A world of Jacobs

Genesis 33:1-17
Genesis 33 is one of my favorite chapters to read. It includes the reunion of two brothers, Jacob and Esau. This meeting was twenty-plus years in the making. It was all the years before when Jacob stole his brother’s blessing from their father Issac. More like Jacob tricked his father into giving him the blessing reserved for Esau. The two brothers didn’t even see each other to have it out. Jacob fled at his mother’s warning. She told him to stay gone until “your brother’s anger against you turns away” (Genesis 27:45).

There’s no sense Jacob had any inclination that Esau would greet him the way he did. In fact, Jacob is sure of the opposite response. So, he prayed before he met Esau. He sent gifts ahead to his brother. But it was all for nothing. 

Jacob “bowed himself to the ground seven times” before he finally met Esau. But Esau hugged his brother and kissed him. Some think Esau is putting on a show himself. That his kiss was more like an attempt to bite Jacob. I’m not sure that’s what’s happening. Instead, I see Jacob, the one we have known as the trickster of the family, worry about his brother’s anger. If Jacob were in his shoes, he knows how he would respond. 

But I keep returning to their mother’s charge to Jacob. Of course, remember she was in on Jacob’s trickery. It was her idea. She knew Jacob would follow through with her plan. And she was the one that told Jacob to leave. She knew that if Esau had the chance then he would probably kill his brother. But if there was time put between the two, she knew Esau would turn from his anger.

I imagine some people come wired with that kind of ability more than others. When it comes to reconciliation, their personality seems to make it easier for them to do the impossible. Then there is Jacob. People like Jacob can’t imagine someone else passing a chance to bring harm to another. Exacting revenge is a logical, justifiable approach to life for Jacobs.

Truth be told, Jacobs need Esaus to show us what reconciliation can look like. Even if we’re not hot-tempered or easily angered, we can learn from Esau. Notice how much he wants to welcome his brother back into his life. He offered to walk with Jacob, offering companionship and protection. He offered to leave his people with Jacob as a way to provide for him. I’m not sure Jacob’s anger turned that day when he met Jacob again. Who knows how long it had been since he made peace with what happened with his brother. 

But I do know, in a world full of Jacobs, we need to learn to be an Esau.

Stay blessed…john

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

John Fletcher

Recent Posts


Social Links