Genesis 33: Isn’t It Better to Forgive?

We just learned in the previous chapter that Jacob was incredibly nervous about seeing his brother Esau again. After all, Jacob had definitely pulled some major shenanigans when they were younger, and he was worried that he thought would never forgive him.

Jacob wasn’t necessarily being paranoid for no reason. After all, Esau had thought about killing him in the past.

However, when the brothers finally came together, Jacob must have been shocked.

Gen 33:4  And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept.

Gen 33:5  And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.

Gen 33:6  Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.

Gen 33:7  And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.

Gen 33:8  And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord.

Gen 33:9  And Esau said, I have enough, my brother; keep that thou hast unto thyself.

Gen 33:10  And Jacob said, Nay, I pray thee, if now I have found grace in thy sight, then receive my present at my hand: for therefore I have seen thy face, as though I had seen the face of God, and thou wast pleased with me.

Gen 33:11  Take, I pray thee, my blessing that is brought to thee; because God hath dealt graciously with me, and because I have enough. And he urged him, and he took it.

Forgiveness is a powerful force. Over the years, it appears that Esau finally forgave Jacob for all that had passed between them.

I have to admit that reading this story always makes me smile because it is rare to see such bitter enemies reconcile. However, it kind of makes me a little bit sad that I am surprised to begin with.

I shouldn’t be surprised by forgiveness because I should see it every day. However, how often do you hear of stories on the news or wherever about division? I bet you hear about them a lot more than you hear about people coming together and forgiving each other.

Eph 4:31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Eph 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

We should all forgive each other rather than hold in bitterness and wrath. Forgiveness is much harder to accomplish, and it isn’t half as natural, but that is what we are commanded to do.

Therefore, I probably shouldn’t be surprised when I see a story about forgiveness in the Bible. I shouldn’t be surprised because that should be common at our point in history as well. Sadly, many people today feel like it is better to hold grudges than it is to forgive.

About Zak Schmoll

Zak Schmoll is the founder of Entering the Public Square, and Managing Editor of An Unexpected Journal. He earned his MA in Apologetics at Houston Baptist University and is currently a PhD student in Humanities at Faulkner University. His work has been featured on several websites including The Federalist, Public Discourse and the Fourth World Journal.

Posted on August 24, 2012, in Genesis and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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