Genesis 33:1-20

Talks for Growing Christians

Jacob and Esau Meet Peacefully

Genesis 33:1-20

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Lesson Number 75

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Jacob is not Israel.
  2. Shechem is not Bethel.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t rehash past mistakes.
  2. Do stand behind your word.


  1. Why was it important that Esau accept Jacob’s gift?
  2. What did Jacob do as soon as Esau was out of sight?
  3. What did Jacob’s name become after the wrestling match? What did it mean?
  4. What does it mean, “Shechem is not Bethel?”
  5. Why did Jacob and Esau have a peaceful reunion instead of a feud?


  1. Because if the gift was accepted by one of the feuding parties, it meant that the feud was over and forgotten.
  2. He turned around and went in the other direction. Jacob had lied to Esau about following behind him.
  3. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. Jacob’s name meant supplanter, grasper, deceiver, but Israel means a prince with God or that God prevails. The name change indicated a change in his life.
  4. God had wanted Jacob in Bethel, not Shechem, and Jacob had all kinds of problems as long as he stayed in Shechem.
  5. God prevailed in both of their lives. They did not rehash the past; there was both sorrow on Jacob’s for what he had done, and forgiveness on the part of Esau.


  1. We are like Jacob in our old sinful nature, but when we become Christians we are given a new nature. Both natures remain with us while we are on this earth. What can we do to enable the new nature to prevail?
  2. When Jacob settled in Shechem it was partial obedience, but the Lord wanted him in Bethel. Are you in Shechem or in Bethel?


  1. Jacob and Esau had a peaceful reunion because they didn’t rehash past mistakes. While you are not to sweep them under the rug, you don’t have to live them over again and again. How can you conquer this tendency?

Key Verses

  • “Jacob lifted his eyes and looked, and saw Esau...” Genesis 33:1
  • “Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.” Genesis 33:4
  • “Esau returned to Seir...and Jacob journeyed to Succoth.” Genesis 33:16-17
  • “Then Jacob erected an altar and called it El Elohe Israel (God, the God of Israel).” Genesis 33:20

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