Genesis 33:19
And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money.
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(19) He bought . . . —Abraham had been obliged to buy land for a burial-place, and we find even then that the field he wanted had an owner who could give him a title to its possession. Jacob a century later finds it necessary to buy even the ground on which to pitch his tent, though his cattle might still roam freely about for pasture. This, however, would certainly not have been required except in the immediate neighbourhood of a town. As he had now recovered from his sprain, he returns to his habits as a nomad, and dwells in a tent. In this, the first parcel of ground possessed by Jacob, the embalmed body of Joseph was buried (Joshua 24:32; see also John 4:5); and it is remarkable that the possession of it was secure, even when the owners were far away in Egypt.

An hundred pieces of money.—Heb., a hundred hesitas. It is plain that the kesita was an ingot of metal of some considerable value, from what is said in the Book of Job (Genesis 42:11), that each of his friends gave the patriarch “one kesita and a nose-ring of gold.” The etymology of the word is uncertain, and apparently all knowledge of its meaning had at an early period passed away, inasmuch as Onkelos and some of the versions translate it lambs, for which rendering there is no support.

33:17-20 Jacob did not content himself with words of thanks for God's favour to him, but gave real thanks. Also he kept up religion, and the worship of God in his family. Where we have a tent, God must have an altar. Jacob dedicated this altar to the honour of El-elohe-Israel, God, the God of Israel; to the honour of God, the only living and true God; and to the honour of the God of Israel, as a God in covenant with him. Israel's God is Israel's glory. Blessed be his name, he is still the mighty God, the God of Israel. May we praise his name, and rejoice in his love, through our pilgrimage here on earth, and for ever in the heavenly Canaan.Jacob at length crosses the Jordan, and enters again the land of Kenaan. "In peace." The original word (שׁלם shālēm "safe, in peace") is rendered Shalem, the name of the town at which Jacob arrived, by the Septuagint. The rendering safe, or in peace, is here adopted, because (1) the word is to be taken as a common noun or adjective, unless there be a clear necessity for a proper name; (2) "the place" was called Shekem in the time of Abraham Genesis 12:6, and the "town" is so designated in the thirty-fifth chapter Genesis 35:4; and (3) the statement that Jacob arrived in safety accounts for the additional clauses, "which is in the land of Kenaan," and "when he went from Padan-aram," and is in accordance with the promise Genesis 28:21 that he would return in peace. If, however, the Salim found by Robinson to the west of Nablous be the present town, it must be called the city of Shekem, because it belonged to the Shekem mentioned in the following verse and chapter. "Pitched before the city."

Jacob did not enter into the city, because his flocks and herds could not find accommodation there, and he did not want to come into close contact with the inhabitants. "He bought a parcel of the field." He is anxious to have a place he may call his own, where he may have a permanent resting-place. "For a hundred kesitahs." The kesitah may have been a piece of silver or gold, of a certain weight, equal in value to a lamb (see Gesenius). "El-Elohe-Israel." Jacob consecrates his ground by the erection of an altar. He calls it the altar of the Mighty One, the God of Israel, in which he signalizes the omnipotence of him who had brought him in safety to the land of promise through many perils, the new name by which he himself had been lately designated, and the blessed communion which now existed between the Almighty and himself. This was the very spot where Abraham, about one hundred and eighty-five years ago, built the first altar he erected in the promised land Genesis 12:6-7. It is now consecrated anew to the God of promise.

- Dinah's Dishonor

This chapter records the rape of Dinah and the revenge of her brothers.

19. an hundred pieces of money—literally, "lambs"; probably a coin with the figure of a lamb on it. He bought a parcel of a field for his present possession and use; for the right which he had to it was only in reversion after the time that God had allotted for it.

The children of Hamor, i.e. subjects, called his children to note the duty which they owed to him, and the care and affection that he owed to them. Compare Numbers 11:12.

An hundred pieces of money. The word is used only here, and Joshua 24:32 Job 42:11, and it may signify either lambs, given in way of exchange for it, or pieces of money, which seems more probable, both by comparing Acts 7:16, and because money was come into use in that place and time, Genesis 17:12,13 23:16 47:16, which were called lambs possibly from the fignre of a lamb stamped upon it, as the Athenian money was called an ox for the like reason, and as we call a piece of gold a Jacobus, because the picture of that king is upon it. And he bought a parcel of a field,.... Not the whole, but a part of it; this he did, though he was heir of the whole country, because, as yet, the time was not come for him or his to take possession of it:

where he had spread his tent; the ground that it stood upon, and what was adjoining to it, for the use of his cattle: this he bought

at the hand of the children of Hamor; of some one of them, in whose possession it was, and perhaps with the consent of the rest, and before them, as witnesses:

for an hundred pieces of money; Onkelos, the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Samaritan, Syriac, and Arabic versions render it a hundred lambs or sheep, cattle being used to be given in exchange for things in trade and commerce; but as money was in use before the times of Jacob, and Stephen expresses it as a "sum of money", Acts 7:16; and this best agrees with the use of the word in Job 42:11, the only place besides this, excepting Joshua 24:32, in which it is used, it seems best so to interpret it here; and the pieces of money might be such as were of the value of a lamb or sheep, or rather had the figure of one impressed upon them. Laban, from whom Jacob might have them, or his neighbours, and also Jacob himself, being shepherds, might choose thus to impress their money; but the exact value of these pieces cannot be ascertained: the Jewish writers generally interpret them of a "meah", which was the value of one penny of our money, and twenty of them went to a shekel; so that a hundred of these must make a very small and contemptible sum to purchase a piece of ground with.

