“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.