Genesis 33 Commentary
This chapter is low key in content but not in expectation. Esau is coming and we can’t wait to see how the LORD handles the meeting. We are aware of Jacob’s prayer. We are also aware of the potential for a real war. Esau was robbed and anything is possible. But the LORD intervenes. The meeting becomes a symbol of God’s faithfulness over the faithless and the unfaithful Jacob. Furthermore Israel is a changed man. We can still see the old Jacob in terms of scheming but we can also see that Israel is a changed man. At this stage we don’t think Jacob can buy the blessing or indeed steal it. He is a changed man. All he has the LORD has provided – that he acknowledges.
We noticed how Jacob arranged his family before meeting Esau. He arranged them in the order of love. The two slave girls who had given him four sons between them (out of his 12 sons) were put up front. Leah and her 6 sons came up next while the beloved Rachel came up last with her son Joseph. This in itself explains the sad situation of multiple marriages. A man is forced to differentiate among his own family. This situation wasn’t the best spiritual environment for the patriarch.
You would guess wife rivalry was at play which consequently affected children. Joseph was hated for many reasons but one of them springs from the fact that he came from a loved mother. Children tend to hate each other when they grow up in such an environment. The fact that the LORD counts them as Jacob’s children worthy of the LORD’S blessing individually and collectively means that the LORD accepted them. The LORD accepts us regardless of our backgrounds. The LORD doesn’t have lineups like Israel’s lineup.
Note: A man must look at his children with equality and with a deep sense of love regardless of how they are born. Mistakes of mothers and fathers should not blind one to the reality of the blessing in each and every child.