But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. (Genesis 33:4)
Considering what we know about Esau and his opinion about Jacob, this display of affection was either a one-time genuine event or Esau was a good actor. The latter option can’t be discounted since the Bible says that Esau was good at trapping (Gen. 25:27). Nevertheless, both brothers wept when Esau “fell on his neck” and kissed Jacob; who knows whether or not they were both sincere?
Rabbinical commentary questions whether or not it was actually a kiss that Esau planned on Jacob’s neck. In the Hebrew text, the word translated “and he kissed him” has dots over each letter in order to call attention to something that the scribes felt was important. The root meaning of the word is “to kiss” but can also mean “to bite.” Consequently, some commentators see this is as a bite and not a kiss. Others note that, even if it was a kiss, it could been as a sign of marking Jacob for death similarly to how Judas betrayed Messiah with a kiss. Think about it: if Esau was coming to kiss and make up, why bring 400 men with him?
The Bible says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6). Everyone wants to be loved and we all desire affection from family and friends, so much so that we sometimes allow people into our lives who don’t necessarily have our best interests in mind. Most of us have encountered those we thought were our friends and brothers only to find out that their affection wasn’t all that genuine. As hurtful as that can be, let us take heart in the fact that we have “a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Our Messiah, who will at times rebuke us because He loves us, will never deal falsely with us. His love is genuine and for all time. Let us commit ourselves to love Him in the same fashion.
Blessings and Shalom,