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also take away the life of Jacob, and the lives of those who were dear to him. He was coming, and four hundred men with him, a large army in those times for one man to command. Abraham could only muster 318, but Esau has an army of 400 men. Well might Jacob be afraid, and think that his brother was not coming with any peaceable intention. Esau is very near. Let us therefore,
"And Jacob lifted up his eyes, and look. ed, and, behold, Esau came, and with him four hundred men." Some think that by Ja cob's lifting up his eyes, is meant that he ap peared cheerful in his countenance in opposi tion to a dejected and sorrowful face. He relied upon the promise and protection of God, and therefore went forward to meet his brother, with all the confidence of a friend. All who cast the burden of their care and trouble, whatever that may be, upon God, shall find that he is able to support them. He with give them that peace and satisfaction in
their minds, which none but an Almighty God can give.
"And he divided the children unto Leah and unto Rachel, and unto the two hand maids. And he put the handmaids, and their children foremost, and Leah and her children after, and Rachel and Joseph hindermost."
We here find that Jacob puts his family in to the best order that he possibly could have done in so short a time. Thus he prepared both himself and his family, to receive his brother. He placed the children with their own mothers, well knowing that each mother would be most concerned for the safety of her own children, and the best person to protect them from danger or plead in their behalf, if there should be any necessity to plead with Esau that their lives might be spared. He placed those last for whom he had the greatest affection, Rachel and Joseph. This shows that though he treated his brother as if he was in hopes of meeting a friend, yet he was secretly afraid of him. He goes on before them all to meet his brother. " And he passed over before them, and bowed him
self to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother."
He had by his messengers acknowledged his brother as his Lord, and therefore in token of his submission and sincerity, he bows down to the ground seven times before he reached his brother. None but those who have seen the Natives of the East bow themselves in this manner when they approach a great man, especially if they want his favor or forgiveness, can have a correct idea of what Jacob did. We cannot fully understand this in England. It is much more than what is intended by a common bow, which is only a token of respect to our superiors or friendship to our equals.
See how humble, submissive and respectful the conduct of Jacob is. Though he feared Esau as an enemy, yet he paid him the respect of a brother and an elder brother. The object of Jacob appears to be that of satisfying his brother's mind that he claimed no superiority. but freely gave it up to Esau as the elder brother. How very different did Jacob appear
at the head of a numerous family, when compared to Esau at the head of 400 men. Who is there that would not sooner be Jacob than Esau. There may be one present perhaps, who thinks to be a soldier to become an officer and command a Regiment. If so, I only wish you may be like Colonel Gardiner, and then you will pray like Jacob and look like Esau.
II. The AFFECTIONATE MEETING. that took place between ESAU and JACOB.
"And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him: and they wept." Esau ran to meet him not in an ger, with his heart full of revenge : bat in love as one whose heart God had touched, as one who was touched to the heart with his brother's uniform kindness and submissive conduct. He ran to meet his brother as one that was now quite reconciled to him. What a happy meeting was this for Jacob. Here he receives an answer to his prayers; and such an answer as only God could give, for in his hand are the hearts of all men. See here
the fulfilment of that gracious promise. "Be
hold I am with thee and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will net leave thee, untill I have done that which I have spoken to thee of,"*
Esau embraced him and fell on his neck, This refers to the Eastern custom of kissing the shoulder in an embrace. Have not you, my dear children, often seen the Musselmauns salute each other, by kissing the shoulder and touching first one breast and then the other. I have seen it, and thought it a very singular way of saluting each other, but we see here another instance of the striking il lustration or explanation of the Scriptures by the manners and customs of the East. Esau received his brother with all that endearment and affection which we could expect from one who had not seen his brother for so long
time. Though Esau did not bow in return to his brother, yet he ran to meet him, and embraced him. It appears that a sincere reconciliation
See Gen. 28. 15,