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visionary scene; but it is clear from Jacob's own words that the Lord manifested. His Divine presence to him at this time in an extraordinary manner, and, at his earnest importunity, granted him a blessing, by giving him, in addition to the name he already was known by, that of Israel, (or a prince of GoD) which was designed as a token, that the Lord would favour him and his posterity, for his own sake, as well as for the sake of Abraham and Isaac Jacob was now. made a frince, which intimated, that on his return to Canaan he should not live in a subordinate capacity. The sudden lameness which seized him, was perhaps inflicted at first to convince, and afterwards to remind him of his own natural weakness. That he had power with God, was owing to the Divine indulgence alone, as Jacob was well convinced ; for he expressed his astonishment that he had beheld the face (or Image) of God, and was yet alive *-A very improper use is sometimes made of this portion of Scripture by Enthusiasts, who talk much of wrestling with God in frayer; but, as in this passage, there is no general instruction pointed out by the Sacred Historian, or obvious to human reason, it is best to consider it as a matter relating to Jacob only, as the head of a nation, who, without doubt, understood its import. It is not necessary that Christians should so fully comprehend what seems to have a particular reference to the Jewish oeconomy. - -
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- • Jacob's reconciliation with his brother Esau. ... " From Genesis, Chaft. xxxiii. ! . . And, Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and be. hold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men.
* The word Penic signifies, the face of God... . . Vol. I. - K . And
And he divided the children unto Leah, and unto Rachel, and unto the two hand-maids. And he put the hand-maids and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindemnost. And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fen on his neck, and kissed him ; and they wept. And he lift up his eyes, and saw the women, and the children, and said, Who are those with thee : And He said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant. - Then the hand-maidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves. And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves; and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bow-ed themselves. And Esau said, what meanest thou by all this drove which I met And he said, these are to find grace in the sight of my lord. - Aad Esau said, 1 have enough ; my brother, keep that thou hast unto thyself. - - And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand ; for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of Gons and thou wast pleased with me. Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough; and he urged him, and he took it. . . . And Esau said, Let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before thee. - And
And Jacob said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me, and if men should over-drive them one day, all the flock will die.
Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his ser. vant: and I will lead on softly according as the cattle that goeth before me, and the children be able to endure: until I come unto my lord unto Seir.
And Esau said, Let me now leave with thee, some of the folk that are with me; and Jacob said, What need. eth it? let me find grace in the sight of my lord?
So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir. And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle ; therefore the name of the place is called Succoth.
ANNOTATIONS and REFLECTIONS,
We learn from another part of Sacred History, that Esau and his family had driven out the Horims, or 1Horites, who dwelt in mount Seir, and settled thena. selves in the land *. This happened while Jacob was in Mesopotamia; Esau therefore became a prince, while Jacob was only a servant; this consideration, added to the consciousness of his offence, might induce Jacob to approach his brother in the humble manner which is described in this section. By calling Esau his lord, and himself Esau's tervant, Jacob certainly did not mean to give up his spiritual advantages, but merely to shew his respect, as is still the custom among men who style persons of rank their lords, and themselves their servants, without owing them any particular homage. From Esau's affectionate behaviour to Jacob, we may – infer that he was not upon the whole of a bad dispositiqp; for no one could testify more generosity and kind* Deut. ii. 12, o
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ness than he did upon this occasion ; the great fault in his character was, slighting the Divine promises. It is observable, that of the two, Esau appears to have had the highest joy, for his had no alloy. It gave him the sincerest delight to press to his bosom, a brother whom long absence had endeared ; he had the farther: satisfaction of shewing his generosity, by freely forgiving: former offences. It was an additional pleasure to receive such an accession of new relations: Women whose virtues rendered them ornaments to the family, promising youths, and innocent children. On the other hand, the joy which arose in Jacob's bosom was evidently chastised with fear; still it was joy, and cheaply purchased by that humiliation, which on this occasion it was his duty to shew. . Jacob's expression, “I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God,” implies, that he could not be satisfied without offering something by way of atonement, which he hoped his brother would receive and regard in that light. To have refused his present would have been unkind ; by accepting it, Esau removed his brother's apprehensions, and quieted his conscience. He regarded the present, not only as an atonement for past offences, but as a pledge of future kindness. It is likely Jacob had other reasons, besides those he meationed, for not attending his brother to mount Seir, but as he appears to have been of a good natured, gentle disposition, we may readily believe, that he had, as he professed to have, a tender regard to the children and cattle. Having seen the Host of the Lord, Jacob would have * been very blameable had he accepted of a guard from Esau. We are not told, why Jacob did not follow his brother to Seir ; but it is likely that, upon reflection, he thought it
it wrong to go thither, as he had received a Divine command to return into the land of his kindred ; besides, he must have an urgent desire to see his father. Rebekah is supposed to have died during his absence.
As such constant travelling was very fatiguing to his family, and his cattle were near having young ones, it was very prudent in Jacob to stop for a time. The house he built, was, in all probability, little more than a tent. In building booths for his cattle, he gave anether instance of benevolence, worthy of imitation.
There is something so truly interesting in the account which is here given of the reconciliation between the two brothers, that every reader must feel its force. May those, who, like Esau, have met with treatment that appears injurious, be ready to take example from his -noble conduct; and may all who have, like Jacob, brought displeasure upon themselves, by indirect practices, be as ready as he was, to subdue resentment by *Proper concessions; then will each party know, from happy experience, “how good and joyful a thing it is, for brethren. to dwell together in unity" "
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- * * --- i . . . . . . SECTION XLII. GoD APPEARETH To JAcOB-H E PUTTETH Away idols, • * From Genesis, Chap. xxxiii. xxxiv. xxxv.
And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is the land of Canaan, when he came from Padan-aram; and pitched his tent before the city.
And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money.
* Psalm coxxiii. 1.
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