But he himself passed on ahead of them and bowed down to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.
Jacob has just been face to face with the angel of God and has finally admitted who he truly is: the deceiving supplanter. He has always wanted what someone else had (coveting) and was more than willing to lie to get it. It is the essence of his name and the essence of who he is. Now, after admitting his sin, God forgives him and renames him Israel.
Now we see Jacob beginning to act like Israel. He leads the group into this dangerous situation and bows prostrate before Esau 7 times clearly surrendering and showing complete submission to him. He gives to Esau all of the gifts, in effect, returning to him Isaac’s blessing that he stole. Jacob has been renewed and is now in the process of restoring and being restored.