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Friday, November 9 2012
A Biography Of Jacob: Speckled And Spotted
After fleeing from his brother Esau back in the land of Canaan, Jacob was taken in by his mother's family in Syria. While there, Jacob became the father of eleven sons and a daughter, with four women (see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria). When Jacob had completed the payment of the debt that he owed to his uncle Laban (seven years labor for each of Laban's two daughters, Rachel and Leah), Jacob announced that he wanted to return to his hometown in Canaan (see the Fact Finder question below).
"30:25 And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph [see also The Rachel Prophecies], 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." (Genesis 30:25-26 KJV)
Laban was startled by Jacob's intention to leave. He pleaded to Jacob, "Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it."
"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 [see Who Is The LORD?] hath blessed me for thy sake. 30:28 And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it." (Genesis 30:27-28 KJV)
Jacob responded with a business proposition. Jacob would continue tending the flocks and herds of Laban, but Jacob's payment would be animals with particular markings i.e. "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." The key to the deal wasn't the original breeding stock, but all animals that would thereafter be born with those specified markings.
"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?
What was the result, for Jacob? "The man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses."
"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.
Jacob's prosperity, at the expense of Laban, and Laban's sons who would have one day inherited their father's wealth, was met with resentment and hostility. With the situation becoming similar to what Jacob had fled from back home, "the LORD said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers."
"31:1 And he heard the words of Laban's sons, saying, Jacob hath taken away all that was our father's; and of that which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory.
Many have debated how Jacob's breeding program for the livestock worked, but there was more to it than simple animal husbandry. The reason that Jacob had suggested the deal to Laban was because the LORD told Jacob to do it. Jacob couldn't lose, no matter how the agreement was made: "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."
"31:4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah [see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria] to the field unto his flock, 31:5 And said unto them, I see your father's countenance, that it is not toward me as before; but the God of my father hath been with me. 31:6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 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." (Genesis 31:4-9 KJV)
The breeding program was miraculous.
"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 [see A Biography Of Jacob: Stairway To Heaven], 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 31:10-13 KJV)
When Jacob told Rachel and Leah that they were leaving their father, their answer was mercenary: "Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?" But moreover, "For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do."
"31:14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house? 31:15 Are we not counted of him strangers? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. 31:16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is ours, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do." (Genesis 31:14-16 KJV)
Jacob then "carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan" - without telling Laban that he was leaving.
"31:17 Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels [see also Camel Trains]; 31:18 And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan." (Genesis 31:17-18 KJV)
Whether Laban would have pursued Jacob otherwise is debatable, but "Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's." It guaranteed that Laban, when he found out, would be in hot pursuit - as we will cover in the next study in this series.
"31:19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's. 31:20 And Jacob stole away unawares to Laban the Syrian, in that he told him not that he fled. 31:21 So he fled with all that he had; and he rose up, and passed over the river, and set his face toward the mount Gilead." (Genesis 31:19-21 KJV)
Fact Finder: Jacob met his family at the well in his mother's home town in Syria. What does the Bible tell us about the wells in Jacob's home town in Canaan?
This Day In History, November 9
694: At the Seventeenth Council of Toledo, Egica, a king of the Visigoths of Hispania, accused Jews of aiding Muslims in his kingdom; he sentenced all Jews to slavery.
1282: Pope Martin IV excommunicated King Peter III of Aragon.
1526: Jews were expelled from Pressburg, Hungary by Maria of Hapsburg.
1799: Napoleon Bonaparte declared himself Emperor of France.
1862: General Ulysses Grant (who became U.S. President in 1869) issued an order prohibiting Jews from serving under his command in the U.S. Army.
1906: Although the U.S. was then 130 years old, Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to make an official trip outside of the country. He visited the U.S.-controlled Panama Canal zone.
1913: The Great Lakes Storm of 1913 destroyed 19 ships and killed over 250 people.
1918: At the end of the First World War (listen to our Sermons The Ottoman Empire and The European World Wars; also The Balfour Declaration), Germany's Prince Max von Baden announced the abdication of Kaiser (the German form of Caesar) Wilhelm II (who had fled to the Netherlands and was granted asylum there) and handed his office over to Ebert who thereby became Chancellor. Germany was to be demilitarized and made a republic. Many war veterans were deeply embittered by the defeat and the terms imposed on Germany by The Treaty of Versailles - among them a young gefreiter (lance corporal) by the name of Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1935: Japanese troops invaded Shanghai, China.
1938: Kristallnacht (in German, "Crystal Night") in which Nazi storm troopers attacked Jews and their property throughout Germany. Over 260 synagogues were vandalized, 7,500 Jewish shops were destroyed. Thousands of Jews were seriously injured, 91 were murdered, and another 20,000 were arrested and sent to concentration camps. On the same day, a Swiss theology student, Maurice Bevaud, attempted to assassinate Hitler at a Munich rally. He was caught, and executed by guillotine on May 14 1941.
1952: Chaim Weizmann, the first President of Israel, died at age 57 (see A History Of Jerusalem: Zionism).
1953: King Ibn Saud, a Muslim religious leader who created the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, died (see Paul's Geography Lesson).
1965: A large area of the eastern United States and Canada was blacked out in one of the worst power failures in history; it was caused when a switch at a station near Niagara Falls malfunctioned.
1970: Charles DeGaulle, former French General and President, died at age 80.
1972: Anik-1, Canada's first domestic communications satellite, was launched into orbit.
1989: East Germany opened the Berlin Wall.
1990: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed a non-aggression treaty with Germany, winning praise from German leaders for his role in the peaceful fall of the Berlin Wall.