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and the evening approaches. He is weary with
CHAPTER XXIX. his journey, and lies down to sleep under 1 Jacob cometh to the well of Haran, 9 He taketh acquaint
ance of Rachel. 13 Laban entertaineth him. 18 Jacob the naked canopy of heaven, with nothing
corenanteth for Rachel. 23 He is decrired with Leah. but the ground for his bed, and the stones 28 He marrieth also Rachel, and serveth for her seren for his pillow. There lies the heir of the
years more. 32 Leah beureth Reuben, 33 Simeon, 31
Leri, 35 and Judah. promises, the man whom God had chosen,
TIEN Jacob 'went on his journey, and and whom God had blessed. And what I came into the land of the people of the brought him to that spot? By way of cor east. rection and chastisement, it was for his sin. 2 And he looked, and behold a well in the In the providence of God, he was led thither
field, and, lo, there were three flocks of sheep for mercy and peace, though the journey was
lying by it; for out of that well they watered undertaken to escape his brother's fury. Con
the flocks: and a great stone was upon the
well's mouth. ceive how he mourned and wept over his
3 And thither were all the flocks gathered : recent misdeeds; how he was astonished and and they rolled the stone from the well's mouth, surprised at the goodness of God. He slept and watered the sheep, and put the stone and dreamed. A ladder set upon the earth, again upon the well's mouth in his place. with the top reaching up to heaven, appeared
4 And Jacob said unto them, My brethren, before him; and the angels of God were
whence be ye? And they said, Of Haran
are we. ascending and descending on it!
5 And he said unto them, Know ye Laban May we not see here a beautiful type of
the son of Nahor? And they said, We know Jesus, the true ladder; the one appointed
him. way to the Father. Did not Christ himself 6 And he said unto them, 'Is he well? And allude to this event being verified in his own they said, He is well: and, behold, Rachel his triumphant ascension on high ? (John i. 51.)
daughter cometh with the sheep. Contemplate this way to the Father. On
7 And he said, Lo, “it is yet high day,
neither is it time that the cattle should be earth was the foot of this ladder fixed in his
gathered together: water ye the sheep, and incarnation, suffering, and death. But its top
go and feed them. reached up to heaven, when he returned to 8 And they said, We cannot, until all the the Father, having finished the work which flocks be gathered together, and till they roll was given him to do. In that Saviour the stone from the well's mouth; then we water thus humbled, and thus exalted, God is
| the sheep. revealed as a covenant God, reconciled
9 | And while he yet spake with them,
Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she and at peace. There he stands, ready to
kept them. receive all who will come to him. In and io And it came to pass, when Jacob saw through that Saviour all his gracious pro- | Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's mises are given; and for his sake they shall brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's all be fulfilled to his praise and glory. The brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the God of Abraham and Isaac becomes the God
stone from the well's mouth, and watered the of Jacob, and He is the believer's God for
flock of Laban his mother's brother. ever. Now, what does the Lord speak to his
11 And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up
his voice, and wept. fugitive servant ? Among other blessings, he
12 And Jacob told Rachel that he was her says, “I am with thee,” I will “keep thee,”
father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's “I will not leave thee till I have done that son: and she ran and told her father. which I have spoken to thee of.” (v. 15.) | 13 And it came to pass, when Laban heard That is, as the apostle expounds it, “ I will the ó tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb.
ran to meet him, and embraced him, and xiii. 5.) Oh, my soul! may the Lord bless
kissed him, and brought him to his house.
And he told Laban all these things. thee, and keep thee, and never leave, nor
14 And Laban said to him, Surely thou art forsake thee! May he bring thee safe to thy
my bone and my flesh. And he abode with journey's end, and, by the glorious ladder thus him the space of a month. revealed, raise thee up at last to his eternal
15 | And Laban said unto Jacob, Because kingdom.
