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.
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
17. he commanded the foremost—The messengers were strictly commanded to say the same words [Ge 32:18, 20], that Esau might be more impressed and that the uniformity of the address might appear more clearly to have come from Jacob himself.
No text from Poole on this verse.
And so commanded he the second and third,.... Those who had the care of the second and third droves, he ordered them to say the same things, and in the same words as he had the first:
and all that followed the droves; either all that were with the principal driver; that if any of them should happen to be interrogated first, they might know what to answer; or those that followed the other droves, besides the three mentioned, which countenances Aben Ezra's notion of five droves, before observed:
saying, on this manner shall you speak to Esau, when you find him; that is, when they met him and perceived it was he that put questions to them. And so commanded he the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him.