,
    and nations bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
    and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
    and blessed be everyone who blesses you! (Genesis 27:29)


Grace—Esau ran to meet [Jacob], embraced him and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. (Genesis 33:4)

I can imagine Jacob was terrified when he saw Esau running toward him, especially if, as one source suggests, it would be highly unusual for any man to run to meet someone. It would be perceived as an act of aggression.

Content and happy with his temporal blessings—It seems Esau is truly happy to see Jacob and doesn’t expect repayment of any sort. He does eventually agree to accept Jacob’s generous gifts.

Esau’s response is such an incredible example of grace that some see it as the example behind the actions of the prodigal’s father (Luke 15:20).

14a) Back home to find Isaac or Bethel

Jacob, still devious. He told Esau he would follow him to Seir, but he returned to Succoth and then later to Shechem in Canaan.

b) Where Jacob went

[Yahweh] said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your kindred, and I will be with you.” (Genesis 31:3)

[Elohim] said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” (Genesis 35:1) (Jacob’s fifth encounter with God)

It doesn’t appear to me that they truly reconciled, but came closer to it than Jacob expected.

Esau calls Jacob, “my brother.” Jacob calls Esau, “my lord,” a title of honor, not endearment. He’s thrilled to learn that Esau has forgiven him and urges him accept his gifts. “In that culture, one never accepted a gift from an enemy, only from a friend. To accept the gift was to accept the friendship.”1

Esau tries to get Jacob to follow him when he says, “Let us journey on our way and I will go ahead of you.” Jacob makes an excuse saying the children and the nursing flocks must travel at a slower pace, “until I come to my lord in Seir.” So Esau offers to leave some of his people with Jacob to help him find his way, I assume. Jacob again begs off. 

Esau headed south toward Mount Seir, “but Jacob journeyed [north] to Succoth [which means booths] and built himself a house and made booths for his livestock.” (Genesis 33:16-17)

Jacob deceived Esau about his intentions. He’s relieved that Esau forgave him and accepted his sin offering.

But they have even less in common now than they did as children. Jacob has encounters with God and a destiny to fulfill the covenant of Abraham. The Lord said, “Return to the land of your fathers and of your kindred. . .” Esau is his kindred, but he chose to live away from the land God promised. His heart was drawn to Edom.

They essentially made a treaty even though Esau didn’t realize that’s what happened.

UPDATE: Another very good reason Jacob may have chosen to live apart from Esau—Genesis 27:46

Jacob surely remembers how his beloved mother Rebekah loathed her life because of Esau’s pagan, Hittite wives. Why would he subject them and his children to their influence? Now, Esau has two additional pagan wives and whoever those 400 men were. Certainly not god-fearing men and they probably had wives, too.

15) Broken relationships

Reconciliation between two estranged people means their friendship and harmony are restored. That assumes they were close to begin with.

If a married couple reconciles, they get back together, live together, and their intimacy is restored.

We can and should forgive, but reconciliation isn’t always possible or advisable, in my view. (I was married to an abusive man for 23 years.)

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:18)
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
For while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. (Romans 5:10)

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1 used by written permission.
2 AWM Living Commentary used by written permission.
3 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations from *The ESV Bible® (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®) copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
4 Strong’s Concordance, public domain.

5 *Spirit Filled Life Bible®copyright © 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. (The Holy Bible, New King James Bible) copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

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