Genesis 32:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 32:8, NIV: "He thought, 'If Esau comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may escape.'"

Genesis 32:8, ESV: "thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, then the camp that is left will escape.”"

Genesis 32:8, KJV: "And said, If Esau come to the one company, and smite it, then the other company which is left shall escape."

Genesis 32:8, NASB: "for he said, 'If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the company which is left will escape.'"

Genesis 32:8, NLT: "He thought, 'If Esau meets one group and attacks it, perhaps the other group can escape.'"

Genesis 32:8, CSB: "He thought, "If Esau comes to one camp and attacks it, the remaining one can escape.""

What does Genesis 32:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jacob is afraid. Esau, his estranged twin brother, is coming with 400 men. Maybe it is a welcoming party or, just as likely, Esau is coming to take his revenge on Jacob. Twenty years prior, Jacob hoodwinked their father, Isaac, in order to steal a blessing meant for Esau (Genesis 27:30–35). Prior to that, Esau was manipulated into selling Jacob his birthright (Genesis 25:29–34). It was Esau's murderous rage (Genesis 27:41–45) that drove Jacob to live with Laban, where he built his family and fortune.

In the following verses, Jacob will turn to God in faithful and humble prayer. Before that, though, Jacob will—characteristically—cook up a scheme. He has divided all of his people, animals, and property into two camps (Genesis 32:7). Now he reveals why: If Esau attacks one camp, those in the other camp might be able to get away. In this way, Jacob may at least save half of his large company.