Devotional Short Note to Genesis 33


In Signs of the Times of July 1968: 29-30 there is an article by Adventist Archaeologist Siegfried Horn that is accepting the consensus position that Succoth is Deir `Alla. After the reconciliation with Esau and Esau moving South to Seir, Jacob went to Succoth on the eastern side of the Jordan to live there some time. The Commentator Keil (1885: 310) explained that Jacob lived there quite some time because his father was still alive. He built himself up as an independent patriarchal figure and could not mix now suddenly with his father. So he lived separated.

Isaac died in 1960 BCE so Jacob lived some years independent.

This chapter seems to be sequential to the previous one and the flow of events happened in a space of time that is closely related. The result of our calculation of the birth date of Joseph to 1988 BCE and that before the birth of Benjamin, since the twelfth one was not born yet, Genesis speaks of eleven children in Genesis 32:23, means that the date for the events in Genesis 33 first part relating Esau, took place also shortly after 1988 BCE.

Scholars do not know how long Jacob remained living in Succoth but the years between the birth of Joseph and the death of Isaac should be considered, which is a span of 28 years. The shocking aspect is still to come, but Isaac was still alive when Joseph was sold to traders heading for Egypt in later chapters!

Keil’s Commentary on Genesis had a very good explanation about the wrestling incident in the previous chapter with God Himself. He and Delitzsch shared the view on page 305 that the conflict was real of both mind and body, a work of the spirit with intense effort of the body. Keil said: “In a merely outward conflict it is impossible to conquer through prayers and tears”. He pointed out that years later the prophet Hosea lay hold of this important aspect of weeping in the prayer as the key to the success of the wrestling event (Hosea 12:4-5). “…and he fought with the Angel and prevailed, he wept and made supplication unto Him” = יָּשַׂר אֶל-מַלְאָךְ וַיֻּכָל, בָּכָה וַיִּתְחַנֶּן-לוֹ. The weeping and supplication is very interesting since Jacob is not making prayers to an outside source of power but directly with the One Whom he is wrestling since a preposition is added with a independent pronominal suffix “to Him”. The word “favor” is used but in an interactive [hithpael] form “with one another”. There was a satisfying element to each other in this relationship and the choice of Moses formulation of the word “supplication” indicates this close relationship. Ellen White, unaware of the comments of Keil and Delitzsch, wrote similar about this incident also citing Hosea 12:4 and saying: “Through humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful erring mortal prevailed with the Majesty of heaven” (Ellen White, Patriarch and Prophets page 197). She also said it was Christ. She places the event in the context of the power of importunate prayer, “prevailing prayer and unyielding faith”.

In Genesis 33:5-7 Esau asked Jacob who is with him. Jacob answered faithfully: “'The children whom God [Elohim] has graciously [hanan] (given) your servant” = וַיֹּאמַר-ַיְלָדִים אֲשֶׁר-חָנַן אֱלֹהִים אֶת-עַבְדֶּךָ. The same root is at play here as in the word “supplication” during the wrestling.

Ellen White pointed out that the religious persuasion of Esau and Jacob was different even though they were educated in the knowledge of God and they both could have walked in the Commandments of God but they had to separate (Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, page 207). The choice of Jacob above Esau was no arbitrary choice on the part of God, Ellen White says, so that the Predestination ideas of the followers of Calvin in Calvinistic Orthodoxy of Theodore Bezae are cancelled here and not entertained by Adventism.


Dear God

Also do we pray and make supplication unto You for blessings as You gave Jacob. Also we want an interactive positive relationship with You. With You we can face tomorrow. In Jesus Name. Amen.