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Vayishlach

English Translation

Vayishlach

[Jacob] Sent
Genesis
32:4−36:43

Translation from The Torah: A Modern Commentary (CCAR Press)

Vayishlach32:4] Jacob now sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, in the countryside of Edom. 5] He instructed them as follows: “Say this to my lord Esau: ‘Thus says your servant Jacob: With Laban have I stayed and have lingered until just now. 6] I came to own cattle, donkeys, sheep, and male and female slaves, and I am sending my lord this message [in the hope] of pleasing you.’” 7] When the messengers came back to Jacob, they said, “We went to your brother Esau, and he, too—accompanied by four hundred men—is marching to meet you.”

8] Jacob was terrified. So anxious was he, that he divided the people who were with him—and the flocks, the herds, and the camels—into two camps. 9] He thought: “If Esau advances on the first camp and strikes it, the remaining camp will be able to escape.” 10] Then Jacob said, “God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, Eternal [God] who says to me, ‘Return to your native land and I will make things go well with you’! 11] I am unworthy of all the proofs of mercy and all the faithfulness that You have shown Your servant. For I crossed this Jordan with [nothing but] my walking stick, and now I have become [these] two camps! 12] Save me, I pray, from my brother’s hand, from Esau’s hand! I am afraid of him, lest he advance on me and strike me, mother [falling] on child. 13] Yet You said, ‘I will make things go well with you and make your descendants like the grains of sand along the seashore, which are too many to be counted.’”

14] After spending the night there, he chose an offering for his brother Esau from what was at hand— 15] 200 goats and 20 he-goats, 200 ewes and 20 rams, 16] 30 milch camels and their young, 40 cows and 10 bulls, 20 she-asses and 10 he-asses. 17] He put his slaves in charge of each drove separately, saying to his slaves, “Pass before me and leave some distance between one drove and the next.” 18] He instructed the first as follows, “If my brother Esau meets you and asks you, ‘To whom do you belong, where are you going, and whose are these ahead of you?’ 19] say, ‘These are your servant’s, Jacob’s; it is an offering sent to my lord Esau; and in fact he is following close behind us.’” 20] He instructed the second, too, and third as well, and all [the others] who were to follow the droves, saying, “This is what you shall tell Esau when you find him. 21] And say as well, ‘And in fact your servant Jacob is [coming] behind us.’” For he reasoned, “I will win him over with an offering in advance; then, when I face him, he may pardon me.” 22] And so the offering went on ahead, while he remained in camp that night.

23] That same night, he got up, took his two wives, his two maidservants, and his eleven children, and crossed at a ford of the Jabbok [river]. 24] After taking them across the stream, he sent across all that he owned.

25] Now Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until the rise of dawn. 26] When [the man] saw that he could not overcome him, he struck Jacob’s hip-socket, so that Jacob’s hip-socket was wrenched as [the man] wrestled with him. 27] Then he said, “Let me go; dawn is breaking!” But [Jacob] said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me!”

28] The other said to him, “What is your name?” and he said, “Jacob.” 29] “No more shall you be called Jacob, but Israel,” said the other, “for you have struggled with God and with human beings, and you have prevailed.” 30] Then Jacob asked, “Pray tell me now your name.” But he said, “Why do you ask my name?” And then he took his leave of him.

31] Jacob therefore named that place Peni’el—“For I have seen God face-to-face, yet my life has been spared.” 32] The sun shone on him as he was leaving Penu’el, and he was limping on account of his thigh. 33] To this day that is why the people of Israel do not eat the thigh muscle that is in the socket of the hip, because he struck Jacob’s hip-socket at the thigh muscle.

33:1] When Jacob was looking into the distance, he beheld Esau coming with his four hundred men, so he divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two maids. 2] He placed the maids and their children in front, Leah and her children next, with Rachel and Joseph last. 3] He himself went on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times as he approached his brother.

4] Esau, though, ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him. And they burst into tears.

5] When Esau looked around and saw the women and the children, he said, “Who are these? Yours?” [Jacob] answered, “The children with whom God has favored your servant.” 6] Then the lesser wives with their children approached and bowed down; 7] Leah, too, approached with her children and bowed down; afterward, Joseph and Rachel approached and bowed down.

