Genesis 33:3
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
He himself went on ahead and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.

New Living Translation
Then Jacob went on ahead. As he approached his brother, he bowed to the ground seven times before him.

English Standard Version
He himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

New American Standard Bible
But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

King James Bible
And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
He himself went on ahead and bowed to the ground seven times until he approached his brother.

International Standard Version
Then he went out to meet Esau, passing in front of all of them, and bowed low to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.

NET Bible
But Jacob himself went on ahead of them, and he bowed toward the ground seven times as he approached his brother.

New Heart English Bible
He himself passed over in front of them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
He went on ahead of them and bowed seven times with his face touching the ground as he came near his brother.

JPS Tanakh 1917
And he himself passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

New American Standard 1977
But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And he passed over in front of them and bowed himself to the ground seven times until he came near to his brother.

King James 2000 Bible
And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

American King James Version
And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

American Standard Version
And he himself passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And he went forward and bowed down with his face to the ground seven times until his brother came near.

Darby Bible Translation
And he passed on before them, and bowed to the earth seven times, until he came near to his brother.

English Revised Version
And he himself passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Webster's Bible Translation
And he passed on before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, till he came near to his brother.

World English Bible
He himself passed over in front of them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

Young's Literal Translation
And he himself passed over before them, and boweth himself to the earth seven times, until his drawing nigh unto his brother,
Study Bible
Jacob Meets Esau
2He put the maids and their children in front, and Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last. 3But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. 4Then Esau ran to meet him and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.…
Cross References
Genesis 33:2
He put the maids and their children in front, and Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last.

Genesis 42:6
Now Joseph was the ruler over the land; he was the one who sold to all the people of the land. And Joseph's brothers came and bowed down to him with their faces to the ground.

Genesis 43:26
When Joseph came home, they brought into the house to him the present which was in their hand and bowed to the ground before him.
Treasury of Scripture

And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

passed.

John 10:4,11,12,15 And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the …

bowed.

Genesis 18:2 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, see, three men stood by …

Genesis 42:6 And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold …

Genesis 43:26 And when Joseph came home, they brought him the present which was …

Proverbs 6:3 Do this now, my son, and deliver yourself, when you are come into …

Ecclesiastes 10:4 If the spirit of the ruler rise up against you, leave not your place; …

Luke 14:11 For whoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself …

seven times.

1 Samuel 2:5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they …

XXXIII.

(3) He passed over before them.--While providing some small chance of escape for his wives and children, arranged according to their rank, Jacob manfully went first and placed himself entirely in Esau's power. He endeavoured, nevertheless, by his sevenfold obeisance in acknowledgment of Esau's superiority, to propitiate him; for the cause of the quarrel had been Jacob's usurpation of Esau's right of precedence as the first born. This bowing in the East is made by bending the body forward with the arms crossed, and the right hand held over the heart.

Verses 3, 4. - And he (the introduction of the pronoun giving emphasis to the statement) passed over before them (i.e. passed on in front of them, thus chivalrously putting himself in the place of danger), and bowed himself to the ground - not completely prostrating the body, as Abraham did in Genesis 19:1, but bending forward till the upper part of it became parallel with the ground, a mode of expressing deep reverence and respect, which may be seen to life in Oriental countries at the present day (Roberts, 'Oriental Illustrations,' p. 41) - seven times (not in immediate succession, but bowing and advancing), until he came near to his brother. The conduct of Jacob was dictated neither by artful hypocrisy nor by unmanly timidity; but by true politeness and a sincere desire to conciliate. And as such it was accepted by Esau, who ran to meet him, and, his better feelings kindling at the sight of his long-absent brother, embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him - as Joseph afterwards did to Benjamin (Genesis 45:14, 15), though the puncta extraordinaria of the Masorites over the word "kissed" seem to indicate either that in their judgment Esau was incapable of such fraternal affection (Delitzsch, Kalisch), or that the word was suspicious, Origen appearing not to have found it in his codices (Rosenmüller, Keil), unless indeed the conjecture be correct that the word was marked to draw attention to the power of God's grace in changing Esau's heart (Ainsworth). And they wept - the LXX. adding both. "All this is beautiful, natural, Oriental" ('Land and Book,' p. 372). And he passed over before them,.... At the head of them, as the master of the family, exposing himself to the greatest danger for them, and in order to protect and defend them in the best manner he could, or to endeavour to soften the mind of his brother by an address, should there be any occasion for it:

and bowed himself to the ground seven times; in a civil way, as was the manner in the eastern countries towards great personages; and this he did to Esau as being his elder brother, and as superior to him in grandeur and wealth, being lord of a considerable country; and at the same time religious adoration might be made to God; while he thus bowed to the ground, his heart might be going up to God in prayer, that he would appear for him at this instant, and deliver him and his family from perishing by his brother; and so the Targum of Jonathan introduces this clause,"praying, and asking mercies of the Lord, and bowed, &c.''seven times, perhaps, may not design an exact number, but that he bowed many times as he came along:

until he came near to his brother; he kept bowing all the way he came until they were within a small space of one another. 3. he bowed himself … seven times—The manner of doing this is by looking towards a superior and bowing with the upper part of the body brought parallel to the ground, then advancing a few steps and bowing again, and repeating his obeisance till, at the seventh time, the suppliant stands in the immediate presence of his superior. The members of his family did the same. This was a token of profound respect, and, though very marked, it would appear natural; for Esau being the elder brother, was, according to the custom of the East, entitled to respectful treatment from his younger brother. His attendants would be struck by it, and according to Eastern habits, would magnify it in the hearing of their master.33:1-16 Jacob, having by prayer committed his case to God, went on his way. Come what will, nothing can come amiss to him whose heart is fixed, trusting in God. Jacob bowed to Esau. A humble, submissive behaviour goes far towards turning away wrath. Esau embraced Jacob. God has the hearts of all men in his hands, and can turn them when and how he pleases. It is not in vain to trust in God, and to call upon him in the day of trouble. And when a man's ways please the Lord he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him. Esau receives Jacob as a brother, and much tenderness passes between them. Esau asks, Who are those with thee? To this common question, Jacob spoke like himself, like a man whose eyes are ever directed towards the Lord. Jacob urged Esau, though his fear was over, and he took his present. It is well when men's religion makes them generous, free-hearted, and open-handed. But Jacob declined Esau's offer to accompany him. It is not desirable to be too intimate with superior ungodly relations, who will expect us to join in their vanities, or at least to wink at them, though they blame, and perhaps mock at, our religion. Such will either be a snare to us, or offended with us. We shall venture the loss of all things, rather than endanger our souls, if we know their value; rather than renounce Christ, if we truly love him. And let Jacob's care and tender attention to his family and flocks remind us of the good Shepherd of our souls, who gathers the lambs with his arm, and carries them in his bosom, and gently leads those that are with young, Isa 40:11. As parents, teachers or pastors, we should all follow his example.
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