Genesis 33:4
Esau, however, ran to him and embraced him, threw his arms around his neck, and kissed him. And they both wept.
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

Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel. Twenty years before Jacob learned at Bethel to know God as a living and present Protector. This a great step in spiritual life; belief of God in heaven, becoming consciousness of God "in this place," guiding all events. It is the first step towards walking with God. But his training not yet complete. Truth is usually grasped by degrees. Unbelief, cast out, returns in new forms and under new pretences. A common mistake at beginning of Christian life is to think that the battle is at an end when decision made. The soul may have passed from death to life; but much still to be done, much to be learned. Many a young Christian little knows the weakness of his faith. During these years Jacob shows real faith, but not perfect reliance (Genesis 30:37; Genesis 31:20). Returning home greatly enriched, he heard of Esau at hand. He feared his anger. No help in man; God's promise his only refuge. Could he trust to it? His wrestling. We cannot picture its outward form; but its essence a spiritual struggle. His endurance tried by bodily infirmity (cf. Job 2:5) and by the apparent unwillingness of the Being with whom he strove (cf. Matthew 15:26). His answer showed determination (cf. 2 Kings 4:30). This prevailed; weak as he was, he received the blessing (cf. Hebrews 11:34). And the new name was the sign of his victory (cf. Matthew 21:22; 1 John 5:4).

I. THE STRUGGLE. Why thus protracted? It was not merely a prolonged prayer, like Luke 6:12. There was some hindrance to be overcome (cf. Matthew 11:12); not by muscular force, but by earnest supplication. Where Scripture is silent we must speak cautiously. But probable explanation is the state of Jacob's own mind. Hitherto faith had been mixed with faithlessness; belief in the promise with hesitation to commit the means to God. Against this divided mind (James 1:8) the Lord contended. No peace while this remained (cf. Isaiah 26:3). And the lesson of that night was to trust God's promise entirely (cf. Psalm 37:3). When this was learned the wrestling of the Spirit against the double mind was at an end. Such a struggle may be going on in the hearts of some here. A craving for peace, yet a restless disquiet. The gospel believed, yet failing to bring comfort. Prayer for peace apparently unanswered, so that there seemed to be some power contending against us. Why is this? Most probably from failing to commit all to God. Perhaps requiring some sign (John 20:25), some particular state of feeling, or change of disposition; perhaps looking for faith within as the ground of trust; perhaps choosing the particular blessing - self-will as to the morsel of the bread of life to satisfy us, instead of taking every word of God. There is the evil. It is against self thou must strive. Behold thy loving Savior; will he fail thee in the hour of need? Tell all to him; commit thyself into his hands; not once or twice, but habitually.

II. THE NEW NAME (Cf. Revelation 3:12). No more Jacob, the crafty, but Israel, God's prince (cf. Revelation 1:6). The token of victory over distrust, self-will, self-confidence. In knowledge of poverty is wealth (Matthew 5:3); in knowledge of weakness, strength (2 Corinthians 12:10). That name is offered to all. The means, persevering prayer; but prayer not to force our will upon God, but that trust may be so entire that our wills may in all things embrace his. - M.

And he bought a parcel of a field.
I. HIS FAITH. He bought a parcel of ground as a pledge of his faith in the future possession of that country by his posterity (ver. 19). This purchase of a portion of land, concerning which God had promised Abraham that it should be his, showed Jacob's deep conviction that the promise was renewed to him and to his seed.

II. HIS PIETY. This was an evidence of his faith. He gave himself up entirely to God, and this inward feeling was expressed outwardly by acts of obedience and devotion. His piety is seen —

1. In an act of worship. "He erected there an altar." This was in keeping with his vow (Genesis 28:21).

2. In the use of blessings already given. He called the altar "El-Elohe-Israel" (ver. 20). He now uses his own new name, Israel, for the first time, in association with the name of God. He uses that name which signifies the Mighty One, who was now his covenant God. He lives up to his privilege, uses all that God had given. He had vowed that he would take the Lord to be his God.

3. In the peace he enjoyed. He arrived in peace at his journey's end (ver. 18).

(T. H. Leale.)

1. Jacob and his seed desire to usurp nothing but what they buy from the world.

2. God's pilgrims mind no great purchase below, but only a place for a tent: a little place.

3. It is lawful for Jacob to deal with Canaanites in just exchanges (ver. 19).

4. Saints would not have a house but that God should dwell in

5. Succeeding saints repair religion and the means of the exercise of it, set up by progenitors.

6. Altarworship, or worship by Christ, is that which saints have ever practised.

7. True religion is terminated in the Almighty God.

8. Religious worship is the true memorial of God's making His Church truly Israel (ver. 20).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

He erected there an altar.