8] Esau said, “What, is all this camp that I came across yours?” And Jacob replied, “Yes, [it is all meant] to find favor in the sight of my lord.” 9] Esau said, “I have an abundance, my brother; let what is yours be yours.” 10] Jacob said, “No, please, if I have truly found favor in your sight, take the offering from my hand; for to see your face is like seeing the face of God; and you have [already] shown me favor. 11] Please accept my gift of blessing that has been presented to you; God has been gracious to me, and I have all [that I need].” [Jacob] kept on pressing him until [Esau] accepted.

12] [Esau] then said, “Let us start on our way. I will go at your side.” 13] But [Jacob] answered, “My lord knows that the children are delicate, and that I have to think about the sheep and cattle that are nursing. If they drive them hard a single day, the small cattle will perish! 14] Let my lord go on ahead of his servant; as for myself, let me proceed on my way at my own pace, [following] the footsteps of the livestock in front of me and [following] the footsteps of the children, until I catch up to my lord near Seir.”

15] Esau said, “Pray let me then leave behind with you a portion of the force that accompanies me.” But [Jacob] said, “Why should my lord show me such favor?” 16] So that day Esau started back on his way to Seir, 17] while Jacob went on to Succoth, where he built a house for himself and shelters for his livestock; that is why the place was called Succoth.

18] Thus Jacob, in his journey from Paddan-aram, arrived safely in the city of Shechem, in the land of Canaan; he made camp facing the city. 19] He bought the portion of the field where he had pitched his tent from the sons of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for a hundredweight.20] He then set up an altar, calling it El-Elohei-Yisrael.

34:1] [One day] Dinah, Leah’s daughter whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the women of the locality, 2] and Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the local prince, saw her; he took her and lay her down and raped her. 3] He was then captivated by Jacob’s daughter Dinah and, falling in love with the young woman, spoke tenderly to the young woman. 4] So Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Obtain this girl for me as [my] wife.”

5] At the time that Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the field with his livestock, so he kept quiet until they came back. 6] Shechem’s father Hamor now went to Jacob to speak with him, 7] and meanwhile Jacob’s sons had returned from the field. When they heard, the men were grieved and became extremely angry, for he had committed an outrage against Israel by lying with Jacob’s daughter—such things were not done.

8] Hamor now spoke with them, saying, “My son Shechem has set his heart on your daughter; pray give her to him to be [his] wife. 9] Make marriages with us—give us your daughters and you yourselves take our daughters. 10] Live among us and the land will be before you; settle and trade here and acquire property here.” 11] And Shechem said to [Dinah’s] father and brothers, “Let me but find favor in your sight, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12] Exact from me bridal money and gifts to excess, yet I will pay whatever you demand of me; only give me the girl to be [my] wife!”

13] The sons of Jacob answered Shechem and his father Hamor deceptively, speaking thus because he had defiled their sister Dinah. 14] They said to them, “We cannot do this thing, giving our sister to a man who has a foreskin, for this is a shame to us. 15] Only on this condition will we consent to you: if you become like us by having every one of your males circumcised. 16] Then we would give you our daughters and would take your daughters and settle among you and become one people. 17] But if you do not listen to us [and consent] to be circumcised, we shall take our daughter and leave.”

18] Their words seemed good to Hamor and Hamor’s son Shechem, 19] and the youth did not delay doing this thing, for he yearned for Jacob’s daughter, and he was preeminent in his father’s household. 20] So Hamor and his son Shechem went to the gate of their city and spoke to their fellow-citizens, saying, 21] “These people are peaceably disposed toward us; they will settle in the land and trade here; plainly, the land is open wide on every side before them. We will take to wife their daughters and give our daughters to them. 22] But only on this condition have these people agreed to settle among us and become one people: every male among us must be circumcised as they are circumcised. 23] Their livestock and their possessions—all their animals—will be ours; let us consent to them, that they may settle among us.” 24] All who went out of the city gate listened to Hamor and his son Shechem; and every male, every able-bodied man, was circumcised.

