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Lesson 227: Jacob's Meets Esau

Updated: Feb 26

Gen. 30:25-43; 31; 32; 33

Full Lesson HERE

INTRODUCTION. After his eleventh son Joseph was born, Jacob asked Laban to allow him

to return to his own country with his wives and children, for he had completed his fourteen years of service. But Laban stated he had been blessed by the Lord because of Jacob. He asked Jacob to remain and promised to pay him wages to care for his flocks.

Laban and Jacob then made an agreement. In order that he might begin to provide for his own household, all the colored, spotted, and speckled sheep and goats from the flocks would be given to Jacob for his wages. However, that day Laban removed all the animals marked in that manner, giving them into the care of his own sons who put three days journey between them and the remainder of the flocks. Nevertheless, through the years Jacob bred the animals that were left in his charge, producing strong, spotted, and colored animals for himself. God was with Jacob, and he prospered greatly acquiring large flocks and many servants (Gen. 30:25-43).

At the end of six years, the Lord told Jacob to return to the land of his fathers, and He would be with him. Jacob gathered all his household and substance and left Haran while Laban was away shearing sheep. Laban learned on the third day that Jacob was gone and pursued after him, overtaking him in seven days in the mountains of Gilead. God warned Laban in a dream not to interfere with Jacob nor harm him. The two men then made a peaceful agreement, setting up a heap of stones as a memorial, offering a sacrifice, and sharing a meal. The next day Laban returned to Haran, and Jacob continued his journey to Canaan, wondering now how to deal with his brother Esau (Gen. 31 ).

As Jacob went on his way, angels of God met him. Jacob then sent messengers to Esau informing him that he was returning. The messengers came back and reported that Esau was coming to meet him with four hundred men. Alarmed, Jacob divided his company into two groups so that if Esau should smite one group, the other might escape. He then prayed to God for deliverance (Gen. 32:1-12).

Jacob sent a large number of goats, sheep, camels, cattle, and donkeys to Esau as a gift in an attempt to appease him. Then as he approached a river, Jacob sent his family and

substance to the other side at evening, but he remained behind. During the night he wrestled with an angel. At break of day Jacob insisted the angel bless him. The angel gave Jacob a new name-Israel-which means, He strives with God, Let God rule, or God strives. This name was later applied to the descendants of Jacob who were called Israelites or the children of Israel (Gen. 32:13-32).

At last after twenty years, Jacob's meeting with Esau took place. When Jacob saw Esau advancing with his four hundred men, he put the two handmaids and their children in the front of his company, Leah with her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear. He himself went before them to greet Esau, bowing to the ground seven times. Esau ran to him and embraced him, and they wept together. After meeting Jacob's family, Esau declined to keep the gift of animals Jacob had sent him, but Jacob insisted he keep the gift because God had blessed him. The brothers then parted peacefully. Esau returned to the land of Seir, the area south of the Dead Sea, where he had settled, while Jacob continued on to Canaan (Gen. 33).

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