Jacob moved on from his unfortunate meeting with Laban. And one day, Jacob said unto himself, “What a rotten brother I’ve been. I stole Esau’s birthright. Then I left. I didn’t call. I didn’t write. I didn’t send flowers. I should be ashamed of myself.”
And Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau, his brother, in the land of Se’ir, the country of Edom, instructing them, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau (remember to call him ‘my lord’; I needst to suck up to him big time): Thus says your servant Jacob, `I have sojourned with Laban, took his daughters as my wives, screwed most of his maids, and stayed until now; in short, I probably had a way better time than you could possibly have had; and, I don’t want to brag, but I have oxen, asses, flocks, menservants, and maidservants; and some of the menservants are asses and some of the maidservants have beautiful asses, but never mind that; and I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may find favor in your sight.'”
And the messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We have good news and we have bad news. The bad news is that we came to your brother Esau and he didn’t look happy on seeing us, your envoys. He is coming to meet you and, oh, we should tell you, he’s bringing four hundred big, burly, mean-looking men with him, many of whom are named Guido. And… oh … um… er … we lied about there being good news so that thou might not smite us, the messengers.”
A great fear ran through Jacob. He sweat bullets even though bullets were nowhere near being invented any time soon.
And Jacob said, “O God One of my father Abraham — I mean my grandfather Abraham; damn, now you’ve got me doing that — and God One of my father Isaac, O Lord Who didst say to me, `Return to your country and to your kindred, and I will do you good,’ I am not worthy of the least of all the steadfast love and all the faithfulness which Thou hast shown to Thy servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan; I was just following Your orders, after all, and it wasn’t the least bit easy, I can tell You that; not that I’m complaining; oh, no; no way; and now I have become two companies. I did all that and now I’m in for a cosmic screwing; thank You so very much, Lord! Deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau — I added that my brother is Esau in case You weren’t sure who I meant when I said “my brother”; I wanted to make sure You’re clear on that point so You protect me from the right person — for I fear him, lest he come and slay us all, the mothers with the children and, much worse, me. What harm did I ever do to my dearest brother other than that stealing of his birthright thing, but never mind that. And now he is, I am sure, coming to cut me, every member of my family and all of my servants in twain or maybe into deli slices; except, of course, the women, whom he shall rape, as is the time-honored custom of our tribe and Your frequent command. But Thou didst say, `I will do you good, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’ Was that but a lie? Or did I miss something?”
A Peace Offering
As a peace offering, Jacob gathered hundreds of sheep, goats and cattle; and he marshaled some donkeys and a few bare asses in case Esau was into that sort of thing. And Jacob bade his servants to take the peace offering to his brother, because Jacob was, verily, a scaredy-cat and wanted not to chance a meeting with his beloved brother. After they left, Jacob took his wives and children and crossed the river to put a sensible distance between him and his brother. And there he was a man alone because, obviously, the wives and children counted for naught. At least, Jacob thought he was a man alone as he did not notice that a man, who shall remain nameless, wrestled with Jacob all night, but did not prevail over Jacob. Then the man touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh, because the man was into that sort of thing, and Jacob’s thigh was put out of joint.
Because of the touching of the thigh and the resulting limp, to this day, the Israelites do not eat the sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh, particularly if it comes from a human male. Eating female human hip sinews isn’t as severe a sin, but they are still to be shunned unless you are desperately hungry or it turns you on.
After finishing the wrestling match, having achieved only a silver medal, Jacob lifted his eyes and cried, “Holy crap! Here comes Esau and his 400 brutish men! Oh, woe is me. Quick! Women and children out front!”
So he arranged his maids and their children in front of the crowd, Leah and her kids behind them, and Rachel and her son Joseph behind them. And Jacob stood off to the side, shuffling his feet and hoping that Esau wouldn’t notice Jacob in the assemblage.
But the first thing Esau did was to run up to Jacob. And, much to Jacob’s surprise and relief, he gave Jacob a great big bear hug. There are also rumors of a french kiss, but that didst not appear in the official record.
It turns out that Esau had done OK for himself and made a comfortable living, although nobody is willing to say in public how he earned his wealth. And, because his riches were more than enough for him and a not so small army, Esau shunned Jacob’s gifts and he said unto his brother, “No hard feelings, bro. Let’s eat. Have you got any bagels? Maybe a little lox and cream cheese? Herring would be nice too.”
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