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
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...

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...

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

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

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

Passed
'Passed' or 'expired' denotes the conclusion of whatever state is being discussed.

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...

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
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...

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...

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...

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

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...

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...

Bow
A bow signifies falsity of doctrine destroying truth, and spear, the falsity of evil de­stroying good. (Jer. 6:23.)

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

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....

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
Scientists believe that one of the most crucial developments in the evolution of humans was bipedalism – walking on two legs. That left our hands...

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...

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

presseth
When someone is pressed or pressured in the Bible, it simply indicates a sense of urgency in a conflict between spiritual states.

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...

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

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...

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...

tender
'Weak eyed' relates to the understanding.

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...

Herd
'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...

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...

lead
The meaning of "leading" people in the Bible is pretty straightforward, though obviously it is about leading people in spiritual things, not natural ones. When...

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...

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

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...

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

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

people
The Bible generally uses two different terms for large groups: “people” and “nation.” When it uses the term “nation,” it is talking about a group...

way
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

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...

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,...

called
To call someone or summon someone in the Bible represents a desire for conjunction between higher and lower states of life. For instance, imagine someone...

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...

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

city
In the ancient world cities were very nearly nations unto themselves – they existed within walls, with their own laws and customs, generally centered on...

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

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

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. 'Sons of Canaan,' as in Genesis 10, are people...

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.

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...

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 in the Word means what is most interior, and in those things that are following the Lord's order, it means what is good. In...

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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