Genesis 33:14
Please let my lord go ahead of his servant. I will continue on slowly, at a comfortable pace for the livestock and children, until I come to my lord at Seir."
Forgiveness of InjuriesSydney Smith, M. A.Genesis 33:1-16
LessonsG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 33:1-16
LessonsG. Hughes, B. D.Genesis 33:1-16
Needless FearsA. K. H. Boyd, D. D.Genesis 33:1-16
Needlessness of AnxietyC. H. M.Genesis 33:1-16
The Brothers ReconciledHomilistGenesis 33:1-16
The Brothers ReconciledJ. C. Gray.Genesis 33:1-16
The ContrastE. Craig.Genesis 33:1-16
The ReconciliationW. S. Smith, B. D.Genesis 33:1-16
The Reconciliation of Esau and JacobF. Bourdillon.Genesis 33:1-16
The Reconciliation of Jacob and EsauT. H. Leale.Genesis 33:1-16
The Fruits of PrayerR.A. Redford Genesis 33

And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee. The offer probably made with kindly intention. No sign of bitterness in Esau's feelings; but ignorance of the necessities of Jacob's march. Jacob knew it was not possible with safety (cf. Psalm 137:4; 1 Peter 4:4). Reminds us of the attitude of many worldly persons towards Christians. "The carnal mind is enmity against God." Yet worldly men may have sincere regard for Christian men; bear unconscious testimony to excellence of Christianity. And here a danger to Christians. Let us journey together. I like you; you are unselfish, trustworthy. And why not? Because in journeying with Esau he must be leader, or he would cease to be Esau. The world's good-will does not mean a changed heart. Without any pronounced dislike to higher aims, it shares them not, and knows not anything more real than earth. There is a journey we all take in company: in the thousand ways in which men are dependent on each other; in the courtesies and good offices of life; in what belongs to our position as citizens or family men. But in what constitutes the road of life - its stamp and direction, its motives and aims - no union. We have another Leader (Hebrews 12:2). The pillar of fire led Israelites not according to Roman judgment.

I. THIS DOES NOT IMPLY KEEPING ALOOF FROM MEN, OR FROM HUMAN INTERESTS. We are called to be the salt of the earth. It is an error to shrink from contact with the world as dangerous to us. This of old led to monasticism. But there may be a spiritual solitude even when living in the throng of a city. In secular matters refusing to take an interest in what occupies others (cf. Luke 6:31), as if God had nothing to do with these; or in spiritual things avoiding Christian intercourse with those who do not in all points agree with us; or being engrossed with our own spiritual welfare, and turning away from all concern for the welfare of others (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:20-22).

II. IT DOES IMPLY A REAL CONSCIOUSNESS OF BEING REDEEMED, set free, bought with a price; OF HAYING A DEFINITE WORK TO DO FOR GOD, WITH WHICH NOTHING MUST INTERFERE; a real way to walk in, from which nothing must make us turn aside. And in order to this, watchfulness over self, that in seeking to help others we ourselves are not ensnared.


1. By the plea, there is no harm in this or that. We must not think that all actions can be brought to an absolute standard of fight and wrong. This is the spirit of legality, the spirit of bondage, and leads to partial service instead of entire dedication (cf. Luke 15:29). Loyalty to Christ must direct the Christian's life; desire not merely to avoid direct disobedience, but to use our time and powers for him who loved us and gave himself for us.

2. By the display of good feelings as the equivalent of Christian graces. Esau's kindliness and frankness are very attractive. Yet he was a "profane person;" not because of his anger or any sinful act, but because he thought little of God's blessing.

3. By making Christians familiar with worldly aims and maxims, and thus insensibly blunting their spiritual aspirations. The way of safety is through prayer for the Holy Spirit's help, to maintain the consciousness of Christ's presence. - M.

The children are tender.
I. LET US VIEW JACOB AS AN EXAMPLE TO US. Tender consideration for the young and feeble.

1. How we may overdrive.(1) Puzzling them with deep and controversial points of doctrine, and condemning them because they are not quite correct in their opinions (Romans 14:1).(2) Setting up a standard of experience, and frowning at them because they have not felt all the sorrows or ecstasies which we have known.(3) Requiring a high degree of faith, courage, patience, and other graces which in their case can only be tender buds.(4) Fault-finding and never commending.

2. Why we should not overdrive the lambs.(1) Common humanity forbids.(2) Our own experience when we were young should teach us better.(3) We may again become weak, and need great forbearance.(4) We love them too well to be hard with them.(5) Jesus thinks so much of them that we cannot worry them.(6) The Holy Spirit dwells in them, and we must be gentle towards the faintest beginning of His work.(7) We should be doing Satan's work if we did overburden them.(8) We should thus prove ourselves to have little wisdom and less grace. If we kill the lambs now, where shall we get our sheep from next year?(9) We dare not bear the responsibility of offending these little ones, for terrible woes are pronounced on those who do them wrong.(10) We remember how tender Jesus is: and this brings us to our second point.

