Yes, Jacob does mislead his brother. After their dramatic reconciliation in Genesis 33, Jacob resists Esau's invitation to join him in the south (Seir) by:
- reassuring Esau that he'll follow at a distance, 33:14a, "Let my lord pass on ahead of his servant, and I will lead on slowly,..."
- only to stop well short of the final destination, 33:17, "But Jacob journeyed to Succoth...", in the environs of Shechem (33:18).
It helps to see a map to get a sense for the dynamics here:
One of the puzzles of this narrative is why Jacob even bothers to alert his estranged brother, Esau, to his presence -- which he does earlier in Genesis 32:3,
3 Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom,...
He was at that point at Mahanaim, a good distance from his starting point (Padan-aram; Gen 31:18), but still not near Seir, Esau's country. It helps to see the whole Jacob cycle at this point, as analysed by Michael Fishbane his study "Composition and Structure in the Jacob Cycle (Gen. 25:19-35:22)", Journal of Jewish Studies 26 (1975): 15-38 (and republished elsewhere, see
* below) -
On this reading, Jacob's "deception" of Esau in Genesis 33 (section C1) corresponds to the earlier deception in 27:1-28:9 (section C). There are ironies: the first deception was in the domestic space (Jacob's space); the latter in the open country (Esau's space). And while it was Jacob who had the mysterious encounter (Gen 32), it is Esau who in Genesis 33 appears to be the "changed" man.
* Also reprinted in his collection Text and Texture: Close Readings of Selected Biblical Texts (Schocken, 1979), which itself was reprinted as Biblical Text and Texture: A Literary Reading of Selected Texts (Oneworld, 1998).