Genesis 32:16
And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said to his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space between drove and drove.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) A space.Heb., a breathing place. These paration of the droves would be a matter of course, as each kind would travel peaceably onward only by itself. But Jacob rightly concluded that the repeated acknowledgment of Esau as his lord, added to the great value of the gift, would fill his brother’s heart with friendly feelings, and perhaps therefore he put a longer space than usual between the successive droves.

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 32:14.16. every drove by themselves—There was great prudence in this arrangement; for the present would thus have a more imposing appearance; Esau's passion would have time to cool as he passed each successive company; and if the first was refused, the others would hasten back to convey a timely warning. That his gift might be represented to Esau with most advantage, and his mind might by little and little be sweetened towards him. And he delivered them into the hand of his servants,.... To present them to Esau as from him:

every drove by themselves; there seems to have been three droves, see Genesis 32:19; very probably the two hundred and twenty goats, male and female, were in the first drove; and the two hundred and twenty sheep, ewes, and rams, were in the second drove; and the thirty camels, with their colts, and the fifty cows and bulls, with the twenty she asses and ten foals, which made in all one hundred and forty, were in the third drove: though Aben Ezra thinks there were five droves; nor is it improbable, the goats in one drove, the sheep in another, the camels and colts in a third, and the kine and bulls might make a fourth, and the asses with their foals a fifth:

and saith unto his servants, pass over before me: over the brook Jabbok, Genesis 32:22, a day's journey or less before him, as Jarchi observes, or rather a night's journey, as seems by the context; for these were sent out at evening, and Jacob stayed behind all night, as appears by what follows:

and put a space betwixt drove and drove; his meaning is, that they should not follow each other closely; but that there should be a considerable distance between them, and which he would have them careful to keep: his view in this was, partly to prolong time, Esau stopping, as he supposed he would, at each drove, and asking questions of the men; and partly that he might the better and more distinctly observe the largeness of his present, and his munificence in it, and so, both by the present, and by the frequent repetition of his submission to him as his servant, his wrath, if he came out in it, would be gradually abated, and before he came to him he would be in a disposition to receive him with some marks of affection and kindness, as he did.

And he delivered them into the hand of his servants, every drove by themselves; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 16. - And he delivered them into the Band of his servants, every drove by themselves (literally, drove and drove separately); and said unto his servants, Passover (the river Jabbok) before me, and put a space (literally, a breathing-place) betwixt drove and drove - as is still the manner with Oriental shepherds (cf. 'Land and Book,' p. 331). 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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