thou art my brother, shouldest thou therefore
serve me for nought tell me, what shall thy wages be * 16 And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. 18 And Jacob loved Rachel; and said, I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter. 19 And Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. 20 And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. 21 *| And Jacob said unto Laban, Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. 22 And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast. 23 And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him ; and he went in unto her. 24 And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. 25 And it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah : and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel 2 wherefore then hast thou beguiled me 26 And Laban said, it must not be so done in our 'country, to give the younger before the firstborn. 27 Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years. 28 And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. 29 And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. 30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. 31 *| And when the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb : but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name "Reuben : for she said, Surely the LoRD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love Ille. 33 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Because the LoRD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name "Simeon. 34 And she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, Now this time will my husband
How kind is that Providence which guides our steps, and watches over all our ways' Such is the care which the Lord exercises over his people. Abraham had found it to be so; so had Isaac. And in the chapter before us we find Jacob watched and led and blessed by the same gracious “keeper of Israel.” But how may we judge when we are under the special leading of Providence in any particular emergency; such, for example, as that before us? Generally speaking, there will be a concurrence of events, intimately connected with each other, for bringing to pass the intended design. Who can doubt that Abraham's servant, when sent to take a wife for his master's son, was specially directed by God to bring it to pass : All things worked together for that end. And who can hesitate in forming a similar conclusion respecting Jacob's journey, and his coming to the house of Laban on this occasion ? All things work together for that event. He comes to a well; there were flocks of sheep waiting to be watered. He enquires from the shepherds whence they come. He is told from Haran, whither he was going. He makes enquiries after his relative. Whilst he is speaking Laban's daughter approaches with their flocks; and thus the way was opened for his introduction into Laban's house. Can any one doubt the hand of God in all these things And who may not trace the same merciful hand in his own career, who has ever had any experience of the Lord's merciful dealings with his soul ? “I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master's brethren.” (Gen. xxiv. 27.) Let us not pass over Jacob's treatment there. He was, indeed, kindly received; but he soon found that he had to deal with an artful and cunning man. Laban took advantage of Jacob's necessities to turn his labour into a source of profit. Thus he who overreached his brother in getting possession of the birthright, is overreached by Laban in obtaining his services by cheating him in the bargain for his wife. Thus God often deals with men according to their works, and requites them in kind, though not always in the same way, for their previous iniquities. Did not Jacob see and feel this, in Laban's treacherous dealings 2 No doubt he did, and often mourned in secret over the sin that brought him into his present distress. Have you thus mourned over your sins Have you lamented them before God? Have you cried for pardon, and asked for grace to amend your life Again: may you not see the spirit of a worldly man in all Laban does His whole object was to gain by Jacob. The welfare of his children was but little thought of ; so that he could increase his store by their husband's labours. Alas! how many parents are ready to barter their children's comfort for the sake of forming a good connexion ? whether such connexion may be for their soul's good or not, never enters their calculation | And what follows Much the same as in Jacob's and Laban's households: jealousy, contention, anger, and strife Let all watch against a worldly spirit; let all guard against sin; let all commit their ways to the Lord, crave his mercy, and order their lives according to his Holy Word.
1 Rachel, in grief for her barrenness, giveth Bilhah her maid unto Jacob. 5 She beareth Dan and Naphtali. 9 Leah wireth Zilpah her maid, who beareth Gad and Asher. 14 Reuben findeth mandrakes, with which Leah buyeth her husband of Rachel. 17 Leah beareth Issachar, Zebulun, and Dinah. 22 Rachel beareth Joseph. 25 Jacob desireth to depart. 27 Laban stayeth him on a new covenant. 37 Jacob's policy, whereby he became rich. ND when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. 2 And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel ; and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the
womb? 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. 4 And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. 5 And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a SOIn. 6 And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son : therefore called she his name *Dan. 7 And Bilhah Rachel's maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. 8 And Rachel said, With "great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name 'Naphtali. 9 When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 10 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a son. 11 And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name "Gad. 12 And Zilpah Leah's maid bare Jacob a second son. 13 And Leah said, "Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name 7 Asher. 14 " And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. 15 And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband 2 and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes.
16 And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. 17 And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. 18 And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name * Issachar. 19 And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. 20 And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name "Zebulun. 21 And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name "Dinah. 22 || And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. 23 And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach:
24 And she called his name "Joseph; and said, The Lord shall add to me another son. 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. 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. 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. 28 And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it. 29 And he said unto him, Thou knowest how I have served thee, and how thy cattle was with me. 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 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. 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. 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. 34 And Laban said, Behold, I would it might be according to thy word. 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. 36 And he set three days’ journey betwixt himself and Jacob: and Jacob fed the rest of Laban's flocks. 37 's 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. 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, . o should conceive when they came to Tlink.
