Jacob the Prodigal Son

An observation can lead to a question and a fruitful search.  Upon reading Genesis 33:4, where “Esau ran to meet Jacob and embraced him; he threw his arms around him and kissed him.  And they wept.”  My mind went to the coming home scene in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32).   “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.” (v.20)

Jacob prepared gifts and a speech for Esau to ensure his acceptance, just as the Prodigal planned a speech he would give to win his father. But neither Esau nor the Father needed the persuasion.

There is even the echo of the brothers not being close after the return.

There are many differences, so we are not dealing with the same story, but it does seem less than accidental that the Lord used the idea of a return from a far off land, an embrace and a welcome.

What caused Esau to welcome his brother so openly – when he had been breathing threats of murder years before.  Why had the Father forgotten the wasted inheritance and the insulting behavior of his son?   Why is Esau more like the Father than the Prodigal’s bitter brother?  What does all of this say about forgivness?



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