33:1 Jacob looked up 1 and saw that Esau was coming 2 along with four hundred men. So he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two female servants. 33:2 He put the servants and their children in front, with Leah and her children behind them, and Rachel and Joseph behind them. 3 33:3 But Jacob 4 himself went on ahead of them, and he bowed toward the ground seven times as he approached 5 his brother. 33:4 But Esau ran to meet him, embraced him, hugged his neck, and kissed him. Then they both wept. 33:5 When Esau 6 looked up 7 and saw the women and the children, he asked, “Who are these people with you?” Jacob 8 replied, “The children whom God has graciously given 9 your servant.” 33:6 The female servants came forward with their children and bowed down. 10 33:7 Then Leah came forward with her children and they bowed down. Finally Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed down.
33:8 Esau 11 then asked, “What did you intend 12 by sending all these herds to meet me?” 13 Jacob 14 replied, “To find favor in your sight, my lord.” 33:9 But Esau said, “I have plenty, my brother. Keep what belongs to you.” 33:10 “No, please take them,” Jacob said. 15 “If I have found favor in your sight, accept 16 my gift from my hand. Now that I have seen your face and you have accepted me, 17 it is as if I have seen the face of God. 18 33:11 Please take my present 19 that was brought to you, for God has been generous 20 to me and I have all I need.” 21 When Jacob urged him, he took it. 22
33:12 Then Esau 23 said, “Let’s be on our way! 24 I will go in front of you.” 33:13 But Jacob 25 said to him, “My lord knows that the children are young, 26 and that I have to look after the sheep and cattle that are nursing their young. 27 If they are driven too hard for even a single day, all the animals will die. 33:14 Let my lord go on ahead of his servant. I will travel more slowly, at the pace of the herds and the children, 28 until I come to my lord at Seir.”
33:16 So that same day Esau made his way back 32 to Seir. 33:17 But 33 Jacob traveled to Succoth 34 where he built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was called 35 Succoth. 36
33:18 After he left Paddan Aram, Jacob came safely to the city of Shechem in the land of Canaan, and he camped near 37 the city. 33:19 Then he purchased the portion of the field where he had pitched his tent; he bought it 38 from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for a hundred pieces of money. 39 33:20 There he set up an altar and called it “The God of Israel is God.” 40
[33:2] 3 sn This kind of ranking according to favoritism no doubt fed the jealousy over Joseph that later becomes an important element in the narrative. It must have been painful to the family to see that they were expendable.
[33:10] 15 tn Heb “and Jacob said, ‘No, please.’” The words “take them” have been supplied in the translation for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse rearranged for stylistic reasons.
[33:15] 30 tn Heb “and he said, ‘Why this?’” The referent of the pronoun “he” (Jacob) has been specified for clarity, and the order of the introductory clause and the direct discourse has been rearranged in the translation for stylistic reasons.
[33:17] 34 sn But Jacob traveled to Succoth. There are several reasons why Jacob chose not to go to Mt. Seir after Esau. First, as he said, his herds and children probably could not keep up with the warriors. Second, he probably did not fully trust his brother. The current friendliness could change, and he could lose everything. And third, God did tell him to return to his land, not Seir. But Jacob is still not able to deal truthfully, probably because of fear of Esau.
[33:17] 35 tn Heb “why he called.” One could understand “Jacob” as the subject of the verb, but it is more likely that the subject is indefinite, in which case the verb is better translated as passive.
[33:20] 40 tn Heb “God, the God of Israel.” Rather than translating the name, a number of modern translations merely transliterate it from the Hebrew as “El Elohe Israel” (cf. NIV, NRSV, REB). It is not entirely clear how the name should be interpreted grammatically. One option is to supply an equative verb, as in the translation: “The God of Israel [is] God.” Another interpretive option is “the God of Israel [is] strong [or “mighty”].” Buying the land and settling down for a while was a momentous step for the patriarch, so the commemorative naming of the altar is significant.