|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verses 6, 7. - Then (literally, and) the handmaidens came near, they and their children (since they occupied the front rank in the procession which followed Jacob), and they bowed themselves (after his example). And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves. The remark of Lange, that the six-year old lad who comes before his mother seems to break through all the cumbrous ceremonial, and to rush confidently into the arms of his uncle, is as fanciful and far-fetched as that of Jarchi, that Joseph took precedence of his mother because he feared lest Esau, who was a homo profanus, should be fascinated by his mother's beauty, and seek to do her wrong; in which case he would try to hinder him.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then the handmaids came near, they and their children,.... Being foremost, and next to, Jacob, as Bilhah and her two sons, Dan and Naphtali, and Zilpah and her two sons, Gad and Asher:
and they bowed themselves; in token of respect to Esau, as Jacob had done before them, and set them an example, and no doubt instructed them to do it.
Genesis 33:6 Parallel Commentaries
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