And Jacob went his way. Angels of God met him.
When Jacob saw them he said, "Oh! God's Camp!" And he named the place Mahanaim (Campground).
Then Jacob sent messengers on ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir in Edom.
He instructed them: "Tell my master Esau this, 'A message from your servant Jacob: I've been staying with Laban and couldn't get away until now.
I've acquired cattle and donkeys and sheep; also men and women servants. I'm telling you all this, my master, hoping for your approval.'"
The messengers came back to Jacob and said, "We talked to your brother Esau and he's on his way to meet you. But he has four hundred men with him."
Jacob was scared. Very scared. Panicked, he divided his people, sheep, cattle, and camels into two camps.
He thought, "If Esau comes on the first camp and attacks it, the other camp has a chance to get away."
And then Jacob prayed, "God of my father Abraham, God of my father Isaac, God who told me, 'Go back to your parents' homeland and I'll treat you well.'
I don't deserve all the love and loyalty you've shown me. When I left here and crossed the Jordan I only had the clothes on my back, and now look at me - two camps!
Save me, please, from the violence of my brother, my angry brother! I'm afraid he'll come and attack us all, me, the mothers and the children.
You yourself said, 'I will treat you well; I'll make your descendants like the sands of the sea, far too many to count.'"
He slept the night there. Then he prepared a present for his brother Esau from his possessions:
two hundred female goats, twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams,
thirty camels with their nursing young, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten male donkeys.
He put a servant in charge of each herd and said, "Go ahead of me and keep a healthy space between each herd."
Then he instructed the first one out: "When my brother Esau comes close and asks, 'Who is your master? Where are you going? Who owns these?'
- answer him like this, 'Your servant Jacob. They are a gift to my master Esau. He's on his way.'"
He gave the same instructions to the second servant and to the third - to each in turn as they set out with their herds:
"Say 'Your servant Jacob is on his way behind us.'" He thought, "I will soften him up with the succession of gifts. Then when he sees me face-to-face, maybe he'll be glad to welcome me."
So his gifts went before him while he settled down for the night in the camp.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)