In Parshas Vayishlach Eisav comes to meet Yaakov with 400 men. Is there a significance to the amount of men that were with Eisav?

  • 5
    Not there yet. mi-yodeya-series
    – Seth J
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 20:56
  • @SethJ: It seems to have ended? Commented Nov 15, 2013 at 1:35
  • @GershonGold ask Isaac Moses. It's his project. Commented Nov 17, 2013 at 3:46

3 Answers 3


1) From ילקוט ראובני :

וגם הולך לקראתך וארבע מאות איש עמו, ארבע מאות איש שנטל עשו שנשא מחלת בת ישמעאל על נשיו, וירש ארבע מאות כתות החיצונים ששולטים עליהם מחל"ת ולילי"ת, נשים בגימטריא ארבע מאות, וזהו מרבה נשי"ם מרבה כשפי"ם

2) See also http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=20767&pgnum=89

3) From ספר הישר, cited in אוצר המספרים:

בני שעיר החורי ש״מ איש הלכו עם עשו למלחמה על יעקב. לבד בניו ועבדיו של עשו היו ששים איש וביחד היו ארבע מאות איש וזהו שכתוב בתורה וארבע מאות איש עמו

  • 4
    Great answer! I would suggest you consider translating and/or summarizing your sources to make them more accessible to others. (Also, check out our jargon policy and our external sources policy for more info.)
    – HodofHod
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 22:53

See the Arizal - it parallels the 400 silver pieces which Avraham bought maharas hamachpeilah


Even before Jacob heard the angels' report, he knew that Esau was accompanied by 400 men. Yet he was not afraid, since he assumed they were the embodiments of "the 400 worlds of spiritual delight":

Spiritually, the 400 coins that Abraham gave to Ephron (in payment for the Cave of Machpelah35) correspond to the 400 "worlds of delight" that the righteous will inherit in the World to Come. Abraham invested these lofty energies in Ephron in order to extract them later on, much like sowing a field with a small number of seeds in order to reap abundant produce later on. While they remain in the realm of Ephron, however, they take on a negative manifestation.

Jacob thought that the energies of the 400 coins had already been returned to their original holy state and were now embodied in Esau's men. Sadly, the angels reported, Esau's 400 men were the devolved manifestation of these lofty spiritual energies, which had not yet been returned to holiness



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