Genesis 33:10
And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.
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(10) For therefore I have seen thy face.—The latter half of the verse would more correctly be translated, inasmuch as I have seen thy face as one seeth the face of Elohim, and thou hast received me graciously. To the Hebrew the thought of God was not terrifying, and so the vision of God’s face was the sight of something good and glorious. There is much of Oriental hyperbole in comparing the sight of Esau to the beholding of the face of Deity, but it clearly conveyed the idea that Esau was using his power as generously and lovingly as is the wont of God; and God was so much nearer to the Hebrew in those simple days than he is to men now that science has revealed to them the immensity of His attributes, that there was no irreverence in the comparison.

The behaviour of Esau is very generous. He wished to spare his brother so large a present, and therefore leads the conversation to it, knowing, of course, what was the meaning of the five herds, as their drivers had delivered to him Jacob’s message. To have refused it, however, would have been a mark of hostility, especially as Jacob represented it as the gift of an inferior for the purpose of obtaining the favour of one from whom he had feared danger. But Esau expostulates with his brother. He too was rich, and Jacob should keep what was his own. But Jacob still urges its acceptance as the proof of goodwill, magnifies the value of Esau’s favour, and declares that by God’s goodness he has still abundance, even after giving his brother so princely a present. It is called “blessing” because it was considered lucky to receive a gift, and of all good-luck God was the giver. (Comp. 1Samuel 25:27; 1Samuel 30:26.)

Genesis 33:10. As though I had seen the face of God — That is, thy meeting me in this peaceable manner is very comfortable and refreshing to me, and an evident token of God’s favour to me, Psalm 41:11. Or, I have seen thee reconciled to me, and at peace with me, as I desire to see God reconciled.

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.Jacob, upon seeing Esau approach with his four hundred men, advances with circumspection and lowly obeisance. He divided his family, arranged them according to their preciousness in his eyes, and walks himself in front. In drawing near, he bows seven times, in token of complete submission to his older brother. Esau, the wild hunter, is completely softened, and manifests the warmest affection, which is reciprocated by Jacob. The puncta extraordinaria over וישׁקהוּ vayı̂shēqēhû, "and kissed him," seemingly intimating a doubt of the reading or of the sincerity of Esau, are wholly unwarranted. Esau then observes the women and children, and inquires who they are. Jacob replies that God had granted, graciously bestowed on him, these children. They approach in succession, and do obeisance. Esau now inquires of the caravan or horde he had already met. He had heard the announcement of the servants; but he awaited the confirmation of the master. "To find grace in the eyes of my lord." Jacob values highly the good-will of his brother. The acceptance of this present is the security for that good-will, and for all the safety and protection which it involved. Esau at first declines the gift, but on being urged by Jacob accepts it, and thereby relieves Jacob of all his anxiety. His brother is now his friend indeed. "Therefore, have I seen thy face," that I might give thee this token of my affection. "As if I had seen the face of God." The unexpected kindness with which his brother had received him was a type and proof of the kindness of the All-provident, by whom it had been added to all his other mercies. My blessing; my gift which embodies my good wishes. I have all; not only enough, but all that I can wish.5. Who are those with thee?—It might have been enough to say, They are my children; but Jacob was a pious man, and he could not give even a common answer but in the language of piety (Ps 127:3; 113:9; 107:41). For therefore I have seen thy face; or, for I therefore tender it unto thee, and humbly beg thy acceptance of it, because; for thus the Hebrew al-cen is used, Numbers 14:43, and elsewhere.

As though I had seen the face of God. It is in a manner as pleasant a sight to me as the sight of God himself, because in thy reconciled face I see the face and favour of God thus manifested unto me.

And Jacob said, nay, I pray thee,.... Do not say so, as the Targum of Jonathan supplies it, or do not refuse my present:

if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand; signifying, that the acceptance of his present would be a token to him, and give him full satisfaction that he bore a good will to him, and did not retain anger and resentment against him:

for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God; or of princes, as Onkelos, as the face of some great personage, as he was; or as the face of an angel, very pleasant and lovely; or as the face of God himself, he observing the love and favour of God to him, in working upon the heart of Esau, and causing him to carry it so lovingly to him; wherefore for this reason receive it, because I have had such an agreeable sight of thee:

and thou wast pleased with me; accepted of me, and kindly received me:

And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore {d} I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.

