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Saturday, September 15 2018
A Bible Journey, 30: Jacob's Wages
"My wives and my children, for whom I have served thee ... And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses"
Jacob's stay with his Iraqi family in Syria (see A Bible Journey, 28: The Stairway To Heaven Dream) was to have been only "a few days" of refuge: "27:42 And these words of Esau her elder son were told to Rebekah: and she sent and called Jacob her younger son, and said unto him, Behold, thy brother Esau, as touching thee, doth comfort himself, purposing to kill thee. 27:43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran [see A Bible Journey, 12: The Haran Connection]; 27:44 And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away." (Genesis 27:42-44 KJV).
The sojourn lasted over twenty years however, primarily because of marriage contracts made between Jacob and his uncle Laban. The first children were born to Leah (see The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Leah), much to Rachel's dismay.
"30:1 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.
As childless Sarah had done with Hagar (see A Bible Journey, 16: Hagar's Journey), Rachel (see The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Rachel) arranged for her handmaid, Bilhah, to become a surrogate wife and mother (see The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Bilhah).
"30:3 And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.
Leah also arranged for her handmaid, Zilpah (see The Mothers Of The Patriarchs: Zilpah), to become a surrogate wife and mother. Leah herself later had two more sons, and Jacob's only daughter, Dinah (see Dinah Of Israel).
"30:9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 30:10 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son. 30:11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.
The LORD later enabled Rachel to have a child as she wanted. Her firstborn son was Joseph. Her second-born, Benjamin, was born a few years later - the only son of Jacob not born in Syria, and with the tragic loss of Rachel's life (see The Rachel Prophecies; see also Jacob's Blessing Of Ephraim And Manasseh).
"30:22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 30:23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: 30:24 And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son." (Genesis 30:22-24 KJV)
When the obligations for the marriage contracts were fulfilled, Jacob told Laban that he wanted to return home to southern Canaan (see Hometowns: Hebron).
"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." (Genesis 30:25-28 KJV)
Laban was understandably reluctant to let Jacob leave - with his daughters and grandchildren. Laban then offered to make Jacob, in effect, a partner ("Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it" is hardly an employee any longer). Jacob agreed, with a simple arrangement to divide the flocks and herds between them: "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."
"30:27 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.
Under normal circumstances, it was a safe investment for Laban. He knew, as already proven, that Jacob's work would increase the stock, and he knew from experience what percentage of his stock had, and would have, the markings that defined their business arrangement.
"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 ringstraked 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." (Genesis 30:34-36 KJV)
Many have debated, even tried to repeat, what Jacob did that caused most of the stock to be born with the sort of markings that made them the property of Jacob.
"30:37 And Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and chesnut tree; and pilled white strakes 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 ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. 30:40 And Jacob did separate the lambs, and set the faces of the flocks toward the ringstraked, 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 30:37-43 KJV)
How did Jacob do it? Both men obviously had a good working understanding of genetics - the reason that both men felt safe with their natural markings of ownership deal. But it was not entirely natural. The LORD had made known to Jacob that He would cause the flocks and herds to be born with the sort of markings that would make them the property of Jacob - it didn't matter which man had chosen. Why did the LORD do it? Because "I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee."
"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 ringstraked, speckled, and grisled.
Fact Finder: Along with the four Syrian women, who was the Egyptian woman who also became an Israelite matriarch?
This Day In History
This Day In History, September 15
76 BC: Alexander Jannaeus (Alexander Yannai), the Hasmonean / Maccabean king of Judaea, died (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Hasmonean Judea and Christ's Hanukkah).
668: Eastern Roman Emperor Constans II was assassinated at Syracuse, Italy.
1648: The Larger and the Shorter Catechisms, both produced by the Westminster Assembly the previous year, were approved by the British Parliament. These two documents have been in regular use among various Presbyterians, Congregationalists and Baptists from that time.
1697: Augustus II, elector of Saxony, was crowned king of Poland. Saxony is an ancient region of Germany. One of the tribes of the Saxons, who became known as the Anglo-Saxons, migrated westward to Britain.
1776: During the revolution of the New England colonies that had been established by conservative English pioneers and investment over 150 years earlier, British forces under General William Howe captured New York City, which was named after England's Duke of York (see also When Do Liberals Become Conservatives? and The Origin Of Politics and Republics).
1821: San Salvador, Costa Rica and Guatemala declared themselves independent of Spain.
1830: Britain's Liverpool and Manchester railway line opened.
1835: The HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, arrived at the Galapagos Islands (see Rescuing Charles Darwin From The Atheists).
1916: The first deployment of tanks in battle - 49 British "Big Willies" participated in the Battle of The Somme during the First World War (see also The Assassination That Triggered Two World Wars).
1928: Scottish researcher Alexander Fleming discovered the antibiotic effect of penicillin.
1935: In Germany, the Nazis under the leadership of Adolf Hitler (see The Terrorist Attack That Enabled Hitler To Become A Dictator and Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) enacted the Nuremburg Laws, beginning a program of violent religious and racial persecution. All Jews were deprived of their citizenship and the "ghettos" were created. The same day, the Swastika became the national flag of Germany.
1938: British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain flew to Germany to meet Adolf Hitler at Berchtesgaden, the first of two meetings to try and avoid the crisis over the Sudetenland.
1940: At the height of the Battle of Britain, Royal Air Force Hurricanes and Spitfires shot down 185 Nazi planes. The day has since been celebrated as Battle of Britain day.
1945: A hurricane destroyed over 350 military aircraft at a naval air station in Florida (see also The Origin Of Hurricanes, Cyclones and Typhoons).
1959: Nikita Khrushchev became the first Russian head of state to visit the U.S.
1963: During the struggle for civil rights of black people in the U.S., four black children died when their church in Montgomery, Alabama was destroyed by a bomb.
1968: The unmanned Soviet Zond 5 spaceship was launched. It became the first vehicle to fly around the Moon and then return and re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.
1972: Two former White House aides, Howard Hunt and Gordon Liddy, were added to the five men already charged with the break-in at the Watergate building during the Nixon regime (see also The Impeachment Of The President).
1982: Despite Israel's protest, Pope John Paul II had a private meeting with "Palestinian" (see Where Is Palestine?) terrorist leader Yasser Arafat in the Vatican (see also A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad).
2008: Lehman Brothers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history to date.