Genesis 33.3 – Jacob bowed down seven times

Jacob had offended his brother Esau twenty years earlier, and the offense was bad enough, that Jacob feared his brother upon returning home.

As he headed home, and Esau knew that Jacob was on the way, Jacob heard that his brother was coming with four hundred men, and it struck fear in the heart of Jacob.

Then he divided his sons among their mothers, and the handmaids went first with their children, then Leah with her sons, and finally Rachel with Joseph.

However, Jacob had his servants even go before the women and children, presenting to Esau two hundred female goats, twenty male goats, two hundred ewes, twenty rams, thirty milk camels and colts, forty cows, ten bulls, twenty female donkeys, and ten foals to appease the murderous wrath of his brother.

Obviously, Jacob calculated his actions carefully, and that shows up when he finally saw his brother,

“Then he crossed over before them and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother” (Genesis 33.3).

Picture yourself bowing down before your brother. Now, picture yourself doing it seven times!

Do you see how bowing seven times showed the utter humility of Jacob before his brother, and how by this he sought acceptance from Esau?


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