Genesis – Chapter 33

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 33


Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming, accompanied by four hundred men. So he divided his children among Leah, Rachel and the two maidservants,


putting the maids and their children first, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last.


He himself went on ahead of them, bowing to the ground seven times, until he reached his brother.


Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, and flinging himself on his neck, kissed him as he wept.


When Esau looked about, he saw the women and children. «Who are these with you?» he asked. Jacob answered, «They are the children whom God has graciously bestowed on your servant.»


Then the maidservants and their children came forward and bowed low;


next, Leah and her children came forward and bowed low; lastly, Rachel and her children came forward and bowed low.


Then Esau asked, «What did you intend with all those droves that I encountered?» Jacob answered, «It was to gain my lord’s favor.»


«I have plenty,» replied Esau; «you should keep what is yours, brother.»


«No, I beg you!» said Jacob. «If you will do me the favor, please accept this gift from me, since to come into your presence is for me like coming into the presence of God, now that you have received me so kindly.


Do accept the present I have brought you; God has been generous toward me, and I have an abundance.» Since he so urged him, Esau accepted.


Then Esau said, «Let us break camp and be on our way; I will travel alongside you.»


But Jacob replied: «As my lord can see, the children are frail. Besides, I am encumbered with the flocks and herds, which now have sucklings; if overdriven for a single day, the whole flock will die.


Let my lord, then, go on ahead of me, while I proceed more slowly at the pace of the livestock before me and at the pace of my children, until I join my lord in Seir.»


Esau replied, «Let me at least put at your disposal some of the men who are with me.» But Jacob said, «For what reason? Please indulge me in this, my lord.»


So on the same day that Esau began his journey back to Seir,


1 Jacob journeyed to Succoth. There he built a home for himself and made booths for his livestock. That is why the place was called Succoth.


Having thus come from Paddan-aram, Jacob arrived safely at the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, and he encamped in sight of the city.


2 The plot of ground on which he had pitched his tent he bought for a hundred pieces of bullion from the descendants of Hamor, the founder of Shechem.


He set up a memorial stone there and invoked «El, the God of Israel.»

1 [17] Succoth: an important town near the confluence of the Jabbok and the Jordan (⇒ Joshua 13:27; ⇒ Judges 8:5-16; ⇒ 1 Kings 7:46). Booths: in Hebrew, sukkot, of the same sound as the name of the town.
2 [19] Pieces of bullion: in Hebrew, kesita, a monetary unit of which the value is now unknown. Descendants of Hamor: Hamorites, «the men of Hamor»; cf ⇒ Judges 9:28. Hamor was regarded as the eponymous ancestor of the pre-Israelite inhabitants of Shechem.