(d) In that his brother embraced him so lovingly, contrary to his expectation, he accepted it as a clear sign of God's presence.

10. forasmuch as I have seen] R.V. marg. for therefore have I seen. See Genesis 18:5, Genesis 19:8 (J).

as one seeth the face of God] Jacob desires to imply that to have seen the face of Esau, and to have found him friendly, was as if one had looked on the face of God, and found it favourable. The phrase is therefore an elaborate compliment, such as is found in 1 Samuel 29:9, 2 Samuel 14:17, where David is compared to an angel of God. We can hardly doubt that this turn of compliment contains a side allusion to the name of the locality, Peniel. Cf. Genesis 32:30-31.

The phrase “to see the face” is equivalent to being “admitted into the royal presence”; cf. Genesis 43:3; Genesis 43:5; 2 Kings 25:19.

Verses 10, 11. - And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore - פִיעַלּ־כֵּן, because (Gesenius, Rosenmüller, Quarry), or, for this purpose (Keil, Kalisch, Hengetenberg, Lange, Ewald. Vide Genesis 18:5; Genesis 19:8; Genesis 38:26) - I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, - literally, as a vision of the/ace of Elohim, in which language Jacob neither uses adulation towards his brother (Tostatius), nor calla him a god in the sense in which heathen potentates are styled deities (Vatablus, Arabic, Chaldee), nor simply uses a superlative expression to indicate the majesty (Menochius) or benevolence (Ainsworth) of Esau's countenance, contended with him at the Jabbok (Bush); but either that he had received from Esau the same friendly welcome that one coming into God's presence would receive from him (Rosenmüller, Keil, Murphy, 'Speaker's Commentary'), or that he had come into Esau's presence with the same feelings of penitence as if he had been coming before God (Kalisch), or that, as he had already seen the face of God and his life was preserved, so now he had seen the face of Esau, and the anticipated destruction had not been inflicted on him (Quarry), either of which accords with the words that follow - and thou wast pleased with me - literally, thou hast graciously received me, the unexpressed thought being, as already I have been favorably accepted by Elohim. Hence Jacob with greater urgency renews his entreaty that Esau would not decline his proffered gift, saying, Take, I pray thee, my blessing (i.e. my present, the word signifying, as in 1 Samuel 25:27; 1 Samuel 30:26; 2 Kings 5:15, a gift by which one seeks to express good will) that is brought to thee; - or, which has been caused to come to thee, adding, as a special reason to induce him to accept - because God hath dealt graciously with me, - Elohim, it has been thought, is used here and in ver. 5 by Jacob instead of Jehovah, either "to avoid reminding Esau of the blessing of Jehovah which had occasioned his absence" (Delitzsch, Keil), or, " because Jehovah was exalted far above the level of Esau's superficial religion" Hengstenberg); but it is just possible that by its employment Jacob only wished to acknowledge the Divine hand in the remark- able prosperity which had attended him in Haran - and because I have enough - literally, there is to me all, i.e. everything I can wish (Murphy), all things as the heir of the promise (Keil). The expression is stronger than that used by Esau (ver. 9), and is regarded by some (Ainsworth) as indicating a more contented spirit than that evinced by Esau. And he urged him. In Eastern countries the acceptance of a gift is equivalent to the striking of a covenant of friendship. If your present be received by your superior yon may rely on his friendship; if it be declined you have everything to fear. It was on this ground that Jacob was so urgent in pressing Esau to accept his present (cf. A. Clarke in loco). And he took it, and so gave Jacob an assurance of his complete reconciliation. Genesis 33:10"For therefore," sc., to be able to offer thee this present, "have I come to see thy face, as man seeth the face of God, and thou hast received me favourably." The thought is this: In thy countenance I have been met with divine (heavenly) friendliness (cf. 1 Samuel 29:9; 2 Samuel 14:17). Jacob might say this without cringing, since he "must have discerned the work of God in the unexpected change in his brother's disposition towards him, and in his brother's friendliness a reflection of this divine."
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