On his way back to his land from Laban’s, his elder brother Esau came to meet him half way with four hundred men. Jacob became afraid that Esau might be planning to harm him and his family. He sent ahead of him a servant with peace offering of gifts for Esau Genesis 32:13-21).
When the two bothers got within sight of each other Esau still had four hundred men behind him (Genesis 33:1). Jacob divided his children, and positioned them with the maidservants and their children in front, followed by Leah and her children and Rachel and her son Joseph to the rear. (Genesis 33:2) He put Rachel and her son to the rear to protect her. The arrangement was based on his love, from who he loved the least to who he loved the most. As Jacob himself said in Genesis 32:8 “If Esau attacks … then the other …will be able to escape.” When the one you love is in danger, you get expeditiously brave and astute. Jacob was not a military man. He was a shepherd. However in the face of a perceived enemy his heart ruled to protect Rachel as only the best military commander can.
“Then your slave my father said to us, ‘You well know that my wife bore but two sons to me.” Judah said repeating what his father Jacob said to him previously (Genesis 44:27). Jacob had two wives and yet he calls only one his wife, clearly referring to Rachel who had two sons while Leah had six sons and a daughter. (Genesis 30:20-21) In his heart Jacob has only one wife, Rachel. He will be with her again in paradise someday.