The Children's Bible
Meeting A Brother Who Had Been Wronged
n time Jacob became very wealthy, and he had large flocks, slaves, and asses. But he heard Laban's sons say, "Jacob has taken all that was our father's, and from that which was our father's he has gotten all this wealth." He also saw that Laban did not act toward him the same as before. So Jacob rose and put his sons and his wives upon the camels and drove away all his cattle. He deceived Laban, for he did not tell him that he was fleeing away. So he fled across the river Euphrates, with all that he had, and set out on his way toward Mount Gilead.
Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau. And he gave them this command, "Say to my lord Esau: 'Your servant Jacob declares, I have lived with Laban and have stayed until now. I have oxen and asses, flocks and slaves, and I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may win your favor.'" The messengers returned to Jacob with the report, "We came to your brother Esau, even as he was coming to meet you with four hundred men."
Then Jacob was greatly alarmed and worried. So he divided the people that were with him and the flocks and the herds and the camels into two parts and said, "If Esau comes to the one and attacks and destroys it, then the other which is left can escape."
Jacob also prayed, "O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear that he will come and attack me and kill the mothers and the children."
Then Jacob took as a present for his brother Esau, two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milch camels and their young, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female asses and ten young asses. These he put, each drove by itself, in the care of his servants and said to them, "Go on before me and leave a space between the droves."
He gave those in front this command: "When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, 'To whom do you belong? and where are you going? and whose are these before you?' then you shall say, 'To your servant Jacob; it is a present sent by him to my lord Esau; and Jacob himself is just behind us.'" Jacob also commanded the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, to make the same answer, and to say, "Jacob himself is just behind us." For he said to himself, "I will please him with the present that goes before me, and then, when I meet him, perhaps he will welcome me." So he sent the present over before him; but he himself spent that night in the camp.
Later that night he rose up and took his two wives, his two maid servants, and his eleven children, and sent them over the river Jabbok.
Jacob was left alone, and one wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he did not win against Jacob, he struck the socket of his hip, and the socket of Jacob's hip was strained, as he wrestled with him. Then he said, "Let me go, for the dawn is breaking." But Jacob replied, "I will not let thee go unless you bless me." So he said to him, "What is your name?" He answered, "Jacob." Then he said, "Your name shall be no longer Jacob, but Israel, which means Struggler with God; for you have struggled with God and with men and have won." So he blessed him there. And Jacob called the place Penuel, which means Face of God, for he said, "I have seen God face to face, and my life has been saved."
When Jacob looked up, he saw Esau coming with four hundred men. And he put the maid servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and her son Joseph in the rear. Then Jacob himself went in front of them, and he bowed down to the ground seven times, as he drew near to his brother. Esau ran to meet him, threw his arms about his neck, and kissed him, and they wept.
When Esau looked up and saw the women and the children, he said, "Who are these with you?" Jacob answered, "The children whom God has so kindly given me." Then the maid servants with their children came up and bowed down to the ground. Leah and her children also came and bowed down, and afterward Joseph and Rachel came up and bowed down before Esau.
Esau asked, "What do you mean by all this company which I met?" Jacob answered, "To win your friendship, my lord." Esau said, "I have enough, my brother; keep what you have." But Jacob replied, "No, if now I have won your favor, receive this present from me to show that you are my friend. Take, I beg of you, the gift that I bring to you, for God has been generous to me, and I have enough." So he urged Esau until he took it.
Then Esau said, "Let me at least leave with you some of the people who are with me." But Jacob replied, "What need is there? Let me only enjoy your friendship, my Lord." So Esau turned back that day on his way to Seir.