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Genesis 32:3 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the field of Edom.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother, to the land of Seir, the country of Edom.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And Jacob sent messengers before his face to Esau his brother, into the land of Seir, the fields of Edom.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Then did Jacob send messengers before him, unto Esau his brother,—to the land of Seir, the field of Edom.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And Jacob sendeth messengers before him unto Esau his brother, towards the land of Seir, the field of Edom,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And he sent messengers before him to Esau, his brother, to the land of Seir, to the country of Edom:
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— And Iacob sent messengers before him, to Esau his brother, vnto the land of Seir, the countrey of Edom.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother to the land of Seir, to the country of Edom.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— And Yaaqov sent messengers before him to Esaw his brother unto the land of Seir, the country of Edom.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
And Ya`kv יַעֲקֹב 3290
{3290} Prime
From H6117; heel catcher (that is, supplanter); Jaakob, the Israelitish patriarch.
sent 7971
{7971} Prime
A primitive root; to send away, for, or out (in a great variety of applications).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
messengers 4397
{4397} Prime
From an unused root meaning to despatch as a deputy; a messenger; specifically of God, that is, an angel (also a prophet, priest or teacher).
before x6440
(6440) Complement
Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פָּנֶה paneh, {paw-neh'}; from H6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.).
him y6440
[6440] Standard
Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פָּנֶה paneh, {paw-neh'}; from H6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.).
to x413
(0413) Complement
(Used only in the shortened constructive form (the second form)); a primitive particle, properly denoting motion towards, but occasionally used of a quiescent position, that is, near, with or among; often in general, to.
`$w עֵשָׂו 6215
{6215} Prime
Apparently a form of the passive participle of H6213 in the original sense of handling; rough (that is, sensibly felt); Esav, a son of Isaac, including his posterity.
his brother 251
{0251} Prime
A primitive word; a brother (used in the widest sense of literal relationship and metaphorical affinity or resemblance (like H0001)).
unto the land 776
{0776} Prime
From an unused root probably meaning to be firm; the earth (at large, or partitively a land).
of `r שֵׂעִיר, 8165
{8165} Prime
Formed like H8163; rough; Seir, a mountain of Idumaea and its aboriginal occupants, also one in Palestine.
the country 7704
{7704} Prime
From an unused root meaning to spread out; a field (as flat).
of m אֱדוֹם. 123
{0123} Prime
From H0122; red (see Genesis 25:25); Edom, the elder twin-brother of Jacob; hence the region (Idumaea) occuped by him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Genesis 32:3

_ _ Genesis 32:3-32. Mission to Esau.

_ _ Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau — that is, “had sent.” It was a prudent precaution to ascertain the present temper of Esau, as the road, on approaching the eastern confines of Canaan, lay near the wild district where his brother was now established.

_ _ land of Seir — a highland country on the east and south of the Dead Sea, inhabited by the Horites, who were dispossessed by Esau or his posterity (Deuteronomy 11:12). When and in what circumstances he had emigrated thither, whether the separation arose out of the undutiful conduct and idolatrous habits of his wives, which had made them unwelcome in the tent of his parents, or whether his roving disposition had sought a country from his love of adventure and the chase, he was living in a state of power and affluence, and this settlement on the outer borders of Canaan, though made of his own free will, was overruled by Providence to pave the way for Jacob’s return to the promised land.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Genesis 32:3-8

_ _ Now that Jacob was re-entering Canaan God, by the vision of angels, reminded him of the friends he had when he left it, and thence he takes occasion to remind himself of the enemies he had, particularly Esau. It is probable that Rebekah had sent him word of Esau's settlement in Seir, and of the continuance of his enmity to him. What shall poor Jacob do? He longs to see his father, and yet he dreads to see his brother. He rejoices to see Canaan again, and yet cannot but rejoice with trembling because of Esau.

_ _ I. He sends a very kind and humble message to Esau. It does not appear that his way lay through Esau's country, or that he needed to ask his leave for a passage; but his way lay near it, and he would not go by him without paying him the respect due to a brother, a twin-brother, an only brother, an elder brother, a brother offended. Note, 1. Though our relations fail in their duty to us, yet we must make conscience of doing our duty to them. 2. It is a piece of friendship and brotherly love to acquaint our friends with our condition, and enquire into theirs. Acts of civility may help to slay enmities. Jacob's message to him is very obliging, v. 4, 5. (1.) He calls Esau his lord, himself his servant, to intimate that he did not insist upon the prerogatives of the birthright and blessing he had obtained for himself, but left it to God to fulfil his own purpose in his seed. Note, Yielding pacifies great offences, Ecclesiastes 10:4. We must not refuse to speak in a respectful an submissive manner to those that are ever so unjustly exasperated against it (2.) He gives him a short account of himself, that he was not a fugitive and a vagabond, but, though long absent, had had a certain dwelling-place, with his own relations: I have sojourned with Laban, and staid there till now; and that he was not a beggar, nor did he come home, as the prodigal son, destitute of necessaries and likely to be a charge to his relations; no, I have oxen and asses. This he knew would (if any thing) recommend him to Esau's good opinion. And, (3.) He courts his favour: I have sent, that I might find grace in thy sight. Note, It is no disparagement to those that have the better cause to become petitioners for reconciliation, and to sue for peace as well as right.

