Genesis 33

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English: American Standard Version         

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1 And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold, Esau was coming, and with him four hundred men. And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two handmaids.

2 And he put the handmaids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost.

3 And he himself passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.

4 And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

5 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are these with thee? And he said, The children whom God hath graciously given thy servant.

6 Then the handmaids came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.

7 And Leah also and her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.

8 And he said, What meanest thou by all this company which I met? And he said, To find favor in the sight of my lord.

9 And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; let that which thou hast be thine.

10 And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found favor in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand; forasmuch as I have seen thy face, as one seeth the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.

11 Take, I pray thee, my gift that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.

12 And he said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee.

13 And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and that the flocks and herds with me have their young: and if they overdrive them one day, all the flocks will die.

14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on gently, according to the pace of the cattle that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.

15 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee some of the folk that are with me. And he said, What needeth it? let me find favor in the sight of my lord.

16 So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.

17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him a house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.

18 And Jacob came in peace to the city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Paddan-aram; and encamped before the city.

19 And he bought the parcel of ground, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for a hundred pieces of money.

20 And he erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-israel.

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Word/Phrase Explanations

Jacob
Jacob is told twice that his name will now be Israel. The first time is when he wrestles with an angel on his journey to...

lifted
The idea of "lifting" is used in a number of different ways in the Bible. In general, it means connecting with a higher spiritual state...

eyes
'Pairs of hands, eyes, etc.' relate to the will and understanding, or to good and truth. The right side to the will or good, and...

esau
Esau (Gen. 28:5, etc.) signifies the truth of good in the natural principle. Esau (Gen. 32:3) signifies celestial good in the natural principle.

Coming
Coming (Gen. 41:14) denotes communication by influx.

four
The number "four" in the Bible represents things being linked together or joined. This is partly because four is two times two, and two represents...

Four hundred
Four hundred signifies vastation, temptations, and the duration thereof.

hundred
It's a landmark for a young child to count to 100; it sort of covers all the "ordinary" numbers. One hundred is obviously significant for...

men
The relationship between men and women is deep and nuanced, and one entire book of the Writings – Conjugial Love or Love in Marriage –...

Rachel
'Rachel' denotes the affection of interior truth.

two
The number "two" has two different meanings in the Bible. In most cases "two" indicates a joining together or unification. This is easy to see...

handmaids
'A handmaid' signifies the affection of rational and scientific things. 'A handmaid,' as mentioned in Genesis 30:3, signifies the affirming medium of conjoining inner truths...

Put
'To put' has reference to order, arrangement, application, and influx.

Joseph
'The tribe of Zebulon' signifies the conjunction of people in the third heaven with the Lord, 'the tribe of Joseph,' the conjunction of people in...

passed
'To pass,' as in Genesis 31:52, signifies flowing in. 'To pass the night,' as in Genesis 24:54, signifies having peace. 'To pass through,' as in...

before
In most cases, the meaning of "before" is pretty straightforward, both as a way of assessing relative time, and in its use meaning "in someone's...

bowed
To bow, as in Genesis 18:2 signifies to humble.

ground
In Zechariah 8:12, 'the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground her increase,' signifies that the spiritual affection of truth produces the good of...

seven
The number 'seven' was considered holy, as is well known, because of the six days of creation, and the seventh, which is the celestial self,...

near
'Nigh' denotes truth in affinity with good.

brother
Brethren (Gen. 27:29) signify the affections of good.

meet
In natural language, to "meet" someone can be positive or negative: it can be a welcoming and greeting, or it can be "meeting" them in...

fell
Like other common verbs, the meaning of "fall" is highly dependent on context in regular language, and is highly dependent on context in a spiritual...

neck
'The neck' signifies influx and the communication of interior and exterior levels and the following conjunction. The inmost or third heaven has reference to the...

kissed
To kiss' signifies uniting or conjunction from affection. To kiss,' as in c, signifies initiation. 'To kiss' signifies conjunction and acknowledgment.

wept
'Weeping with a loud voice' signifies the ultimate of grief.

saw
To look,' as in Genesis 18:22, signifies thinking, because seeing denotes understanding. Look not back behind thee,' as in Genesis 19:17, means that Lot, who...

women
The word "woman" is used a number of different ways in the Bible – as a simple description, as someone connected to a man ("his...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

God
The Lord is love itself, expressed in the form of wisdom itself. Love, then, is His essence, His inmost. Wisdom - the loving understanding of...

servant
“Servant” literally means “a person who serves another,"" and its meaning is similar in reference to the spiritual meaninngs of the Bible. Our lives in...

after
Behind, or after, (Gen. 16:13), signifies within or above, or an interior or superior principle.

Find
To not to be found any more, signifies not to rise again.

sight
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

my lord
Characters in the Bible will often address others using the term “my lord,” and it seems to be no more than an expression of respect....

lord
In most cases, a "master" in the Bible refers to truth: knowledge, an understanding of the situation at hand, an understanding of the Lord's wishes,...

Enough
'Sufficiency' relates to the reception of good, because good is the spiritual nourishment of the soul, as natural food is the nourishment of the body.

Present
It was customary in the representative Ancient Church, and later in the Jewish Church, when people went to the judges, and at a later time,...

hand
In Genesis 27:22, 'voice' relates to truth, and 'hand,' to good.

face
“The eyes are the windows of the soul.” That’s a sentiment with roots somewhere in murky antiquity, but one that has become hopelessly cliché because...

urged
These verbs in the Bible indicate a conflict between two spiritual states, and the effort it takes to attain the higher state. It's easy to...

us
Angels do give us guidance, but they are mere helpers; the Lord alone governs us, through angels and spirits. Since angels have their assisting role,...