39 And the flocks conceived before the rods, and brought forth cattle ringstraked, speckled, and spotted. 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. 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. 42 But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in : so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. 43 And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses.
This history of Jacob is very instructive, in bringing to light some of the corrupt workings of the human heart, and the faults and chastisements of the children of God. Laban was an artful, overreaching, worldly man; he thought of nothing but his gains. There was also much of the same mind in Jacob; though, in his case, it was counteracted, in a great measure, by the grace of God. The man who would take another by the heel was not an unapt interpretation of his character, as well as his name. The history of the birthright proves this, and his sojourning with Laban further illustrates these marks of his character. If we are not led by the Spirit of God, natural corruptions will undoubtedly have the sway; and even though we have grace in our hearts there will be constant need of watchfulness and prayer, that we may be kept from being surprised by temptation, or overcome by sin. It is in the occurrences of life that the character is developed ; and he that has not often been tried in this way is but little known, either to himself or others.
This chapter suggests to us these reflections: Laban saw how much he was benefited by Jacob's services, and he wished to retain him in his hands. Jacob perceived the craftiness of his father in law, and he requited him much in the same way in renewing the engagement. This was wrong, and, in either case, the correction went hand in hand with the sin. We should always bear in mind that excellent precept, “Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (IRom. xii. 21.) IIow many unpleasant circumstances might never have occurred between Laban and Jacob had that principle been acted upon. * But worldly people are not to be trusted when they speak after a godly manner. There are times when it suits their purpose to speak of the labours of the children of God with gratitude and respect, though they mean nothing more than to further their own interests. When Laban besought Jacob to tarry with him, and said, “I have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake,” one might have supposed he really walued that blessing; whereas the event proved the contrary. For when Jacob proposed the nature of his wages, it seemed so unlikely to Laban that Jacob should ever get any profit from him, and that all the advantage would be on his own side, that he immediately took him at his word, and fixed him for a longer period in his service. But to say nothing of the means that Jacob employed for the conception of the cattle according to his agreement, it appears from the next chapter that the Lord had made some revelations to him on the subject, seeing the hardships he had to endure. These things afford no precedents for imitation, but they clearly teach us that the Lord is the patron of the injured; that he will plead the cause of his people, and make their oppressors to see, sooner or later, that he loves them. It is, however, in the plain path of duty we are to expect God's favour; and he who goes out of the way of duty, or acts in opposition to it, must expect rebuke before he receives a blessing. Are we not also taught that “the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof *” (Ps. xxiv. 1.) Do we not see that he giveth it to whom he pleases And in the course of time how soon do earthly possessions change hands God takes from one and gives to another. Blessed be God, spiritual blessings are not so ; they are never taken away from his people. And such is the amazing fulness of Christ, that he can pardon, bless, and enrich them all for ever and ever.
CHAPTER XXXI. 1 Jacob upon displeasure departeth secretly. stealeth her father's images. 22 Laban pursueth after him, 20 and complaineth of the wrong. 34 Rachel's policy to hide the images. 30 Jacob's complaint of Laban. 43 The covenant of Luban and Jacob at Galeed. ND 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. 2 And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward him 'as before. 3 And the Lord said unto Jacob, Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; and I will be with thee. 4 And Jacob sent and called Rachel and Leah to the field unto his flock, 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. 6 And ye know that with all my power I have served your father. 7 And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times; but God suffered him not to hurt me. 8 If he said thus, The speckled shall be thy wages; then all the cattle bare speckled: and if he said thus, The ringstraked shall be thy hire; then bare all the cattle ringstraked. 9 Thus God hath taken away the cattle of your father, and given them to me. 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. 11 And the angel of God spake unto me in a dream, saying, Jacob: And I said, Here (t/yz I. 12 And he said, Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are ringstraked, speckled, and grisled : for I have seen all that Laban doeth unto thee. 13 I am the God of Beth-el, 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. 14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house 15 Are we not counted of him strangers ? for he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money. 16 For all the riches which God hath taken from our father, that is our's, and our children's : now then, whatsoever God hath said unto thee, do.