Jacob & Esau Reconcile
"Now Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and there, Esau was coming, and with him were four hundred men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two maidservants. And he put the maidservants and their children in front, Leah and her children behind, and Rachel and Joseph last. Then he crossed over before them and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother" (Gen. 33:1-3). Although he had sent over 550 animals ahead as a gift, Jacob is still fearful of what his brother Esau and his 400 men might do to them. He splits his family up into groups with those he valued most the furthest from the danger. Even here when Joseph is an infant, special treatment is given to him (cf. 37:3). Jacob then approached Esau personally, bowing seven times (which would have indicated extreme respect). He may be fearful, but he is not a coward!

"But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept" (Gen. 33:4). Esau's murderous intentions are gone, though it is hard to say how much the reception of his brother here is due to time healing wounds or due to the wonderful gifts Jacob sent ahead of himself coupled with his humility. Regardless, the brothers embrace and cry together. It is a good reunion.

"Then Esau said, 'What do you mean by all this company which I met?' And he said, 'These are to find favor in the sight of my lord.' But Esau said, 'I have enough, my brother; keep what you have for yourself.' And Jacob said, 'No, please, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present from my hand, inasmuch as I have seen your face as though I had seen the face of God, and you were pleased with me. Please, take my blessing that is brought to you, because God has dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough.' So he urged him, and he took it" (Gen. 33:8-11).

Esau inquired about the gifts and went on to affirm that he did not need them (i.e., "I have enough, my brother"). Jacob is so pleased to see him and to enjoy a positive reception that he insists that Esau take them. Jacob admits that he too has plenty because of God's grace. The comment comparing Esau's face to "the face of God" is interesting. Likely Jacob believes God has been involved in changing Esau's disposition toward him, and for that he is exceedingly grateful. It could also be that Jacob is simply saying that he did not ever expect to see his brother again (just as one would not expect to see the face of God).

"Then Esau said, 'Let us take our journey; let us go, and I will go before you.' But Jacob said to him, 'My lord knows that the children are weak, and the flocks and herds which are nursing are with me. And if the men should drive them hard one day, all the flock will die. Please let my lord go on ahead before his servant. I will lead on slowly at a pace which the livestock that go before me, and the children, are able to endure, until I come to my lord in Seir'" (Gen. 33:12-14). After greeting one another and perhaps visiting for awhile, Esau is ready to guide his brother home. Jacob is reluctant to do so because of fatigue of his flocks and children. Jacob prefers to take a much slower pace. Esau goes on ahead. The chapter closes by providing information regarding Jacob's reentrance into Canaan. He built a house in Succoth and pitched his tent before Shechem. He bought some land and also built an altar to God.