Genesis 33:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 33:5, NIV: "Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. 'Who are these with you?' he asked. Jacob answered, 'They are the children God has graciously given your servant.'"

Genesis 33:5, ESV: "And when Esau lifted up his eyes and saw the women and children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob said, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant.”"

Genesis 33:5, KJV: "And he lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, Who are those with thee? And he said, The children which God hath graciously given thy servant."

Genesis 33:5, NASB: "He raised his eyes and saw the women and the children, and said, 'Who are these with you?' So he said, 'The children whom God has graciously given your servant.'"

Genesis 33:5, NLT: "Then Esau looked at the women and children and asked, 'Who are these people with you?' 'These are the children God has graciously given to me, your servant,' Jacob replied."

Genesis 33:5, CSB: "When Esau looked up and saw the women and children, he asked, "Who are these with you?" He answered, "The children God has graciously given your servant.""

What does Genesis 33:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Prior verses broke twenty years' worth of tension, between brothers split by betrayal and threats of violence (Genesis 27:41–45). Jacob was so concerned about this meeting that he'd split his caravan (Genesis 32:7–8), flattered Esau with gifts (Genesis 32:13–15), and even arranged his immediate family to enable escape (Genesis 33:1–3). After all that, Esau turns out to be happy to see his brother, running into his arms and weeping (Genesis 33:4).

Now, Esau looks up and notices Jacob's wives and children approaching in several groups. He asks who they are. Jacob tells his brother these are the children God has graciously given to "your servant." This insistent use of humility might be Jacob's way of expressing apology for his past behavior (Genesis 27:19). Or, it might be simple politics and cultural custom.

Esau would most likely be impressed by what he sees. Jacob left home with nothing—sleeping alone on rocks (Genesis 28:10–11). To return twenty years later with immense wealth, and 11 sons, would be seen as a significant achievement.