25] On the third day, when they were in [the greatest] pain, the two sons of Jacob Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword; they went undisturbed into the city and killed every male. 26] And they also killed Hamor and his son Shechem by the sword; then, taking Dinah from Shechem’s house, they left. 27] Jacob’s [other] sons went over the slain and plundered the city, whose inhabitants had defiled their sister, 28] taking their sheep, their cattle, and their donkeys, and all that was in the city and in the countryside. 29] And all their wealth, their little ones, and their wives, and all that was in the houses, they seized as captives and as spoil.

30] Jacob then said to Simeon and Levi, “You have made trouble for me by making me odious to the land’s inhabitants—the Canaanites and the Perizzites. Since I am few in number, they will gather themselves against me and strike at me, and I and my household will be destroyed.” 31] But they said, “Should he then have been allowed to treat our sister like a whore?”

35:1] God now said to Jacob, “Get up, go up to Beth El and settle there; erect an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from the presence of your brother Esau.” 2] Jacob thereupon said to his household and all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods in your midst; purify yourselves and change your clothing. 3] Let us get moving and go up to Beth El, that I may build an altar there to the God who responds to me in my time of distress, who has been with me on the road that I have traveled.” 4] So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods they were holding and the rings in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the Oak near Shechem. 5] As they journeyed, the dread of God fell upon the cities around them, so they did not pursue Jacob’s clan.

6] And Jacob came to Luz in the land of Canaan—that is, Beth El—he and all the folk with him. 7] There he build an altar, and called that sacred site El of Beth El, for there, in his flight from his brother, God had been revealed to him. 8] And Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried below Beth El under the Oak, so he named it the Oak of Weeping.

9] God appeared to Jacob again on his return from Paddan-aram, and blessed him. 10] God said to him, “Jacob is your name; but Jacob are you called no more, for Israel is your name!” Thus [God] named him Israel. 11] And God said to him, “I am El Shaddai; be fruitful and multiply. A people and a host of peoples shall come from you, and kings shall go forth from your loins. 12] And the land that I gave to Abraham and to Isaac I will give to you; and to your descendants after you will I give the land.” 13] And [the presence of God] ascended from him, at that sacred site where [God] had spoken to him.

14] Jacob set up a monument in that sacred site where [God] had spoken to him, a pillar of stone; he then poured out a libation upon it and anointed it with oil. 15] Jacob named the place where God had spoken to him Beth El.

16] They then journeyed from Beth El, and there was still some ground to cover before reaching Ephrath, when Rachel went into labor, and her labor was difficult. 17] And as her labor was difficult for her, the midwife said to her, “Don’t be afraid; this one, too, will be a son for you.” 18] And as her life was leaving her—for she was dying—she named him Ben-oni, but his father called him Benjamin. 19] Rachel died and was buried on the road to Ephrath, that is, Bethlehem, 20] and Jacob set up a pillar by her burial site; it is the monument at Rachel’s tomb to this day.

21] Israel then resumed his journey, and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder. 22] Now, while Israel was residing in that area, Reuben went and lay with his father’s concubine Bilhah, and Israel heard of it.

The sons of Jacob were twelve in number. 23] Leah’s sons were Jacob’s first-born Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. 24] Rachel’s sons were Joseph and Benjamin. 25] The sons of Bilhah, Rachel’s maid, were Dan and Naphtali. 26] And the sons of Zilpah, Leah’s maid, were Gad and Asher. These are the sons of Jacob, born to him in Paddan-aram.

27] Jacob came to his father Isaac at Mamre [near] Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron), where Abraham and Isaac had sojourned. 28] The years of Isaac’s life came to 180. 29] Isaac then breathed his last and died; he was gathered to his people old and full of years, and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.

36:1] This is the line of Esau (that is, Edom). 2] Esau took his wives from the daughters of Canaan—Adah daughter of Elon the Hivite and Oholibamah daughter of Anah daughter of Zibeon the Hivite, 3] and Basemath, Ishmael’s daughter, Nebaioth’s sister. 4] Adah bore Eliphaz to Esau, and Basemath bore Reuel. 5] Oholibamah bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah—these are the sons of Esau born to him in the land of Canaan.