II. LET US VIEW JACOB AS A PICTURE OF OUR LORD JESUS. See His portrait in Isaiah 40:11.

1. The weak have a special place in His love.

2. He will not have it that any of them should die.

3. Therefore He never overdrives one of them.

4. But He suits His pace to their feebleness, "I will lead on softly" (Genesis 33:15).I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Has He not thus been very tender to us? " Thy gentleness hath made me great" (Psalm 18:35). Let us not fret and worry as though He were an exactor. We are not driven by Jehu, but led by Jesus. Let us rest in His love. At the same time let us not be slower than need be. Towards others let us be tenderness itself, for we are to love our neighbour as ourselves.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

The angels of peace and of love seem to hover over the charm of the preceding scene; and the heart lingers with delight in contemplating the noble emulation of generosity and confidence. But is not this harmony too soon disturbed? Does not again a spirit of suspicion and reserve overshadow the mind of Jacob? Is he incapable of rising to the natural purity of his disinterested brother? Or does his keen intellect teach him how imprudent it would be unguardedly to rely upon the fallacious calmness of a passionate mind? Admitted even, that Jacob's apprehensions were, in this respect, exaggerated, his precaution was the result of a deep insight into Esau's character; the most insignificant circumstance might recall to his memory the events of the past; his rage might be re-kindled; and, though perhaps later bewailing his rashness, he might, by his superiority, be misled to deeds of cruel revenge. When, therefore, Esau wished to accompany Jacob, for protection, through the regions with which his excursions had made him familiar, the latter cautiously declined the offer; he refused even the garrison or guard which Esau proposed to leave him; but he promised, of his own accord, to visit him in his home in Seir; for he knew, that the sacred rights of hospitality would there protect him, even against an outbreak of passion. But though the objections of Jacob may have been as many evasions, they were not untruths; he could certainly not, without great danger, follow with his encumbered caravan, the march of Esau; and the latter seemed to acknowledge the justness of the remark; but he opposed the second offer with the simple question: "Wherefore do I thus find grace in the sight of my lord?" He invented no fictitious pretext; he thus almost exposed himself to the danger of arousing his brother's suspicion; but he had banished deceit from his heart; and he preferred risk to falsehood.

(M. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.)

The Lord chooses under-shepherds for His flock among men subject to weakness and infirmity, that they may have a fellow-feeling for the feeble. Selah Merrill, in his "East of the Jordan," describes the movement of an Arab tribe, and says," The flocks of sheep and goats were mostly driven by small children. Sometimes there were flocks of lambs and kids driven by children not much older relatively than the lambs and kids themselves. Some of the men had in their arms two, three, four, or a whole armful of kids and lambs that were too young to walk; and among some cooking utensils there was a large saucepan, and in it was a pair of small kids that were too young for the journey."

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

When a candle is newly lighted and needs to be moved, it must be carried at a slow pace or it will be extinguished. A fire which is almost expiring may be revived by a gentle breath, but it will be blown out if the bellows are plied at their full force. You can drown a little plant by watering it too much, and destroy a lovely flower by exposing it to too much sun.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Nothing is so strong as gentleness; nothing so gentle as real strength.

( Francis de Sales.)

Even in our manner there should be tenderness. A truly kind act may be so performed as to cause as much grief as joy. We have heard of one who would throw a penny at a beggar and thus hurt him while relieving him. A heart full of love has a mode of its own by which its gifts are enhanced in value. There is enough misery in the world without our carelessly adding to it. Some persons are morbidly sensitive, and this is wrong on their part; but when we are aware of their failing we must be the more careful lest we cause them needless pain. A gouty man will cry out if we walk with heavy footstep across the room. Do we censure him for this? No, we pity him, and tread softly. Let us do the same for the sensitive.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

At the Stockwell Orphanage the usual rule of walking is — little boys first. In this way the younger children cannot be overdriven or left behind, and moreover all the boys can see before them, whereas by the usual practice of putting the tall fellows first the view in front is shut out from all but the few who lead the way. Let the Church have great care for the weaker brethren, and shape her action with a constant reference to them. A strong Christian might do a thousand things lawfully if he only thought of himself, but he will not do one of them because he wishes to act expediently, and would not grieve his brother, or cause him to stumble.

Aram, Esau, Hamor, Jacob, Joseph, Leah, Rachel, Seir
Canaan, Paddan-aram, Penuel, Seir, Shechem, Succoth
Able, Along, Cattle, Drive, Droves, Ease, Endure, Foot, Gently, Journey, Lead, Leisure, Livestock, Move, Pace, Pass, Please, Proceed, Rate, Seir, Se'ir, Servant, Slowly, Softly, Till
1. Jacob and Esau's meeting; and Esau's departure.
17. Jacob comes to Succoth.
18. At Shechem he buys a field, and builds an altar, called El Elohe Israel.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Genesis 33:1-17

     5095   Jacob, life

Jesus Sets Out from Judæa for Galilee.
Subdivision B. At Jacob's Well, and at Sychar. ^D John IV. 5-42. ^d 5 So he cometh to a city of Samaria, called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 and Jacob's well was there. [Commentators long made the mistake of supposing that Shechem, now called Nablous, was the town here called Sychar. Sheckem lies a mile and a half west of Jacob's well, while the real Sychar, now called 'Askar, lies scarcely half a mile north of the well. It was a small town, loosely called
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Roman Pilgrimage: the Miracles which were Wrought in It.
[Sidenote: 1139] 33. (20). It seemed to him, however, that one could not go on doing these things with sufficient security without the authority of the Apostolic See; and for that reason he determined to set out for Rome, and most of all because the metropolitan see still lacked, and from the beginning had lacked, the use of the pall, which is the fullness of honour.[507] And it seemed good in his eyes[508] that the church for which he had laboured so much[509] should acquire, by his zeal and labour,
H. J. Lawlor—St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy of Armagh

The Old Testament opens very impressively. In measured and dignified language it introduces the story of Israel's origin and settlement upon the land of Canaan (Gen.--Josh.) by the story of creation, i.-ii. 4a, and thus suggests, at the very beginning, the far-reaching purpose and the world-wide significance of the people and religion of Israel. The narrative has not travelled far till it becomes apparent that its dominant interests are to be religious and moral; for, after a pictorial sketch of
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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