Jacob Meets Esau
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.
K.J.V. Bible Text
In today’s reading, the first seven verses of Genesis Chapter 33, Jacob comes face to face with his brother Esau after all the years he has been away living with and working for Laban.
When Jacob first saw Esau from afar, Esau was coming with four hundred men. Jacob swiftly organized his entourage in an order I found interesting. First in line, he placed the servants and their children, the group we would assume were the most expendable to him. Next came Leah and her children and last Rachel and her son Joseph. (Remember, Rachel was the wife he loved the most.) Jacob himself went on ahead.
I believe it would have been understandable if even after all that length of time Esau had been a bit reserved in his greeting of Jacob; but instead he rushed to Jacob and threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.
With the hurdle of that first meeting out of the way, Jacob then presented his servants and his wives and their children to Esau.
Twenty years was a long time to be away from home. Apparently it was long enough that Esau had forgiven Jacob. Of course, although Jacob had tricked Esau out of his birthright and had stolen his blessing, up to this point, that had little actual effect upon Esau because Jacob had been away since before the death of their father. It will be interesting to see how the relationship between the brothers worked out after Jacob returned to Esau’s country.
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