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33 Jacob looked up and saw Esau coming, and 400 men were with him. Jacob quickly divided the children among Leah and Rachel and their two servants. He put the female servants with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all. He himself went on ahead of them, and he bowed to the ground seven times as he approached his brother. But Esau ran to meet him. He embraced Jacob, kissed his neck, and they both cried. Esau looked up and saw the women and children.

Esau: Who are these people with you?

Jacob: These are the children God has graciously given your servant.

Then the female servants came closer, along with their children, and they bowed down. Leah did likewise; she and her children approached and bowed down. Finally Joseph and Rachel came forward, and they bowed down as well.

Esau: What was your intent in sending all of your men and herds ahead of you?

Jacob: I hope to find favor with you, my master.

Esau: I have enough, my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.

Jacob expects trouble from Esau, but he finds the pain of the past healed. Now Esau wants nothing from his brother.

Jacob: 10 No, please. If I have found favor with you after all these years, please accept the gifts I offer. Seeing your face again is like seeing the face of God, so graciously and warmly have you welcomed me. 11 Please accept the blessing I bring. God has graciously provided for me and my family. I have everything I could want.

Jacob kept insisting that Esau accept the gift. Finally he did.

Esau: 12 Now let’s be on our way, and I will walk on ahead of you.

Jacob: 13 My master knows that the children are very small and the nursing flocks and herds are under my care. If they are driven too hard for even one day, I’m afraid I’ll lose all the flocks. 14 Please, my master, go on ahead of me, and I will keep on at a slower pace—the pace of the animals up ahead and the children—until I come to you in Seir.

Esau: 15 Let me leave some of my people to accompany you.

Jacob: Why go to all that trouble? You have done enough already. Just let me find favor with my master.

16 Esau agreed and set out that day to go back to Seir. 17 But Jacob journeyed instead to Succoth, and he built himself a house there and put up some shelters for his cattle. That’s why this place is called Succoth, which means “shelters.”

18 At last Jacob came to the city of Shechem in the land of Canaan. Overall it had been a safe and peaceful journey from Paddan-aram. He camped outside of the city 19 and purchased the land on which he had pitched his tent from the sons of Hamor (who was Shechem’s father) for one hundred pieces of money. 20 And there also he built an altar he called El-Elohe-Israel, which means “God, the God of Israel.”

Jacob Meets Esau

33 Jacob looked up and there was Esau, coming with his four hundred men;(A) so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two female servants.(B) He put the female servants and their children(C) in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph(D) in the rear. He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground(E) seven times(F) as he approached his brother.

But Esau(G) ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around his neck and kissed him.(H) And they wept.(I) Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. “Who are these with you?” he asked.

Jacob answered, “They are the children God has graciously given your servant.(J)

Then the female servants and their children(K) approached and bowed down.(L) Next, Leah and her children(M) came and bowed down.(N) Last of all came Joseph and Rachel,(O) and they too bowed down.

Esau asked, “What’s the meaning of all these flocks and herds I met?”(P)

“To find favor in your eyes, my lord,”(Q) he said.

But Esau said, “I already have plenty,(R) my brother. Keep what you have for yourself.”

10 “No, please!” said Jacob. “If I have found favor in your eyes,(S) accept this gift(T) from me. For to see your face is like seeing the face of God,(U) now that you have received me favorably.(V) 11 Please accept the present(W) that was brought to you, for God has been gracious to me(X) and I have all I need.”(Y) And because Jacob insisted,(Z) Esau accepted it.

12 Then Esau said, “Let us be on our way; I’ll accompany you.”

13 But Jacob said to him, “My lord(AA) knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young.(AB) If they are driven hard just one day, all the animals will die. 14 So let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I move along slowly at the pace of the flocks and herds(AC) before me and the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.(AD)

15 Esau said, “Then let me leave some of my men with you.”

“But why do that?” Jacob asked. “Just let me find favor in the eyes of my lord.”(AE)

16 So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir.(AF) 17 Jacob, however, went to Sukkoth,(AG) where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth.[a]

18 After Jacob came from Paddan Aram,[b](AH) he arrived safely at the city of Shechem(AI) in Canaan and camped within sight of the city. 19 For a hundred pieces of silver,[c] he bought from the sons of Hamor,(AJ) the father of Shechem,(AK) the plot of ground(AL) where he pitched his tent.(AM) 20 There he set up an altar(AN) and called it El Elohe Israel.[d]


  1. Genesis 33:17 Sukkoth means shelters.
  2. Genesis 33:18 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia
  3. Genesis 33:19 Hebrew hundred kesitahs; a kesitah was a unit of money of unknown weight and value.
  4. Genesis 33:20 El Elohe Israel can mean El is the God of Israel or mighty is the God of Israel.