Matthew Poole's Commentary
And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids.Jacob sets his wives and children in the order they shall travel, Genesis 33:1,2. Meets his brother; his obeisance to him, Genesis 33:3. Esau kindly embrace Jacob, Genesis 33:4. His wives and children present themselves to Esau, Genesis 33:7. Jacob offers a present to his brother, Genesis 33:8. He refuses it, Genesis 33:9. Jacob presses him, and he accepts, Genesis 33:10,11. They part friendly, Genesis 33:12-15. Esau returns to Seir; Jacob comes to Succoth, Genesis 33:17. From thence he goes to Shalem; where he buys a field for one hundred pieces of money; builds an altar; calls it El-elohe-Israel, Genesis 33:18-20.
No text from Poole on this verse.
And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.Placing his best beloved in the last and safest place.
And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.He passed over before them, exposing himself to the first and greatest hazard for the security of his wives and children.
And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.No text from Poole on this verse.
Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.No text from Poole on this verse.
And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.No text from Poole on this verse.
And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord.He knew his meaning before from the servants’ mouths; but he asks, that he might both be more certainly informed of the truth, and have an occasion for a civil refusal of the gift.
And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.I neither need it for my use, nor desire it as a compensation for thy former injuries.
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.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.
Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.Take, I pray thee, my blessing; this gift, which as I received from God’s blessing, so I heartily give it to thee with my blessing and prayer, that God would abundantly bless it to thee. Gifts are oft called blessings, as Joshua 15:19 1 Samuel 25:27 30:26.
And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.Or rather, beside thee, so as to keep thee company, or to keep pace with thee.
And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die.The children are tender; the eldest of them, Reuben, not being yet fourteen years old.
The flocks and herds with young are with me; or, upon me, i.e. committed to my care, to be managed as their necessities require. See Isaiah 40:11.
Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.We do not read that Jacob did according to this promise or insinuation go to Seir; either therefore he changed his first intentions for some weighty reasons, or upon warning from God; or he used this only as a pretence, which we should not too easily believe of so good a man, especially after such dangers and deliverances; or rather he did perform this promise, though the Scripture be silent of it, as it is of many other historical passages, and as it is here concerning Jacob’s visiting of his father Isaac, which is not mentioned till ten years after this time; and yet it is utterly incredible that Jacob should be so near to his dear and worthy father for so long a time together, and not once give him a visit.
And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord.No text from Poole on this verse.
So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.No text from Poole on this verse.
And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.Built him an house, which doubtless was some slight building, because he intended not to stay there.
And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city.Shalem; most take it for the proper name of a place belonging to
Shechem, as it here follows, called Salim, John 3:23, and Sichem or Sychar, John 4:5. But others take it for an appellative noun, and render the place thus, he came safe or whole to the city of Shechem; to note either that he was then cured of the lameness which the angel gave him; or rather, to note the good providence of God that had brought him safe in his person, family, and estate through all his dangers, first from Laban, then from Esau, till he came to this place, where it seems he intended to make his abode for a good while, had not the following miscarriages obliged him to remove.
Before the city, i.e. near to it, but not in it, for the conveniency of his cattle.
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.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 erected there an altar, and called it EleloheIsrael.Or, called upon El-elohe-Israel, the particle lo being redundant, as such pronouns oft are, as Genesis 12:1 Joshua 20:2.