5 And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant.

6 Then the handmaidens came near, they and their children, and they bowed themselves.

7 And Leah also with her children came near, and bowed themselves: and after came Joseph near and Rachel, and they bowed themselves.

Waiting behind Jacob were all of his family, and Esau was anxious to meet them. Originally, I had thought that he had staggered them in order to give the ones in the rear a chance to escape if things went very badly, but it seems they were already much too near for that to have been Jacob’s strategy. Instead, it seems that he had been preparing them for presentation in the event that things went very well. Which, thankfully, they did.

So now Jacob introduces his household, one branch at a time, showing Esau that he has not only grown in age and servants and flock and wealth, but also in family ties. The boy who had left their father’s tent had had nothing and nobody, but he had made his way, and had had come into his own. Evidently Esau had grown as well, able to marshal hundreds of men, a veritable army. Yet he also seems to have grown in his capacity for tenderness of feeling. The two boys had become men.

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