An Unexpected Turn
And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. … He himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
There are always two sides to every story and I can’t help but imagine this scene through Esau’s eyes. Why has he brought four hundred men with him if he hasn’t come to fight? It’s just a hunch, but I wonder if news of Jacob’s arrival in the land filled him with fear too. I wonder if he got to thinking that Jacob might be tough enough, or brash enough, or audacious enough to seize dominance by force, and this time he’d be prepared. Yet, never in a million years could Esau have expected to find his heel-grabbing, blessing-stealing brother bowing to the earth seven times in humble contrition. Just the same, never in a million years could Jacob have expected to find his strong-as-an-ox, red-with-rage brother embrace him with a redemptive hug.
What a breathtaking scene to witness and we’re only seeing the half of it! Jacob looks up, Esau looks down, and behold: no bitterness or malice or pride; just the grace of God in each other’s eyes!