Genesis 32:15 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 32:15, NIV: "thirty female camels with their young, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys."

Genesis 32:15, ESV: "thirty milking camels and their calves, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys."

Genesis 32:15, KJV: "Thirty milch camels with their colts, forty kine, and ten bulls, twenty she asses, and ten foals."

Genesis 32:15, NASB: "thirty milking camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, and twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys."

Genesis 32:15, NLT: "30 female camels with their young, 40 cows, 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys, and 10 male donkeys."

Genesis 32:15, CSB: "thirty milk camels with their young, forty cows, ten bulls, twenty female donkeys, and ten male donkeys."

What does Genesis 32:15 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob's estranged brother, Esau, last saw his brother twenty years prior, at which time he had vowed to kill him (Genesis 27:41–45). Now, as Jacob returns home with his vast fortune, flocks, and family, he hears that Esau is coming his way with 400 men (Genesis 32:6). Is he coming to attack? Jacob doesn't know. Besides physically dividing his caravan (Genesis 32:7–8) and praying (Genesis 32:9–12), Jacob plans to supply Esau with presents. This part of his plan involves an enormous gift of livestock to give to Esau in hopes of appeasing any grudge his brother may still hold.

The gift—which is a fortune in and of itself—includes several herds of animals. Scripture has already mentioned 200 female and 20 male sheep, as well as 200 female and 20 male goats (Genesis 32:14). This verse adds camels: 30 nursing females with their calves, plus 50 total cows, and 30 total donkeys. In total, Jacob's gift to Esau includes 550 animals plus the young camels.

Livestock was the large-scale currency of ancient times. Living animals provided a renewable source of milk, meat, labor, and fertilizer, transportation, and clothing. The size of this gift to Esau tells us both that Jacob had become enormously wealthy and that this wasn't meant to be a mere token of kindness to Esau. Jacob is giving his brother a significant portion of his own wealth.