By calling this altar "El-Elohe-Israel," or God the God of Israel, it was virtually saying, "I erect this altar for the worship of my family, to the God with whom I have prevailed in supplication, and who has proved Himself the hearer of my prayer." Such an altar should there be in every household; and, without further special reference to our text, I proceed to the subject I have chosen for this occasion,, namely, that of family worship.

1. We may remark, first, that it is clearly the duty of every family to maintain such worship.

2. We may pass on, therefore, in the second place, to the advantages of family worship. Among its lesser benefits, we may remark in passing that, rightly conducted, it makes a profitable impression upon those out of the family, who may chance to witness it. Family worship is also of unspeakable advantage in maintaining all the other institutions of our holy religion. We can hardly enumerate the advantages of family worship to the household itself. That it draws down the blessing of God upon the domestic circle needs no proof, for we have for our encouragement, not only the general promises made to prayer, but the special assurance that "where two or three are gathered together in Christ's name He will be with them"; and we have farther, the evidence of actual experience. If we value the salvation of our loved ones we shall not neglect this means of securing it. The restraining influence of domestic worship upon all the annoyances and disturbers of domestic peace is most powerful and valuable. Who can kneel down and pray daily before his family against a sin which he habitually commits? How can the inmates of a dwelling cherish unkind feelings towards each other while united in common prayer?

3. We may next notice the manner in which family devotions may best be performed.

4. Our last point will be to notice the objections and difficulties which are commonly opposed to the duty. One may reply, that all these arguments and statements may be very good and true, but that he makes no profession of religion, and it would be improper, therefore, for him to set up family worship. Why so? Is it wrong for him to pray in secret, or in the house of God, or to give his children religious instruction? And why any more so to pray in the family?

(W. H. Lewis, D. D.)

See the practice of faithful men, ever when God hath been merciful to them, and delivered them out of danger. Now Jacob buildeth an altar in the true thankfulness of his soul unto God for this great mercy and deliverance of him from his brother Esau. And he calleth it the mighty God of Israel: giving to the sign the name of the thing which it signified, which is usual in the Scripture. Thus would God it might kindle some heat in our hearts and consciences, to consider ourselves, the dangers we have been in our days, the dangers of the land wherein we inhabit. The dangers of wife, children, and friends, and now our safety and deliverance from all our fears. For this hath the Lord done for us, and whatsoever it is in our eyes, surely it is wonderful even through the world. But where now are our altars? That is, where are our thanks and most grateful songs for our deliverance? We have found mercy as Jacob did; yea, for more, for greater Esaus have come against us, than did against him, not with four hundred men, but many thousands, to captivate us for ever as their slaves when they had slain their fill. And yet we live, and by God only who hath strangely revenged us upon them that would thus have eaten us up. That is, as I say again, we give not thanks for the custom of our time, as he did after the manner of his. At the first peradventure we did, but it was soon at an end. Now are we fallen into a deep sleep again, and both God and His mercy is forgotten. Our danger also, as if it had never been. But in the Lord I beseech you, let us awake again, look upon Jacob here what he cloth, and every man and woman follow his example. Build God an altar, not in earth with lime and stone, but in your heart of most kind and thankful remembrance for all His mercies to the land, to our dread sovereign, to ourselves, our souls and bodies, to our wives and children, to our neighbours and friends, and infinite ways that we cannot name. Bless His majesty for them, and let not the remembrance die, till you die yourself. A thankful heart is all that the Lord seeketh, and it is all that indeed we can do to Him.

(Bp. Babington.).

Aram, Esau, Hamor, Jacob, Joseph, Leah, Rachel, Seir
Canaan, Paddan-aram, Penuel, Seir, Shechem, Succoth
Arms, Embraced, Embraceth, Esau, Falleth, Fell, Folding, Jacob, Kiss, Kissed, Kisseth, Meet, Neck, Overcome, Ran, Runneth, Running, Threw, Weep, Weeping, Wept
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 33:4

     5126   arm
     5328   greeting
     5898   kissing
     6109   alienation
     6718   reconciliation, believers
     8298   love, for one another

Genesis 33:1-11

     5799   bitterness

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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