What was Esav asking this time (Refer to 33:5:1:1)?


Rashi #1: This time, he was enquiring about the purpose of the groups of animals that Yakov had sent him. 1


Rashi #2: He was referring to the groups of angels that he had met, who had manhandled him and his men, and when his men said thathe was Esav, the angels set about beating him up, 2 and persisted even after his men said that he was the son of Yitzchak and the grandson of Avraham, and relented only when his men said that he was Yakov's brother. 3


Ramban: Assuming that the groups of animals must belong to Yakov 4 (since there was nobody else whose they could have been), or because one of the groups of messengers had spoken with the people in his camp, he now asked Yakov to which important dignitary he was sending such a fine gift. 5


Malbim: He was asking if the gift was to atone for sin. One who sins against the king sends a gift to appease him, and only after the king is appeased, he himself sees the king. It must be a big gift for the receiver, or for the giver. If an Oni gives all he has, it is accepted even if it is small with respect to the king. Yakov answered that indeed, it was atone for my sin against you.


Whether they were to honor him or because Yakov thought that he needed it (Seforno). See Sifsei Chachamim.


Oznayim la'Torah (DH 'Vayomer, Mi Lecha ...'): Yakov nevertheless replied "Limtzo Chein b'Einei Adoni!", because the fighting man that Esav was, he only respected people who were strong-armed like himself.


No doubt, this was meant to soften him up before his meeting with Yakov and served as a warning to desist from attacking him. (EC) Refer to 33:4:1:1. See Oznayim la'Torah (DH 'Mi Lecha ... ') as to why Lavan sufficed with a warning that came in a dream to leave Yakov alone, whereas Esav needed a good beating.


Refer to 33:8:2:1*


Ramban: To which Yakov replied that he (Esav) was the important dignitary.



Rashi writes that Esav asked about the gift that Yakov had sent him Why did he not clarify this when the messengers came to him?


Ramban: Because he declined to receive them or because, in his arrogance and anger, he refused to meet them, 1 and they, for their part, were afraid to approach him.


Refer to 32:8:2:2.

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