_ _ II. He receives a very formidable account of Esau's warlike preparations against him (Genesis 32:6), not a word, but a blow, a very coarse return to his kind message, and a sorry welcome home to a poor brother: He comes to meet thee, and four hundred men with him. He is now weary of waiting for the days of mourning for this good father, and even before they come he resolves to slay his brother. 1. He remembers the old quarrel, and will now be avenged on him for the birthright and blessing, and, if possible, defeat Jacob's expectations from both. Note, malice harboured will last long, and find an occasion to break out with violence a great while after the provocations given. Angry men have good memories. 2. He envies Jacob what little estate he had, and, though he himself was now possessed of a much better, yet nothing will serve him but to feed his eyes upon Jacob's ruin, and fill his fields with Jacob's spoils. Perhaps the account Jacob sent him of his wealth did but provoke him the more. 3. He concludes it easy to destroy him, now that he was upon the road, a poor weary traveller, unfixed, and (as he thinks) unguarded. Those that have the serpent's poison have commonly the serpent's policy, to take the first and fairest opportunity that offers itself for revenge. 4. He resolves to do it suddenly, and before Jacob had come to his father, lest he should interpose and mediate between them. Esau was one of those that hated peace; when Jacob speaks, speaks peaceably, he is for war, Psalms 120:6, Psalms 120:7. Out he marches, spurred on with rage, and intent on blood and murders; four hundred men he had with him, probably such as used to hunt with him, armed, no doubt, rough and cruel like their leader, ready to execute the word of command though ever so barbarous, and now breathing nothing but threatenings and slaughter. The tenth part of these were enough to cut off poor Jacob, and his guiltless helpless family, root and branch. No marvel therefore that it follows (Genesis 32:7), then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed, perhaps the more so from having scarcely recovered the fright Laban had put him in. Note, Many are the troubles of the righteous in this world, and sometimes the end of one is but the beginning of another. The clouds return after the rain. Jacob, though a man of great faith, yet was now greatly afraid. Note, A lively apprehension of danger, and a quickening fear arising from it, may very well consist with a humble confidence in God's power and promise. Christ himself, in his agony, was sorely amazed.

_ _ III. He puts himself into the best posture of defence that his present circumstances will admit. It was absurd to think of making resistance, all his contrivance is to make an escape, Genesis 32:7, Genesis 32:8. He thinks it prudent not to venture all in one bottom, and therefore divides what he had into two companies, that, if one were smitten, the other might escape. Like a tender careful master of a family, he is more solicitous for their safety than for his own. He divided his company, not as Abraham (Genesis 14:15), for fight, but for flight.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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Geneva Bible Translation Notes

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Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Malachi 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
Luke 9:52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
Luke 14:31-32 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? ... Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.

The land, or mountains, of Seir was situated south and east of the Dead Sea; forming a continuation of the eastern Syrian chain of mountains, beginning with Antilibanus, and extending from thence to the eastern gulf of the Red Sea.


Genesis 14:6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which [is] by the wilderness.
Genesis 33:14 Let my lord, I pray thee, pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly, according as the cattle that goeth before me and the children be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir.
Genesis 33:16 So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir.
Genesis 36:6-8 And Esau took his wives, and his sons, and his daughters, and all the persons of his house, and his cattle, and all his beasts, and all his substance, which he had got in the land of Canaan; and went into the country from the face of his brother Jacob. ... Thus dwelt Esau in mount Seir: Esau [is] Edom.
Deuteronomy 2:5 Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau [for] a possession.
Deuteronomy 2:22 As he did to the children of Esau, which dwelt in Seir, when he destroyed the Horims from before them; and they succeeded them, and dwelt in their stead even unto this day:
Joshua 24:4 And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.

Heb. field


Genesis 25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red [pottage]; for I [am] faint: therefore was his name called Edom.
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Gn 14:6; 25:30; 33:14, 16; 36:6. Dt 2:5, 22. Jsh 24:4. Mal 3:1. Lk 9:52; 14:31.

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