Jacob Meets Esau
||Jacob looked up and saw Esau approaching with 400 men. He divided the children among Leah, Rachel and the two handmaids.
||He placed the handmaids and their children in front, Leah and their sons behind them, and Rachel and Joseph to the rear.
||[Jacob] then went ahead of them, and he prostrated himself seven times as he approached his brother.
||Esau ran to meet them. He hugged [Jacob], and throwing himself on his shoulders, kissed him. They [both] wept.
||Esau looked up and saw the women and children. 'Who are these to you?' he asked.
'They are the children whom God has been kind enough to grant me,' replied [Jacob].
||The handmaids approached along with their children, and [the women] bowed down.
||Leah and her children also approached and bowed down. Finally, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed down.
||'What did you have to do with that whole camp that came to greet me?' asked [Esau].
'It was to gain favor in your eyes,' replied [Jacob].
||'I have plenty, my brother,' said Esau. 'Let what is yours remain yours.'
||'Please! No!' said Jacob. 'If I have gained favor with you, please accept this gift from me. After all, seeing your face is like seeing the face of the Divine, you have received me so favorably.
||Please accept my welcoming gift as it has been brought to you. God has been kind to me, and I have all [I need].' [Jacob thus] urged him, and [Esau finally] took it.
||'Let's get going and move on,' said [Esau]. 'I will travel alongside you.'
||'My lord,' replied Jacob, 'you know that the children are weak, and I have responsibility for the nursing sheep and cattle. If they are driven hard for even one day, all the sheep will die.
||Please go ahead of me, my lord. I will lead my group slowly, following the pace of the work that I have ahead of me, and the pace of the children. I will eventually come to [you], my lord, in Seir.'
||'Let me put some of my people at your disposal,' said Esau.
'What for?' replied Jacob. 'Just let me remain on friendly terms with you.'
||On that day, Esau returned along the way to Seir.
||Jacob went to Sukkoth. There, he built himself a house, and made shelters for his livestock. He therefore named the place Sukkoth (Shelters).
Arrival in Shechem
||When Jacob came from Padan Aram and entered the boundaries of Canaan, he arrived safely in the vicinity of Shechem. He set up camp in view of the city.
||He bought the piece of open land upon which he set up his tent for 100 kesitahs from the sons of Chamor, chief of Shechem.
||He erected an altar there, and named it God-is-Israel's-Lord (El Elohey Yisrael).
|throwing himself on his shoulders|
A sign of emotion, see Genesis 45:14,15. Literally, 'falling on his neck,' but 'neck' here denotes the shoulders (Sh'muel ben Chofni Gaon on Genesis 45:14).
See note on Genesis 18:5.
|face of the Divine|
See Genesis 32:31 (Bereshith Rabbah 77).
Literally, 'blessing.' But in Hebrew, 'welcome' is 'blessed is he who comes' (cf. Rashi).
(Ibn Ezra). Others, 'caravan' or 'drove' (cf. Rashi; Radak), or 'possessions' (Saadia).
A locality on the East Bank of the Jordan, cf. Joshua 13:27, Judges 8:4,5. It is associated with Shechem; Psalms 60:8, 108:8. It is thought to be Tel Deir Alla on the Jabbok River, 2.5 miles east of the Jordan.
(Targum; Rashi; Josephus 1:21:1). Shalem in Hebrew. Others maintain that Shalem (Salem) is the name of a city near Shechem (Sefer HaYashar p. 87; Rashbam; Bachya; Chizzkuni; Abarbanel). Indeed, there is a city known as Salaam some 5 miles east of Shechem (cf. Yov'loth 30:1). See I Samuel 9:4. Although Jerusalem was also known as Shalem or Salem (Genesis 14:18), this is a different city (Chizzkuni).
This was also Abraham's first stop in the Holy Land (Genesis 12:6).
In the Talmud, Rabbi Akiba notes that in Africa (or Phrygia, see Genesis 10:2) a kesitah is equivalent to a ma'ah (Rosh HaShanah 26a). A ma'ah is usually seen as one twenty-fourth of a shekel (Tosefta, Bava Bathra 5:4), and hence the 100 kesitahs would be around 4.17 shekels. Other sources state that a ma'ah is one twentieth of a shekel (Targum on Exodus 30:13), and hence the 100 kesitahs would be 5 shekels (Sefer HaYashar). According to others, the kesitah is equivalent to a sela or two shekels, and hence the price was 200 shekels (Bereshith Rabbah 79; Ralbag; MeAm Lo'ez/The Torah Anthology 3:155). See Job 42:11.
This was later Joseph's burial place; Joshua 24:32.
|chief of Shechem|
(Ibn Caspi). Or, 'father of Shechem.' See Genesis 34:19.