Genesis xxxiii.

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 3. Forward, before his family; like a good father, exposing himself to the greatest danger. (Menochius) — Seven times, to testify his great humility and respect for his brother. How, then, can any one find fault with Catholics, if they bow down before the cross thrice on Good Friday, to testify their great veneration for their expiring Lord?

Ver. 8. Favour. Esau had already heard from the servants. But he asks again, meaning to excuse himself from receiving them. (Haydock) — This civil and unexpected behaviour, filled the breast of Jacob with such gratitude and love, that he made use of an hyperbole, I have seen, &c. …of God. Chaldean, “of a prince,” Syriac, “of an angel,” Elohim. See 2 Kings xix. 27; Esther xv. 16. (Calmet) — A little present. Hebrew monée, or mincha, calculated to shew the subjection of the giver. (Menochius)

Ver. 13. Young, boves fœtus, giving milk, having calved lately, Seputagint. (Bochart.) (Calmet)

Ver. 14. In Seir; not immediately, but as soon as it might be convenient. This time perhaps never arrived. (St. Augustine, q. 106.)

Ver. 18. The town of Salem, which was the first town of Chanaan that he came near since his return. It was afterwards called Sichem, and Sichar, John iv. 5, and Naplosa. Salim, mentioned John iii. 23, was probably more to the east. Some translate, “He came quite sound to the city of Sichem;” where, Demetrius says, he dwelt ten years, Eusebius, pręp. ix. 21, having stopped at Socoth six months. (Calmet) — This seems very probable, as Dina met with her misfortune a little before he left the country; and as she was six years old when she came from Haran, she would be about 15 when she began to go a visiting, &c., chap. xxxiv. 1. (Haydock)

Ver. 19. Lambs. Hebrew, Kossite, or Kesita, a word which occurs also, Josue xxvi. 32[xxiv. 32?], and Job xlii. 11; and may signify lambs, or a species of money, marked perhaps with their figure. It may also denote pearls, coral, a vessel, or purse of good money. St. Stephen, Acts vii. 19[16?], mentions the price of money. But he probably speaks of the bargain made by Abraham with Ephron, son of Heth, for which some have substituted Hemor, the son of Sichem. Kista in the Chaldean means a vessel or measure; and we learn from Herodotus iii. 130, that the Persians were accustomed to keep their money in this manner. In the Chaldean, Syriac, and Arabic languages, there are words derived from the same root as Kesita, which mean purity, perfection; and thus what Jacob gave was good current money; (Calmet) or such things as were received among merchants.

Ver. 20. The most, &c. El Elohe Yisrael. By this name he dignified the altar, consecrating his field and all his possessions to God, and acknowledging that all was his gift. (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

Jacob and Esau meet: Jacob goeth to Salem, where he raiseth an altar.

1 And Jacob lifting up his eyes,* saw Esau coming, and with him four hundred men: and he divided the children of Lia and of Rachel, and of the two handmaids.

2 And he put both the handmaids and their children foremost: and Lia and her children in the second place: and Rachel and Joseph last.

3 And he went forward and bowed down with his face to the ground seven times, until his brother came near.

4 Then Esau ran to meet his brother, and embraced him: and clasping him fast about the neck, and kissing him, wept.

5 And lifting up his eyes, he saw the women and their children, and said: What mean these? And do they belong to thee? He answered: They are the children which God hath given to me, thy servant.

6 Then the handmaids and their children came near and bowed themselves.

7 Lia also, with her children, came near and bowed down in like manner; and last of all Joseph and Rachel bowed down.

8 And Esau said: What are the droves that I met? He answered: That I might find favor before my lord.

9 But he said: I have plenty, my brother, keep what is thine for thyself.

10 And Jacob said: Do not so I beseech thee, but if I have found favor in thy eyes, receive a little present at my hands: for I have seen thy face, as if I should have seen the countenance of God: be gracious to me,

11 And take the blessing which I have brought thee, and which God hath given me, who giveth all things. He took it with much ado at his brother’s earnest pressing him,

12 And said: Let us go on together, and I will accompany thee in thy journey.

13 And Jacob said: My lord, thou knowest that I have with me tender children, and sheep, and kine with young: which if I should cause to be over-driven, in one day all the flocks will die.

14 May it please my lord to go before his servant: and I will follow softly after him, as I shall see my children to be able, until I come to my lord in Seir.

15 Esau answered: I beseech thee, that some of the people, at least, who are with me, may stay to accompany thee in the way. And he said: There is no necessity: I want nothing else but only to find favor, my lord, in thy sight.

16 So Esau returned that day, the way that he came, to Seir.

17 And Jacob came to Socoth: where having built a house, and pitched tents, he called the name of the place Socoth, that is, Tents.

18 And he passed over to Salem, a city of the Sichemites, which is in the land of Chanaan, after he returned from Mesopotamia of Syria: and he dwelt by the town.

19 And he bought that part of the field, in which he pitched his tents, of the children of Hemor, the father of Sichem, for a hundred lambs.

20 And raising an altar there, he invoked upon it the most mighty God of Israel.



1: Year of the World 2265.