Genesis 32:12
And you said, I will surely do you good, and make your seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Next, he betakes himself to prayer. He appeals to the God of Abraham and Isaac, to Yahweh the God of promise and performance. "I am less than;" unworthy of all the mercy and truth of God. "With my staff." Jacob seems to have left his home without escort and without means. It was evidently intended that he should return in a short time; but unforeseen circumstances lengthened the period. "Me, the mother with the children." Me is used here in that pregnant sense which is familiar in Scripture, to include his whole clan; as Ishmael, Israel, Edom, often stand for their respective races. He then pleads the express promise of God Genesis 28:13-15; Genesis 31:3.9-12. Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham—In this great emergency, he had recourse to prayer. This is the first recorded example of prayer in the Bible. It is short, earnest, and bearing directly on the occasion. The appeal is made to God, as standing in a covenant relation to his family, just as we ought to put our hopes of acceptance with God in Christ. It pleads the special promise made to him of a safe return; and after a most humble and affecting confession of unworthiness, it breathes an earnest desire for deliverance from the impending danger. It was the prayer of a kind husband, an affectionate father, a firm believer in the promises. No text from Poole on this verse. And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good,.... All kind of good, most certainly and constantly; so Jacob rightly interpreted the promise, "I will be with thee", Genesis 31:3; for the promise of God's presence includes and secures all needful good to his people; and from this general promise Jacob draws an argument for a special and particular good, the preservation of him and his family, he was now pleading for; and the rather he might hope to succeed, since the following promise was also made him:

and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude; which could not be fulfilled, if he and his family were cut off at once, as he feared; but God is faithful who has promised.

And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. thou saidst] See Genesis 28:14.

as the sand of the sea] See Genesis 13:16, Genesis 22:17, and cf. Genesis 16:10.From this point Jacob sent messengers forward to his brother Esau, to make known his return in such a style of humility ("thy servant," "my lord") as was adapted to conciliate him. אחר (Genesis 32:5) is the first pers. imperf. Kal for אאחר, from אחר to delay, to pass a time; cf. Proverbs 8:17, and Ges. 68, 2. The statement that Esau was already in the land of Seir (Genesis 32:4), or, as it is afterwards called, the field of Edom, is not at variance with Genesis 36:6, and may be very naturally explained on the supposition, that with the increase of his family and possessions, he severed himself more and more from his father's house, becoming increasingly convinced, as time went on, that he could hope for no change in the blessings pronounced by his father upon Jacob and himself, which excluded him from the inheritance of the promise, viz., the future possession of Canaan. Now, even if his malicious feelings towards Jacob had gradually softened down, he had probably never said anything to his parents on the subject, so that Rebekah had been unable to fulfil her promise (Genesis 27:45); and Jacob, being quite uncertain as to his brother's state of mind, was thrown into the greatest alarm and anxiety by the report of the messengers, that Esau was coming to meet him with 400 men. The simplest explanation of the fact that Esau should have had so many men about him as a standing army, is that given by Delitzsch; namely, that he had to subjugate the Horite population in Seir, for which purpose he might easily have formed such an army, partly from the Canaanitish and Ishmaelitish relations of his wives, and partly from his own servants. His reason for going to meet Jacob with such a company may have been, either to show how mighty a prince he was, or with the intention of making his brother sensible of his superior power, and assuming a hostile attitude if the circumstances favoured it, even though the lapse of years had so far mitigated his anger, that he no longer seriously thought of executing the vengeance he had threatened twenty years before. For we are warranted in regarding Jacob's fear as no vain, subjective fancy, but as having an objective foundation, by the fact that God endowed him with courage and strength for his meeting with Esau, through the medium of the angelic host and the wrestling at the Jabbok; whilst, on the other hand, the brotherly affection and openness with which Esau met him, are to be attributed partly to Jacob's humble demeanour, and still more to the fact, that by the influence of God, the still remaining malice had been rooted out from his heart.
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