Jacob, now known as Israel was ready to meet his brother Esau, but not without deploying, one more time, some cunning (that is if you estimate his next action to mean such), though this time not to trick his brother into losing something, but rather to curry his favour in a bid to procure the eventual sparing of his life and that of his family, should his brother had predetermined to have him killed (the reason for which he fled from home in the first place), knowing that he had no chance at all, when matched with his brother’s armada. On seeing his brother from afar coming with four hundred men, Jacob divided his children amongst his wives and the two “handmaids“. It would appear that he set them up to meet Esau from the least loved to the most dearly beloved in putting “… the handmaids and their children in the front, and Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph in the rear” (Genesis 33:2), while “… he himself passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times until he came near to his brother” (v. 3).
Esau could’ve used such an opportunity to lord himself over his brother who appeared to be at his mercy, to do to and with him as he could and would, but missing his brother so much, outweighed any animosity he might have felt for him at some point in the past, that he “… ran to meet him (Jacob), and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him, and they wept” (v. 4). Afterwards, Esau met with Jacob’s household but not without asking, “What do you mean by all this company which I met (referring to the flocks and servants Jacob had sent ahead of his family, to meet with Esau), and he (Jacob) said, to find favour in the sight of my master” (v. 8).
Despite, the (emotional) trauma Esau suffered at the hands of Jacob, after he not only lost his birthright figuratively, but also having to lose the blessing meant and fit for a first son, from his beloved father, who also was willing to dispense same to him (as his beloved son), only to have to be cunned out of it by the wily Jacob; yet he managed to forgive, after seeing his brother many years after the latter fled from his face, for his life. This exceptional character exhibited by Esau set him apart from many a character in the Stories in the Bible. His decision and willingness to forgive, when one considers that he was within his right (even as Jacob envisaged, and willingly offered at first his goods, then servants, himself, hand maidens, wives and his children, as propitiation to his brother, for the wrong he’d done him years ago) to demand recompense, or even harm his brother (in the mood of the times) is more than commendable. Esau’s response was, “…I have enough, my brother; let that which you have be your own” (v. 9). After several appeals by Jacob to Esau, to take some of what he had brought as gift, Esau conceded and accepted the gifts presented before him, and that was how both men settled the rift between them, after years of been incommunicado. It is also possible that the passage of time might’ve helped douse the tension, especially as the effect of the missed blessing didn’t seem to have become evident in the life of Esau, at the time, because he had become obviously more wealthy and influential compared to Jacob that was just trying to find his feet.
The setting of hearts (of the offender and the offended) at rest, is one reason why we should at every opportunity offer and accept forgiveness. I understand that we may not forget, and I don’t consider it necessarily virtuous to forget (considering that remembering ensures that the same pitfalls are avoided, either regarding a person, place or thing). Forgiveness, was one of the cardinal messages of Yahshua while he was on earth, he extended it to those who conspired and succeeded in nailing him to the torture stake, and unlike the preachers of our day, who hinge (and encourage their followers to do so) many of their prayer points on the destruction and immolation of enemies, prayed thus, “…Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34), and even long before that, admonished Peter, who’d inquired of him, the number of times he must forgive his brother when he offends, before he could be free not to forgive anymore. “Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22), was Yahshua’s reply to him, knowing full well that even if Peter kept such meticulous records he’d soon tire out, and opt to just keep forgiving his brother, just like Esau had done to, and with his brother Jacob.
After pleasantries and it was time to part ways, Esau agreed to leave ahead of Jacob’s troops to Seir, seeing as because of the children in his entourage, he could only follow more slowly, “…and Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built himself a house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth” (Genesis 33:17). We can therefore infer from this that “Succoth” means “booths“, as with the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles mentioned in Leviticus 23:39-43. In the journey of Jacob, I have learnt that while it was important that he be freed from servitude under his uncle Laban, to become a man of his own, it was more important that he be free from another type of bondage he was under, because of the situation with his brother, and not until that yoke was removed was he able to come to the fullness of himself to fulfill his destiny. Therefore, rather than looking for one evil person holding down our destiny, or the many other fear mongering insinuations and assertions, that pastors, prophets, prophetesses and advisers in things of the spirit and the likes, often invoke to further burden the undiscerning, the spiritual man should search his life for remnants of unforgiveness lurking somewhere in the deep recesses of obscurity (when not visibly evident for instance), to release such and be totally free. Selah
– Genesis Chapter 33 Verses 2 – 17, THE SACRED SCRIPTURES (Bethel Edition), An Assemblies of Yahweh ®, Publication, © 1981 (Fourth Printing, 1993).