What does Genesis 32:13 mean?Jacob's response to the news that Esau was headed his way with 400 men was fearful (Genesis 32:6–7). He strategically divided his large company into two camps (Genesis 32:7–8). He prayed in great faith asking the Lord to deliver him (Genesis 32:9–12).
Now, Jacob takes another strategic step: He prepares an enormous gift for Esau. By taking the posture of a servant and treating Esau as a superior, Jacob hopes to appease his brother and make peace. He doesn't know, yet, if Esau comes to do him harm. If so, Jacob sees this enormous offering as a way of softening his brother's anger.
Does Jacob's strategy—splitting his people and lavishing gifts on Esau—show a lack of faith? Does he not fully trust God's ability to protect him? Perhaps, and this would be a common modern response: that Jacob needed to do nothing more than "have faith." On the other hand, Jacob's actions are not entirely foolish—in fact, they are sensible—and his attitude is one of fear, but not despair. It would be fair to say Jacob is doing what he can to avoid a tragedy and relying on God to secure the results.
Another possibility is that Jacob truly felt guilt for stealing the blessing from Esau 20 years earlier. That would make the sending of gifts a sincere attempt at making restitution.
The following verses will describe just how large this gift is and how strategically it will be delivered.