Jacob Returns to Canaan

As Jacob returned to Canaan from Haran, he likely crossed the Jabbok River at the King’s Highway and headed west into the hills of Gilead (Genesis 31). He sent messengers to Seir (also called Edom) over 70 miles south to find his brother Esau and seek his favor. The messengers returned with news that Esau was coming with four hundred men to meet Jacob, and Jacob prepared for the worst (Genesis 32:1-21). While Jacob was camped at Mahanaim, he divided all his family, servants, and livestock into two groups and sent them across the Jabbok River, but Jacob stayed back at the camp by himself. All during the night a man wrestled with him until Jacob compelled him to bless him, and the man changed Jacob’s name to Israel. So Jacob named the place Peniel (likely the hill on the other side of the Jabbok River) and headed out to meet Esau (Genesis 32:22-32). When Esau arrived, he embraced Jacob, and the two brothers were reconciled. Esau then returned to Seir while Jacob journeyed on to Succoth and built a house for his family and booths for his livestock. Sometime after this Jacob left and traveled to Shechem in the heart of Canaan (Genesis 33).

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