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.
Genesis 33:20; Genesis 34:1
In erecting this altar Jacob both set up a witness against the false worship and idolatry of the people among whom he dwelt, and at the same time provided a church or centre of unity for all his numerous family and dependents in the regular service of Jehovah. But the enticements of the world were too great, and prevailed to bring misery and sin into his home. This chapter points out the danger to which young persons are exposed, of being deluded and led away, first by vain curiosity and then by worldly and carnal lusts, to misery and ruin; and this through the influence especially of bad example.
I. When Dinah went to visit the daughters of the land, we may well suppose that she was weary of the quiet, uniform course of life kept up at her father's house. Her father's authority and wishes being set aside, she went out without God's blessing, and misery and ruin followed. This represents: (1) the guilt and punishment which Christian people make themselves liable to when they disregard the authority of those whom the providence of God has placed over them. (2) The danger of becoming tired of Christianity.
II. Two cautions suggest themselves from the study of this chapter. (1) We must learn to look on Almighty God, through Jesus Christ, as our only true Father and Friend. (2) In the service of God we must not expect to find all plain and easy, but quite otherwise: the more earnestly and steadily we serve God, the more trials we must expect to encounter.
Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times," vol. x., p. 296.
References: Gen 33—F. W. Robertson, Notes on Genesis, p. 116; R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 84. Genesis 33:4.—R. C. Trench, Brief Thoughts and Meditations, p. 55. Genesis 33:5.—Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxviii., p. 305. Genesis 33:9, Genesis 33:11, Genesis 33:13.—Spurgeon, My Sermon Notes, pp. 19, 21. Genesis 33:14.—F. R. Havergal, Sunday Magazine (1879), p. 918. Genesis 33:17.—R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 93. Genesis 33:20.—Plain Sermons by Contributors to the "Tracts for the limes," vol. x., p. 296. Genesis 34:31.—R. S. Candlish, Book of Genesis, vol. ii., p. 93. Genesis 35:1.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxiv., No. 1395. Genesis 35:3.—J. Van Oosterzee, The Year of Salvation, vol. ii., p. 366. Genesis 35:5-11.—Homiletic Magazine, vol. xi., p. 8.
And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.
And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.
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.
Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.
And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.
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.
And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.
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.
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.
And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before 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.
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.
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.
So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.
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.
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.
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.
And he erected there an altar, and called it EleloheIsrael.