« PreviousContinue »
. And the messengers returned to Jacob, Saying, We came
to thy brother Esau, and also he cometh to meet thee, and four hundred men with him ; probably with an intention to
destroy thee, and posse88 thy substance. So Jacob thought, for 7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed : and he divid
ed the people that (was] with him, and the flocks, and herds, 8 and the camels, into two bands ; And said, If Esau come to
the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape ; thus making the best preparation he could, and then betook himself to pruyer.
And Jacob said, O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac,.the LORD which saidst unto me, Return
unto thy country, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with 30 thee: I am not worthy of, or I am less than the least of all
the mercies, and of all the truth, which thou hast showed unto thy servant, in making and performing thy gracious promises : for with my staff I passed over this Jordan, a poor exile,
alone, on foot, and having nothing ; and now I am become two 11 bands. Deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my broth
er, from the hand of Esau : for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, [and] the mother with the children. Thus he
expressed his fear and his danger, and then pleads the divine 1. promise. And thou saidst, I will surely do thee good, and
make thy seed as the sand of the sea, which cannot be num
bered for multitude, and wilt thou not perform thy word ? 13 And he lodged there that same night ; and took of that
which came to his hand, which he had to give, a present for
Esau his brother ; as he prayed and trusted in God, 80 he uses 14 means ; Two hundred she goats, and twenty he goats, two 15 hundred ewes, and twenty rams, Thirty milch camels with
their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and
ten foals ; a noble present, five hundred and eighty head of 16 cattle ! And he delivered [them) into the hand of his servants,
every drove by themselves ; and said unto his servants, Pass over before me, and put a space betwixt drove and drove, to mitigate his displeasure by degrees ; every new drove, every
new speech from the servant, would tend to soften his anger. 17 And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my
brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose [art]
thou ? and whither guest thou ? and whose [are] these before 18 thee? Then thou shalt say, [They be] thy servant Jacob's ;
it [is] a present sent unto my lord Esau : and, behold, also 19 he [is] behind us. And so commanded he the second and
the third, and all that followed the droves, saying, On this 20 manner shall ye speak unto Esau, when ye find him. And
say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob [is] behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face ; peradventure 21 he will accept of me. So went the present over before him : 22 and himself lodged that night in the company. And he rose
up that night, and took his two wives, and his two women ser
vants, and his eleven sons, and Dinah his daughter, and pass. 23 ed over the ford Jabbok. And he took them, and sent them
over the brook, and sent over that he had. 24 And Jacob was left alone ; he stayed behind the company in
some retired place to pray, and spend the night in devotion :
and there wrestled a man with him, probably an angel of God, 25 until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he pre
vailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh ; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him ; the hip bone slipt out of its socket. This was
designed to show how easily the divine messenger could have 26 conquered him, though he suffered him to prevail. And he said,
Let me go, for the day breaketh ; this he said to show the prevalency of Jacob's prayers with God, and also to quicken and encourage him to persist in his conflict : And he said, I
will not let thee go, except thou bless me with protection in 27 this time of danger. And he said unto him, What [is] thy 28 name? And he said, Jacob. And he said, Thy name shall be
called no more Jacob, but Israel, that is, a prince of God : for as a prince hast thou power with God, by thy earnest prayers, and with men, Esau and Laban, and hast prevailed, and shalt
still prevail : of which this present conflict is an emblem, to en. 29 courage thy faith and hope in God, And Jacob, encouraged by
all this goodness, asked [him,) and said, Tell [me,] I pray thee, thy name, that I may retain a grateful remembrance of thee, and make honourable mention of thy name to others : but the angel waved an answer to this, And he said, Wherefore [is] it[that] thou dost ask after my name ? to know that will be of no use to thee. And as he was depurring, he blessed him
there ; granted his request, and confirmed his former fıromises. 30 And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, that is, the
face of God : for I have seen God face to face; not his divine 088ence, but in a more manifist, familiar, and friendly manner ihan in common visions ; and my life is preserved from Esau,
who threatened it, by the divine promise and assurance of help. 31 And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and 32 he halted upon his thigh. Therefore the children of Israel
10 perpetuie the memory of this honour done to Jacob, eat not [of] the sinew which shrank, which [is] upon the hollow of the thigh, and fixes the thigh bone in the socket, unto this day : because he touched the hollow of Jacob's thigh in the sinew that shrank
REFLECTIONS. 1. T ET us be thankful for the care of angels, who are God's
u host. The angels of the Lord encamp about them that fear him. Though they are not seen visibly, yet good men see them by faith ; and God gives his angels charge concerning them.
to keep them in all their ways. No doubt we receive many kind · offices from them, when we know it not; and they often preserve us from danger, and bear us up, lest we dash our foot against a stone. We may cheerfully go out to the duties of life, while under their care ; and should daily bless God who sends his angels 'as ministering spirits, to minister to the heirs of salvation.
2. Let us learn to make prayer our refuge in every time of difficulty. Call upon me in the day of trouble, saith God, and I will hear, and deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. Jacob's experience confirms the truth and the advantage of this. Is any man afflicted ? let him pray. Jacob sought the LORD, and he heard him, and saved him from that which he feared. This eases the mind, supports the spirit, and secures deliverance. For God hath never said to the seed of Jacob, Seek ye my face in vain.
