“Reconciled” ( Genesis 33: 8, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

Jacob sees Esau coming toward him with 400 men at his side. Quickly Jacob arranges his children among Leah, Rachel, and two slave women, perhaps in an effort to protect as he puts Joseph in the rear position. He goes on ahead, bowing seven times as he approaches his brother, Esau. Jacob, by bowing seven times, is telling his brother that he sincerely regrets earlier deceptions and is ready to submit to the older of the twins.

But Esau surprises Jacob, hugging and kissing him. Together, they weep as they reconcile.

When Esau sees the women and children, he wants to know about “this whole procession” and what it means. Jacob answers that his intention is to “find favor” with his brother. (Genesis 33:8) Esau tells Jacob to “keep what you have.” He says that he “has enough, my brother.” (Genesis 33:9) Jacob says he has seen “God’s face” in the face of his brother and so pressures Esau to “take my present” “since you have accepted me.” (Genesis 33:11, 10) Esau relents and accepts the gift Jacob brings him — now, what is this gift?

I suspect it is the two slave women and their children who are first in the procession. Jacob gladly gives these persons to his brother so as to appease him and show his gratitude for his forgiveness. We know Jacob does not give away Rachel or Leah or his children by them; but he gives Esau something of value, something Esau sees. “What do you mean by this whole procession I met?” (Genesis 33:8) Esau even attempts to leave some of his own people with Jacob, in a kind of tit-for-tat exchange, but Jacob protests, “Why do that? Please indulge me, my lord.” (Genesis 33:15)

So, they part reconciled; Esau going back to Seir and Jacob going to Succoth.

5 thoughts on ““Reconciled” ( Genesis 33: 8, HCSB ) by Carley Evans

  1. Interesting Carley. The commentaries I use as aids lean toward livestock as the gift, but… in reading the text, there is no mention of livestock, only servants, women, and children. hmm… Thanks and God bless.

  2. M.T. — I know. I was writing along and came to the gift. I looked and looked but all I could see referenced was Rachel, Leah, their children, the two slave women and their children — likely Jacob’s own? Much in the WORD is beyond my understanding, but at face value in this passage I’d say it’s not livestock Jacob gives to his brother. And, when you really think about it, Jacob has defrauded Esau and owes him EVERYTHING he has. God bless.

  3. I’ve always enjoyed this part of the story. I never really pondered what the “gift” was, though. Thanks for bringing that up. I get a kick out of Jacob’s “uhoh” moment, though, when he realizes the deceptions of his past are about to catch up to him in a really big way!


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