6] Esau took his wives and sons and all the people of his household, his livestock, his cattle, and all his possessions acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to [another] region because of his brother Jacob; 7] for their wealth was too abundant for them to dwell together; the land where they were staying could not support them both, because of their livestock. 8] So Esau settled in the hill country of Seir; Esau is [also called] Edom. 9] This, then, is the line of Esau, progenitor of the Edomites, of the hill country of Seir:

10] These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz son of Adah, Esau’s wife; Reuel son of Basemath, Esau’s wife. 11] The sons of Eliphaz were Teman, Omar, Zepho, Gatam, and Kenaz. 12] Timna was a concubine of Eliphaz, Esau’s son. She bore Amalek to Eliphaz. These were the descendants of Adah, Esau’s wife. 13] And these are the sons of Reuel: Nahath, Zerah, Shammah, and Mizzah. These were the descendants of Basemath, Esau’s wife. 14] And these were the sons of Oholibamah daughter of Anah daughter of Zibeon, Esau’s wife—she bore Jeush, Jalam, and Korah to Esau.

15] These are the clans of Esau’s descendants: the descendants of Eliphaz, Esau’s first-born—the clan of Teman, the clan of Omar, the clan of Zepho, the clan of Kenaz; 16] the clan of Korah, the clan of Gatam, the clan of Amalek; these are the clans of Eliphaz in the land of Edom; these are the descendants of Adah. 17] And these are the descendants of Reuel, Esau’s son: the clan of Nahath, the clan of Nahath, the clan of Zerah, the clan of Shammah, the clan of Mizzah; these are the clans of Reuel in the land of Edom; these are the descendants of Basemath, Esau’s wife. 18] And these are the descendants of Oholibamah, Esau’s wife: the clan of Jeush, the clan of Jalam, the clan of Korah; these are the clans of Oholibamah daughter of Anah, Esau’s wife. 19] These are the descendants of Esau, that is, Edom, and these are their clans.

20] These are the descendants of Seir the Horite, who dwelt in the land—Lotan, Shobal, Zibeon, Anah, 21] Dishon, Ezer, and Dishan. These are the Horite clans, the descendants of Seir in the land of Edom. 22] The sons of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; Lotan’s sister was Timna. 23] And these are the sons of Shobal—Alvan, Manahath, Ebal, Shepho, and Onam. 24] And these are the sons of Zibeon—Aiah and Anah. This is the Anah who discovered the hot springs in the wilderness as he was tending his father Zibeon’s donkeys. 25] And these are the children of Anah—Dishon, and Oholibamah, Anah’s daughter. 26] And these are the sons of Dishon—Hemdan, Eshban, Ithran, and Cheran. 27] And these are the sons of Ezer—Bilhan, Zaavan, and Akan. 28] And these are the sons of Dishan—Uz and Aran. 29] These, then, are the Horite clans—the clan of Lotan, the clan of Shobal, the clan of Zibeon, the clan of Anah, 30] the clan of Dishon, the clan of Ezer, the clan of Dishan; clan by clan, these are the Horite clans in the land of Edom.

31] And these are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom, before a king reigned over the people of Israel— 32] Bela son of Beor reigned in Edom, and his city’s name was Dinhabah. 33] When Bela died, Jobab son of Zerah, of Bozrah, reigned in his place. 34] When Jobab died, Husham of the land of the Temanites reigned in his place. 35] When Husham died, Hadad son of Bedad, who defeated Midian in the countryside of Moab, reigned in his place; his city’s name was Avith. 36] When Hadad died, Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his place. 37] When Samlah died, Saul of Rehoboth-on-the-River reigned in his place. 38] When Saul died, Baal-hanan of Achbor reigned in his place. 39] When Baal-hanan of Achbor died, Hadar reigned in his place; his city’s name was Pau, and his wife’s name was Mehetabel daughter of Matred daughter of Me-zahab.

40] These, then, are the names of Esau’s clans, by their families, their locations, their names—the clan of Timna, the clan of Alvah, the clan of Jetheth, 41] the clan of Oholibamah, the clan of Elah, the clan of Pinon, 42] the clan of Kenaz, the clan of Teman, the clan of Mibzar, 43] the clan of Magdiel, and the clan of Iram. These are the clans of Edom (that is, of Esau the progenitor of the Edomites) in their settlements in the land they possessed.

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