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Jacob meets Esau after 20 years away: Genesis 32–35

After 20 years away, Jacob was to meet Esau again. It was the first time they’d seen each other after Jacob stole their father’s blessing.

Interestingly, Esau must have had news of Jacob’s return: he arrived with 400 men to meet Jacob, who was armed with wives, children, servants and livestock. A show of humility seems to have saved the day, followed by an interesting diplomatic exchange along the lines of please accept my gifts—no thanks, I don’t need them—but I need to give them to you—oh, okay then.

Then came this exchange of come with me—no thanks, we’re too slow—well, let my men guide you—no thanks—oh, okay then:

[Esau] Let’s be going. I will lead the way.
[Jacob] … Please, my lord, go ahead of your servant. We will follow slowly, at a pace that is comfortable for the livestock and the children. I will meet you at Seir.
[Esau] … but at least let me assign some of my men to guide and protect you.
[Jacob] That’s not necessary. It’s enough that you’ve received me warmly, my lord!

The result? Esau believed Jacob, or at least accepted what was happening, and went back to Seir without Jacob. Jacob, on the other hand, went to Succoth.

The next time, and possibly the last time, they met was when their father, Isaac, died some years later.