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Genesis 32:1 - 32:21

Jacob’s Fear of Esau

Now Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.
2 Then Jacob said when he saw them, “This is God’s camp.” So he named that place Mahanaim. 3 Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He also commanded them saying, “Thus you shall say to my lord, to Esau: ‘Thus says your servant Jacob, “I have sojourned with Laban and have been delayed until now; 5 and I have oxen and donkeys and flocks and male and female slaves; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.”’” 6 Then the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother, to Esau, and furthermore he is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” 7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people who were with him, and the flocks and the herds and the camels, into two camps. 8 And he said, “If Esau comes to the one camp and strikes it, then the camp which remains will escape.” 9 And Jacob said, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Yahweh, who said to me, ‘Return to your land and to your kin, and I will prosper you,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the truth which You have shown to Your slave; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. 11 Deliver me, I pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and strike me down with the mothers and the children. 12 For You said, ‘I will surely prosper you and make your seed as the sand of the sea, which is too great to be numbered.’” 13 So he spent the night there. Then he took from what he had with him a present for his brother Esau: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty milking camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys. 16 And he gave them into the hand of his servants, every flock by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass on before me and put a space between flocks.” 17 And he commanded the first one in front, saying, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, saying, ‘To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and to whom do these animals in front of you belong?’ 18 then you shall say, ‘These belong to your servant Jacob; it is a present sent to my lord, to Esau. And behold, he also is behind us.’” 19 Then he commanded also the second and the third and all those who followed the flocks, saying, “After this manner you shall speak to Esau when you find him; 20 and you shall say, ‘Behold, your servant Jacob also is behind us.’” For he said, “I will appease his face with the present that goes before me. Then afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will lift up my face.” 21 So the present passed on before him, while he himself spent that night in the camp.