Genesis 33:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 33:17, NIV: "Jacob, however, went to Sukkoth, where he built a place for himself and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place is called Sukkoth."

Genesis 33:17, ESV: "But Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built himself a house and made booths for his livestock. Therefore the name of the place is called Succoth."

Genesis 33:17, KJV: "And Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built him an house, and made booths for his cattle: therefore the name of the place is called Succoth."

Genesis 33:17, NASB: "But Jacob journeyed to Succoth, and built for himself a house and made booths for his livestock; therefore the place is named Succoth."

Genesis 33:17, NLT: "Jacob, on the other hand, traveled on to Succoth. There he built himself a house and made shelters for his livestock. That is why the place was named Succoth (which means 'shelters')."

Genesis 33:17, CSB: "but Jacob went to Succoth. He built a house for himself and shelters for his livestock; that is why the place was called Succoth."

What does Genesis 33:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In prior verses, Jacob told his recently-reconciled brother, Esau, that he would follow him at a slower pace (Genesis 33:13–14). Supposedly, this meant heading into Edom, towards Seir, Esau's home (Genesis 32:3). The meeting place featured in the last few verses is near where the Jabbok river meets the Jordan. Edom and Seir are some distance to the south.

Instead, this verse indicates Jacob heading in exactly the opposite direction. With the encounter with Esau completed and peace restored, Jacob travels in the opposite direction of his brother's home. Seir was south; Succoth mostly to the north. Once at the place that would become known as Succoth, Jacob builds a permanent structure, a house, along with booths or shelters for his livestock. The name Succoth means "booths."

The reason for this apparent deception is not made clear. It's possible that Jacob visited Esau at some other time. It's also possible Jacob was afraid Esau might change his mind about their reconciliation (Genesis 33:4). In any case, Jacob does the exact opposite of what he told Esau, and heads in a different direction.