|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
32:1-8 The angels of God appeared to Jacob, to encourage him with the assurance of the Divine protection. When God designs his people for great trials, he prepares them by great comforts. While Jacob, to whom the promise belonged, had been in hard service, Esau was become a prince. Jacob sent a message, showing that he did not insist upon the birth-right. Yielding pacifies great offences, Ec 10:4. We must not refuse to speak respectfully, even to those unjustly angry with us. Jacob received an account of Esau's warlike preparations against him, and was greatly afraid. A lively sense of danger, and quickening fear arising from it, may be found united with humble confidence in God's power and promise.
Verse 3. - And Jacob sent messengers (with the messengers of Jacob, the messengers of Elohim form a contrast which can scarcely have been accidental) before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, - vide on Genesis 14:6. Seir, nearly equivalent in force to Esau (Ewald), and meaning the rough or bristling mountain (Gesenius), was originally occupied by the Horites, but afterwards became the seat of Esau and his descendants (Deuteronomy 2:4; 2 Chronicles 20:10), though as yet Esau had not withdrawn from Canaan (Genesis 36:5-8) - the country (literally, plain or level tract = Padan (male Hoses 12:13) of Edom, as it was afterwards called.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Jacob sent messengers before him unto Esau his brother,.... Or "angels": not angels simply, as Jarchi, for these were not under the command, and in the power of Jacob to send, nor would they have needed any instruction from him afterwards given, but these were some of his own servants. Esau it seems was removed from his father's house, and was possessed of a country after mentioned, called from his name; and which Aben Ezra says lay between Haran and the land of Israel; but if it did not directly lie in the road of Jacob, yet, as it was near him, he did not choose to pass by without seeing his brother; and therefore sent messengers to inform him of his coming, and by whom he might learn in what temper and disposition of mind he was towards him:
unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom: which had its first name from Seir the Horite; and Esau having married into his family, came into the possession of it, by virtue of that marriage; or rather he and his sons drove out the Horites, the ancient possessors of it, and took it to themselves, from whom it was afterwards called Edom, a name of Esau, which he had from the red pottage he sold his birthright for to his brother Jacob, Genesis 25:30; perhaps it is here called Edom by an anticipation, not having as yet that name, though it had in Moses's time, when this history was wrote; see Genesis 36:18.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ge 32:3-32. Mission to Esau.
3. Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau—that is, "had sent." It was a prudent precaution to ascertain the present temper of Esau, as the road, on approaching the eastern confines of Canaan, lay near the wild district where his brother was now established.
land of Seir—a highland country on the east and south of the Dead Sea, inhabited by the Horites, who were dispossessed by Esau or his posterity (De 11:12). When and in what circumstances he had emigrated thither, whether the separation arose out of the undutiful conduct and idolatrous habits of his wives, which had made them unwelcome in the tent of his parents, or whether his roving disposition had sought a country from his love of adventure and the chase, he was living in a state of power and affluence, and this settlement on the outer borders of Canaan, though made of his own free will, was overruled by Providence to pave the way for Jacob's return to the promised land.
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