|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
30:25-43 The fourteen years being gone, Jacob was willing to depart without any provision, except God's promise. But he had in many ways a just claim on Laban's substance, and it was the will of God that he should be provided for from it. He referred his cause to God, rather than agree for stated wages with Laban, whose selfishness was very great. And it would appear that he acted honestly, when none but those of the colours fixed upon should be found among his cattle. Laban selfishly thought that his cattle would produce few different in colour from their own. Jacob's course after this agreement has been considered an instance of his policy and management. But it was done by intimation from God, and as a token of his power. The Lord will one way or another plead the cause of the oppressed, and honour those who simply trust his providence. Neither could Laban complain of Jacob, for he had nothing more than was freely agreed that he should have; nor was he injured, but greatly benefitted by Jacob's services. May all our mercies be received with thanksgiving and prayer, that coming from his bounty, they may lead to his praise.
Verse 32. - I will pass through all thy flock today, - wrongly rendered παρελθέτω πάντα τὰ πρόβάτα σου (LXX), gyra per omnes greges tuos (Vulgate}, as if Jacob proposed that the separation of the flocks should be effected by Laban, and not by himself - removing from thence - not remove thou, as if the verb were imperative (Rosenmüller, Murphy, Kalisch), but "to remove," the verb being in the inf. (Keil; cf. Ewald, 'Hebrews Synt.,' § 279) - all the speckled and spotted cattle, and all the brown cattle among the sheep, and the spotted and speckled among the goats. Since in Oriental countries sheep are commonly white and goats black, the number of speckled and spotted animals (i.e. sheep with little spots and largo patches of black, and goats with little or large points of white, in their hair) would be unusually small. And of such shall be my hire - i.e. the dark-spotted or entirely black sheep and white or white-speckled goats were to be Jacob's reward (Knobel, Delitzsch, Keil, Lunge), which was to be subsequently increased by whatever speckled animals might appear among the one-colored flocks; but it seems more probable that Jacob only claimed the latter, and, both to make the bargain more attractive to Laban and to show that he wanted nothing from Laban but only what God might be pleased in accordance with this arrangement to bestow, he suggested that the flocks and herds should be purged of all such speckled and spotted animals to begin with (Tuch, Baumgarten, Kurtz, Rosenmüller, Kalisch, Candlish; Murphy, 'Speaker's Commentary,' Clarke, Bush).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I will pass through all thy flock today,.... Not alone, but Laban and his sons with him:
removing from thence all the speckled and spotted cattle; that is, such as were black and had white spots on them, or were white and had black spots on them; and the "speckled", according to Jarchi and Ben Melech, were such as had small spots on them; and the "spotted" were such as had larger:
and all the brown cattle among the sheep; the russet coloured ones, or the "black" (o) ones, as some render it; and so Aben Ezra, and who makes mention of another sort, called "barud", which signifies spotted with white spots like hailstones, but is not to be found in the text here, but in Genesis 31:10; and besides coincide with those before described:
and the spotted and speckled among the goats: that had larger and lesser spots upon them as the sheep:
and of such shall be my hire; not those that were now in the flock, but such as were like them, that should be brought forth for the time to come; which seems to be a strange proposal, and what was not likely to turn out much to the advantage of Jacob; but he knew what he did, and very probably was directed of God, if not in a vision, yet by an impulse on his mind, that such a method would be right, and would succeed; see Genesis 31:10.
(o) "nigrum", Montanus, Fagius; so R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 98. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
32. I will pass through all thy flock to-day—Eastern sheep being generally white, the goats black, and spotted or speckled ones comparatively few and rare, Jacob proposed to remove all existing ones of that description from the flock, and to be content with what might appear at the next lambing time. The proposal seemed so much in favor of Laban, that he at once agreed to it. But Jacob has been accused of taking advantage of his uncle, and though it is difficult to exculpate him from practising some degree of dissimulation, he was only availing himself of the results of his great skill and experience in the breeding of cattle. But it is evident from the next chapter (Ge 31:5-13) that there was something miraculous and that the means he had employed had been suggested by a divine intimation.
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