Genesis 33:8 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Genesis 33:8, NIV: "Esau asked, 'What's the meaning of all these flocks and herds I met?' 'To find favor in your eyes, my lord,' he said."

Genesis 33:8, ESV: "Esau said, “What do you mean by all this company that I met?” Jacob answered, “To find favor in the sight of my lord.”"

Genesis 33:8, KJV: "And he said, What meanest thou by all this drove which I met? And he said, These are to find grace in the sight of my lord."

Genesis 33:8, NASB: "And he said, 'What do you mean by all this company which I have met?' And he said, 'To find favor in the sight of my lord.'"

Genesis 33:8, NLT: "'And what were all the flocks and herds I met as I came?' Esau asked. Jacob replied, 'They are a gift, my lord, to ensure your friendship.'"

Genesis 33:8, CSB: "So Esau said, "What do you mean by this whole procession I met?" "To find favor with you, my lord," he answered."

What does Genesis 33:8 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Reunited and reconciled with Jacob and having met his wives and children, Esau now asks Jacob about the five large herds of animals that have passed before him on his way. The large company he refers to includes goats, sheep, camels, cows, and donkeys, 550 animals in total (Genesis 32:13–17).

Jacob has instructed his servants to tell Esau these were gifts from Jacob. Most likely, this message was delivered, so Esau is not asking who the livestock belong to. He's asking "why" Jacob is lavishing him with such a gift. Jacob's answer is simple. He wished to find favor in the sight of "my lord." He wanted Esau to accept him.

Jacob's initial reaction to news of Esau's approach was fear (Genesis 32:7–8). This is understandable, since twenty years prior, Jacob had cheated his twin out of a blessing, and fled to avoid being killed in revenge (Genesis 27:41–45). His humble language and opulent presents were meant to soothe Esau, in the hopes of avoiding violence.