Genesis 32:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 32:20, NIV: "And be sure to say, 'Your servant Jacob is coming behind us.'' For he thought, 'I will pacify him with these gifts I am sending on ahead; later, when I see him, perhaps he will receive me.'"

Genesis 32:20, ESV: "and you shall say, ‘Moreover, your servant Jacob is behind us.’” For he thought, “I may appease him with the present that goes ahead of me, and afterward I shall see his face. Perhaps he will accept me.”"

Genesis 32:20, KJV: "And say ye moreover, Behold, thy servant Jacob is behind us. For he said, I will appease him with the present that goeth before me, and afterward I will see his face; peradventure he will accept of me."

Genesis 32:20, NASB: "and you shall say, ‘Behold, your servant Jacob also is behind us.’?' For he said, 'I will appease him with the gift that goes ahead of me. Then afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me.'"

Genesis 32:20, NLT: "And be sure to say, 'Look, your servant Jacob is right behind us.'' Jacob thought, 'I will try to appease him by sending gifts ahead of me. When I see him in person, perhaps he will be friendly to me.'"

Genesis 32:20, CSB: "You are also to say, 'Look, your servant Jacob is right behind us.'" For he thought, "I want to appease Esau with the gift that is going ahead of me. After that, I can face him, and perhaps he will forgive me.""

What does Genesis 32:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob's plan to appease Esau's presumed wrath toward him is elaborate and strategic. This plan began by separating the caravan into two separate groups, so one would have a chance to escape while the other was attacked (Genesis 32:7–8). It also included Jacob's sincere and desperate prayer to God (Genesis 32:9–12). The final piece of this puzzle, short of actually meeting Esau in person, is Jacob's clever use of gifts.

He has constructed a parade, of sorts, with large gifts of animals arriving before Esau, one after another. Livestock were a major commodity in this era, so Jacob's gift for Esau is incredibly generous. The parade will culminate with Jacob himself arriving and seeing Esau's face. The goal in Jacob's mind is that Esau will accept him. Or, at the very least, that Esau will be pleased enough not to attack Jacob and his family as they pass by.