Genesis 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.
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(25) Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away.—After Jacob had served Laban fourteen years for his two daughters, he continued with him for twenty years without any settled hire, receiving merely maintenance for himself and family. During most of this time he would be too encumbered with pregnant wives and young children to wish to take so long a journey. (See “Excursus on Chronology of Jacob’s Life.”) In these thirty-four years of service there would be time for the vast increase of Laban’s wealth referred to in Genesis 30:30. But at length Joseph is born, and as his other sons were most of them grown to man’s estate, as soon as Rachel was fit for the journey Jacob desired to return to his father, if for no other reason, yet because now it was time to provide for his children, and at Isaac’s death he was joint heir of his property.

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.Jacob enters into a new contract of service with Laban. "When Rachel had borne Joseph." Jacob cannot ask his dismissal until the twice seven years of service were completed. Hence, the birth of Joseph, which is the date of his request, took place at the earliest in the fifteenth year of his sojourn with Laban. Jacob now wishes to return home, from which he had been detained so long by serving for Rachel. He no doubt expects of Laban the means at least of accomplishing his journey. Laban is loath to part with him. "I have divined" - I have been an attentive observer. The result of his observation is expressed in the following words. "Appoint." Laban offers to leave the fixing of the hire to Jacob. "Thy hire upon me," which I will take upon me as binding. Jacob touches upon the value of his services, perhaps with the tacit feeling that Laban in equity owed him at least the means of returning to his home. "Brake forth" - increased. "At my foot" - under my guidance and tending of thy flocks.

"Do" - provide. "Thou shalt not give me anything." This shows that Jacob had no stock from Laban to begin with. "I will pass through all thy flock today" with thee. "Remove thou thence every speckled and spotted sheep, and every brown sheep among the lambs, and the spotted and speckled among the goats." These were the rare colors, as in the East the sheep are usually white, and the goats black or dark brown. "And such shall be my hire." Such as these uncommon party-colored cattle, when they shall appear among the flock already cleared of them; and not those of this description that are now removed. For in this case Laban would have given Jacob something; whereas Jacob was resolved to be entirely dependent on the divine providence for his hire. "And my righteousness will answer for me." The color will determine at once whose the animal is. Laban willingly consents to so favorable a proposal, removes the party-colored animals from the flock, gives them into the hands of his sons, and puts an interval of three days' journey between them and the pure stock which remains in Jacob's hands. Jacob is now to begin with nothing, and have for his hire any party-colored lambs or kids that appear in those flocks, from which every specimen of this rare class has been carefully removed.

Ge 30:25-43. Jacob's Covenant with Laban.

25. when Rachel had born Joseph—Shortly after the birth of this son, Jacob's term of servitude expired, and feeling anxious to establish an independence for his family, he probably, from knowing that Esau was out of the way, announced his intention of returning to Canaan (Heb 13:14). In this resolution the faith of Jacob was remarkable, for as yet he had nothing to rely on but the promise of God (compare Ge 28:15).

Canaan, which he calleth his country, in regard both of his former and long habitation in it, and of the right which he had to it by God’s promise: see Genesis 28:13.

And it came to pass, when Rachel had borne Joseph,.... At which time his fourteen years of servitude were ended; for Jacob was in Laban's house twenty years, fourteen were spent in serving for his wives, and the other six for his cattle, which begun from this time, as the context clearly shows; see Genesis 31:41; so that, as the Jewish writers (l) truly observe, in seven years' time Jacob had twelve children born to him, eleven sons and one daughter; for he had served seven years before he had either of his wives: they also pretend that a twin was born with each, except with Joseph, but for that there is no foundation:

that Jacob said unto Laban, send me away; give me leave to depart thy house: he had a right to demand his liberty, and to insist upon it, since the time of his servitude was up; but he chose to have leave, and part in a friendly manner:

that I may go unto mine own place, and to my own country; to Beersheba, where his father and mother lived, and whom, no doubt, he longed to see; and to the land of Canaan, in which that place was, which was his native country and was given him by promise, and was to be the inheritance of his seed.

(l) Pirke Eliezer, c. 36. Tzemach David, par. 1. fol. 6. 2.

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.
25–43 (J, E). Jacob’s Wages

In this passage and in the following chapter Laban is depicted in the Israelite narrative as the typical Aramaean, a crafty, selfish, grasping man of business. Jacob, however, in spite of Laban’s duplicity, prospers exceedingly. By greater cunning he outwits Laban himself, and God gives him protection and prosperity.

Verse 25. - And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, - either at or about the expiry of the second term of seven years. Jacob's family now consisted in all of eleven sons and one daughter, unless Dinah's birth occurred later in the next term of service (Keil). Since these were all born within seven years, the chronological cannot be the order observed by the historian in recording the events of the preceding paragraphs. Rather the births of the children are arranged in connection with the mothers from whom they sprang. Hence the possibility of acquiring so large a family in so short a time. The six sons of Leah might be born in the seven years, allowing one year's complete cessation from pregnancy, viz., the fifth; Bilhah's in the third and fourth years; Zilpah's in the beginning of the sixth and seventh; and Rachel's toward the end of the seventh, leaving Dinah to be born later (cf. Keil in loco) - that Jacob said unto Laban (if not immediately, certainly soon, after Joseph's birth), Send me away (meaning that Laban should permit him to depart), that I may go (literally, and I will go) unto mine own place, and to my country - to Canaan in general, and to that part of it in particular where he had formerly resided (cf. Genesis 18:33; Genesis 31:55). Genesis 30:25New Contract of Service Between Jacob and Laban. - As the second period of seven years terminated about the time of Joseph's birth, Jacob requested Laban to let him return to his own place and country, i.e., to Canaan. Laban, however, entreated him to remain, for he had perceived that Jehovah, Jacob's God, had blessed him for his sake; and told him to fix his wages for further service. The words, "if I have found favour in thine eyes" (Genesis 30:27), contain an aposiopesis, sc., then remain. נחשׁתּי "a heathen expression, like augurando cognovi" (Delitzsch). עלי שׂכרך thy wages, which it will be binding upon me to give. Jacob reminded him, on the other hand, what service he had rendered him, how Jehovah's blessing had followed "at his foot," and asked when he should begin to provide for his own house. But when Laban repeated the question, what should he give him, Jacob offered to feed and keep his flock still, upon one condition, which was founded upon the fact, that in the East the goats, as a rule, are black or dark-brown, rarely white or spotted with white, and that the sheep for the most part are white, very seldom black or speckled. Jacob required as wages, namely, all the speckled, spotted, and black among the sheep, and all the speckled, spotted, and white among the goats; and offered "even to-day" to commence separating them, so that "to-morrow" Laban might convince himself of the uprightness of his proceedings. הסר (Genesis 30:32) cannot be imperative, because of the preceding אעבר, but must be infinitive: "I will go through the whole flock to-day to remove from thence all...;" and שׂכרי היה signifies "what is removed shall be my wages," but not everything of an abnormal colour that shall hereafter be found in the flock. This was no doubt intended by Jacob, as the further course of the narrative shows, but it is not involved in the words of Genesis 30:32. Either the writer has restricted himself to the main fact, and omitted to mention that it was also agreed at the same time that the separation should be repeated at certain regular periods, and that all the sheep of an abnormal colour in Laban's flock should also be set aside as part of Jacob's wages; or this point was probably not mentioned at first, but taken for granted by both parties, since Jacob took measures with that idea to his own advantage, and even Laban, notwithstanding the frequent alteration of the contract with which Jacob charged him (Genesis 31:7-8, and Genesis 31:41), does not appear to have disputed this right.
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