Genesis 33

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English: Basic English Bible

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1 Then Jacob, lifting up his eyes, saw Esau coming with his four hundred men. So he made a division of the children between Leah and Rachel and the two women-servants.

2 He put the servants and their children in front, Leah and her children after them, and Rachel and Joseph at the back.

3 And he himself, going before them, went down on his face to the earth seven times till he came near his brother.

4 Then Esau came running up to him, and folding him in his arms, gave him a kiss: and the two of them were overcome with weeping.

5 Then Esau, lifting up his eyes, saw the women and the children, and said, Who are these with you? And he said, The children whom God in his mercy has given to your servant.

6 Then the servants and their children came near, and went down on their faces.

7 And Leah came near with her children, and then Joseph and Rachel, and they did the same.

8 And he said, What were all those herds which I saw on the way? And Jacob said, They were an offering so that I might have grace in my lord's eyes.

9 But Esau said, I have enough; keep what is yours, my brother, for yourself.

10 And Jacob said, Not so; but if I have grace in your eyes, take them as a sign of my love, for I have seen your face as one may see the face of God, and you have been pleased with me.

11 Take my offering then, with my blessing; for God has been very good to me and I have enough: so at his strong request, he took it.

12 And he said, Let us go on our journey together, and I will go in front.

13 But Jacob said, My lord may see that the children are only small, and there are young ones in my flocks and herds: one day's over-driving will be the destruction of all the flock.

14 Do you, my lord, go on before your servant; I will come on slowly, at the rate at which the cattle and the children are able to go, till I come to my lord at Seir.

15 And Esau said, Then keep some of my men with you. And he said, What need is there for that, if my lord is pleased with me?

16 So Esau, turning back that day, went on his way to Seir.

17 And Jacob went on to Succoth, where he made a house for himself and put up tents for his cattle: for this reason the place was named Succoth.

18 So Jacob came safely from Paddan-aram to the town of Shechem in the land of Canaan, and put up his tents near the town.

19 And for a hundred bits of money he got from the children of Hamor, the builder of Shechem, the field in which he had put up his tents.

20 And there he put up an altar, naming it El, the God of 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...

lifting
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
It’s common to say “I see” when we understand something. And indeed, “seeing” in the Bible represents grasping and understanding spiritual things. So it makes...

saw
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...

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
"Man" is a tricky word to discuss, because the Hebrew of the Old Testament uses six different words that are generally translated as "man," with...

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....

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...

Women
'Women,' as in Genesis 45:19, signify the affections of truth. But in Genesis 31:50, 'women' signify affections of not genuine truth, so not of the...

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...

going before
To "go before" in the Bible means either to lead or to prepare, depending on context. When it is said of the Lord or things...

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,...

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...

Near
'Near,' in the Word, signifies presence and conjunction. 'To be near' signifies being on internal levels. Near,' as in Genesis 19:20, signifies truth bordering upon...

Brother
There are two ways "brother" is used in the Bible, ways that are still reflected in modern language. One denotes an actual blood relationship; the...

Arms
Arms and feet (Dan 10:6) signify the exterior things of the Word, which are its literal sense.

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

Overcome
'To overcome' signifies receiving in heart. 'To overcome' signifies conquering temptations, and remaining in a state of faith derived from charity.

Weeping
'Weeping' represents both sorrow and love.

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...

Way
'To set a way,' as in Genesis 30:36, signifies being separated.

Might
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

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....

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.

Sign
'A sign' is mentioned in the Word in reference to the future, which constitutes revelation. This also refers to truth, when it constitutes testification. It...

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...

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...

Blessing
Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving (Rev. 7.) signify divine spiritual things of the Lord.

Strong
In the Word, people who trust to themselves and their own intelligence are sometimes called 'strong,' as in Isaiah 1:31. This is because they suppose...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

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...

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

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

Flock
A flock, as in Genesis 26, denotes interior or rational good. A flock signifies those who are in spiritual good. A flock signifies natural interior...

over
Over' or 'upon' in the Word, signifies being within, because the highest part in successive order becomes inmost in simultaneous order. This is why the...

destruction
'To go into perdition,' as in Revelation 17:8, signifies being rejected.

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...

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,...

Seir
'Seir,' as in Genesis 33:14, signifies the conjunction of spiritual and celestial things in the natural level, that is, the truth of faith with the...

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,...

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...

Tents
'Ohalim' or 'tabernacles' signify the holy part of what is good.

Place
'A dry place,' as in Luke 11:24, signifies states of evil and falsity which are in the life of someone who does the work of...

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

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

land of
'The land of Rameses,' as in Genesis 47:11, signifies the inmost of the spiritual principle in the natural mind.

Land
Land' in the Word, denotes the church, for the things which signify the church also signify the things relating to the church, for these constitute...

of Canaan
'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people who kept external worship separate from internal.

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...

Money
'Money' relates to truth.

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...

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...

Israel
'Israel,' in Jeremiah 23:8, signifies the spiritual natural church. The children of Israel dispersed all the literal sense of the Word by falsities. 'The children...

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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