Genesis 32:7 MEANING

Genesis 32:7
(7) Jacob was greatly afraid.--Jacob's message to his brother had been very humble, for he calls Esau his lord, and himself a servant. He hopes also to "find grace in his sight," and by enumerating his wealth shows that he required no aid, nor need claim even a share of Isaac's property. But Esau had given no answer, being probably undecided as to the manner in which he would receive his brother. The "four hundred men with him" formed probably only a part of the little army with which he had invaded the Horite territory. Some would be left with the spoil which he had gathered, but he took so many with him as to place Jacob completely in his power. And Jacob's extreme distress, in spite of the Divine encouragement repeatedly given him, shows that his faith was very feeble; but it was real, and therefore he sought refuge from his terror in prayer.

Verses 7, 8. - Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: - literally, it was narrow to him; i.e. he was perplexed. Clearly the impression left on Jacob's mind by the report of his ambassadors was that he had nothing to expect but hostility - and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and herds, and the camels, into two bands; - according to Gerlach, caravans are frequently divided thus in the present day, and for the same reason as Jacob assigns - And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape. It is easy to blame Jacob for want of faith in not trusting to God instead of resorting to his own devices (Candlish), but his behavior in the circumstances evinced great self-possession, non ita expavefactum fuisse Jacob quin res suns eomponeret (Calvin), considerable prudence (Lange), if not exalted chivalry (Candlish), a peaceful disposition which did not wish vim armata repellere (Rosenmüller), and a truly-religious spirit ('Speaker's Commentary'), since in his terror he betakes himself to prayer.

32:1-8 The angels of God appeared to Jacob, to encourage him with the assurance of the Divine protection. When God designs his people for great trials, he prepares them by great comforts. While Jacob, to whom the promise belonged, had been in hard service, Esau was become a prince. Jacob sent a message, showing that he did not insist upon the birth-right. Yielding pacifies great offences, Ec 10:4. We must not refuse to speak respectfully, even to those unjustly angry with us. Jacob received an account of Esau's warlike preparations against him, and was greatly afraid. A lively sense of danger, and quickening fear arising from it, may be found united with humble confidence in God's power and promise.Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed,.... Knowing what he had done to his brother in getting the birthright and blessing from him, and what an enmity he had conceived in his mind against him on that account, and remembering what he had said he would do to him; and therefore might fear that all his professions of respect to him were craftily and cunningly made to take him off of his guard, and that he might the more easily fall into his hands, and especially when he heard there were four hundred men with him; this struck a terror into him, and made him suspicious of an ill design against him; though herein Jacob betrayed much weakness and want of faith, when God has promised again and again that he would he with him, and keep him, and protect him, and return him safe to the land of Canaan; and when he had just had such an appearance of angels to be his helpers, guardians, and protectors:

and he divided the people that was with him, and the flocks, and the herds, and the camels, into two bands: some of his servants and shepherds, with a part of the flocks and herds, in one band or company, and some with the rest of them, and the camels, and his wives, and his children, in the other.

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