And Laban said to him, I pray you, if I have found favor in your eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD has blessed me for your sake.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I have learned by experience.—Heb., I have divined. The verb means, to speak between the teeth; to mutter magical formulœ. Others wrongly suppose that it signifies “to divine by omens taken from serpents;” and some imagine that Laban had consulted his teraphim. Words of this sort lose, at a very early date, their special signification, and all that Laban means is—“I fancy,” I conjecture.” His answer is, however, most Oriental. It is courtly and complimentary, but utterly inconclusive. “If now I have found favour in thine eyes, I have a feeling that God hath blessed me for thy sake.” It, of course, suggests that he would be glad if Jacob would remain with him. In Genesis 30:28 Laban comes to the point, but probably this was reached by many circuitous windings.Genesis 30:27. I have learned by experience — The best way of learning. And it would be well if we always remembered and adhered to what we have thus learned. But, alas! we are too apt to forget or neglect it.
"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.
for I have learned by experience; by the observations made in the fourteen years past:
that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake: Laban had so much religion as to ascribe the blessings, the good things he had, to the Lord, as the author and giver of them; and so much honour, or however, thought it was more his interest to own it, that it was for Jacob's sake that he was thus blessed: the word translated is used sometimes of divination, and the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem render it, "I have used divinations"; and according to Jarchi and Aben Ezra, Laban was a diviner and soothsayer; and by the teraphim he had in his house, Genesis 31:19; he divined, and knew thereby that he was blessed for the sake of Jacob; but, as Schmidt observes, it is not credible that the devil should give so famous a testimony to Laban of Jehovah and Jacob.And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. If now I have found, &c.] Cf. Genesis 18:3, Genesis 33:10 (J). Laban’s sentence is unfinished. The words “tarry: for” are inserted to complete the aposeiopesis. Laban wishes to retain Jacob, and to propitiate him with flattering words. The bargain so far has been all in his favour.
I have divined] Lit. “I have observed signs.” The word occurs in Genesis 44:5; Genesis 44:15, where it is used of obtaining an answer by means of magic. Here Laban means he has “discerned” by clear indications. Perhaps there may be a reference to the custom of consulting the household gods or teraphim. Cf. Genesis 31:19. LXX οἰωνισάμην, Lat. experimento didici. See also 1 Kings 20:33 marg.
hath blessed me] This is a new feature in the story, and prepares the way for the following section.
for thy sake] LXX τῇ σῇ εἰσόδῳ = “at thy arrival,” reading l’ragl’ka for big’lal ka.Verse 27. - And Laban said unto him (having learnt by fourteen years' acquaintance with Jacob to know the value of a good shepherd), I pray thee, if I have found favor in thine eyes (the clause is elliptical, the A. V. rightly supplying), tarry: for (this word also is not in the original), I have learned by experience - literally, I have divined (נִחַשְֹׁתִּי, from נָחַשׁ, to hiss as a serpent, hence to augur); not necessarily by means of serpents (Gesenius, Wordsworth, 'Speaker's Commentary'), or even by consulting his gods (Delitzsch, Kalisch), but perhaps by close observation and minute inspection (Murphy, Bush). The LXX. render οἰωνισάμην; the Vulgate by experimento didici - that the Lord - Jehovah. Nominally a worshipper of the true God, Laban was in practice addicted to heathen superstitions (cf. Genesis 31:19, 32) - hath blessed me (with material prosperity) for thy sake. Genesis 30:15): "Is it too little, that thou hast taken (drawn away from me) my husband, to take also" (לקחת infin.), i.e., that thou wouldst also take, "my son's mandrakes?" At length she parted with them, on condition that Rachel would let Jacob sleep with her the next night. After relating how Leah conceived again, and Rachel continued barren in spite of the mandrakes, the writer justly observes (Genesis 30:17), "Elohim hearkened unto Leah," to show that it was not from such natural means as love-apples, but from God the author of life, that she had received such fruitfulness. Leah saw in the birth of her fifth son a divine reward for having given her maid to her husband - a recompense, that is, for her self-denial; and she named him on that account Issaschar, ישּׂשׂכר, a strange form, to be understood either according to the Chethib שׂכר ישׁ "there is reward," or according to the Keri שׁכר ישּׂא "he bears (brings) reward." At length she bore her sixth son, and named him Zebulun, i.e., "dwelling;" for she hoped that now, after God had endowed her with a good portion, her husband, to whom she had born six sons, would dwell with her, i.e., become more warmly attached to her. The name is from זבל to dwell, with acc. constr. "to inhabit," formed with a play upon the alliteration in the word זבד to present - two ἅπαξ λεγόμενα. In connection with these two births, Leah mentions Elohim alone, the supernatural giver, and not Jehovah, the covenant God, whose grace had been forced out of her heart by jealousy. She afterwards bore a daughter, Dinah, who is mentioned simply because of the account in Genesis 34; for, according to Genesis 37:35 and Genesis 46:7, Jacob had several daughters, though they were nowhere mentioned by name.
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