In the previous episode involving the two brothers, Jacob stole Esau's birthright and blessing by tricking their father, Isaac. Jacob hoped the gifts would make Esau friendly, so Esau would be glad to see him when they met. Jacob does so and stays away until his brother's anger has subsided.
What can we learn from the events of this story? Are its lessons universal? Imagine that you have had a fight with a parent or sibling because you feel that he or she has wronged you. It is fortunate that Esau does not kill Jacob or even hold a grudge against him, but has Esau truly forgotten and forgiven Jacob's betrayal? Does real forgiveness take place between the two men? Although the brothers part unscathed from their encounter, is their relationship really repaired?
In Esau's mother and father's eyes, the deception may have been deserved. But, as in the situation of Jacob and Esau, the relationship may never be fully repaired. In order to escape Esau's angry wrath and save Jacob's life, their mother, Rebecca, arranged for Jacob to leave home and go far away. Although the offer of gifts is tempting, it does not provide you with the opportunity to tell the other person how hurt you were, why you were hurt, and that you hope he or she never does the same thing again. Genesis 32–33 tells of Jacob and Esau's eventual reconciliation. In anticipation of the reunion, Jacob sends two delegations to his brother Esau. Esau showed forgiveness in spite of this bitter conflict. The text does not say whether the delegation was received by Esau, or whether perhaps they were so impressed by his size and might and direction of advance, that they turn on their heels and report back to Jacob. Intent on revenge, Esau threatened to kill Jacob for having wronged him. Isaac then refuses to take Jacob's blessing back after learning he was tricked, and does not give this blessing to Esau but, after Esau begs, gives him an inferior blessing (Genesis 27:34–40).
We read only a short time ago, in Genesis 27, that Jacob stole the birthright and blessing of his brother, Esau. Is the problem resolved? It is possible that on the surface, everyone is friendly again. Hours, days, or weeks go by with no communication between you and that person until he or she needs something from you and comes bearing gifts in order to win you over or to insure that you don't seek revenge. 32:4-6), Jacob refers to himself as "servant" and Esau as "lord." His messengers return and tell Jacob that Esau is coming towards him escorted by four hundred men (v. (After this, God confirms his renaming of Jacob as "Israel".) Jacob gets the name Israel after he wrestles with the Angel of God as he is traveling to Esau. "Please accept these gifts as a sign of your friendship for me. He then proceeds to make several preparations for his encounter with Esau and dispatches another delegation, which brings to Esau a considerable gift offering (vv. Jacob had inflicted a wound on his brother that may never heal.
The encounter between Jacob and Esau in Genesis 33:4 appears to be a friendly one. 20And Jacob told them to be sure to say that he was right behind them. 21Jacob's men took the gifts on ahead of him, but he spent the night in camp.
10"No!" Jacob said. 11Please accept these gifts I brought to you. 7), indicating that Esau is getting ready for battle. Jacob bows down before Esau and insists that Esau receive the gifts. Seeking to protect Jacob from his brother's wrath, their mother, Rebecca, sent Jacob to live with her brother Laban. When you welcomed me and I saw your face, it was like seeing the face of God. Jacob sends his whole family and multiple wives of gifts to Esau as they approach each other in hopes that Esau will spare Jacob's life. Without a heartfelt request for forgiveness and a promise to never repeat the same action, a certain trust is lost. 14-22).
The drama of Jacob and Esau is not over yet. Rebekah later abets Jacob in receiving his father's blessing disguised as Esau. Esau refuses the gifts, as he is now very wealthy and does not need them. He hugs Jacob and kisses him. Be that as it may, their message causes Jacob great anxiety. In the message which he sends with the first delegation (Gen. His hip is knocked out of joint but he keeps on wrestling and gains the name.
19Jacob also told the men in charge of the second and third herds and those who followed to say the same thing when they met Esau. However, shortly after their encounter the two part ways and do not meet again until their father's funeral. Esau runs to greet his brother. God has been good to me, and I have everything I need." Jacob kept insisting until Esau accepted the gifts.
In this week's parasha we read of a meeting between the two brothers, Jacob and Esau, after an extended separation, during which time Jacob lived in Laban's household in Haran.