We read in the former chapter how Jacob had power with God,
and prevailed; here we find what power he had with men too.
A friendly meeting between Jacob and Esau, ver. 1 - 4.
Their conference at their meeting.
Their discourse is,
About Jacob's family, ver. 5 - 7.
About the present he had sent, ver. 8 - 11.
About the progress of their journey, ver. 12 - 15.
Jacob's settlement in Canaan, his house - ground, and altar,
ver. 16 - 20.
3: He bowed - Though he feared Esau as an enemy, yet he did
obeisance to him as an elder brother.
4: And Esau ran to meet him - Not in passion but in love.
Embraced him, fell on his neck and kissed him - God hath the hearts of all
men in his hands, and can turn them when and how he pleases. He can of a
sudden convert enemies into friends, as he did two Sauls, one by
restraining grace, (1Sa 26:21,25), the other by renewing grace,(Ac 9:21).
And they wept - Jacob wept for joy to be thus kindly received;
Esau perhaps wept for grief and shame to think of the ill design he had
conceived against his brother.
5: Eleven or twelve little ones followed Jacob, the eldest of them
not fourteen years old: Who are these? saith Esau. Jacob had
sent him an account of the increase of his estate, but made no mention of
his children, perhaps because he would not expose them to his rage, if he
should meet him as an enemy. Esau therefore had reason to ask who are
those with thee? To which Jacob returns a serious answer; they are
the children which God hath graciously given thy servant. Jacob
speaks of his children,
As God's gifts; they are a heritage of the Lord.
As choice gifts; he hath graciously given them. Though they were
many, and but slenderly provided for, yet he accounts them great blessings.
10: I have seen thy face as though I had seen the face of God - That
is, I have seen thee reconciled to me, and at peace with me, as I desire to
see God reconciled.
12: Esau offers himself to be his guide and companion, in token of
sincere reconciliation. We never find that Jacob and Esau were so
loving with one another as they were now. God made Esau not only not an
enemy, but a friend. Esau is become fond of Jacob's company, courts
him to mount Seir: let us never despair of any, nor distrust God, in
whose hands all hearts are. Yet Jacob saw cause modestly to refute this
offer, wherein he shews a tender concern for his own family and flocks, like
a good shepherd and a good father. He must consider the children, and the
flocks with young, and not lead the one or drive the other too fast.
Jacob intimates to him, that it was his design to come to him to mount
Seir; and we may presume he did so, after he had settled his concerns
elsewhere, though that visit be not recorded.
15: Esau offers some of his men to be his guard and convoy; but
Jacob humbly refuseth his offer, only desiring he would not take it
amiss that he did not accept it. What needs it? He is under the Divine
protection. Those are sufficiently guarded that have God for their guard,
and are under a convoy of his hosts, as Jacob was. Jacob adds, only
let me find grace in the sight of my lord - Having thy favour I have all I
need, all I desire from thee.
16: And Jacob journeyed to Succoth - Having in a friendly manner
parted with Esau, who was gone to his own country, he comes to a place,
where he rested, set up booths for his cattle, and other conveniences for
himself and family. The place was afterwards known by the name of
Succoth, a city in the tribe of Gad, on the other side Jordan;
it signifies booths: that when his posterity afterwards dwelt in houses
of stone, they might remember that the Syrian ready to perish was their
father, who was glad of booths, (De 26:5).
18: And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem - Or rather he
came safe, or in peace, to the city of Shechem. After a
perilous journey, in which he had met with many difficulties, he came safe
at last, into Canaan.
In thankfulness to God for the good hand of his providence over him.
That he might keep up religion, and the worship of God in his family.
He dedicated this altar to the honour of El - elohe - israel, God - the God of
Israel: to the honour of God in general, the only living and true God,
the Best of beings, the First of causes: and to the honour of the God
of Israel, as a God in covenant with him. God had lately called him by
the name of Israel; and now he calls God the God of Israel; though
he be called a prince with God, God shall still be a prince with
him, his Lord and his God.