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Jacob's Ringstreaked, Speckled And Spotted

Jacob's "ringstreaked, speckled and spotted" breeding program for his flocks and herds has been the subject of much debate. Perhaps, some have even tried it to increase their own farms in the same way - almost certainly without the success that Jacob did. Why? How is it that Jacob used such an unusual method? And why did it only work for him, while he was working with, no longer for, Laban? (see Jacob and Laban)

"And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstreaked, speckled, and spotted"

First, what Jacob did to greatly increase his flocks and herds, while at the same time Laban's stock diminished:

Sheep

"30:25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. 30:26 Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and let me go: for thou knowest my service which I have done thee.

30:27 And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake. 30:28 And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.

30:29 And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. 30:30 For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the LORD hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?

30:31 And he said, What shall I give thee?

And Jacob said, Thou shalt not give me any thing: if thou wilt do this thing for me, I will again feed and keep thy flock. 30:32 I will pass through all thy flock to day, removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats: and of such shall be my hire. 30:33 So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face: every one that is not speckled and spotted among the goats, and brown among the sheep, that shall be counted stolen with me.

30:34 And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. 30:35 And he removed that day the he goats that were ringstreaked and spotted, and all the she goats that were speckled and spotted, and every one that had some white in it, and all the brown among the sheep, and gave them into the hand of his sons. 30:36 And he set three days' journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks.

30:37 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chestnut tree; and pilled white streaks in them, and made the white appear which was in the rods. 30:38 And he set the rods which he had pilled before the flocks in the gutters in the watering troughs when the flocks came to drink, that they should conceive when they came to drink. 30:39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstreaked, speckled, and spotted. 30:40 And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstreaked, and all the brown in the flock of Laban; and he put his own flocks by themselves, and put them not unto Laban's cattle.

30:41 And it came to pass, whensoever the stronger cattle did conceive, that Jacob laid the rods before the eyes of the cattle in the gutters, that they might conceive among the rods. 30:42 But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. 30:43 And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses." (Genesis 30:25-43 KJV)

So why did Jacob choose such animals for breeding? Jacob didn't; the LORD did. It was a miraculous means that the LORD revealed and provided to Jacob to have him justly paid for all of the work that he did for Laban who had been deceiving and cheating Jacob. Any color of animals that Laban provided to Jacob would have turned out to be the best breeding stock i.e. "If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstreaked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstreaked. 31:9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me." For Jacob, it was a "heads I win, tails you lose" sure-to-win wager, as Jacob himself later explained.

"31:7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 31:8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstreaked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstreaked. 31:9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me.

31:10 And it came to pass at the time that the cattle conceived, that I lifted up mine eyes, and saw in a dream, and, behold, the rams which leaped upon the cattle were ringstreaked, speckled, and grisled. 31:11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob:

And I said, Here am I.

31:12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstreaked, speckled, and grisled: for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 31:13 I am the God of Bethel, where thou anointedst the pillar, and where thou vowedst a vow unto me: now arise, get thee out from this land, and return unto the land of thy kindred." (Genesis 31:7-13 KJV)

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