Thursday, February 2, 2012

Genesis Bible Study notes- Chapter 33

Genesis 33

-Jacob lifts up his eyes and sees his older brother, Esau, coming towards him with 400 of his men. The tension must have been excruciating with the unknown. Jacob separates his group into divisions with the maids and their children up front, Leah and her children behind them, and Rachel and Joseph last. Jacob passed them by and went ahead of them and bowed before Esau seven times in respect and reverence and no doubt fear.

-Esau shows graciousness toward his deceptive younger brother by running to him. As they met up Esau embraced him warmly and fell upon his neck and kissed him. Together they wept tears of joy and remorse for all the lost years (it had been 20 years or so). *Application* Skillet has a song “The Older I Get.” Some lines from that song apply here…

It's been way too long for the times we missed
I didn't know then it would hurt like this
But I think the older I get
Maybe I'll get over it
It's been way too long for the times we missed
(for the entire song lyrics go to

Our common rage can take its toll in any relationship. We must seek reconciliation with all our heart whether it is in the short term, which is certainly preferred, or after many days or years.

-The reunion is sweet and the favor Esau shows his brother demonstrates his heart of forgiveness and reconciliation. They catch up with each other’s families and are amazed at how the LORD has blessed each of them. Jacob insists that his brother take the gifts he desired to give him, but reluctantly and graciously Esau finally accepts them.

-Esau wants Jacob and his family to journey with them to Seir, but the children and the livestock are weak and frail from their journeys and Jacob knows that they need to pace themselves a bit more and rest. Esau offers to leave some of his people with his younger brother, but Jacob told him there was no need for that. It was again a gracious offer, but the two separate ways. Esau returned that day towards Seir, and Jacob journeyed to Succoth (booths), where he built for himself a house and made booths for his livestock. *Application* Jacob shows care and concern here for the weaker vessels, namely the children and the livestock. God wants us to be sensitive to the needs of any who are weak among us (1 Thessalonians 5:14). The Lord also wants us to take good care of our animals (Proverbs 12:10).

-Now Jacob came safely into the land of Canaan to the city of Shechem (about 60 miles north of Jerusalem in the hill country) from Paddan-aram. His family camped before the city and he bought a piece of land here from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem for 100 piece of money. It is here he erects an alter much like his fathers’ before him, worshipping the covenant God who has brought him back to his homeland as promised. Jacob calls the place El-Elohe-Israel (God, the God of Israel). *Application* We would tend to pass over this important verse of Scripture at the end of chapter 33, but that would be a huge mistake. Jacob’s thanksgiving worship is essential for us to meditate on as we consider the long-hard twenty year journey he had come through to get to this place where God had made Himself known to the heir of promise. This is a promised return and it had great implications in the life of Jacob. He was now bought and paid for by the LORD completely. He was back in the land as the LORD had said. Not one of God’s good promises ever fails, even though we do in our flesh (Joshua 21:45). He is faithful!
Verses to memorize: Genesis 33:4, 20


  1. As in that last verse, how often do we forget to give God the thanks he deserves after bringing us through hard journeys? Praise God for giving us journeys to teach and strengthen us!