Genesis 33:16 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 33:16, NIV: "So that day Esau started on his way back to Seir."

Genesis 33:16, ESV: "So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir."

Genesis 33:16, KJV: "So Esau returned that day on his way unto Seir."

Genesis 33:16, NASB: "So Esau returned that day on his way to Seir."

Genesis 33:16, NLT: "So Esau turned around and started back to Seir that same day."

Genesis 33:16, CSB: "That day Esau started on his way back to Seir,"

What does Genesis 33:16 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Esau finally accepts both of Jacob's enormous gift to him (Genesis 32:13:15) and Jacob's refusal to travel with him to Seir (Genesis 33:12–14). With Jacob's claim that he will follow at a slower pace, Esau departs. He is heading south, into the land of Edom.

The reunion with his brother has gone about as well as Jacob could have hoped (Genesis 33:4). The last time he was in this region, Esau was threatening to kill Jacob (Genesis 27:41–45). The confrontation is over. God has protected him; the relationship with his twin brother seems to have been restored.

What happens next, however, is completely different from what Jacob has just told Esau. Rather than heading south, following Esau, Jacob takes his family north, towards Succoth (Genesis 33:17). It's possible Jacob is still nervous that Esau wants to harm him. Or, that he might change his mind. We're not given Jacob's exact reasons, but we do know he does the opposite of his statement to Esau, and travels in the opposite direction.