Die Bibel

Genesis 33

English: Darby 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 distributed the children to Leah, and to Rachel, and to the two maidservants:

2 and he put the maidservants and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindmost.

3 And he passed on before them, and bowed to the earth 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 that God has graciously given thy servant.

6 And the maidservants drew near, they and their children, and they bowed.

7 And Leah also, with her children, drew near, and they bowed. And lastly Joseph drew near, and Rachel, and they bowed.

8 And he said, What [meanest] thou by all the drove which I met? And he said, To find favour in the eyes of my lord.

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

10 And Jacob said, No, I pray thee; if now I have found favour in thine eyes, then receive my gift from my hand; for therefore have I seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou hast received me with pleasure.

11 Take, I pray thee, my blessing which has been brought to thee; because God has been gracious to me, and because I have everything. And he urged him, and he took [it].

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

13 And he said to him, My lord knows that the children are tender, and the suckling sheep and kine are with me; and if they should overdrive them only one day, all the flock would die.

14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass on before his servant, and I will drive on at my ease according to the pace of the cattle that is before me, and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord, to Seir.

15 And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee [some] of the people that are with me. And he said, What need? Let me find favour in the eyes of my lord.

16 And Esau returned that day on his way to Seir.

17 And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built himself a house, and for his cattle he made booths. Therefore the name of the place was called Succoth.

18 And Jacob came safely [to the] city Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan-Aram; and he encamped before the city.

19 And he bought the portion of the field where he had spread his tent, of the hand of the sons of Hamor, Shechem's father, for a hundred kesitahs.

20 And there he set up 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
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.

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...

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

bowed
To bow in prayer is common in most religious practices, so it's not surprising that “to bow” in the Bible represents humility and worship in...

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...

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...

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

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...

met
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...

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....

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.

Gift
The gift which Abraham gave to the sons of the concubines which he had, as in Genesis 25:6, signifies lots in the Lord's spiritual kingdom....

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...

seen
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...

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...

pleasure
'To be satisfied with favor' signifies being filled with the good of love, and 'to be full with the blessings of the Lord' signifies being...

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

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
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...

go 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...

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...

knows
Like so many common verbs, the meaning of "know" in the Bible is varied and dependent on context. And in some cases – when it...

tender
'Weak eyed' relates to the understanding.

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...

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...

die
'To perish,' or 'die,' relates to damnation, or the state in hell.

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...

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...

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

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...

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
To build something generally means to put together a variety of simpler pieces to make a useful and more complex structure, as to build a...

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...

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 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...

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...

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
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...

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.

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
'The sanctuary and habitation' together signify heaven and the church, 'sanctuary' regarding the good of love, and 'tabernacle' regarding truths of that good, because the...

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

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

Aus Swedenborgs Werken

Arcana Coelestia (Elliott translation)

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4364. 'He said, What do you mean by all this camp which I met?' means the specific things which came from the good of truth. This is clear from the meaning of 'camp' here as things that are specific, for these are meant by the animals mentioned in verses 14, 15 of the previous chapter - two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats, two hundred sheep and twenty rams, thirty milking camels and their colts, forty young cows and ten young bulls, twenty she-asses and ten foals. By these are meant the goods and truths together with the things that are subservient, by means of which the instillation was to be effected, see 4263, 4264, and so mean those that are specific. The specific ones meant here are nothing other than those which serve to prove that truths really are truths and forms of good really are forms of good. They support a person's thoughts and affections - that is, the things he knows and the things he loves - which lead him to favour an idea and maintain that it is true. The gifts which in the Church of old were made to kings and to priests also held the same meaning It is well known that another is led to one's own way of thinking - that is, to the things which one says are good and true - both by the use of rational arguments and by the appeal to affections. It is the actual supporting proofs to which the term 'specific' applies and that are meant at this point by 'this camp'. This is the reason why the words 'to find favour in the eyes of my lord' appear, explaining why 'the camp' was sent, and after that, 'If now I have found favour in your eyes, then take my gift from my hand'.

(Verweise: Arcana Coelestia 4263-4264, Genesis 32:14-15)


[2] It is similar with spiritual things or matters of faith, when these are being joined to the good of charity. People believe that goods and truths Row in immediately from heaven, and so without any intermediate agents in man; but in this they are much mistaken. The Lord leads everyone through the agency of his affections and in so doing bends him by means of a Providence working silently; for He leads people by means of their freedom, 1937, 1947. All freedom entails a person's affection or love, see 2870, 2873. Consequently every joining together of good and truth takes place in freedom and not under compulsion, 2875-2878, 2881, 3145, 3146, 3158, 4031. When therefore a person has been brought in freedom to good, truths find acceptance and are implanted. That person also starts to be stirred by an affection for them and is in this manner introduced little by little into heavenly freedom. One who is regenerate, that is, who loves the neighbour - more so one who loves the Lord - will discover, if he reflects on his life before then, that he has been led to that point by many ideas present in his thought and many impulses of his affection.

(Verweise: Arcana Coelestia 3145-3146)


[3] What exactly is meant here by the things which came from the good of truth may be seen more easily from examples. Let truth which has to be introduced into good be exemplified by the truth that man has life after death. Unless this is supported by specific truths, it does not find acceptance, that is, not unless it is supported by the following: Man is able to think not only about the things he sees and perceives with the senses but also about those which he does not see or perceive with the senses. Also his affection can be stirred by them; and through his affection he can become linked to them and therefore to heaven, indeed to the Lord Himself. And those who are able to be linked to the Divine can never die. These and many more like them are the specific truths which present themselves before that truth is instilled into good, that is, before it is believed fully. That truth does indeed submit itself first, yet these specific truths nevertheless cause it to find acceptance.

[4] Take as another example the truth that man is a spirit and that he is clothed with a body while he lives in the world. This also is a truth that has to be instilled into good, for if it is not instilled he has no concern for heaven, in which case he looks on himself in the same way as he does on animals. But this truth cannot be instilled except by means of specific ones such as the following: The body which a person carries around ministers to uses in the world; that is to say, it enables him by means of material eyes to see things that are in the world, and to perform actions by means of material muscles, which give him power that is sufficient to lift heavy objects. Nevertheless some more interior part of him exists which thinks and wills, and for which the body is the instrumental or material organ. Also his spirit is his true self, or the person himself, who performs actions and has sensory perception through these organic forms. And there are many other personal experiences by which he can prove that truth to be so once he believes it. All of these are specific truths which are put forward first and which cause that truth itself to be instilled into good and also to come from it. It is these and other things like them that are meant here by 'a camp'.

(Verweise: Genesis 33:8)

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From Swedenborg's Works

Inbound References:

Arcana Coelestia 4370, 4373, 4396, 10127

The New Jerusalem and its Heavenly Doctrine 23, 121, 186


Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.


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