Genesis 30:42
But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.
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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 devises means to provide himself with a flock in these unfavorable circumstances. His first device is to place party-colored rods before the eyes of the cattle at the rutting season, that they might drop lambs and kids varied with speckles, patches, or streaks of white. He had learned from experience that there is a congruence between the colors of the objects contemplated by the dams at that season and those of their young. At all events they bare many straked, speckled, and spotted lambs and kids. He now separated the lambs, and set the faces of the flock toward the young of the rare colors, doubtless to affect them in the same way as the pilled rods. "Put his own folds by themselves." These are the party-colored cattle that from time to time appeared in the flock of Laban. In order to secure the stronger cattle, Jacob added the second device of employing the party-colored rods only when the strong cattle conceived. The sheep in the East lamb twice a year, and it is supposed that the lambs dropped in autumn are stronger than those dropped in the spring. On this supposition Jacob used his artifice in the spring, and not in the autumn. It is probable, however, that he made his experiments on the healthy and vigorous cattle, without reference to the season of the year. The result is here stated. "The man brake forth exceedingly" - became rapidly rich in hands and cattle.

It is obvious that the preceding and present chapters form one continuous piece of composition; as otherwise we have no account of the whole family of Jacob from one author. But the names אלהים 'ĕlohı̂ym and יהוה yehovâh are both employed in the piece, and, hence, their presence and interchange cannot indicate diversity of authorship.

- Jacob's Flight from Haran

19. תרפים terāpı̂ym, Teraphim. This word occurs fifteen times in the Old Testament. It appears three times in this chapter, and nowhere else in the Pentateuch. It is always in the plural number. The root does not appear in Biblical Hebrew. It perhaps means "to live well," intransitively (Gesenius, Roedig.), "to nourish," transitively (Furst). The teraphim were symbols or representatives of the Deity, as Laban calls them his gods. They seem to have been busts (προτομαί protomai, Aquila) of the human form, sometimes as large as life 1 Samuel 19:13. Those of full size were probably of wood; the smaller ones may have been of metal. In two passages Judges 17:1-13; 18; Hosea 3:4 they are six times associated with the ephod. This intimates either that they were worn on the ephod, like the Urim and Thummim, or more probably that the ephod was worn on them; in accordance with which they were employed for the purposes of divination Genesis 30:27; Zechariah 10:2. The employment of them in the worship of God, which Laban seems to have inherited from his fathers Joshua 24:2, is denounced as idolatry 1 Samuel 15:23; and hence, they are classed with the idols and other abominations put away by Josiah 2 Kings 23:24.

47. שׂהדוּתא יגר yegar-śâhădûtā', Jegar-sahadutha, "cairn of witness" in the Aramaic dialect of the old Hebrew or Shemite speech. גלעד gal‛ēd, Gal'ed; and גלעד gı̂l‛ād, Gil'ad, "cairn of witness" in Hebrew especially so called (see Genesis 11:1-9).

49. מצפה mı̂tspâh, Mizpah, "watch-tower."

Jacob had now been twenty years in Laban's service, and was therefore, ninety-six years of age. It has now become manifest that he cannot obtain leave of Laban to return home. He must, therefore, either come off by the high hand, or by secret flight. Jacob has many reasons for preferring the latter course.

38. watering troughs—usually a long stone block hollowed out, from which several sheep could drink at once, but sometimes so small as to admit of only one drinking at a time. No text from Poole on this verse.

And when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in,.... Or "when covered", as Menachem, that is, with wool, and so not so desirous of copulation with the males, nor so fit and strong for generation; and therefore he put not in the rods into the gutters, partly that he might have none feeble in his flock, and partly that he might not spoil Laban of his whole flock, strong and weak:

so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's; not only his flocks became more numerous than Laban's, but were a better quality.

But when the cattle were feeble, he put them not in: so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's.
42. the feebler … the stronger] These words were a difficulty to the versions. LXX τὰ ἄσηματὰ ἐπίσημα, Lat. quae erant serotina … quae primi temporis. So Aq. Sym. πρώϊμα ὄψιμα, and Targum of Onkelos “early” and “late,” referring to the time of breeding. The earlier breeding sheep were the stronger. Pliny, H. N., viii. 187, postea concepti invalidi (quoted by Skinner).

Verse 42. - But when the cattle were feeble, - literally, in the covering (sc. with wool; hence weakening) of the flock, which took place in autumn - he put them not in (partly to prevent the introduction of feeble animals amongst his parti-colored flocks, but partly also, it is thought, to avoid prematurely exciting Laban's suspicion): so the feebler were Laban's, and the stronger Jacob's. Genesis 30:42He did not adopt the trick with the rods, however, on every occasion of copulation, for the sheep in those countries lamb twice a year, but only at the copulation of the strong sheep (המקשּׁרות the bound ones, i.e., firm and compact), - Luther, "the spring flock;" ליחמנּה inf. Pi. "to conceive it (the young);" - but not "in the weakening of the sheep," i.e., when they were weak, and would produce weak lambs. The meaning is probably this: he only adopted this plan at the summer copulation, not the autumn; for, in the opinion of the ancients (Pliny, Columella), lambs that were conceived in the spring and born in the autumn were stronger than those born in the spring (cf. Bochart l.c. p. 582). Jacob did this, possibly, less to spare Laban, than to avoid exciting suspicion, and so leading to the discovery of his trick. - In Genesis 30:43 the account closes with the remark, that the man increased exceedingly, and became rich in cattle (רבּות צאן many head of sheep and goats) and slaves, without expressing approbation of Jacob's conduct, or describing his increasing wealth as a blessing from God. The verdict is contained in what follows.
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