Genesis 32:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 32:18, NIV: "then you are to say, 'They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau, and he is coming behind us.''"

Genesis 32:18, ESV: "then you shall say, ‘They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a present sent to my lord Esau. And moreover, he is behind us.’”"

Genesis 32:18, KJV: "Then thou shalt say, They be thy servant Jacob's; it is a present sent unto my lord Esau: and, behold, also he is behind us."

Genesis 32:18, NASB: "then you shall say, ‘These belong to your servant Jacob; it is a gift sent to my lord Esau. And behold, he also is behind us.’?'"

Genesis 32:18, NLT: "You must reply, 'They belong to your servant Jacob, but they are a gift for his master Esau. Look, he is coming right behind us.''"

Genesis 32:18, CSB: "then tell him, 'They belong to your servant Jacob. They are a gift sent to my lord Esau. And look, he is behind us.'""

What does Genesis 32:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Esau and 400 men are on their way to intercept Jacob's family, for reasons unknown (Genesis 32:6). Fearing the worst, Jacob has split his caravan into two separate camps (Genesis 32:7–8). He has also prayed, in desperation, for God's protection from his own twin brother (Genesis 32:9–12). Finally, Jacob has begun to orchestrate a dramatic presentation of lavish gifts. Five individual herds have been prepared: goats, sheep, camels, cattle, and donkeys. These are being sent, one at a time, to be presented to Esau before he arrives. Clearly, Jacob's hope is to soften his brother's long-simmering wrath (Genesis 27:41–45).

Jacob sensibly assumes Esau will ask the servants what they're doing. Now he tells them specifically how to answer: These animals belong to "your servant Jacob." He is giving them to "my lord Esau" as a gift, and he is coming behind us. This tactic of presenting multiple gifts would make each one seem unique and special, rather than simply coming as a single large group. The repetition of Jacob's servant-like attitude would also be repeated, and made clear to Esau.