MIDRASH RABBAH

Bereshith/Genesis

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis LXXV:6

6.5 AND I HAVE AN OX, AND AN ASS, etc. (XXXII, 6).6 R. Judah said: From one ox many oxen came forth, and from one ass many asses came forth.’ R. Nehemiah said: This is the common idiom: an ass, a camel.1 The Rabbis maintained: OX is an allusion to the one anointed for battle,2 as it says, His firstling bullock, majesty is his (Deut. XXXIII, 17)3; ASS refers to the royal Messiah, for it says of him, Lowly, and riding upon an ass (Zech. IX, 9); FLOCKS refers to Israel, as it says, And ye are My sheep, the sheep of My pasture (Ezek. XXXIV, 31);
AND MEN-SERVANTS AND MAID-SERVANTS [likewise alludes to Israel, as it says], Behold, as the eyes of the servants unto the hand of their master (Ps. CXXIII, 2).THAT I MAY FIND FAVOUR [GRACE]-as it says, Be gracious unto us (ib. 3).

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis LXXV:7

7. AND THE MESSENGERS RETURNED TO JACOB, SAYING, WE CAME TO THY BROTHER, TO ESAU (XXXII, 7): thou treatest him as a brother, but he treats thee like Esau. AND MOREOVER HE COMETH TO MEET THEE, AND FOUR HUNDRED MEN WITH HIM (ib.). R. Simeon b. Lakish said: WITH HIM means, like himself. As he is in command of four hundred men, so each of them is in command of four hundred men. R. Levi said: He [Esau] went to Egypt and purchased the toll-dues. If I can conquer him, he thought, it is well; but if not I will demand toll, and in the meanwhile I will slay him.4

Midrash Rabbah - Genesis LXXV:12

12. Another interpretation of AND I HAVE AN OX, AND AN ASS. OX alludes to Joseph, as it says, His firstling bullock, majesty is his’ (Deut. XXXIII, 17); Ass, to Issachar, for it is written, Issachar is a large-boned ass (Gen. XLIX, 14). Now the grandson of Joseph is destined to destroy Amalek, as it says, And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword (Ex. XVII, 13)1; while the sons [descendants] of Issachar know what the Holy One, blessed be He, does in His world, as it says, And of the children of Issachar, men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do (I Chron. XII, 33).2 AND FLOCKS refers to Israel, as it says, ' And ye are My sheep, and the sheep of My pasture ' (Ezek. XXXIV, 31); AND A MAN-SERVANT alludes to David: I am Thy servant, the son of thy handmaid (Ps. CXVI, 16). AND A MAID-SERVANT, to Abigail, as it says, Behold, thy handmaid is a servant (I Sam. XXV, 41).3 The messengers then departed and found that Esau had armed warriors with him, whereupon they returned and informed Jacob, as it says, AND THE MESSENGERS RETURNED TO JACOB. What is meant by AND FOUR HUNDRED MEN WITH HIM? R. Samuel b. Nahman said: Four hundred kings wearing crowns were with him; others say: Four hundred prefects were with him.4 R. Jannai said: Four hundred generals were with him. Of all these Jacob was afraid, and so he divided his children.

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