Jacob’s Fear of Esau
3 Then Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He commanded them, saying, “This is what to say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob says this, “I have been living temporarily with Laban, and have stayed there until now; 5 I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, male servants, and female servants; and I have sent [this message] to tell my lord, so that I may find grace and kindness in your sight.”’”
6 The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We went to your brother Esau, and now he is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” 7 Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps; 8 and he said, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the other camp which is left will escape.”
9 Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, the Lord, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your people, and I will make you prosper,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and compassion and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant. With only my staff [long ago] I crossed over this Jordan, and now I have become [blessed and increased into these] two groups [of people]. 11 Save me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, that he will come and attack me and the mothers with the children. 12 And You [Lord] said, ‘I will certainly make you prosper and make your descendants as [numerous as] the sand of the sea, which is too great to be counted.’”
13 So Jacob spent the night there. Then he selected a present for his brother Esau from the livestock he had acquired: 14 two hundred female goats, twenty male goats, two hundred ewes, twenty rams, 15 thirty milking camels with their colts, forty cows, ten bulls, twenty female donkeys, and ten [donkey] colts. 16 He put them into the care of his servants, every herd by itself, and said to his servants, “Go on ahead of me, and put an interval [of space] between the individual herds.” 17 Then he commanded the one in front, saying, “When Esau my brother meets you and asks to whom you belong, and where you are going, and whose are the animals in front of you? 18 then you shall say, ‘They are your servant Jacob’s; they are a gift sent to my lord Esau. And he also is behind us.’” 19 And so Jacob commanded the second and the third as well, and all that followed the herds, saying, “This is what you shall say to Esau when you meet him; 20 and you shall say, ‘Look, your servant Jacob is behind us.’” For he said [to himself], “I will try to appease him with the gift that is going ahead of me. Then afterward I will see him; perhaps he will accept and forgive me.” 21 So the gift [of the herds of livestock] went on ahead of him, and he himself spent that night back in the camp.
22 But he got up that same night and took his two wives, his two female servants, and his eleven children, and waded over the ford of the Jabbok. 23 Then he took them and sent them across the brook. And he also sent across whatever he had.
24 So Jacob was left alone, and a [b]Man [came and] wrestled with him until daybreak. 25 When the Man saw that He had not prevailed against Jacob, He touched his hip joint; and Jacob’s hip was dislocated as he wrestled with Him. 26 Then He said, “Let Me go, for day is breaking.” But Jacob said, “I will not let You go unless You declare a blessing on me.” 27 So He asked him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but [c]Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.”(B) 29 Then Jacob asked Him, “Please tell me Your name.” But He said, “Why is it that you ask My name?” And He declared a blessing [of the covenant promises] on Jacob there. 30 So Jacob named the place Peniel (the face of God), saying, “For I have seen God face to face, yet my life has not been snatched away.” 31 Now the sun rose on him as he passed Penuel (Peniel), and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore, to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh by the tendon of the hip.
Jacob Meets Esau
33 Then Jacob looked up, and saw Esau coming with four hundred men. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. 2 He put the maids and their children in front, Leah and her children after them, and Rachel and Joseph last of all. 3 Then Jacob crossed over [the stream] ahead of them and bowed himself to the ground seven times [bowing and moving forward each time], until he approached his brother.
4 But Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and hugged his neck and kissed him, and they wept [for joy].(C) 5 Esau looked up and saw the women and the children, and said, “Who are these with you?” So Jacob replied, “They are the children whom God has graciously given your servant.” 6 Then the maids approached with their children, and they bowed down. 7 Leah also approached with her children, and they bowed down. Afterward Joseph and Rachel approached, and they bowed down. 8 Esau asked, “What do you mean by all this company which I have met?” And he answered, “[These are] to find favor in the sight of my lord.” 9 But Esau said, “I have plenty, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.” 10 Jacob replied, “No, please, if now I have found favor in your sight, then accept my gift [as a blessing] from my hand, for I see your face as if I had seen the face of God, and you have received me favorably. 11 Please accept my blessing (gift) which has been brought to you, for God has dealt graciously with me and I have everything [that I could possibly want].” So Jacob kept urging him and Esau accepted it.
12 Then Esau said, “Let us get started on our journey and I will go in front of you [to lead the way].” 13 But Jacob replied, “You know, my lord, that the children are frail and need gentle care, and the nursing flocks and herds [with young] are of concern to me; for if the men should drive them hard for a single day, all the flocks will die. 14 Please let my lord go on ahead of his servant, and I will move on slowly, governed by the pace of the livestock that are in front of me and according to the endurance of the children, [d]until I come to my lord in Seir [in Edom].”
15 Then Esau said, “Please let me leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But Jacob said, “[e]What need is there [for it]? Let me find favor in the sight of my lord.” 16 So Esau turned back [toward the south] that day on his way to Seir. 17 But Jacob journeyed [north] to Succoth, and built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock; so the name of the place is Succoth (huts, shelters).
Jacob Settles in Shechem
18 When Jacob came from Paddan-aram, he arrived safely and in peace at the city of Shechem, in the land of Canaan, and camped in front of the [walled] city. 19 Then he bought the piece of land on which he had pitched his tents from [f]the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for a hundred [g]pieces of money. 20 There he erected an altar and called it [h]El-Elohe-Israel.
