|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
32:9-23 Times of fear should be times of prayer: whatever causes fear, should drive us to our knees, to our God. Jacob had lately seen his guards of angels, but in this distress he applied to God, not to them; he knew they were his fellow-servants, Re 22:9. There cannot be a better pattern for true prayer than this. Here is a thankful acknowledgement of former undeserved favours; a humble confession of unworthiness; a plain statement of his fears and distress; a full reference of the whole affair to the Lord, and resting all his hopes on him. The best we can say to God in prayer, is what he has said to us. Thus he made the name of the Lord his strong tower, and could not but be safe. Jacob's fear did not make him sink into despair, nor did his prayer make him presume upon God's mercy, without the use of means. God answers prayers by teaching us to order our affairs aright. To pacify Esau, Jacob sent him a present. We must not despair of reconciling ourselves to those most angry against us.
Verse 13. - And he lodged there that same night; and took - not by random, but after careful selection; separavit (Vulgate) - of that which came to his hand - not of those things which were in his hand, ω΅ν ἔφερεν (LXX.), such as he had (Ainsworth), quae in mann erant (Rosenmüller), but of such things as had come into his hand, i.e. as he had acquired (Keil, Alford, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Inglis) - a present (Minchah; used in Genesis 4:3, 4, 5, as a sacrifice to Jehovah, q.v.) for Esau his brother.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he lodged there that same night,.... At Mahanaim, or some place near it:
and took of that which came to his hand; not what came next to hand, for what he did was with great deliberation, judgment, and prudence; wherefore the phrase signifies what he was possessed of, or was in his power, as Jarchi rightly interprets it:
a present for Esau his brother: in order to pacify him, gain his good will, and avert his wrath and displeasure, see Proverbs 18:16; though Jacob had prayed to God, committed himself and family to him, and left all with him, yet he thought it proper to make use of all prudential means and methods for his safety: God frequently works in and by means made use of: the account of the present follows.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13-23. took … a present for Esau—Jacob combined active exertions with earnest prayer; and this teaches us that we must not depend upon the aid and interposition of God in such a way as to supersede the exercise of prudence and foresight. Superiors are always approached with presents, and the respect expressed is estimated by the quality and amount of the gift. The present of Jacob consisted of five hundred fifty head of cattle, of different kinds, such as would be most prized by Esau. It was a most magnificent present, skilfully arranged and proportioned. The milch camels alone were of immense value; for the she camels form the principal part of Arab wealth; their milk is a chief article of diet; and in many other respects they are of the greatest use.
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