As Jacob and his household started on their way again, angels of God came to meet him.
When Jacob saw them, he exclaimed, "This is God's camp!" So he named the place Mahanaim. a3
Jacob now sent messengers to his brother, Esau, in Edom, the land of Seir.
He told them, "Give this message to my master Esau: 'Humble greetings from your servant Jacob! I have been living with Uncle Laban until recently,
and now I own oxen, donkeys, sheep, goats, and many servants, both men and women. I have sent these messengers to inform you of my coming, hoping that you will be friendly to us.'"
The messengers returned with the news that Esau was on his way to meet Jacob -- with an army of four hundred men!
Jacob was terrified at the news. He divided his household, along with the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps.
He thought, "If Esau attacks one group, perhaps the other can escape."
Then Jacob prayed, "O God of my grandfather Abraham and my father, Isaac -- O LORD, you told me to return to my land and to my relatives, and you promised to treat me kindly.
I am not worthy of all the faithfulness and unfailing love you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home, I owned nothing except a walking stick, and now my household fills two camps!
O LORD, please rescue me from my brother, Esau. I am afraid that he is coming to kill me, along with my wives and children.
But you promised to treat me kindly and to multiply my descendants until they become as numerous as the sands along the seashore -- too many to count."
Jacob stayed where he was for the night and prepared a present for Esau:
two hundred female goats, twenty male goats, two hundred ewes, twenty rams,
thirty female camels with their young, forty cows, ten bulls, twenty female donkeys, and ten male donkeys.
He told his servants to lead them on ahead, each group of animals by itself, separated by a distance in between.
He gave these instructions to the men leading the first group: "When you meet Esau, he will ask, 'Where are you going? Whose servants are you? Whose animals are these?'
You should reply, 'These belong to your servant Jacob. They are a present for his master Esau! He is coming right behind us.'"
Jacob gave the same instructions to each of the herdsmen and told them, "You are all to say the same thing to Esau when you see him.
And be sure to say, 'Your servant Jacob is right behind us.'" Jacob's plan was to appease Esau with the presents before meeting him face to face. "Perhaps," Jacob hoped, "he will be friendly to us."
So the presents were sent on ahead, and Jacob spent that night in the camp.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)