And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money.
19. the parcel of ground] or “the portion of the field.” Lat. partem agri. For “parcel,” Fr. “parcelle,” from Lat. particula, see Joshua 24:32; Ruth 4:3. Cf. “Many a thousand, Which now mistrust no parcel of my fear” (Shakespeare, 3 Hen. VI, Genesis 33:6).

his tent] Jacob has resumed dwelling in tents, see Genesis 33:17.

the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father] This apparently means the people of the tribe of Hamor; and Hamor was the founder, or chieftain, of the city of Shechem. The confusion between the “sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father,” and “Shechem the son of Hamor,” in Genesis 34:2, caused LXX in this verse to omit “sons of.”

LXX, by rendering Συχέμ for the name of the man, and Σίκιμα (cf. Genesis 12:6) for the name of the city, draws a distinction which it is not always possible to observe in English.

pieces of money] Heb. kesitah. Apparently a ḳesitah was a piece of metal used for money; elsewhere it is mentioned only in Joshua 24:32; Job 42:11. Whether it denotes a small coin, or an ingot, cannot be determined. The versions, LXX, Lat. and Targ. Onkelos, render “lambs1[53]

[53]    LXX (ἑκατὸν ἀμνῶν = “a hundred lambs”) “vel agnos ipsos intellegere potuerunt, vel nummos agnorum imagine signatos.” Schleusner, Lex. Vet. Test., s.v. ἀμνός.

”: Targ. Jon. and Jerus., “pearls.”

The purchase of this plot of ground was historically important. It was the burial-place of the bones of Joseph (cf. Joshua 24:32; Acts 7:16). The possession of such small pieces of territory (cf. the purchase of Machpelah ch. 23) constituted no claim for the possession of the country: the patriarchs were “strangers and sojourners,” Genesis 23:4.Verse 19. - And he bought a parcel of a field, - literally, the portion (from a root signifying to divide) of the field - where he had spread his tent, - and in which he afterwards sank a well (cf. John 4:6) - at the hand of the children of Homer, Shechem's father (after whom the town was named, ut supra), for an hundred pieces of money - or kesitahs, the etymology of which is uncertain (Kalisch), though connected by some philologists (Gesenius, Furst) with kasat, to weigh; translated lambs (Onkelos, LXX., Vulgate), but believed to have been a certain weight now unknown (Michaelis, 'Suppl.,' p. 2207), or a piece of money of a definite value, perhaps the price of a lamb (Murphy), which, like the shekel, was used for purposes of commercial exchange by the patriarchs (Gesenius) - probably a coin stamped with the figure of a lamb (Bochart, Munter); but coined money does not appear to have been of so great antiquity (Rosenmüller, Wordsworth, Alford). Lastly, Esau proposed to accompany Jacob on his journey. But Jacob politely declined not only his own company, but also the escort, which Esau afterwards offered him, of a portion of his attendants; the latter as being unnecessary, the former as likely to be injurious to his flocks. This did not spring from any feeling of distrust; and the ground assigned was no mere pretext. He needed no military guard, "for he knew that he was defended by the hosts of God;" and the reason given was a very good one: "My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds that are milking (עלות from עוּל, giving milk or suckling) are upon me" (עלי): i.e., because they are giving milk they are an object of especial anxiety to me; "and if one should overdrive them a single day, all the sheep would die." A caravan, with delicate children and cattle that required care, could not possibly keep pace with Esau and his horsemen, without taking harm. And Jacob could not expect his brother to accommodate himself to the rate at which he was travelling. For this reason he wished Esau to go on first; and he would drive gently behind, "according to the foot of the cattle (מלאכה possessions equals cattle), and according to the foot of the children," i.e., "according to the pace at which the cattle and the children could go" (Luther). "Till I come to my lord to Seir:" these words are not to be understood as meaning that he intended to go direct to Seir; consequently they were not a wilful deception for the purpose of getting rid of Esau. Jacob's destination was Canaan, and in Canaan probably Hebron, where his father Isaac still lived. From thence he may have thought of paying a visit to Esau in Seir. Whether he carried out this intention or not, we cannot tell; for we have not a record of all that Jacob did, but only of the principal events of his life. We afterwards find them both meeting together as friends at their father's funeral (Genesis 35:29). Again, the attitude of inferiority which Jacob assumed in his conversation with Esau, addressing him as lord, and speaking of himself as servant, was simply an act of courtesy suited to the circumstances, in which he paid to Esau the respect due to the head of a powerful band; since he could not conscientiously have maintained the attitude of a brother, when inwardly and spiritually, in spite of Esau's friendly meeting, they were so completely separated the one from the other.
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