The Treachery of Jacob’s Sons
34 Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out [unescorted] to visit the girls of the land. 2 When Shechem the son of Hamor the Hivite, prince (sheik) of the land, saw her, he kidnapped her and lay [intimately] with her by force [humbling and offending her]. 3 But his soul longed for and clung to Dinah daughter of Jacob, and he loved the girl and spoke comfortingly to her young heart’s wishes. 4 So Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this young woman as a wife.” 5 Now Jacob heard that Shechem had defiled (violated) Dinah his daughter; but his sons were in the field with his livestock, so Jacob said nothing until they came in. 6 But Shechem’s father Hamor went to Jacob to talk with him. 7 Now when Jacob’s sons heard of it they came in from the field; they were deeply grieved, and they were very angry, for Shechem had done a disgraceful thing to [i]Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter, for such a thing is not to be done.
8 But Hamor conferred with them, saying, “The soul of my son Shechem [deeply] longs for your daughter [and sister]. Please give her to him as his wife. 9 And [beyond that] intermarry with us; give your daughters to us [as wives] and take our daughters for yourselves.(D) 10 In this way you shall live with us; the country will be open to you; live and do business in it and acquire property and possessions in it.” 11 Shechem also said to Dinah’s father and to her brothers, “Let me find favor in your sight, and I will give you whatever you ask of me. 12 Demand of me a very large bridal payment and gift [as compensation for giving up your daughter and sister], and I will give you whatever you tell me; only give me the girl to be my wife.”
13 Jacob’s sons answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, because Shechem had defiled and disgraced their sister Dinah. 14 They said to them, “We cannot do this thing and give our sister [in marriage] to one who is not circumcised, because that would be a disgrace to us. 15 But we will consent to you only on this condition: if you will become like us, in that every male among you consents to be circumcised, 16 then we will give our daughters to you [in marriage], and we will take your daughters for ourselves, and we will live with you and become one people. 17 But if you do not listen to us and refuse to be circumcised, then we will take our daughter [Dinah] and go.”
18 Their words seemed reasonable to Hamor and his son Shechem, 19 and the young man did not hesitate to do the [required] thing, for he was delighted with Jacob’s daughter. Now he was more respected and honored than all [others] in the household of his father. 20 Then Hamor and Shechem his son came to the gate of their [walled] city [where the leading men would meet] and spoke with the men of the city, saying, 21 “These men are peaceful and friendly with us; so let them live in the land and do business in it, for the land is large enough [for us and] for them; let us take their daughters for wives and let us give them our daughters [in marriage]. 22 But only on this condition will the men consent to our request that they live among us and become one people: that every male among us become circumcised just as they are circumcised. 23 Will not their cattle and their possessions and all their animals be ours [if we do this]? Let us consent [to do as they ask], and they will live here with us.” 24 And every [Canaanite] man who went out of the city gate listened and considered what Hamor and Shechem said; and every male who [j]was a resident of that city was circumcised.
25 Now on the third day [after the circumcision], when all the men were [terribly] sore and in pain, two of Jacob’s sons, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s [full] brothers, took their swords, boldly entered the city [without anyone suspecting them of evil intent], and they killed every male. 26 They killed Hamor and his son Shechem with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house [where she was staying], and left. 27 Then Jacob’s [other] sons came upon those who were killed and looted the town, because their sister had been defiled and disgraced. 28 They took the Canaanites’ flocks and their herds and their donkeys, and whatever was in the city and in the field; 29 they looted all their wealth, and [took captive] all their children and their wives, even everything that was in the houses. 30 Then Jacob said to Simeon and Levi, “You have ruined me, making me a stench to the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites and the Perizzites! My men are few in number, and the men of the land will band together against me and attack me; I shall be destroyed, I and my household.” 31 But they said, “Should he [be permitted to] treat our sister as a prostitute?”
- Genesis 32:2 Jacob may have been referring to the angels as another camp, along with his own, and viewing their presence as evidence of divine protection. This was Jacob’s second encounter with the “angels of God” (28:12).
- Genesis 32:24 This was God Himself (as Jacob eventually realizes in Gen 32:30; see also v 29 and Hosea 12:4), in the form of an angel.
- Genesis 32:28 “He who strives with God,” or “God strives.”
- Genesis 33:14 Jacob must have been concerned about traveling through Edom and used this excuse to avoid following Esau to Seir. Indeed, he heads in the opposite direction.
- Genesis 33:15 Lit Why this?
- Genesis 33:19 Lit the hand of the sons.
- Genesis 33:19 Heb qesitah, an uncertain measure of weight; a rabbi once reported hearing the ma’ah, a small coin worth 1/12 of a shekel, called a qesitah.
- Genesis 33:20 I.e. God, the mighty God of Israel.
- Genesis 34:7 This use of the word “Israel” implies that the family of Israel (Jacob) was developing into a distinct people or nation. They are recognized by Pharaoh as a separate nation in Ex 1:9.
- Genesis 34:24 Lit went out of the gate of his city.