Genesis 32:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 32:17, NIV: "He instructed the one in the lead: 'When my brother Esau meets you and asks, 'Who do you belong to, and where are you going, and who owns all these animals in front of you?'"

Genesis 32:17, ESV: "He instructed the first, “When Esau my brother meets you and asks you, ‘To whom do you belong? Where are you going? And whose are these ahead of you?’"

Genesis 32:17, KJV: "And he commanded the foremost, saying, When Esau my brother meeteth thee, and asketh thee, saying, Whose art thou? and whither goest thou? and whose are these before thee?"

Genesis 32:17, NASB: "And he commanded the one in front, saying, 'When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, saying, ‘To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and to whom do these animals in front of you belong?’"

Genesis 32:17, NLT: "He gave these instructions to the men leading the first group: 'When my brother, Esau, meets you, he will ask, 'Whose servants are you? Where are you going? Who owns these animals?'"

Genesis 32:17, CSB: "And he told the first one: "When my brother Esau meets you and asks, 'Who do you belong to? Where are you going? And whose animals are these ahead of you?'"

What does Genesis 32:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob continues to instruct his servants about how to deliver to Esau this enormous gift of five herds of animals, including goats, sheep, camels, cows, and donkeys. His goal is to avoid his family falling victim to the kind of hateful rage expressed by Esau twenty years before (Genesis 27:4–45). Jacob has divided his camp (Genesis 32:7–8) and fervently prayed (Genesis 32:9–12). His next step is to prepare an extravagant gift, several herds of livestock, and a masterfully dramatic way to present them to Esau. Instead of sending them all at once, Jacob instructs his men to proceed in distinct, separated groups (Genesis 32:16).

Jacob anticipates the moment when each group will reach Esau and his men. He knows Esau will ask the servant what is going on: Whose man are you? Where are you going with this herd? Who are these coming behind you? In the following verses, Jacob provides his servants with very specific answers to these questions. His goal is to emphasize, in no uncertain terms, his attempt to reconcile with his brother.