Genesis 32:14
Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,
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(14, 15) Goatsewes—camelskineasses.—As the kinds of cattle are arranged according to their value, it is remarkable that kine should be prized above camels; for the milk of cows was regarded as of little worth. This high estimation of them, therefore, must have arisen from an increased regard for agriculture, the ploughing being done in the East by oxen. Asses of course come last, as being the animal used by chieftains for riding, and therefore prized as matters of luxury. (See Genesis 12:16; Judges 5:10.) Jacob selected “milch camels” because their milk forms a valuable part of the daily food of the Arabs.

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.Jacob sends forward a present to Esau. "He lodged there that night." Mahanaim may have been about twenty-five miles from the Jabbok. At some point in the interval he awaited the return of his messengers. Abiding during the night in the camp, not far from the ford of the Jabbok, he selects and sends forward to Esau his valuable present of five hundred and fifty head of cattle. "That which was come into his hand," into his possession. The cattle are selected according to the proportions of male and female which were adopted from experience among the ancients (Varro, de re rust. II. 3). "Every drove by itself," with a space between, that Esau might have time to estimate the great value of the gift. The repetition of the announcement of the gift, and of Jacob himself being at hand, was calculated to appease Esau, and persuade him that Jacob was approaching him in all brotherly confidence and affection. "Appease him." Jacob designs this gift to be the means of propitiating his brother before he appears in his presence. "Lift up my face," accept me. "Lodged that night in the camp;" after sending this present over the Jabbok. This seems the same night referred to in Genesis 32:14.13-23. 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. No text from Poole on this verse. Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes,

and twenty rams. And it seems this proportion of one he goat to ten she goats, and of one ram to ten ewes, is a proper one, and what has been so judged in other times and countries (x).

(x) Varro de rustica, l. 2. c. 3. apud Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 43. col. 439. &c. 53. col. 648.

Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams,
14. two hundred, &c.] The numbers here given enable us to form some idea of the great size of Jacob’s caravan. The animals are apparently mentioned in the order of their value, beginning with the least valuable.

Jacob hopes by the arrival of a succession of gifts to break down Esau’s bitter grudge against him. For “a brother offended,” cf. Proverbs 18:19.Verses 14, 15 - Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two hundred ewes, and twenty rams, thirty milch camels (specially valuable in the East on account of their milk, which was peculiarly sweet and wholesome) with their colts, forty kine, and ten hulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals. The selection was in harmony witch the general possessions of nomads (cf. Job 1:3; Job 42:12), and the proportion of male to female animals was arranged according to what the experience of the best ancient authorities has shown to be necessary for the purposes of breeding (Rosenmüller, Keil, Kalisch). Jacob, fearing the worst, divided his people and flocks into two camps, that if Esau smote the one, the other might escape. He then turned to the Great Helper in every time of need, and with an earnest prayer besought the God of his fathers, Abraham and Isaac, who had directed him to return, that, on the ground of the abundant mercies and truth (cf. Genesis 24:27) He had shown him thus far, He would deliver him out of the hand of his brother, and from the threatening destruction, and so fulfil His promises.
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