Genesis 33:13 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 33:13, NIV: "But Jacob said to him, 'My lord knows that the children are tender and that I must care for the ewes and cows that are nursing their young. If they are driven hard just one day, all the animals will die."

Genesis 33:13, ESV: "But Jacob said to him, “My lord knows that the children are frail, and that the nursing flocks and herds are a care to me. If they are driven hard for one day, all the flocks will die."

Genesis 33:13, KJV: "And he said unto him, My lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die."

Genesis 33:13, NASB: "But he said to him, 'My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds that are nursing are a matter of concern to me. And if they are driven hard just one day, all the flocks will die."

Genesis 33:13, NLT: "But Jacob replied, 'You can see, my lord, that some of the children are very young, and the flocks and herds have their young, too. If they are driven too hard, even for one day, all the animals could die."

Genesis 33:13, CSB: "Jacob replied, "My lord knows that the children are weak, and I have nursing flocks and herds. If they are driven hard for one day, the whole herd will die."

What does Genesis 33:13 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

After reconciling their twenty-year-long separation (Genesis 33:4), Esau has invited Jacob and his large company to travel with him back to Esau's home in Edom, south of the region where they've met. Jacob now begins making what sound like polite and flimsy excuses. Is he afraid Esau is tricking him now, or does he simply not want to go to Edom? It may be that Jacob feels it will be too disrespectful to simply say no.

Instead, Jacob says that the children are frail, not up to traveling quickly. In addition, if he drives his flocks too quickly for even a day they will all die. In other words, Jacob's party just can't travel as quickly as Esau's company of 400 warriors. When pressed, Jacob will also refuse to take along any of Esau's 400 men (Genesis 33:15). When finally left alone, Jacob will actually travel north—directly away from Seir and Edom, towards Succoth (Genesis 33:17).