Genesis 33

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English: Young's Literal Translation         

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1 And Jacob lifteth up his eyes, and looketh, and lo, Esau is coming, and with him four hundred men; and he divideth the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two maid-servants;

2 and he setteth the maid-servants and their children first, and Leah and her children behind, and Rachel and Joseph last.

3 And he himself passed over before them, and boweth himself to the earth seven times, until his drawing nigh unto his brother,

4 and Esau runneth to meet him, and embraceth him, and falleth on his neck, and kisseth him, and they weep;

5 and he lifteth up his eyes, and seeth the women and the children, and saith, `What [are] these to thee?' And he saith, `The children with whom God hath favoured thy servant.'

6 And the maid-servants draw nigh, they and their children, and bow themselves;

7 and Leah also draweth nigh, and her children, and they bow themselves; and afterwards Joseph hath drawn nigh with Rachel, and they bow themselves.

8 And he saith, `What to thee [is] all this camp which I have met?' and he saith, `To find grace in the eyes of my lord.'

9 And Esau saith, `I have abundance, my brother, let it be to thyself that which thou hast.'

10 And Jacob saith, `Nay, I pray thee, if, I pray thee, I have found grace in thine eyes, then thou hast received my present from my hand, because that I have seen thy face, as the seeing of the face of God, and thou art pleased with me;

11 receive, I pray thee, my blessing, which is brought to thee, because God hath favoured me, and because I have all [things];' and he presseth on him, and he receiveth,

12 and saith, `Let us journey and go on, and I go on before thee.'

13 And he saith unto him, `My lord knoweth that the children [are] tender, and the suckling flock and the herd [are] with me; when they have beaten them one day, then hath all the flock died.

14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant, and I -- I lead on gently, according to the foot of the work which [is] before me, and to the foot of the children, until that I come unto my lord, to Seir.'

15 And Esau saith, `Let me, I pray thee, place with thee some of the people who [are] with me;' and he said, `Why [is] this? I find grace in the eyes of my lord.'

16 And turn back on that day doth Esau on his way to Seir;

17 and Jacob hath journeyed to Succoth, and buildeth to himself a house, and for his cattle hath made booths, therefore hath he called the name of the place Succoth.

18 And Jacob cometh in to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which [is] in the land of Canaan, in his coming from Padan-Aram, and encampeth before the city,

19 and he buyeth the portion of the field where he hath stretched out his tent, from the hand of the sons of Hamor, father of Shechem, for a hundred kesitah;

20 and he setteth up there an altar, and proclaimeth at it God -- 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...

lifteth
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...

Maid-servants
'Maid-servants' signify the affections of the natural.

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...

Last
'The first and the last' signifies that the Lord is the only God.

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...

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

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,...

Nigh
'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...

falleth
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...

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

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

seeth
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...

saith
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...

camp
Camps in the Bible represent spiritual order – a person’s (or a church community’s) whole collection of desires for good and true ideas on how...

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,...

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

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...

seeing
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...

presseth
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...

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

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...

died
'The soul going forth' and 'dying,' as in Genesis 35:18, signifies the extreme of temptation, which is when the old self dies and the new...

pass
'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...

Foot
The foot, as in Deuteronomy 33:3, signifies an inferior principle. To set the right foot on the sea and the left on the earth, as...

work
'Works,' as in Genesis 46:33, denote goods, because they are from the will, and anything from the will is either good or evil, but anything...

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

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

back
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,...

buildeth
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...

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,...

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

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

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.

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

Shalem
'Shalem,' or 'Salem,' signifies the tranquility of peace.

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

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

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...

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

field
When we have a desire to be good people and to do good things, the natural first questions are "What does that mean?" "What should...

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...

sons
'Sons of the stranger' signify counterfeit truths, or falsities. 'Our sons' signify the doctrines of truth, and 'our daughters,' the doctrines of good, as in...

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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