The Plan of God in the Book of Genesis—Part 19

Two Brothers Meet


VERSES 1-7  “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.
“And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.
“And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
“And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.
“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.
“Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.
“And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.”

Regardless of what Esau originally had in mind by journeying with four hundred men to meet Jacob, by the time they actually did meet he displayed no anger, nor did he so much as refer to what had occurred twenty years before. All of this was in the Lord’s providence, and who can say that the sending of presents to Esau, and Jacob’s earnest praying did not have much to do with this kindly reception.

It is possible that the ‘angels of God’ who met Jacob soon after he parted from Laban at Mount Gilead, may have given him detailed instructions as to how to prepare Esau for this meeting. This may have been the Lord’s way of answering Jacob’s prayer for deliverance from the hand of Esau. Esau was not destroyed, but reformed.

Ways of escape for God’s people are usually outlined in advance of their prayers as seems to have been the case with Jacob. When we seek special blessings of wisdom and strength from the Lord we usually find the answers to our prayers already recorded in his Word, indicating that the Lord knew our needs in advance, and made provision for them.

VERSES 8-18  “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.
“And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.
“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.
“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.
“And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.
“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.
“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.
“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.
“So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.
“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.
“And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan-arem; and pitched his tent before the city.”

For the time being, Shalem, a city of Shechem, marked the end of Jacob’s journey from Padan-aram, the home of Laban, his father-in-law. It was a distance of approximately 500 miles. He pitched his tent in front of Shalem, and bought there a field and erected an altar. Apparently he felt that another important episode in his life had reached a successful conclusion, so he commemorated it by the erection of an altar.

VERSES 19,20  “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 a hundred pieces of money.
“And he erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-Israel.”

He called the altar El-elohe-Israel, that is, “God, the God of Israel.” Thus again we find the patriarch acknowledging his faith in God, and expressing particularly his appreciation for the deliverance from the hand of Esau which had just been wrought. Recognition of this is suggested by the use of his new name, Israel, in connection with the altar. He had prevailed with God, and God had prevailed for him, and this great victory which God had given to him was something worthy of being commemorated.

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Dawn Bible Students Association
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