Journey
Journeying' or 'going on' denotes progressing or advancing in life, in the opposite sense, it means going back.

go
In the physical world, the places we inhabit and the distances between them are physical realities, and we have to get our physical bodies through...

herds
'A herd,' as mentioned in Genesis 32:7, denotes exterior or natural good, and also not good things.

young
'The son of a cow' signifies the celestial natural level and natural exterior good.

one
A company might have executives setting policy and strategy, engineers designing products, line workers building them, managers handling personnel and others handling various functions. They...

day
The expression 'even to this day' or 'today' sometimes appears in the Word, as in Genesis 19:37-38, 22:14, 26:33, 32:32, 35:20, and 47:26. In a...

die
Dead (Gen. 23:8) signifies night, in respect to the goodnesses and truths of faith.

Seir
'Mount Seir' denotes the human essence of the Lord.

Leave with thee
'Leave with thee,' as in Genesis 33:15, signifies joining together.

returned
Everyone knows the phrase "the natural order of things." It means that everything is in its proper place, occupying the niche it is meant to...

way
In John 14:6, 'the way is doctrine,' 'the truth' is every thing pertaining to doctrine, and 'the life' is the essential good which is the...

journeyed
'To journey' signifies the institutes and order of life.

Succoth
'Succoth,' as in Genesis 33:17, and Psalms 60:6-7 and 108:7-8, signifies the quality of the holy state of truth from good, because 'Succoth' signifies tents,...

built
wrought (also entwined or entwisted) is predicated of the natural scientific principle, and in Isaiah 45:13, of divine natural truth.

house
A "house" is essentially a container - for a person, for a family, for several families or even for a large group with shared interests...

booths
'Huts,' as mentioned in Genesis 33:17, signify the holy principle of truth, common, general, or exterior.

cattle
Animals in the Bible generally refer to spiritual activity, the things we actually do on a spiritual level. "Cattle," as typically used in the Bible,...

name
It's easy to see that names are important in the Bible. Jehovah changed Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah, changed Jacob to Israel and...

place
'A room' or 'place' denotes state.

called
'To proclaim' signifies exploration from influx of the Lord.

came
As with common verbs in general, the meaning of “come” in the Bible is highly dependent on context – its meaning is determined largely by...

peace
In ordinary life, we tend to think of "peace" as essentially "a lack of conflict." As a nation, if we're not at war, it's a...

city
Cities of the mountain and cities of the plain (Jer. 33:13) signify doctrines of charity and faith.

Shechem
In Genesis 12:6, 'Abram’s passing through the land unto the place Shechem' signifies a new state of the Lord when the celestial aspects of love...

land
'Lands' of different nations are used in the Word to signify the different kinds of love prevalent in the inhabitants.

Land of Canaan
The land of Canaan' in the Word, means love, and consequently, the will of the celestial self.

canaan
Canaan signifies a worship in things external without internals, which arose out of the internal church corrupted, called Ham. Thus it is that Ham is...

Paddan-Aram
'Padan Aram,' as in Genesis 28:2, signifies the exterior knowledges of good and truth.

encamped
'Pitch,' as in Genesis 14:10, denotes lusts. 'Burning pitch,' as in Isaiah 34:9, signifies direful fantasies.

tent
'Tent' is used in the Word to signify the celestial and holy aspects of love, because in ancient time they performed holy worship in their...

children
A child is a young boy or girl in the care of parents, older than a suckling or an infant, but not yet an adolescent....

Hamor
'Hamor, the father of Schechem,' represents the truth of the church among the ancients. 'Hamor, the father of Schechem,' signifies the good of the church...

Father
Father, son, mother, and daughter, as in Luke 12:51, 53: By father against son, and by son against the father, is understood evil against truth,...

altar
The first altar mentioned in the Word was built by Noah after he came out of the ark. On that altar, he sacrificed clean animals...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library by following this link.


 Jacob and Esau
Article | Ages 15 - 17

 Jacob Returns Home - Level A
Complete lesson with activity choices: act out Jacob and Esau's meeting, make a paper plate mobile of the Lord's face smiling at us, scripted story discussion, coloring picture, and a memory verse.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Jacob Returns Home - Level B
Complete lesson with activity choices: act out Jacob and Esau's meeting, make a diorama of their reunion, scripted story discussion, coloring picture, and a memory verse.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Jacob Returns Home - Level C
Complete lesson with activity choices: read about the appearance of angels and devils and draw cartoons depicting their spiritual qualities, map activity on Canaan's compass, and a scripted story discussion.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 14

 Jacob Returns Home - Level D
Complete lesson with activity choices: create ink blot pictures as the start of a discussion about seeing the face of God in other people, read about the appearance of angels and devils and draw cartoons depicting their spiritual qualities, and a scripted story discussion.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 15 - 17

 Jacob’s Return
Lesson outline provides teaching ideas with questions for discussion, projects, and activities.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 7 - 10

 Overview of Jacob and Esau Levels A B C D for ages 3-18
An overview of the Youth Journey Program "Jacob and Esau", Levels A, B, D, and D, for ages 3-18.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 18

 The Happy Meeting of Jacob and Esau
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14


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