3. In prayer let us acknowledge our unworthiness, and plead the divine favour toward us, v. 10. This temper is requisite in order to our being accepted. We are not worthy of the least blessing, much less of the great things we are seeking after. The best of us have need daily to make this acknowledgment; and this is the frame, above all others, that prepares us to receive divine mercy. For God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble : With this man will he dwell, who is humble, and of a con. trite spirit, and who trembles at his word. We should also recollect his past goodness ; he hath begun already to show us great kindness. Let us bless the Lord, and not forget any of his benefits. Let us also plead his promises that he will still do us good ; for fuithful is he who hath promised, who also will do it. These are at once a direction and an encouragement to our prayers.
4. We learn holy importunity in prayer to God. The prophet alludes to this story, Hos. xii. 4. Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he went and made supplication unto him : he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us. It is great condescension in God to represent things in this view. Let'us therefore learn to continue instant in prayer ; to pray without ceasing ; our Redeemer himself used strong cries and tcars. We see that the effectual fervent pirayer of a righteous man availeth much ; and this is an encouragement to come boldly to the throne of grace, to seek mercy and grace to help in every time of need. Let us then, as the prophet exhorts, stir up ourselves to take hold on God. The best way to be delivered from wicked and unrea. sonable men, is to be earnest with God in prayer ; kecp not kilence, give him no rest, till he come and bless us.
5. Prudence and devotion should always go together. Pru. dent precaution should always be added to the prayers we offer in difficulties and emergencies; to ask success without this, is mockery. We should contrive our affairs prudently ; be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves. Learn especially in time of danger, to walk circumspectly ; remember, a soft answer turneth away wrath, and a present maketh room for him that offereth it. We must be willing to purchase peace at a dear rate, and be sensible of its value, or we cannot expect God to give it. In all such cases wisdom is profitable to direct. God will help us in the way of prudence and diligence ; watchfulness and prayer should always be joined together. Thus we shall find, as the next chapter plainly proves, that when a man's ways please the Lord, he can make even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Jacob was now returning over the brook to his family and flock, to see what God would do for him in the affair of his brother Esau ; and here we have their friendly meeting, their brotherly converse, and their amicable parting.
A ND Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, 11 Esau.came, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto 2 the two handmaids. And he put the handmaids and their
children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost, reserving the dearest to the safo est place. And he passed over before them, exposing him. self to hazard for the safety of his family : and bowed himself to the ground seven times, in token of his subjection, until he
came near to his brother, trusting in God that he should be depanelivered from him. And Esau ran to meet him, and, God hav.
ing changed his heart, he embraced him, and with the most tender affection fell on his neck and kissed him : and they wept ;
Jacob for joy, and Esau perhaps for shame to think of his ill de5 sign, and how God had overruled it. And he lifted up his eyes,
and saw the women and the children ; and said, Who Care] those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.* This was a serious and pious
reply ; he owns God's hand in them, esteems them a favour, and 6 that it was a mercy to have so large a family. Then the hand
maidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed 7 themselves. And Leah also with her children, came near,
gods hats given me. w Xenophon represents Cyrus as saying, when he was dying. The children whick the and bowed themselves : and after came Joseph near and Ra.
chel, and they bowed themselves, all paid their respects to 8 Esau. And he said what (meanest] thou by all this drove wbich I met.? the servants had told him before'; but he aska the question, that he might civilly refuse the present. And he,
Jacob, said, [These are] to find grace in the sight of my lord. 9 And Esad, unwilling to rob him, said, I have enough, my
brother ; keep that thou hast unto thyself ; I neither need 10 nor desire them. And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I
have found grace in thy sight, if thou art fully reconciled, 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 ; thy meeting me in this peaceable manner, is
very comfortable and refreshing ; and an evident token of God's 11 favour to me. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought
to thee; this gift, which, as I received it from God, so I heartily give it with my blessing, and pray that God would abundantly bless it to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with
me, and because I have enough, and to spare. And he urged 12 him, and he took (it.] And he, Esau, said, Let us take our
journey, and let us go to my habitation, where I may require 13 thy kindness, and I will go before thee. And he, Jacob, said
unto him, My lord knoweth that the children (are] tendery and the flocks and herds with young Care] with me : and
if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. 14 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. It is probable he and his family went there to
pay his brother a visit, though it is not mentioned afterward, 25 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk
that Care] with me, to be thy guard : And he said, What needeth it? I have train enough; God's host are with me, and
will protect me : let me find grace in the sight of my lord, 16 let me have thy leave to go alone. So Esau returned that day • on his way unto Seir. 17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house,
or tent, and made booths for his cattle : therefore the name
of the place is called Succoth, that is, booths. 18 And Jacob came to Shalem a city of Shechem, which [is] in
the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram ; that is, he came safe and sound ; (so the Hebrews understand Shalem) his halting was cured, and he was preserved from all evil in his journey from Padanaram to Shechem, or Suchem, in the land of
Canaan ; and he pitched his tent before the city, for the con19 venience of his family and flocks. And because it was the land
of promise, and the time of possession was not yet come, he. bought a parcel of a field, a little parcel of ground, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children or subjects of