Genesis 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.
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(27) 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.

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.

27. Laban said … I have learned—His selfish uncle was averse to a separation, not from warmth of affection either for Jacob or his daughters, but from the damage his own interests would sustain. He had found, from long observation, that the blessing of heaven rested on Jacob, and that his stock had wonderfully increased under Jacob's management. This was a remarkable testimony that good men are blessings to the places where they reside. Men of the world are often blessed with temporal benefits on account of their pious relatives, though they have not always, like Laban, the wisdom to discern, or the grace to acknowledge it. No text from Poole on this verse.

And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry,.... One would think he could not expect to have much from him, by his treatment of him; but he craftily cajoles him in this fawning, flattering way, in order to gain a point, and begs of him, in a very humble and suppliant manner, if he had any love for him, that he would not depart from him, but stay with him, which he should take as a great favour; for he could not insist upon it, as bound in duty, or as a point of justice:

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.
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 30:27New 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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